How to Make Vegan Queso That Won’t Leave You Missing the Cheese

Taco Tuesdays, meet your newest addition. This vegan queso is savory and zesty—don't be surprised if your non-vegan friends love it, too.

We’re redefining snacks (and vegan dinner recipes!) with this dairy-free vegan queso. It’s creamy and delicious, making it the perfect accompaniment for your tortilla chips or vegetables—though we won’t judge you for just grabbing a spoon.

How to Make Vegan Queso

This recipe for healthy queso comes from Becky Hardin of Missouri.


  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 1 cup water or unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained
  • Tortilla chips and assorted vegetables


Step 1: Prep the cashews

The night before, soak the cashews by first rinsing them in cold water. Place the cashews in a large bowl with water, making sure they are completely covered, with an additional three inches of water on top. Cover and leave overnight.

Editor’s Tip: Soak the cashews for at least eight hours. The longer they’re soaked, the queso will. Don’t have eight hours? You can place them in hot, but not boiling, water for 15 minutes for similar results.

Step 2: Make some magic

Get the cashews ready by draining and rinsing them, and then adding to a food processor with 1 cup water, nutritional yeast, cilantro, lime juice, salt and chili powder. Blend in the food processor for three to four minutes, making sure to stop and scrape the sides when necessary.

Editor’s Tip: The nutritional yeast (also known as “nooch”) gives the queso that delicious umami flavor. To enhance it further, add a splash of white wine or distilled white vinegar. You can also sprinkle in some turmeric to bring out its golden hue.

Step 3: Heat and eat

Add the queso to a small saucepan with the tomatoes until well-heated. Enjoy with tortilla chips and vegetables.

Pro tip: You can make this queso into a meal by pairing it with nachos, burrito bowls, potatoes (can you say breakfast?) and tacos, or whatever else could use a dollop!

Make the Queso Your Own

As far as we’re concerned, the best queso is a creamy queso. Find your favorite texture by adding your favorite nut milk—we prefer almond milk for this recipe—or extra water.

If you prefer your queso a little spicier, you can blend in some hot sauce (it tastes even better homemade) or jalapeno pepper with the rest of the ingredients. Just add as much as you like to achieve your desired heat.

How to Store

Like pizza, cold queso is just as delicious as a freshly made batch. Cover and store in a bowl for up to five days in the fridge, reheating on the stove or in the microwave. You can add water as needed if it’s too thick.

Here are 95 more vegan recipes even meat eaters will adore.

Kim Bussing
Kim Bussing is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles. She has written for publications including Reader’s Digest, Modern Farmer, Clean Plates and Vice, among others, and she is working on her first novel. She is always on the hunt for the perfect gluten-free cinnamon roll.