For many people (including us), making the switch to a clean diet meant cutting the dairy (click here to learn why dairy isn’t included on our “clean eating” list). But this most certainly does not mean you should be giving up any of your favorite foods! If you’ve ever wondered how to make queso free of dairy, this is the recipe for you!
This dairy-free queso is thick, creamy, and oh-so cheesy. It makes for the perfect appetizer, snack, or is even delicious drizzled over a bed of nachos. Its so good, you’ll forget you’re eating healthy! This queso is paleo, Whole30, and can easily be modified for a vegan diet. Let’s go!
Growing up, Mexican food was my absolute favorite (although a close tie with pizza). I loved quesadillas, taquitos, loaded nachos…you name it! Of course, these were all drowned or dipped in thick, creamy queso.
When I first gave up gluten for my stomach problems, it was no big deal! I went gluten-free at a time where restaurants and food companies were finally starting to see the demand and market for gluten-free options, and were readily adhering to the challenge. However, giving up dairy was a whole different story…
While there are a rapidly growing number of delicious dairy-free options nowadays, this wasn’t always the case. When I went dairy-free, cheese options that fit this type of diet were not only limited, but they all tasted like greasy plastic, and left me feeling worse than if I just continued eating dairy! So, I went to the drawing board, and decided to begin making my own dairy-free cheeses.
How to Make Queso – Dairy-Free!
Like mentioned above, when I first went dairy-free, options were majorly limited. Because of this, I decided to start experimenting with my own homemade recipes! And while I made some pretty tasty queso recipes along the way, they were always just a tad bit off. Whether they were too watery, not cheesy enough, or just didn’t taste like queso, there was always something missing…until I created this recipe!
This dairy-free queso is different from the rest. Its creamy, thick, cheesy, and delicious, all while using minimal ingredients! I love its “scoopability”, hint of mild spice, and the way it keeps me full due to its high protein content.
Let’s get into the ingredients!
The first, and “secret” ingredient to this queso that makes it so thick and creamy are cashews! Soaking cashews the night before, and blending in the morning creates a creamy base that is useful in a multitude of recipes, both savory and sweet!
This recipe calls for a tiny bit of chicken broth which is used to thin out the texture, and give the queso an extra burst of flavor. For those choosing a vegan or vegetarian diet, this “no chicken” broth is a good option!
Nutritional yeast is like a vegan dream! The flavor is very similar to cheese, and makes amazing sauces and dips!
You can absolutely buy all of these ingredients separately, but I listed them together since they’re often sold as a trio in a can, like this brand! These ingredients give this queso its fresh flavor, and mild spice.
Lemon juice simply helps to neutralize the flavor of the queso, and also adds to that fresh taste.
Just a little bit of Himalayan pink salt finishes this dip off, and makes it so savory!
And that’s seriously it! That’s all you need to make a delicious, dairy-free queso everyone will love! Now, let’s get into the recipe!Print
How To Make Queso
- Prep Time: 5 min.
- Cook Time: 10 min.
- Total Time: 15 min.
- Begin by soaking 2 cups of cashews in water (enough to cover) overnight. As an alternative, speed soak cashews (see notes).
- Once cashews have soaked, rinse, and place in blender with chicken stock. Blend until smooth. (Add 1/4 cup extra liquid at a time until desired texture is achieved).
- Place cashew sauce mixture into a saucepan, and place on a medium/low heat.
- Add in nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt. Stir until well combined.
- Add in tomatoes, jalepenos, and cilantro. Stir until well distrubuted.
- Serve with your favorite chips (we love Siete), and enjoy!
Speed soak your cashews by bringing a pot of water to a rolling boil, removing from heat, adding cashews, covering, and allowing to sit for around 20-30 minutes.