Smoky Vegan Chipotle Queso

The healthy, vegan version of your favorite Mexican dip, this Smoky Vegan Chipotle Queso is soft, smoky, and addictive. Perfect for game days and parties, as well as an appetizer for your next Mexican dinner. 

A bowl of healthy queso made with cashews

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Did you really go to a Mexican restaurant if you didn’t fill up on queso and tortillas before your entree even came? I swear any self-control I have goes out the window the moment a dish of queso is placed in front of me! Delicious it may be…healthy it is not!

Until now! This cashew queso is the healthy and vegan version of the popular Mexican dip that everyone will love! This is a great recipe to have on hand for parties with vegan friends attending but the cheesy, creamy texture created by the cashews and nutritional yeast will ensure it’s loved by everyone.

To add a warm, smoky flavor I combined chipotle sauce with smoked paprika and liquid smoke for an incredible result. To say the end result is addictive is an understatement! Guests always hover over the bowl of cashew queso and I’ve yet to have any leftovers to reheat the next day!

Ingredients for a plant based queso recipe

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Raw cashews – Cashews must be soaked in boiled water for 4 hours prior to starting this recipe.
  • Seasonings – Smoked paprika and ground cumin give this easy vegan queso a warm, smoky flavor.
  • Olive oil – Helps achieve the appropriate consistency.
  • Nutritional yeast – Nutritional yeast helps provide the “cheesy” texture in vegan cheese.
  • Liquid smoke – The smoky undertone to this chipotle queso is part of what makes it so addictive!
  • Chipotle sauce – Use your favorite chipotle sauce, whether it’s bottled or homemade to add a little heat.
  • Garnishes – I like to garnish this plant-based queso with some sliced jalapenos, chopped tomatoes or bell peppers, or tortilla chips. 
A vegan queso fresco bowl topped with limes and tomatoes

How to Make Smoky Vegan Chipotle Queso

To make your vegan queso fresco, thoroughly wash and drain the soaked cashews. It’s essential that the cashews have soaked for at least 4 hours before beginning this recipe or the texture won’t be the same.

A blender filled with ingredients for a vegan queso fresco recipe
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender. If you don’t have one, you can also use a food processor. However, I find that a quality blender usually achieves a much smoother consistency.
  2. Blend the ingredients until smooth and creamy. I like to taste and adjust the flavor as needed by adding more salt and spices or adding more nutritional yeast if needed for an appropriately cheesy texture.
  3. Once blended to the desired consistency, transfer to a non-stick pan to warm it. Be sure to stir regularly to avoid sticking to the bottom. If the chipotle queso thickens too much, stir in a small amount of water as needed.
  4. Serve warm with your favorite garnishes.
Cashew queso in a blender.

What to Serve with Vegan Queso Fresco

The most obvious way to serve this addictive vegan queso recipe is as a dip, just as you would be served queso at your favorite Mexican restaurant, alongside some freshly made salsa or pico de gallo.

Tortilla chips (especially freshly made ones!) are dynamite when served with this vegan queso but don’t limit your dipping options to just chips! For a healthy vegan queso option, you can also dip sliced bell peppers, celery, carrot sticks or jicama! The crunch nicely compliments the rich, smoky cheese.  

A person dipping a chip into a bowl of healthy queso

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

Leftover chipotle queso can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Be sure to store it properly in an airtight container. 

Vegan queso should not be reheated in the microwave, as it tends to change the texture. Instead, you should reheat the queso on the stove. Stir constantly to ensure it doesn’t burn and add water as needed to thin it out.

A bowl of vegan queso fresco with some chilis nearby

More Vegan Recipes To Try:

A bowl of healthy queso made with cashews

Smoky Vegan Chipotle Queso

Alisa Infanti | The Delicious Spoon
The healthy, vegan version of your favorite Mexican dip, this Smoky Vegan Chipotle Queso is soft, smoky, and addictive!
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine 21 Day Fix, Mexican, vegan
Servings 5 servings
Calories 342 kcal


  • Blender
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Saucepan


  • 2 cups raw cashews soaked for 4 hours in boiled water
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup chipotle sauce
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ cup water more if needed for desired consistency


  • Wash and drain soaked cashews.
  • Add all the ingredients into a high-speed blender. You could also use a food processor. The difference will be in the texture, as blenders usually achieve a smoother consistency.
  • Blend until very smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust taste as needed with more salt, spices, or nutritional yeast.
  • Place the sauce in a non-stick saucepan to warm it, stirring regularly to avoid sticking to the bottom. If it gets too thick, you can add extra water at this point.
  • Serve warm with your chosen garnishes.


Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 342kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 10gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 17gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 273mgPotassium: 0mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3g


Keep leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge
Please Note:

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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  1. 5 stars
    So much smoky flavour – delicious! Great to have a vegan dip option for holiday season, too.

    1. I agree with so many people no trying or enjoying vegan it is a nice option to have available.

  2. 5 stars
    I love dips and “cheese”. made with cashews. What a great idea to add chipotle to amp up the flavor even more – yum!

  3. 5 stars
    This queso is spiced perfectly. It’s such a great appetiser for gatherings that everyone loves, thank you!

5 from 7 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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