Quick Vegan Queso

Like many plant-based people might tell you, I never used to think I could go plant based. Largely because of how much I loved cheese. But with delicious options like this Quick Vegan Queso, I can still get that yummy cheesy flavor that I’ve always loved, but still keep it plant based!

This recipe utilizes arrowroot flour in order to get a thick and creamy cheesey texture. When you first start making this recipe your sauce will be very runny, but once you heat it up on the stove the arrowroot acts as a thickening agent and makes a great queso-like consistency! It’s honestly a bit magical. Then again, I’m obsessed with food so I may be biased.

This Quick Vegan Queso is excellent as a chip dip of course, but also great to use on anything Tex Mex or Mexican inspired such as nachos or quesadillas (hint: stay tuned for a future recipe relating to one of these things!). But honestly, you can put it on whatever you’d like! Loaded fries? Baked potatoes? Cooked veggies? YOU DO YOU.

I always like to remind readers at the beginning of any “substitute” style recipe that this is highly INSPIRED by the “original”. Meaning that this is similar to a dairy queso in many ways, but it simply won’t ever 100% be the same. Bottom line is that it simply isn’t dairy! However, if you make this because you want an ooey gooey texture, some cheesiness-inspired flavor, and a delicious Tex Mex inspired meal or snack, I think you’ll be very happy!

Ready to get our Tex Mex on? LETS DO IT.


  • Cashews: cashews are a great ingredient for dairy substitutes, because they get nice and creamy when you soak and blend them! 
  • Arrowroot flour: our magic ingredient. This is what is going to thicken our sauce so that it is the delicious queso consistency we are looking for! I use Bobs Red Mill arrowroot starch, but any brand should do the trick. Check out my “Tips & Tricks” section or the notes included with the recipe for substitution options.
  • Garlic, lemon juice, and a bunch of seasonings: for yummy cheesey flavors!
  • Salsa: this gets mixed in towards the end of the recipe for that extra Tex Mex flare. Any salsa will do – just pick your favorite!

How to Make Quick Vegan Queso

This one requires your cashews to soak for 20-30 minutes, but after that it all comes together very quickly! The simplified version:

  1. Soak your cashews
  2. Blend cashews and other ingredients so that they are smooth
  3. Heat your mixture until it gets thick and mix in your salsa
  4. Enjoy!

Tips & Tricks

As always, I encourage you to play in your kitchen! Here are some things you can try when you make your Quick Vegan Queso if you’d like. 

  • Want a substitution for arrowroot flour?
    • The next best thing would be tapioca flour. I tested this option and it gives your queso a slightly different consistency, but it still works! 
    • My next suggestion would be cornstarch – I have not tested this one specifically, but it should have relatively similar results. If you try this one be sure to comment and let me know how it went!
  • Different salsas will give you different flavors!
    • I don’t like things super spicy, so I tend to go for very mild salsas. But you can play with using spicier ones if you’d like! Just use whatever makes you happy.
    • You could even use Pico here if you wanted – it won’t necessarily incorporate as many flavors into the queso itself, but it will give you some fun textures and extra chunks of veg.
    • My “Super Quick Salsa” recipe from my ebook is somewhere between a Pico and a true salsa. I used this for one of my tests and it worked great!
  • Want ideas of how to serve this?
    • Use it as a dip for chips, veggies, or fries
    • Use it as a sauce in a buddha bowl or taco
    • Load it onto some nachos or a baked potato
  • Inspired to try another Tex Mex inspired recipe?


Quick Vegan Queso

Recipe by Delaney MarieCourse: Snacks, Dips, SaucesCuisine: Tex Mex, Mexican Inspired


Prep Time


Active Time


Total time



This Quick Vegan Queso is perfect as a chip dip, or as a cheese sauce on any Tex Mex inspired recipe! Enjoy this on nachos, quesadillas, or even a baked potato. The cashews soak for 20-30 minutes, but after that it all comes together very quickly! Be sure to check the notes below for substitution options for the arrowroot flour.


  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked in very hot water for 20-30 minutes (OR in room temperature water overnight)

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot flour* (also called arrowroot starch or arrowroot powder)

  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 1 tsp onion powder

  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 cup salsa of choice

  • Optional toppings: diced tomato, cilantro, or a couple extra spoonfuls of salsa


  • Drain your soaked cashews.
  • Add all ingredients except your salsa into a high powered blender. Blend on high until very smooth (This typically takes 1-2 minutes in my Vitamix).
  • Pour your blended mixture into a small saucepan and stir constantly as you bring it to medium-high heat on the stovetop. When you first pour in your mixture it will be very runny. After a couple of minutes it will start to form small clumps and then begin to thicken. Once it starts thickening, add in your salsa and continue stirring. Once your salsa is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and cheesey, remove from heat. This entire stovetop process should take about 3-5 minutes.
  • Top with extra optional toppings if desired. Enjoy however you wish!


  • *Arrowroot flour substitute options: If you are unable to find arrowroot flour, try looking for tapioca flour to use as a substitute! I tested this recipe with both of these, and while I preferred the texture of the arrowroot version, the tapioca flour also gets the job done and can be used in its place. Cornstarch could also potentially be a good substitute here, but I have not tested it myself. Just know that substituting anything for the arrowroot could alter your consistency a bit!

Happy cooking, friends! If you made this recipe don’t forget to tag me (@joyfulbalanceofficial) on facebook or instagram so I can cheer you on for your queso-making ways.

Stay jouyfully balanced!


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  3. This is officially my favorite vegan queso. I make it all the time

  4. I have tapioca flour and would like to use is as a sub for the arrowroot. Is is a 1:1 sub? Thank you in advance.

    • Hi Kimberly! I have also used tapioca flour in place of the arrowroot before with a 1:1 sub. The consistency wasn’t quite the same as the arrowroot, but overall it did the trick! 🙂 Happy cooking!

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