Get ready for your next game day party with this dairy free Green Chile Queso! Our queso dip is also vegan and gluten free, and is made without cashews or a food processor.
One of the things I miss quite a bit when we go to social gatherings is having a delicious allergy friendly queso dip. While there are a few brands that make some, they can be a bit pricey and not always taste the best, so I decided to create our own recipe for dairy free queso that’s also gluten free.
Our dairy free queso is great for dipping chips, but it also is great doubled as a nacho cheese sauce too! I share a bit about how you can use this recipe for both.
The great thing about this recipe is that it is made without cashews and without a food processor and it’s fairly simple to make.
This recipe is:
- Dairy free
- Gluten free
- Peanut free
How to make dairy free queso without cashews
Making our recipe for dairy free queso is not hard to do, but it does require some attention during cooking to make sure that the recipe doesn’t scorch or have lumps.
Here are the steps for making this recipe (this is just an overview, the full recipe card is at the end of the post):
- In a saucepan, whisk together most of the canned coconut milk (setting aside about 1/3 cup of it in a small bowl) and the nutritional yeast flakes.
- Heat this over medium-low heat.
- In the separate bowl with the 1/3 cup coconut milk, whisk in the cornstarch and the seasonings.
- Once the coconut milk in the pan is simmering, whisk in the cornstarch mixture and whisk as it begins to thicken.
- Lower the heat slightly and whisk regularly to prevent scorching on the bottom and to keep lumps away.
- Stir in the dairy free cheese and allow it to melt into the sauce, stirring regularly to prevent scorching.
- Add the chopped green chiles (draining the can), and Mexican hot sauce if you’d like.
- Once this is quite thick, turn off the heat and allow to cool a bit before serving. Stir regularly to mix in the thickened queso on top. This “skin” (similar to pudding skin) is normal with cornstarch thickened foods and will go away once the queso cools more).
- Serve warm or at room temperature with chips. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Since I can’t have a lot of spicy stuff (my body doesn’t like capsaicin…), we used mild green chiles in this recipe. But you can use spicy canned green chiles or canned diced jalapenos depending on your preference for spice.
Using this queso as a nacho cheese sauce
This vegan queso recipe also works great as a nacho cheese sauce! If you want a slightly less thick sauce for nachos, you can add a little bit of coconut milk or unflavored/unsweetened oat milk when it’s still warm to thin it just a bit.
Start with 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of milk and increase as needed to get the thickness that you like.
If you want a smooth nacho cheese sauce, you can also leave out the chopped chiles and just add some hot sauce instead if you want some spice!
Can I put this vegan queso in a slow cooker?
We didn’t test our queso recipe in a slow cooker and just used the stove, so i can’t say for sure if this would do well in a slow cooker for serving for parties.
However I haven’t had good luck with coconut milk cooking in a slow cooker. In times past that we’ve tried this (like when we were recipe testing our creamy chicken chili), the coconut milk would separate while cooking in the crockpot.
I’m not completely sure if the cornstarch will help with this since it’s mixed in with the coconut milk, but just as a precaution for possible weird outcomes with the coconut milk, I would not recommend putting this in a slow cooker.
What kind of dairy free cheese can I use in this recipe?
We used the Violife shredded cheddar cheese for this queso. We like the taste of the Violife better than the Daiya shredded cheese and my husband can’t stand the smell of the Daiya cheese.
That said, you can try using other brands of dairy free cheddar cheese in this recipe, such as Daiya, and see how it turns out. The Daiya cheese does seem more oily than the Violife usually, so if you use the Daiya cheddar in this, the queso may be a bit more oily than with the Violife.
Daiya does have a pepper jack cheese that would be pretty yummy in this recipe! If you wanted to use the Daiya pepper jack cheese, you could mix it 50/50 with some cheddar Violife. The queso will be lighter in color but will have more of a hot pepper flavor.
Check out our other dairy free dip recipes!
Dairy Free Green Chile Queso (Gluten Free)
- 2 cups canned coconut milk (we use the cartons of Thai Kitchen thick coconut milk)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon smoked salt (or regular salt)
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups Violife dairy free shredded cheddar cheese*
- ½ cup canned chopped green chiles (mild or spicy depending on your preference)
- Mexican hot sauce to taste, optional (we added a little bit of Valentina's)
- In a small saucepan, add 1 ⅔ cup of the coconut milk, setting aside the other 1/3 cup of milk in a small bowl.
- Heat the coconut milk over medium-low heat and whisk in the nutritional yeast flakes.
- While the coconut milk is heating up in the saucepan, take the bowl of coconut milk and whisk in the cornstarch and seasonings to create a slurry.
- When the coconut milk in the saucepan begins to simmer, whisk in the cornstarch-milk slurry and whisk. It will begin to thicken as it cooks more.
- Stir regularly to keep from scorching the bottom. If needed, you can reduce the heat a little bit to continue to simmer without scorching the bottom.
- As the mixture thickens, add the Violife cheese to the pan and stir regularly until it melts completely (it will take a few minutes to melt completely into the sauce). It will begin to get pretty thick at this point.
- Drain any excess liquid from the chopped green chiles and stir the chopped green chiles and any hot sauce, if using, into the queso in the pan. Cook a few more minutes until it's quite thick.
- Allow the queso to cool for about 20 to 30 minutes before serving. This will thicken even more as it cools.
- As the queso cools, it will start to form a thickened layer on top. Stir the cooling queso regularly to mix that layer back into the queso.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with your favorite tortilla chips. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
For nacho cheese sauce
- This also works great as a nacho cheese sauce as well! If you want your nacho cheese sauce to be a bit less thick, you can stir in a bit of coconut milk or oat milk at the end of cooking to make it easier to pour over chips for nachos.
- If you'd like a smooth nacho cheese sauce, you can leave out the green chiles for a smooth nacho sauce (but we love the taste of the green chiles in ours!).
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist