Vegan Buffalo Queso Cheese Dip

Dip your chips into this perfected buffalo queso made from just a few ingredients, like cashews, silken tofu, and nutritional yeast! It's delicious over nachos, roasted vegetables, potatoes, pasta, and beyond.
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Searching for a sauce that does it all? We’ve found it for you, friends! This vegan buffalo queso recipe has a rich, velvety texture with just the right amount of kick. No one would ever guess that the basis of this quick-to-make, creamy sauce is silken tofu!

Once you collect your ingredients, all you have to do is blend. How simple is that? You’ll easily impress your guests with the feisty flavor and still have enough left over to enjoy the next day. There is no limit on what you can transform with this terrific topping!

Bowl of Buffalo Mac and Cheese Sauce Close up with Green Onions on Top

Baffled About the Buffalo?

Did you know that the term ‘buffalo’ (when it comes to the sauce) has nothing to do with the actual animal? Thank goodness! The term for this super spicy and tangy dressing originated in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. The owners, Frank and Teressa Bellissimo, created this topping so they wouldn’t lose money over an accidental delivery at their restaurant.

The original buffalo sauce included only three ingredients: melted butter, hot sauce, and cayenne pepper. Crunchy celery and cool bleu cheese were added on the side to balance out the heat. A plant-based version can easily be made by using vegan butter instead of dairy butter.

Eric uses a combination of cashews, silken tofu, and oil to mimic the thick, buttery texture and richness of the authentic recipe. To take it to another level, he added soy milk, nutritional yeast, and smoked paprika to create this distinctive vegan buffalo queso. Daring and delicious!

Quick Queso From Cashews

We all know that cashews are the King of Nuts. Not only are they killer at making creams, cheeses, and nut butters, but quesos too! Is there anything they can’t do??

These curvy little nuts are full of healthy, plant-based fats, fiber, magnesium, iron, and protein. Because of their higher fat content and soft exterior, they’re ideal for blending into any sort of creamy concoction.

The best thing about cashews is that they have a very neutral flavor. This is also true of tofu. Creating a special sauce is a snap because you have total flavor control. You can add whatever spices you wish and it will wind up wonderful.

Key Ingredients

Cashews: Soaking cashews softens them, making them easier to blend into a creamy texture, which is essential for the queso’s smooth consistency.

Raw cashews in a glass measuring cup.

Silken Tofu: Silken tofu adds creaminess and protein to the queso, helping achieve a rich and thick texture. Explore more silken tofu recipes to see how far this pantry staple can go.

Overhead view of a block of silken tofu.

Nutritional Yeast: These nutritious yellow flakes provide a cheesy and savory flavor that’s typical in vegan cheese recipes. And it’s a staple in any vegan pantry!

Nutritional yeast in a jar.

Frank’s Red Hot Sauce: The star ingredient for the buffalo flavor! It brings the perfect amount of heat and tanginess to the queso. You can also swap to your favorite hot sauce.

Smoked Paprika: This spice adds depth and smokiness to the queso, creating a well-rounded flavor.

Garlic: Fresh minced garlic adds a robust and aromatic flavor to the queso, enhancing its overall taste.

Salt + Pepper: Seasoning with salt and pepper enhances the overall flavor profile, balancing the spiciness of the hot sauce.

These key ingredients come together to create a delicious vegan buffalo queso that’s creamy, spicy, and packed with flavor. Enjoy it as a dip, drizzle it over nachos, or use it as a sauce for various dishes.

How to Serve Up This Vegan Queso Cheese Dip

Pour Over Pasta – Make your own fiery mac & cheese by pouring this Vegan Buffalo Queso over rotini, shells, elbows, or bow tie pasta. Garnish with a few slivers of jalapeño and you’re good to go! We love Pastabilities pasta shapes for this dish!

Close up to Bowl of Buffalo Mac and Cheese

Toss on Tortilla Chips – Create your own nibble-worthy nachos by spreading this sauce over your chips of choice. Top with a little bit of beans, some salsa, and a small amount of avocado for a terrific, anytime snack. You can even make your own corn tortillas, cut into triangles, and then bake until crispy.

Pair It With Pizza – Who says you have to use shredded cheese for pizza? Perk up your pizza pie with this spicy queso, broccoli, veggie pepperoni, and even some artichoke hearts. Perfection!

Trickle Into Tacos -Tell your taco sauce to take a hike and fill with this flavorful sauce instead. Pile high with veggie ground, walnut, or quinoa “meat”, tomatoes, avocado and crispy, cool lettuce. Give our Meat Lover’s Beefy Vegan Taco recipe a try – it’s seriously tasty!

Storing Your Leftover Buffalo Queso

This recipe makes a large amount of queso––about 3.5 cups. If you are a huge fan of queso or planning to make this for a party, this is the perfect portion size. If this sauce is only for you, feel free to save whatever is leftover in the fridge.

The sauce will last up to 3 days, covered, in the refrigerator. To reheat, simply pour into a saucepan and heat over medium-low for 5 minutes or until the desired temperature. You could also heat the remaining vegan Buffalo Queso in the microwave in one-minute intervals, stirring the sauce in between.

Keep in mind that overheating the sauce might cause a grainy texture to form. Luckily, this doesn’t affect the flavor at all. It will still be super tasty.

More Delicious Dips and Buffalo Recipes to Try:

Bowl of vegan queso dip topped with green onions.
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Vegan Buffalo Queso Cheese Dip

Author: Eric Obenauf
5 from 7 votes
You can, and should, put this vegan buffalo queso on everything. It’s like Batman’s utility belt, but vegan. Eat it with nachos, veggies, or some macaroni pasta…it will taste like heaven all the same.
Bowl of Buffalo Mac and Cheese Sauce Close up with Green Onions on Top.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4

Equipment

  • 1 High Speed Blender

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 15 minutes
  • 1 4-ounce block silken tofu
  • Salt + pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup hot sauce, we used Frank’s Red Hot
  • tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • ¾ cup soy milk
  • cup olive oil
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • green onions, optional, for garnish

Instructions

  • Soak the cashews in hot water for at least 15 minutes.
  • Add ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth.
  • Garnish with slides green onions, if desired.

Notes

Pairing suggestions: Toss buffalo queso with noodles for buffalo mac & cheeze. Or use buffalo queso on tacos and nachos, drizzle on pizzas, or just warm and use as a dip with chips.

Nutrition

Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Sodium: 1219mg | Potassium: 649mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1540IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 4mg
Course — Sauce
Cuisine — American
Love this Recipe? Leave a Rating!And follow @Vegan on Instagram for more.

We want to thank our amazing recipe testers J.J. Steele & Taylor Gillespie (@food.in.focus) for helping us perfect this recipe!

This recipe for Vegan Buffalo Queso was reprinted with permission from the Two Dollar Radio Guide to Vegan Cooking cookbook by Eric Obenauf, Jean-Claude van Randy, and Speed Dog (Two Dollar Radio, September 2020). Photo credit: Two Dollar Radio. Article written by Gina House and edited by Amanda Meth.

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Recipe Rating




9 comments
  1. Hi! I’m allergic to cashews, could you recommend a replacement?

    Thanks!
    Steve

  2. Beatriz Buono-Core says:

    5 stars
    This buffalo queso has become a staple in our house! So good!

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing!!! I love queso and buffalo sauce so I was super excited just wished it didn’t use cashews since I’m allergic 🙁 I have to find a good cashew substitute

  4. 5 stars
    OMG – super good! I love this combination of hot sauce and creamy vegan cheese. I love this so much on potatoes, roasted cauliflower or toasted tortilla chips. YUMMY!

  5. 5 stars
    YESSSS, everyone needs this vegan queso in their life!! It’s so fun trying recipes that are actually used in vegan restaurants—when they aren’t super complicated.

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe is SO easy and delicious! It’s great for so many things but especially pizza!

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