The best vegan queso dip should be impossible to distinguish from a traditional non-vegan queso. Unfortunately, science just hasn’t gotten there quite yet. But that doesn’t mean vegans should give up on their search for a delicious, cheesy-but-cheese-less queso. I tried five top vegan quesos (the ones you can actually find in grocery stores) and found three that I genuinely recommend. (Looking for the best queso made with real cheese? Click the link.)
When tasting the quesos, I warmed them up per their instructions and I would suggest you do the same. There are some dips that can be eaten warm or cold; vegan queso dip is not one of them. When cold, most vegan queso is like very firm, opaque Jell-O. It needs the heat to loosen up.
I was looking for texture—something gooey that could really coat a chip—and flavor—something savory with those cheesy umami notes. I wanted something that mimicked cheese, but in the end I gave more points to a dip that tasted great than I did to a dip that seemed more cheese-like. You can make your own judgments, however. I won’t come to your house and knock your vegan queso of choice off your table. (Unless you want me to and you pay me to. What? People get paid to do stranger things.) Here are the three best vegan queso dips you can buy at the grocery store.
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- Kite Hill Queso
Kite Hill’s vegan queso is zesty, creamy, and definitely spicy. It’s not crazy-spicy. It’s not run-for-the-water spicy. But it definitely has a kick. It’s made with almond milk, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeño (there’s that spice), and coconut oil, along with cornstarch for consistency. It’s a bit tangy, too—it almost tastes like there’s a touch of sour cream mixed in. If this was out at a party, I would keep coming back for another dip, which I think makes it worthy of a best vegan queso dip list.
Credit: Liv Averett / Shoprite
- Chao Plant-Based Queso Cantina Style
We’re big fans of Chao over at Sporked—we ranked their vegan slices high in our best vegan cheese list. So, I had high hopes for this vegan queso dip. And Chao delivered. If you like Velveeta (or if you always wanted to try Velveeta but couldn’t because…vegan), then this is the best vegan queso for you. It’s ultra-creamy and mild with just a hint of spice on the end. It has the quality of a movie theater nacho cheese sauce—in the best way. Pour this onto some tortilla chips for the gooey, vegan nachos of your dreams.
Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart
- Trader Joe’s Vegan Nacho Dip
Okay, this isn’t labeled as “queso.” But it’s still the best vegan queso out there. Vegan or not, it’s a delicious dip. In my notes I wrote, “I would eat a lot of this and not think twice.” It’s tangy—almost like cheddar—and very smooth. And, unlike the other vegan queso dips on this list, you can eat it cold (though it is still better warm). It’s made with cashews and coconut oil, which, along with tapioca starch, help give it that smooth, creamy texture. A little bit of onion and garlic powder give it that zesty flavor. Dip chips into it. Pour it onto a taco. Follow managing editor Gwynedd Stuart’s suggestion and mix it with Ro-Tel for a dip that would take the spotlight at a party.
Credit: Liv Averett
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Thoughts? Questions? Complete disagreement? Leave a comment!
As a vegan I gotta say the Trader Joe’s dip was way too sweet for me. Kite Hill has pretty good cream cheese(the almond flavor is really noticeable if you try it on it’s own) and the plain yogurt makes for good sour cream, basically their forte isn’t cheese. Chao’s queso looks good though, if it’s anything like their tomato cayenne cheese slices.
Forgot to add, Violife’s “Feta” is straight up Velveeta. You can make better queso at home quick and easy with that and a can of Rotel.
Great tip! will have to give it a try