Dairy Free Queso (Paleo, AIP, Nut Free)
This dairy-free queso is perfect for a party! It’s made with sweet potato, butternut squash, and is paleo, AIP and nut free.
Queso is one of those things that everyone loves! Well… everyone who eats dairy. If you don’t eat dairy and you’re having to be around some chips and queso, you’re probably going to feel pretty sad. Trust me, I live in Texas… I’ve been there. I’ve sat with an empty plate at Chili’s while everyone was digging into queso and wishing that I could have some too. But between the dairy, beans, and nightshades, it just wasn’t happening. There are indeed more options for dairy-free queso popping up, but most of them are made with cashews, which sounds amazing but is a bummer for those of us who are nut free.
With super bowl Sunday around the corner, I decided to make this dairy-free queso dip that’s free of cheese, nuts, and nightshades! It’s made with vegetables, nutritional yeast, and more to create a thick, creamy, and cheesey tasting dish that you will love dunking plantain chips into.
The Ingredients You’ll Need
I highly recommend using white Hannah sweet potatoes for this recipe as it will produce more savory tasting queso. Orange sweet potato will produce more of a traditional cheesy color but will be a lot sweeter. I often find Hannah sweet potatoes at Whole Foods and Natural Grocers.
This helps to add more color to the queso and more flavor profile than just using sweet potato.
Onion and garlic
These add a savory flavor to the queso.
Chicken broth & coconut milk
These are the liquids used for the queso. If you don’t tolerate coconut, you swap it out for more chicken broth.
This is the secret ingredient in dairy-free cheese recipes! You can buy this online or in health food stores.
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Dairy Free Queso (Paleo, AIP, Nut Free)
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup sweet potato, chopped (see notes for sweet potato varieties)
- 1 1/4 cup butternut squash, cubed
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper (omit for AIP)
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp arrowroot starch
- 4–5 oz of ground beef, cooked
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 2 tbsp cilantro
- Using a medium-sized pot, heat the avocado oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent.
- Add in the sweet potato, butternut squash, broth, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper and stir well to combine. Bring to a low simmer and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. The vegetables should be fork tender.
- Allow the mixture to cool slightly before adding to a blender along with the arrowroot starch. Blend until smooth and thick.
- Serve the queso topped with optional toppings and with chips like plantain chips.
For the sweet potato, use White Hannah Sweet Potato for less sweet queso, and orange sweet potato for slightly sweeter queso.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 20
- Category: snacks
- Method: stove top
Saving!!! This Texan is super psyched.
Delicious! I didn’t have any chicken broth or coconut milk on hand, so I substituted water instead. Mine didn’t thicken like yours because I left out the arrowroot (intolerant :/), but the flavor is so good! I could totally use this as a cheesy soup base or just eat it by the spoonfuls like I have been doing ha! Thank you so much for a great recipe! This is a keeper. Just what I have been looking for 🙂
I just made this and was surprised how much like cheese sauce it takes. I had roasted sweet potato and roasted butternut squash from my latest batch cook so I just added the rest of the ingredients and blended. Yum. I’ll make again for sure.
Yay!! So glad you liked it 🙂
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Aaaammmmaaazzzing! So delicious! I have been dairy-free a lot longer than I’ve been AIP and used to make a version with cashews and all the night shades. I thought I would never have a cheese-like dip again. I was wrong. Thank you Michelle!
This looks so good! What a yummy healthy alternative to offer guests!
Thanks for sharing! I wouldn’t have thought to blend the butternut squash and nutritional yeast flavors!
Where do you find white sweet potatoes? None of my local grocery stores up in New England seem to have them
I find them at Whole Foods, but they can be hard to find sometimes. Orange works, it’s just sweeter…
Can this recipe be refrigerated and reheated? Thanks!!
I have never seen a dairy free quest before, this looks awesome.
This recipe is SO GOOD! I don’t remember the last time I had cheese or queso and this was just like old times!!! I love that it is made without nuts! The only ingredient I excluded was the nutritional yeast. I made it yesterday and brought it up to the mountains for a yummy fall family treat Thank you!!!!
Thank you so much Katie!! So glad you liked it!
I haven’t eaten any dairy in over 2 years and this recipe was everything I could have ever hoped for! So delicious. I like to serve with taco meat, red onions and cilantro with Siete grain free chips or plantain chips!
Looking to make this for a taco party this weekend. I’m on an elimination diet for Hoshimoto’s and a lot of my guests have allergies—hoping this will be a great addition to the menu! I was wondering if this could be made in advance and warmed up before serving?
You can probably do that! I would keep all of the topping separate and warm it on the stove 🙂
This is fantastic! Can it be frozen?
I haven’t tried, but let me know if you do 🙂
Sorry about my last question about reheating. I just saw you already answered it!! 🙂
I’m bummed. This doesn’t taste like queso at all for me. I wonder what I did wrong? I used the white sweet potato as suggested. It taste like it could be a good soup base maybe but not cheese 🙁
Sorry it didn’t turn out, Heather! The cheesy flavor comes from the nutritional yeast, so adding more of that to your own taste can help for sure.
Can you use Japanese white sweet potato in place of Hannah? I can’t find at my store. Will it change the flavor much? Thank you! Being from Texas as well I really miss my QUESO!
It’ll be a bit sweeter, but you can try to offset it by seasoning with more garlic or nutritional yeast to taste 🙂 Enjoy!
Do you think this queso would freeze ok? I’m one of those who does better making larger batches than is actually used in recipes, so things like this I freeze the excess of. Have you tried it yet?
I haven’t tried it, but you probably can! I would just reheat in a pot after you defrost it.
Do you think I could use frozen butternut squash for this recipe? Cutting it up is one of my least favorite things to do.
Sure! Just make sure it’s defrosted and there isn’t any excess liquid 🙂
Excellent!!! My picky teenagers love it! If you are expecting it to taste like Velveeta it doesn’t but it is savory with a hint of cheese from the nutritional yeast. It is a delicious different version for a quest option that is nut free.
I made the queso, sweet potato tots and casserole for the game today. I added the queso right to the blender with extra yeast. It’s turned out great!!!
Then I drizzled the queso on the casserole and had a side dip for the tots. Thank you for all the recipes. I have recommended your site to so many people!!!!
Thank you!! So glad you liked the recipe!
Have you ever frozen part of patch and had it work out?
I haven’t tried but you should be able to!
Does it need to still be warm when added to the blender for the arrowroot to thicken it properly, or will it still thicken even if it’s cool?
It’s best if it’s still a bit warm, yes. You just don’t want it to be too hot or the blender top can pop! It’s happened to me before unfortunately!
I am in need of some snacks this weekend and can’t get compliant coconut milk in time. What can I sub in??
You can substitute more chicken broth for the coconut milk!
I am making A LOT of your recipes for my husband who is trying AIP. Tonight, I made this. The queso was so yummy that our son who does not need to be dairy-free chose it over shredded cheddar for his taco bowl. One tip: I’ve been buying frozen organic butternut squash for these recipes where it is used to replace an ingredient (and not when it’s supposed to be the star of the dish). It’s really helpful for getting a quick cup of peeled, cubed squash. I just saw the previous question about frozen. For me, I don’t thaw it beforehand. I just added it in and sautéed a little longer. I also let it boil some, to evaporate some liquid.
I am so happy to hear that!!
Oh my goodness! This is SO good! My husband and I just finished off a huge bowl of it with some Siete chips. Good thing I made a double batch!
Aw yay! So glad to hear that 🙂
I’m making this now. Even before I blend everything I’m already loving the sauce taste. This would make a great cheesy potato soup too! Or broccoli. Yum !!
This “queso” is delicious! And I love that it’s mainly whole foods! It’s great with nightshade-free taco meat. I also add gelatin to mine so it will harden in the fridge and be “grate-able.” I’ve now tried it with canned butternut squash puree and that works well too, I just measure out less (about a cup, or half a can). For those who can’t do yeast, fish sauce works really well, but go easy on it! It is NOT a 1:1 sub and some brands are funkier than others, so maybe start with a tablespoon and go from there. (This might be something you could add to the recipe notes for a yeast-free option!)
How much does this make? I’d like to take it to a Super Bowl party in a crockpot.
It varies but I’d say 4-6 servings.