Instant Pot Dairy-Free Cheese Dip (nut-free, potato-free, low-carb)
Life’s too short to live without queso (aka cheese-y, saucy dip)… but what if you’re dairy-free? This Dairy-Free Instant Pot Cheese Dip will change your life! It’s packed with cheesy flavor but is totally dairy-free, nut-free, potato-free, vegan, and low-carb. There’s no Velveeta junk in this yummy dip!
I always dreamed of changing the world…
I had no idea I’d do it with queso.
Being from Texas, I know my Texan food groups really, really well.
There’s steak. BBQ. Then, there’s Tex-Mex food, chips and salsa. And chips and queso.
Yep. Chips and queso are their own food group and a staple in the Tex-Mex diet.
And yet, I also know a few people (including yours truly) who can’t have dairy for one reason or another. I just believe life’s too short to live without something as amazing as queso. At least, for me it is.
Not one to give up without a fight, I set out to re-invent the wheel… of cheese, that is.
The mission: to create a completely cheese-free, dairy-free, nut-free cheese dip that was as close as possible to the amazingly delicious Velveeta-based queso I grew up with. I’d know what that stuff was blind-folded.
Well, folks. I did it, by golly. I created a Dairy-Free Instant Pot Queso. It’s super nourishing and budget-friendly.
(Because cheese is hella expensive, y’all.)
How I Created Just-Like-The-Real-Thing Dairy-Free Cheese Dip
Veggies. And non-fortified nutritional yeast. And broth.
Never before have I thought, “Cauliflower + broth + nutritional yeast + seasoning = queso.” But it works. It truly works.
How did I stumble upon this? I was just trying to make a blended soup, and I happened to have some frozen cauliflower, carrots, and broth in my 6-quart Instant Pot. When I added nutritional yeast and garlic and blended it up, I couldn’t believe my tastebuds.
“It’s cheese sauce!” I exclaimed. By adding in some spice, smokiness, and sausage, it transformed into an Instant Pot dairy-free queso that, I truly believe, will change the world forever. (Well, it’s gonna change dairy-free lives, for sure.)
Also, I have to add — the Peeps were jumping on the trampoline while I made this, so they had/have no idea what’s in it.
It was like shaking the feed bucket in a field of cows. You shake, and they come a-runnin’.
I hollered “Y’all come taste this queso!” out the front door, and they came a-runnin’. And I’ll be danged if they didn’t both say it tasted like regular queso!
This is party food at its finest, so don’t forget to include it on the menu at your next fiesta!
How to Make Dairy-Free Instant Pot Queso (aka Vegan Cheese Dip)
Throw those veggies into your Instant Pot and add liquid. You can use bone broth, veggie broth, or plain water.
While the veggies get tender, add the garlic, spices, salt, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, and avocado oil into your blender.
If you’re into adding breakfast sausage to your queso (trust me, it’s amaaaaaaaazing), go ahead and brown about 1/2 a pound in a skillet. This is an optional ingredient and obviously not vegan, so don’t add it if you don’t want to.
When the Instant Pot beeps, immediately release that pressure. Carefully transfer the cooked veggies and liquid to the blender and LET IT BLEND! You want it to blend to a silky-smooth texture, no bumps or lumps at all.
Taste it and adjust the flavor/salt if needed.
Ingredient Subs & Recipe FAQs
Why doesn’t your recipe use cashews and/or potatoes like most dairy-free cheese dip recipes?
Ah, you caught that, huh? 😉 Truthfully, I just like my recipes to be as allergy-friendly as possible. Also, cashews are expensive. Lots of folks are sensitive/allergic/intolerant to nuts and nightshades. They’re pretty inflammatory for lots of people. Cauliflower, carrots, and onions, on the other hand, are ingredients that more folks can have. This recipe does call for jalapenos, which are nightshades, so leave those out if you truly can’t have nightshades.
How do I make this a vegan cheese sauce/vegan queso?
I’m not into vegan stuff at all, but some of you might be. Or you might know a vegan who gets the hots for cheese now and again.
To make this recipe vegan, simply swap out the bone broth for veggie broth (or water) and omit the sausage. Bam — vegan queso!
How can I store this dairy-free Instant Pot cheese dip?
It’ll keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container in your fridge. Ours never lasts that long, though. My family devours this veggie queso! I haven’t tried freezing it, but if you do, let me know how that works!
Is this recipe keto?
That depends on your carb count for the day. The carrots are the most carb-y thing in here, so if you’re really keeping those carbs down, feel free to leave them out. You can add more cauliflower to make up for the omission of carrots.
Dairy-Free Instant Pot Queso
Life's too short to live without queso (aka cheese-y, saucy dip)... but what if you're dairy-free? This Dairy-Free Instant Pot Cheese Dip will change your life! It's packed with cheesy flavor but is totally dairy-free, nut-free, potato-free, vegan, and low-carb. There's no Velveeta junk in this yummy dip!
- 1poundcauliflower floretsfresh or frozen
- 1/2cupsliced carrots
- 1cupbone brothor water or vegetable broth
- 1/2 to 1whole jalapeno pepperdiced (use less if you don't like spicy)
- 1/3cupyellow oniondiced
- 1-1/2teaspoonsaltor more to taste
- 3 to 4clovesgarlic
- 6tablespoonsnon-fortified nutritional yeast
- 2teaspoonsraw apple cider vinegar
- 1/2teaspoongarlic powder
- 1/2teaspoonground cumin
- 1/4teaspoonground turmeric
- 2tablespoonsavocado oil
- First, place the cauliflower, carrots, onion, and pepper into the Instant Pot. Add the bone broth.
Place the lid on the Instant Pot, seal the vent, and press the Manual setting. Adjust the time to 5 minutes.
- Once the Instant Pot beeps, manually release the pressure.
- Transfer the contents of the Instant Pot to a high-powered blender and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until completely smooth.
- (Alternately, you can add the remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot and use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. It's completely up to you!)
- Pour into a serving bowl and serve with your favorite chips, veggies, etc.!
You can also add half a pound of browned, nitrate-free ground breakfast sausage for a queso con carne!
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Will you try my dairy-free Instant Pot queso? Do you think I’m crazy? 😉
Originally published July 14, 2017. Updated May 2, 2018. Republished April 5, 2020.