If you used to love the classic Velveeta+Sausage+Rotel dip, but now need it to be dairy free this is THE copy cat recipe for you! The perfect cheesy taste, that dip-able, creamy texture and just the right level of spice from the green chilis and sausage and you’ve got yourself one heck of a dairy free sausage queso that is a perfect appetizer for parties, the Super Bowl, get togethers and more! This recipe is free of: gluten, dairy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts (with a soy free option too!).
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Sausage+Velveeta+Rotel Was the Ultimate 90’s Dip
Did anyone else partake of this totally 90’s party dip? It was so simple and so wonderful and I’d often find it at holiday and New Year’s parties.
So, when my son was diagnosed with a dairy allergy, I had to say goodbye. It’s been years and I thought, well, DARN IT, that’s long enough. It’s time to figure out how to make this cheese sauce that’s dairy free so we can enjoy it again. Since it’s almost the Super Bowl, I need this in my life! And, I’m sure you do too!
Besides it working for our dairy-free lifestyle, I feel better about this. I mean–nutritional yeast has tons of vitamins in it, it has potatoes in it, and I know all of the ingredients versus velveeta. Who even knows what’s in that blob?? I feel way better about eating pounds of this than I do of the original recipe. Because the only way to eat it by pounds…
What are the ingredients in RO-TEL?
In case you’re not familiar with what RO-TEL is, it’s a can of diced tomatoes and green chilis. It’s an easy way to add some tex-mex flavor to recipes without having to dice things yourself. It comes in three heat preferences: mild, regular and spicy. We’re babies, so we do mild. If you have special diet considerations, or food allergies like we do, and need to check every ingredient, let me make it easy for you, Rotel has:
- Chopped green chili peppers
- Less than 2% of:
- Calcium chloride
- Natural Flavor
- Citric Acid
“According to the FDA, the most common food allergens are milk, peanuts, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish soy, tree nuts and wheat. This product does not contain any of these common food allergens”. This information was taken from RO-TEL’s website. Make sure to read the label on your current can, in case ingredients have changed since the time of publishing.
What milk substitute do you use in dairy free cheese sauce?
I prefer rice milk, because it has the least amount of after taste or texture to it. If you can’t have or find rice milk, you’re welcome to use any other milk substitute you prefer at the same ratio.
What dairy-free cream cheese do you use for dairy free queso?
Dairy-free cream cheese is essential in getting thick, drip-able queso. I’ve found dairy-free cream cheese to be made out of soy or coconut. The soy ones that I’ve used are the Tofutti or Go Veggie brands. The one made out of coconut (remember, coconut is not considered a tree nut by the AAAAI) that I’ve found is Daiya. I prefer the soy ones, but you’re welcome to use whatever works for your specific diet. I’ve found them at Sprouts, Whole Foods and Smith’s/Kroger. Obviously, if you need a top-8-free queso, you’ll need to use the coconut cream cheese, or I’ve heard good things (but haven’t tried) Violife which is top-8-free.
What is nutritional yeast, and why is it necessary for dairy free cheese?
Nutritional yeast is considered a “deactivated yeast”. It is a fairly common ingredient to dairy-free and vegan diets. It’s yellow, and comes in little flakes. It gives a great cheesy, salty taste, and can also thicken sauces a bit.
I remember being weirded out a little when we had to go milk free for my son’s dairy allergy because I had never heard of it. The only yeast I was familiar with was the type that you use in homemade bread recipes. Now, I never go without it. I’ve found it on Amazon, as well as in the bulk section of almost all health food stores.
Once you start using it in your dairy-free cooking, you’ll want to use it in anything that used to traditionally have cheese. I use nutritional yeast in these recipes as well, and it really makes a difference in the flavor profile of dairy-free recipes,:
- 30 Minute Dairy-free Creamy Tuscan Chicken
- Dairy-free Homemade Italian Dressing Marinade
- Vegan Frittata Cups
- Gluten & Dairy Free Spinach Sausage Pasta
- Enchilada Chicken Pasta
Can I use this dairy free sausage queso as a sauce and not just as a dip?
Yes! While it’s hard to not just inhale it all with a bag of chips (yes, I’ve totally just had this and only this for lunch!), this would also be scrumptious on nachos, enchiladas, tacos and anything else that needs a little queso drizzled on it. You could even leave out the sausage, if you wanted less texture.
Can I turn this queso into a vegan cheese sauce?
Yes you can! Simply omit the can of rotel, the sausage and the garnishes, and it will be the most wonderful vegan cheese sauce ever.
What vegan/dairy free butter do you use?
You can use any that works for your diet. We prefer Earth Balance (they have one with soy and one without).
What is sausage queso made out of?
I wasn’t going for only 3, or 5 ingredient queso. I was going for “the best tasting dairy free queso”, so there are a handful of ingredients, but they come together to taste even better than the velveeta rotel sausage dip of days past. My dairy free queso calls for:
- Italian sausage
- medium potatoes
- vegan butter
- unsweetened rice milk
- vegetable/chicken bouillon powder
- onion powder
- nutritional yeast
- cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- lemon juice
- dairy-free cream cheese
- *Optional: 1/2-1 tsp of chili powder for extra heat
- Gluten free chips for serving
- Fresh cilantro, sliced jalapenos for garnish, if so desired
Does dairy free sausage queso have nuts or cashews? NOT MINE!
Yes, unfortunately every recipe I seem to find for vegan queso has cashews. This is why it took me years to even realize there was another way. While cashews are great for vegan cheese, they’re not great if you have tree nut allergies like we do. It seemed cashew-less vegan cheese was a unicorn for a long time.
The trick to making vegan queso nut free is to use potatoes to help thicken it, nutritional yeast for the flavor, and vegan cream cheese for creaminess.
Go forth and dip all the things!
I hope this dairy free queso is as life changing for you, as it’s been for my family. I hope you enjoy it on the weekends, at parties and just because. Please do me a favor and be sure to tell all of your dairy free friends about it, so they can enjoy it as well. Remember–my son has allergies to wheat, dairy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, beef and goats milk, so all of the 200+ recipes on my site (as well as my top-8-free cookbook) are free from these. If you don’t need all of those things avoided, most recipes can be tweaked and I tell you how. Enjoy!
Do I have other allergy friendly appetizers?
Yes I do! Have a great party, with allergy friendly party food. I think you’d also enjoy my:
- 3 ingredient vegan ranch dip
- dairy free French onion dip
- Asian quinoa meatballs
- Italian pulled pork sliders
- 4 Ingredient BBQ chicken sliders
- cranberry salsa
- Sesame free homemade Hummus (found in my cookbook)
Do I have a video showing how to make dairy free sausage cheese and rotel dip?
Yes I do! I like TikTok videos, because they’re short and succinct (plus the music is fun!). Here is a video showing you the steps, so you can feel more confident making it for yourself!
@allergyawesomeness DAIRY FREE Sausage Queso Dip! Creamy, spicy and you’d never know it’s not real cheese. Who needs Velveeta anyways? Perfect for parties, game day & as an appetizer. #foodallergy #dairyfreerecipes #quesosausagedip#dairyfreequesodip #dairyfreequeso #dairyfreeappetizer #dairyfreesuperbowl ♬ QUE SOS – Eric Dubois Prod
Dairy Free Sausage Queso Dip
- 1/2 pound Italian sausage
- 2 medium potatoes
- 2 Tbsp vegan butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 and 1/2 tsp)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened rice milk
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tsp vegetable/chicken bouillon powder
- 1 and 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 and 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 4 oz dairy-free cream cheese (see post)
- One 10-oz rotel can (mild, medium or hot to spice preference), drained
- Optional: 1/2-1 tsp of chili powder for extra heat
- Gluten free chips for serving
- Fresh cilantro, sliced jalapenos, if so desired for garnish
- In a skillet over medium heat, add a little olive oil. Then, place your Italian sausage. Crumble and heat until cooked through. Set aside. (Drain excess grease, if desired by placing sausage on a paper towel.)
- Wash the potatoes. Stick a fork in the potatoes several times to allow for steam to escape when cooking.
- Place the potatoes in your microwave. Set the time for 5 minutes. (This may take longer depending on your model.)
- Cook until the potatoes are soft.
- Remove the potatoes and cut in half to allow them to cool. Once you can handle them, remove their skins.
- Place the peeled potato halves in your blender along with the: butter, garlic, rice milk, water, bouillon, onion powder, salt, paprika, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, lemon juice and cream cheese.
- Blend until smooth. Pour into a serving bowl.
- Open the can of RO-TEL and drain any excess liquid. Stir the drained RO-TEL into the serving bowl with the cheese sauce.
- Stir in the crumbled and cooked sausage.
- Garnish with freshly cut cilantro and jalapenos if desired.
- Serve room temp, or warmed with chips.
- Keeps for 3-5 days in the fridge in an air-tight container.
Feel free to adjust the water amount if you like a runnier cheese sauce. Please read through all of the questions above the post, as those should answer any and all substitution questions.
You may cook the potatoes however you want, I just chose the microwave since it's the fastest.
I recommend a high quality blender investment, like a Blendtec.
*Our allergies, while severe and that get re-tested yearly, are such that we can go strictly by what's on the label. I do not call companies to see what things are derived from, or call manufacturers to see about potential cross contact. If your allergies require you to do so, please do your own homework. I cannot assure you of any ingredient's safety, only you can do that. I simply share what works for our family
**If you are going to feed this to someone with food allergies, and you yourself do not have food allergies, I HIGHLY recommend having them check every single brand and ingredient you are using, to ensure they're OK with each part of the recipe. And, to make sure you've talked to them about how to avoid cross contamination in your kitchen.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 149Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 404mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g
This is just a general guide automatically made when this recipe is input. If you need specifics, please use a calculator that will take into account the specific brands you use for a more accurate reading.
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My son and I also have dairy allergies. Any idea how to make dairy free hanky pankies? They are my son’s favorite and he misses being able to eat them!
Hi Gina. Thanks for coming to my site. I’m sorry, I’ve never heard of hanky pankies. Where does it originate from and what is it?
They are an appetizer made with ground meat. Sausage, and Velveeta cheese then spooned on party size rye bread. They may be called other things! I don’t know what you can substitute for the Velveeta. Any help would be appreciated!
Hi. I’d use this recipe for the velveeta (just omit the can of rotel). It is the best tasting dairy free velveeta substitute I’ve ever made/found. As you can see it takes a few ingredients to mimic it, but I think it’s totally worth it. Then just put it over whatever safe bread you can do. Enjoy!
Than you so much! Can’t wait to try it!
We gave this a try last night! It was delicious and my husband (without allergies) said he really enjoyed it! My son (with allergies) was excited to enjoy a cheesy dish! Thanks!
Thank you Whitney, appreciate it!
Megan, you’ve done it again! This is AMAZING. I’ve been in a rut to find meals that both my allergic children and picky husband can enjoy together, and this hit the spot! And yes, we had this for dinner 🙂 potatoes count as a serving of vegetables, right?
I fully support this! Thanks so much. Passing the hubby and kid test is a big one!