[UPDATED] Vegan Rotel Cheese Dip Recipe

Happy Friday Fabbies! Recently in my household, we have begun a tradition where every Friday evening we have movie night as a family at home. This means, we move a spare mattress in our TV room so the kids can lay down/roll around/watch the movie on it. We usually either rent a movie from On-Demand or Netflix, or watch an already saved movie from our DVR. (Don’t get me started on how they request to watch The Peanuts movie every Friday, but that’s a whole ‘nother story!) They bring their pillows and blankets, they get their trays to put their snacks on, they put on their favorite pajamas, I cook their favorite cheese dip, and let me tell you honey, IT IS A THING!” It’s a big deal in our household. Huge. Big. Monumental even. Zé and Vito look forward to it every single week. Well, really, I low-key look forward to it too, because ALL of us are kind of obsessed with rotel cheese dip. And we all know that every other Friday or so, Mommy’s making rotel dip, and if you had it, you would know why we are obsessed!

2023 EDIT: Ya’ll. Reading that paragraph as I update the recipe portion of this post is wild! Zé and Vito were 4 and 5 then, and as of this edit, they are now 11 and almost 10. This post gets found often by people looking for plant-based cheese dip recipes, and with the Rihanna Bowel, *ahem* I mean Super Bowl coming up on Sunday, I thought it would behoove me to update this post and recipe, as I now live in Mexico and use slightly different ingredients because Mexico doesn’t have everything the U.S. does. I hope whoever is reading this post is doing fabulously! I wish you much peace and happiness in 2023 and beyond! xoxo

If you are unfamiliar or have never even heard of the word rotel, it is actually a can of diced tomatoes and chilis:


It also comes in Mild, Hot, Mexican Lime and Cilantro flavors as well. The Mexican Lime is my personal favorite. So basically, rotel cheese dip is a mix of a cheese and tomatoes and chilis (think salsa like, but chunkier), plus whatever else you’d like to add. And in this post I’ll share the recipe on how I make my version, which is the version I grew up on. (Oh yes, my mother used to make rotel dip growing up, and I had not tasted anybody else’s (including my own) that tastes as good as hers. I feel like my mama’s food is just always better anyway. Doesn’t your mom’s food just always taste better?!) But of course being Vegan now, I’ve just veganized (yes, it’s a word in the Vegan community. Go look it up! Ha!) the recipe to cater to my family’s diet. And let me tell you, it’s just as freaking good!

Here’s the recipe below:

  • One bag of Beyond Beef vegan ground beef (or any plant-based version of ground beef. Use 2 packs or more if you’re making it for a larger group)
  • One 12 or 16-ounce jar (or more if you want) of salsa. That day I used what I had at home, which was Double Roasted Salsa from Trader Joes
  • 2 cans of Rotel. (I always double up everything when I make this dip, just so it can last a few days.  I always make a huge pot of it! *UPDATE* When I first published this recipe back in 2016, I was living in The United
    States in Arizona. Fast-forward to present day, and I now live in Mexico! A can of Rotel is not sold in many stores, so I now use substitutes of tomato sauce in a can (or carton; fresh, blended-up tomatoes work too), and a can or jar of green chiles in place of the can of Rotel, or jars of salsa in its place. This is helpful in the event that Rotel isn’t available wherever you live in the world. 🙂
  • 3 cups of Vegan Cheddar Cheese. (Or the whole bag of cheese.)
  • 1 cup of pepper jack cheese (again, I make A LOT, so I add lots more ingredients.) i.e. the entire bag of cheese
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of vegan cream cheese. I typically use Tofutti. Tastes just as good as the “real thing”. 
  • For rotel dip in general I like to use this ratio of meat and cheese of about 2 to 1: For every bag of plant-based meat, add 2 bags of plant-based cheese. (So if you’re using 2 things of plant-based meat, add 4 things of plant-based cheese.)
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (or avocado oil, grapeseed oil, whatever you desire.)
  • Sea Salt & Pepper to taste (and I also add Slap Ya Mama Seasoning, paprika and Garlic Powder, because I pretty much add those to everything I cook!)
  • The core ingredients are: plant-based ground beef, 2-3 bags/containers of cheese, 2-3 rotel cans or 2-3 jars of salsas, and das it!





Making rotel dip is simply about mixing everything in a large pot, stirring, watching it simmer, then enjoying it’s saucy, spicy, cheesy goodness! All in about 20 minutes or so! First you get a medium to large size pot, and add your olive oil on medium heat:


After the pot gets nice and hot, then you add your Vegan ground beef, and season it to taste:


Next, I open the cans of hotel and add them to the vegan beef:


Then vegan cheddar cheese and vegan cream cheese:


Next, I add the jar of salsa (as you add ingredients to the pot, continue to stir everything in together):


Then I add the pepper jack cheese:


After you have finished stirring everything in, you place a lid on top of the pot, and cut the heat down to low, and let it simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.


After about a cook time of 15-20 minutes, your rotel cheese dip is ready! It will be very hot, so let it cool before serving. Just add tortilla chips to dip, (or whatever you’d like), and enjoy! Bon Apetit!


After having this, you will see why having this dip front and center completes our Friday Night Movie Night Rituals! And of course, you can make this version non-vegan as well, but the vegan version is half the calories, and of course healthier for you overall. 

Have a wonderful weekend Fabbies!



  1. […] I make these sauces on a as-needed basis, which ends up being about once a week or so. The good news for you guys is that I will share those recipes with you soon! They all are super easy, so stay tuned for those. I will say that if you plan to make any of these, go ahead and get a blender if you don’t already have one. Having a blender makes life so much easier when it comes to cooking. ESPECIALLY if you’re a vegan. You can practically make entire meals using your blender. I also have an updated version of the vegan rotel dip recipe, where this time, everything is made from scratch, except for the vegan “meat”. It is a healthier version of the original recipe, but you can find that vegan rotel dip HERE. […]


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