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Vegan Mac And Cheese

This super creamy and cheesy vegan mac and cheese recipe will take you straight back to childhood!

Vegan Mac And Cheese

Vegan Macaroni And Cheese – The Ultimate Vegan Comfort Food

Growing up, my mom was usually the one who cooked for us, preparing elaborate and wholesome meals from scratch, with plenty of vegetables.

But every now and then, my dad would take over the kitchen. One of my absolute favorite lunches he’d make us was boxed Kraft macaroni & cheese, which I called “cheese soup” because he’d always add extra milk so there was twice as much cheese sauce.

Although I haven’t eaten the Kraft version in years, I still love my mac and cheese with A TON of extra cheese sauce.

Serve me a bowl of homemade macaroni drenched in so much creamy cheese sauce that you can’t even tell there’s pasta in the bowl, and you will never hear me complain!

Update –> Be sure to try this recipe for Cauliflower Mac And Cheese

Vegan Kraft Mac & Cheese

How To Make Vegan Mac And Cheese

The vegan macaroni and cheese recipes out there are definitely hit or miss… and the bad ones are really bad.

I remember back when I first went vegan, trying a recipe that attempted to mimic the cheesy taste by using a combination of nutritional yeast and Dijon mustard. The recipe claimed to taste JUST LIKE REAL MAC AND CHEESE! Spoiler alert: it didn’t even come close.

I’ve also tried some restaurant versions or packaged varieties (not naming names) so far away from tasting anything like mac and cheese that I honestly don’t know how they ever made it onto shelves.

With this simple vegan mac and cheese recipe today, I’m not going to tell you it tastes exactly like Kraft or Velveeta, but it is absolutely delicious in its own right and completely satisfies even my strongest mac and cheese cravings.

The recipe received a resounding stamp of approval from every non vegan who’s tried it, which is hugely important to note, because if someone who remembers what traditional mac and cheese tastes like says it’s good, you know it must be true!

I’m not saying vegans have inferior taste buds (obbbbviously my taste buds are super awesome), but I do admit that sometimes we can get excited about a dish simply because a plant-based version is offered.

I can think of quite a few examples of this from over the years, especially with things I’ve ordered at restaurants.

(Those vegan cannoli that tasted like someone who’d clearly never been to Italy had simply stuffed vanilla frosting into a cannoli shell… were they they best cannoli I’d ever had in my life? No. But on the other hand, I got to order vegan cannoli on a restaurant menu!!!! So actually yeah, best cannoli ever!)

You May Also Like: Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cashew Cheese Sauce

Recipe Notes

The cheese sauce can be used with much more than just pasta. If you’re on a keto or low carb diet or simply don’t feel like boiling noodles one night, feel free to use the sauce as a cheese dip or pour it over steamed veggies, rice, or even spaghetti squash.

(My recommended method for cooking spaghetti squash can be found here: How To Cook Spaghetti Squash.)

You can also bulk up the mac and cheese by stirring steamed or roasted veggies in at the end. I especially love adding steamed broccoli.

Or give the pasta a protein boost by adding crumbled tempeh or your favorite protein of choice.

Pretty much any noodles will work here – I’m partial to tube noodles because they trap more cheese! For the photos, I really wanted the recognizable Kraft pasta shape but couldn’t find it anywhere, so I ended up buying boxed vegan mac and cheese and used my own sauce recipe instead of their packet.

Unlike many other dairy free macaroni and cheese recipes, this one has no butternut squash or cauliflower, although I do also have a Cauliflower Alfredo Recipe on the blog.

To add thickness and creaminess without flour or heavy cream, I turned to cashews this time, which gives the sauce a rich and velvety texture. I’ve also linked a nut-free and soy-free vegan cheese sauce.

With mac and cheese, it’s good to have options.

Finally, if you’re crazy like me and want to drown your pasta in a gallon of cheese sauce, feel free to make a double batch!

Also Try These Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

Above – watch the video of how to make vegan macaroni and cheese

The Best Easy Vegan Mac And Cheese Recipe (Soy Free)
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Vegan Mac And Cheese

An easy recipe for how to make vegan mac and cheese that even non vegans will love.
4.95/5 (94)
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Yield 3 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews or macadamias (for nut-free, try this Vegan Cheese Sauce)
  • 1 medium peeled carrot, steamed or roasted (80g)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, OR cheese style shreds as desired
  • 1 tsp white or cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water, plus more for soaking
  • optional 2 tsp buttery spread or oil, for richness
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 servings pasta of choice, or you can put the sauce over veggies or use it as a dipping sauce

Instructions

  • Completely cover the nuts in a bowl with water. Let soak anywhere from 2-6 hours, or refrigerate and soak overnight. Drain fully. Combine all ingredients (including 1/2 cup water, but not including the optional cheese-style shreds), and blend in a blender or with an immersion blender until completely smooth. Transfer to a small pot and heat to your desired temperature, stirring optional cheese shreds in at the end. Taste, and add extra seasonings (onion, salt, nutmeg, pepper) if desired – I like to add another 1/2 tsp salt and a pinch more nutmeg. Serve over cooked pasta, rice, veggies, etc.
    View Nutrition Facts

Notes

Recipe adapted from my Creamy Red Pepper Alfredo.
 

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4.95/5 (94)

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Published on June 21, 2020

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128 Comments

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  1. Kathleen says

    Hi. I made this tonight and I was pleasantly surprised by the taste. Though mine came out gritty (I guess my blender isn’t powerful enough) and a bit dry. Also, I found it too salty. Overall, good flavor. I will make again but perhaps add more water and less salt. Thank you for the recipe!

  2. Missy says

    The recipe looks great, but I’m wondering how much is “3 servings of pasta”, and did she use the shreds or nutritional yeast for her photoed results? Thanks so much!

  3. Mary says

    I made it by steam/cooking the carrot above the boiling pasta. If you cover the cashews with water, boil them in the microwave and let them set for 10 minutes, they will be ready to blend up when the carrots are done. I mixed in raw cauliflower and onions to the final version, then baked with breadcrumbs on top at 350 for 30 minutes. The result was a fresh bite of veggies that weren’t too soggy and a crunchy topping to counterpoint the sauce. Husband says we can throw the other recipes out and keep this one.

  4. Danny says

    Okay so I just made this and to tell you the truth I was sceptical, especially when I tasted the sauce before I poured it over the pasta.
    But man, this stuff is the bomb. It’s not like actual mac and cheese, but it is what it claims to be. Which is, absolutely delicious. It is also definitely the closest I have gotten to mac and cheese. Would make again.

  5. Colby says

    This really yummy! I’ve always been skeptical of vegan mac and cheeses but was so pleasantly surprised with this recipe! I omitted the carrot only because I didn’t have any, and it still came out great! I also like a lot of sauce on my pasta so it only covered 2 portions for me, but probably could’ve stretched to 3 as listed in the recipe.

  6. Christie says

    Hi – thinking of trying this tonight. Can the sauce be made ahead and reheated? Or does it need to finish cooking just as you’re putting it on the pasta?

  7. Yvonne says

    Looks like a really good recipe. Miyoko’s has a vegan butter that taste better than butter which may taste great in this. Also Whole Foods 365 brand has a delicious smoked gouda that also may be great in this recipe.

  8. Lori says

    Oh. My. This was wonderful, and so simple to make! I doubled the sauce recipe for a family of four (including 2 teen boys) added steamed cauliflower, broccoli, and peas to add some veggie servings to this meal, and also used red lentil fussili as the pasta. The whole family loved it and there were leftovers for my hubby’s lunch today, and clean up was super easy. Thank you so much for this way-better-than-boxed recipe.

  9. Stephanie says

    Yum! I just made this and it’s the best vegan Mac and cheese recipe I’ve made. I already had all the ingredients in my kitchen, which was a bonus 🙂

  10. Chelsea says

    This is so good! I hate when I see posts that say “the best”.. because they usually don’t end up that good.. but this one really is! I have tried several vegan Mac n cheese recipes, and this is by far my favorite. I probably make it at least once a week! Im so happy I found this recipe, and I don’t think I could live without it. 🙂

  11. Marie says

    Very good. I’m into topping my Mac and Cheese with sauté mushrooms. You guys should give it a try!

  12. Raquel says

    What the heck! This was… incredible. I am an avid vegan mac and cheese hater. Everything I have tried frozen and boxed is disgusting. The recipes I have made at home have been edible but not good and have tasted nothing like Mac and cheese. This to me almost tastes like the real thing! It is brilliant! The carrots give a believable cheese color and the sweetness somehow tempers the funk of the nutritional yeast. The addition of vinegar was smart because it gives that cheesy tang. The recipe is honest to god perfect and the only mac and cheese recipe I will ever make from on. Only thing I change is using nondairy milk(I actually used unsweetened oat milk and it was fine) in place of water to make it creamy. I also had no issues quick soaking the cashews in hot water. It was still creamy.

  13. Vicki Lachelt says

    Hi Katie,
    I just bought your new book yesterday and I see a lot of interesting things. I was surprised that there was no nutritional information, though. I always like to know the content, as you put it in all the recipes you share.
    By the way, I made your healthy banana bread yesterday and it turned out great! The texture and taste are as good as the other recipes I’ve made containing eggs and sometimes butter.
    Congratulations on your new book and best wishes for your continued success!
    Vicki Lachelt

      • Vicki Lachelt says

        Thanks, Jason. I downloaded it, but am having difficulty opening it. Is it a pdf like the book is?

        • Jason Sanford says

          Hi no, nothing to download, just a link, it should show up online so you can view it online. You can copy and paste it into a word document if you want a hard copy without having to go to the link. Let me know if that doesn’t work!

          • Vicki Lachelt says

            Thanks, I see that. I will just bookmark it so I can find it easily.
            Thanks, Jason

          • Vicki Lachelt says

            Hi Jason,
            I’m trying to access all of the nutritional information for the breakfast cookbook and it appears that it only has half of the book and doesn’t cover all. Is there a different way you can send it to me?
            Vicki

          • CCK Media Team says

            Hi! We can definitely send it a different way, but it’s the same recipes – what ones are you missing?

  14. Lauren says

    I am vegan but my mummy sit on her backside doing knitting and wont make me any vegan stuff I am very cross with her

  15. Rachel says

    Finally made this today and absolutely love it! Doubled the recipe and used a nutribullet then mixed the sauce with cauli, brocc and macaroni. Sooo good, really easy and quick. So glad I finally got around to trying it!!

  16. Katie says

    I L-O-V-E this cheese sauce! It’s excellent mixed with pico de gallo as a dip. It’s good on pasta too. It tastes great warmed up left over for 2 days, in my experience. I actually put in half the salt, otherwise find it too salty. Also, you can boil the cashews for 15 minutes instead of soaking (if you’re like me and always forget to plan ahead!!).

  17. Denise Corklin says

    Really creamy and delicious! I make a lot of cashew cheese with red peppers but appreciated the idea of using carrot. To prepare my carrot quickly I simply scrubbed it and threw my giant carrot in the microwave for a little over a minute. I whirled this in my Vitamix long enough for it to get steamy hot so I didn’t need to cook it. Tasted good so I steamed a second carrot and started dipping it into a bowl of the cheese sauce. Loved my pre-dinner treat! My fussy husband enjoyed his cheese sauce over pasta and even my non-vegan dad had seconds. Thank-you again Katie!

  18. Brittnee says

    FINALLY someone used vinegar instead of lemon juice! I have a lemon allergy and finding vegan foods without lemon can be a feat! (When did lemon start going into everything?!) Its hard to want to make a new recipe when I already have to alter it. Can’t wait to try this!

  19. Nia Waterhouse says

    Hey So like you I DO NOT DO vegan mac and cheese. I learned a long time ago that there are something you just have to let go of in the vegan transition and mac and cheese was definitely one for me. But after i tried this recipe i knew there was something special here. I had to half the Nutritional yeast because it was overwhelmingly tangy (braggs) but with that alteration and about a tbs of vegan butter ,some diced shitake mushrooms, and spinach. It is absolutely heavenly. Thank you for this!!!! I will be winning mac offs and impressing my inlaws because of you!

  20. Jennifer says

    Honestly the best and easiest vegan Mac n cheese recipe ever. It’s my ultimate comfort food and even my omni husband steals a few bites!!

  21. Mike says

    Love, love, love this recipe. Gotta make sure to get the carrots really mushy by boiling the heck out of them, but doing that and really soaking the cashews makes the sauce super creamy when blended. Better than the original cheese version. Thanks much!

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