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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 Mac 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 mac 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.
4.94/5 (82)
Total Time 5 minutes
Yield 3 servings


  • 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


  • 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


Recipe adapted from my Creamy Red Pepper Alfredo.

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4.94/5 (82)

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Published on June 21, 2020

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  1. Elizabeth says

    I stopped eating dairy two years ago and have tried to find a good Mac and cheese recipe. This is the BEST. It’s so creamy and gives me the satisfaction and comfort of eating Mac and cheese. I find that the best vegan cheese substitutions don’t taste like the original cheese but are a delicious replacement in their own right. This recipe will be a regular at my house. I can’t wait to use it on veggies.

  2. Cindy says

    It was very good, not a mac and cheese replacement by any stretch, but worthy as a sauce in its own way. My daughter also enjoyed it but could tell right away that it was a vegan cashew cheese sauce (I’m vegan, she’s not so she gets a mix of sauces). I’ll make it again for sure as it was very enjoyable.

  3. Amy H says

    I just made this tonight and oh my god I was so shocked at how cheesy and delicious the sauce is! I added roast cauliflower to the pasta and added bit more water to the sauce to make it thinner. Thanks so much for the recipe it’s way better than my other vegan Mac and cheese recipe! Yum yum yum

  4. Zoe says

    I won’t compare this to The Blue Box – because even that doesn’t taste like I remember it, since they made the recipe healthier. But I just served this to a group – none of us vegans, two vegetarians – and we all thought this was really tasty. I did not use vegan cheese, just the cashews. I would definitely call it both creamy and cheesy.

  5. Kristy says

    This is THE BEST vegan mac and cheese ever!! Both my kids, 10 & 12 loved it!! I didn’t tell them it was vegan and homemade because they love the packet stuff. They had no idea and thought they were eating the packet stuff. So happy that I can give this healthier version and that it’s vegan!! Thank you for the recipe ??✌?

  6. Lucy says

    Thank you soooo much for sharing – I just made this for dinner and it’s so delicious! Satisfied my cravings!

  7. Jennifer Marino says

    I made this recipe for the second time this week. ?❤️ So so so very delicious and creamy and amazing. Thank you!

  8. Taylor says

    I’m not vegan or even vegetarian but I’ve made this 3 times in the past month and love it! The first time I made it with penne and use onion powder. I would definitely recommend making sure that the pasta you use is macaroni, as the the penne was just too big and chunky to use with this sauce. I now use garlic powder instead of onion powder and find the taste much nicer with the garlic. Also, make sure you add enough water, the first time I made it I didn’t use enough and it was very gluggy.

  9. TeenChef says

    Wow! This is so good! I went into this with no expectations, but it turned out amazing! Honestly, it’s a passable imitation of cheese— if I hadn’t been the one to make it, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell it was vegan. I’m really impressed!

  10. sydney says

    This recipe is the best!! dont like the ones that have potato in it. I just added a tad of smoked paprika and it was the shiz

  11. Shawna Hoffman says

    I just made this and all I can say is OH EM GEE!!! This is awesome! I used whole wheat rotelli noodles and added shredded cheddar vegan cheese. I used less noodles so I would have more sauce. Bravo!

  12. Mary says

    It is SO GREAT to read that many many families love this recipe! I like it too ?
    I called this “Mac & Cheese” when I served it for family dinner.
    “Where’s the Cheese??” is the question they all asked… ? ? ?
    If I replaced the word “cheese” with a different word, maybe they would have liked the flavour because they didn’t expect Cheese…? ? ?‍♀️

  13. Elizabeth Dobson says

    This recipe was really good!! After making your secret ingredient peanut butter cookies I thought, “this girl is onto something! Gotta try her Mac!” It did not disappoint. I think I’d just eliminate the salt next time. It was a little salty for me as is and I think the nooch was salty enough! Thanks for a great recipe!

  14. Kathie says

    Question – Do you have a favorite brand of nutritional yeast? I’ve never used it but have heard taste and quality can vary greatly. thank you!

  15. Clare R says

    Oh man, I was SO hesitant while cooking this. I’ve only been vegan for a few months and have never tried vegan Mac and cheese, so seeing the ingredients I wasn’t hopeful. But oh man, this is so good!! I added a pinch of smoked paprika and it’s amazing! My sauce was a little grainy, just cos I was inpatient and only soaked the nuts for 1 hour 45, but it still tastes great. Thanks for the recipe!

  16. Claire says

    This was great! After trying this there is no need to try any other vegan mac and cheese recipe. The comments gave me the impression that it wouldn’t actually taste like cheese, but I thought it did!

  17. Suz says

    I just made this sauce. It is fabulous and full of flavor! The steamed carrot gives it that wonderful cheesy color. Excited to try it on macaroni tonight. I made the version with just the nutritional yeast. I may add some shreds for serving but it certainly doesn’t need anything added to it 🙂

    Thanks for posting!!

  18. Jim says

    Hello! I love this recipe and make it all the time. It really is the best vegan cheese sauce. I was wondering if you had ever tried freezing it, and if you did, if it was ok after. Thanks!

  19. Andy Ross says

    Suum Cuique but this is NOT Mac and Cheese, it’s Mac and a Cheese substitute and tastes nothing like a traditional Cheese sauce.
    I’m fed up with Vegans calling foods by their traditional names when in fact they are nothing like the non-vegan originals.
    Cheese is made from the pressed curds of milk anything else is a substitute

  20. Dee says

    Hello, I haven’t made this yet but just wondering if the sauce freezes ok? I’m only one person and would love to make loads of Mac and cheese in one go to enjoy at a later date. Thanks in advance for your help!

  21. Jill says

    So, I made this for the first time last night. I must say, I was SUPER skeptical because the ingredients for this alone sound weird when mixed together lol, however, I don’t know how, but they work together. I followed the recipe to a T and it is the most SIMILAR to kraft mac and cheese vegan version I have made. Nothing vegan will ever (to me) taste exactly like the non-vegan version, but this is a way healthier version and it does taste delicious and reminds me a lot of the kraft version

  22. Jim says

    I made this exactly as written (using nutritional yeast) and it was so amazing!! I love Mac n cheese and always looking for a healthier version (I’m vegetarian trying to be more vegan). Will definitely make this again, wouldn’t change a thing! Thank you!

  23. Katie says

    We LOVE this cheese sauce! We have used it on pasta, but we also like it as a dip for chips, crackers, carrots, peppers, etc. I especially like to mix it with pick de Gallo and dip tortilla chips in it. My husband, my 9 year old and I eat this sauce at least once a week!

  24. Marie says

    I’ve made this more than a handful of times now and it’s super easy and delicious. I don’t put any non-dairy cheese and I skip the butter spread/oil as well and it’s perfect every time. Thanks for the perfect recipe.

  25. cc says

    This is absolutely worth trying, whether or not it “works” is mostly up to personal taste. I think it’s a winner! I added 1/2 tsp of Crystal hot sauce (any vinegar based hot sauce will suffice) which didn’t add any heat but got it closer to that tang that the boxed stuff has. Let’s be honest, Kraft boxed M&C doesn’t taste like cheese, so it shouldn’t surprise us that this doesn’t really, either. It’s gooey, creamy and hits the spot!

  26. The Missing Link says

    I’m an anti-vegan and this recipe is better than any other Mac and Cheese I’ve ever had. Ever. Period.
    This recipe might bring me over to the dark side…
    Pressure cooking the carrots made for an exceptionally creamy sauce. A smidge of mustard and/or sriracha takes the flavor up a notch. Using aquafaba for the rest of the thinning liquid helps with the cheesey-gooey texture. Leave out the fake cheese.

    • Jason Sanford says

      I’m also a non vegan who loves the recipe, but I’ve never tried it with aquafaba. Thanks for the recommendation, I am so interested to try that now!

  27. Julee says

    I left out the vinegar by accident, still came out delicious. Next time I will definitely double the recipe, it doesn’t make enough for my big eaters.

  28. Jennifer says

    I LOVE this recipe! It might be an addiction. The only thing I’ve changed is that I use nut milk instead of water, but both ways are delicious!

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