Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese

By Jessica Hylton -

This Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese has been revamped and is about to be your new favourite side dish! It’s irresistibly creamy and cheesy and topped with a divine breadcrumb topping! It makes great leftovers, and the sauce is made easily in your blender!

close up shot of Mac and cheese in a cast iron

Years ago I wrote a vegan Mac and cheese post. Your classic, baked mac and cheese with breadcrumbs on top. Recently, we’ve been making it so many times, and I’ve learned so much that I knew that I needed to re-write the entire post. I’ve also re done the photos, slightly updated the recipe, and I have a ton of tips to share too. This is about to become your new favourite side dish! 

side by side shots of unbaked Mac and cheese, and Mac and cheese with unbaked breadcrumbs topping on top

One of the statements I hear the most from you guys is “but I love cheese!”. Well, so did I. There are so many incredible vegan cheeses, starting with my cheese sauce. It combines an assortment of easy to find ingredients that together make the creamy, smooth, umami filled cheese flavour you know and love. It’s gotten such rave reviews that I’ve made its own post for it, and I use it constantly for this vegan baked mac and cheese. I want to make sure that you love this mac and cheese so much, so let’s get into some tips to help to ensure that.

Expert Tips & FAQ

  • You can use any vegan milk, but if it’s for a special occasion I do recommend coconut milk. It’s incredibly creamy and takes this over the top. If you’re not a coconut milk fan or you can’t because of allergies, just sub your fave vegan milk, preferably a full fat version. 
  • This recipe does have other substitutions too. I list most of them in the recipe, but if you don’t have garlic or onions, you can use powdered versions. We’ve done that when we were low on groceries and it still tastes amazing. I’ve also made it without the carrots and just doubled up on paprika and a pinch of turmeric for the colour.
  • If you don’t have a high powered blender, boil the cashews first. This will give it a much smoother texture if your blender can’t make it smooth! 

Mac and cheese being scooped from the cast iron on a wooden spoon

  • If you have a cast iron skillet, I highly recommend using it. It helps create some divine crusty layers that you’ll be in love with! 
  • If you want a sauce that has a bit more pull, add in a tablespoon of tapioca starch into the sauce when it’s blending! 
  • Feel free to customise the breadcrumbs with some garlic powder or extra herbs. 
  • The one ingredient I highly recommend is the cashews. It creates a phenomenal creamy flavour for the vegan baked Mac and cheese, and makes the sauce so smooth. If you can’t use cashews, you can try subbing tofu, almonds soaked overnight (with the skins removed) or sunflower seeds. It won’t taste exactly the same, but it will give you a similar base. Just adjust your seasonings based on the base that you’re using. 

overhead shot of Mac and cheese in cast iron pan with spoon in it and some in a bowl too

Related Recipes

That’s it friends! If you have any other questions about substitutions, let me know!

Enjoy friends! If you make these Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!

close up shot of Mac and cheese in a cast iron

Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese

This Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese has been revamped and is about to be your new favourite side dish! It's irresistibly creamy and cheesy and topped with a divine breadcrumb topping! It makes great leftovers, and the sauce is made easily in your blender!
by: Jessica in the Kitchen
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Universal
Keyword baked mac and cheese, baked vegan mac and cheese, Dairy Free, vegan, vegan mac and cheese
Ingredients

Creamy Vegan Mac & Cheese

  • 3 cups elbow macaroni, gluten free if needed (12 oz/340g)
  • 1 tablespoon oil any oil works, I love olive oil here (12.5g)
  • 1 large carrot chopped (112g)
  • 1 small yellow onion halved and chopped (72g)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup raw cashews  soaked in water overnight, then drained
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce or liquid aminos or tamari or lite soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ cups vegan milk you can use any, I love canned full fat coconut milk cause it's so creamy

Breadcrumb Topping

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs gluten free if needed
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons melted vegan butter or oil
Instructions

Instructions

Creamy Vegan Mac & Cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
  • Prepare elbow pasta according to package directions. You can do this while the carrots are being cooked. Drain in a colander until ready to use (You can use the same pan as below - just leave the pasta in a colander, then after carrot mixture has been made, add to pan).
  • In a pan over medium heat, heat the oil. Once hot, add in the carrots, onions and the garlic, stirring to combine. Lower heat to medium low. Cover with lid and allow to steam/roast until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • In a large high speed blender add the carrot mixture, cashews, salt and pepper, ground mustard, lime juice, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, paprika, ground nutmeg, and almond milk.
  • Blend together for about 3 minutes on a high speed, until sauce is completely smooth and incorporate. If you need to blend longer that's fine, just blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
  • Add the macaroni to a cast iron skillet or other similarly sized oven safe pot or oven sized container (mine is about 8" to 9"). Pour the sauce over the macaroni. Stir to combine until fully combined and all the macaroni is coated with sauce.
  • Mix breadcrumbs, salt and pepper to taste and vegan butter in a small dish with a small whisk or fork until combined. Sprinkle over the top of the Mac and cheese, covering completely.
  • Bake for 15 minutes until Mac and cheese is set, then broil for a few minutes until top is golden brown.
  • Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly then serve and enjoy!
NOTES
Prep time doesn’t include soaking the cashews overnight.
TIP for making gluten free pasta - several under bake it. If it says 8 minutes for example, only do 3 or 4 minutes so it doesn't break down!

Expert Tips & FAQ

  • You can use any vegan milk, but if it's for a special occasion I do recommend coconut milk. It's incredibly creamy and takes this over the top. If you're not a coconut milk fan or you can't because of allergies, just sub your fave vegan milk, preferably a full fat version. 
  • This recipe does have other substitutions too. I list most of them in the recipe, but if you don't have garlic or onions, you can use powdered versions. We've done that when we were low on groceries and it still tastes amazing. I've also made it without the carrots and just doubled up on paprika and a pinch of turmeric for the colour.
  • If you don't have a high powered blender, boil the cashews first. This will give it a much smoother texture if your blender can't make it smooth! 
  • If you have a cast iron, I highly recommend using it. It helps create some divine crusty layers that you'll be in love with! 
  • If you want a sauce that has a bit more pull, add in a tablespoon of tapioca starch into the sauce when it's blending! 
  • Feel free to customise the breadcrumbs with some garlic powder or extra herbs. 
  • The one ingredient I highly recommend is the cashews. It create a phenomenal creamy flavour, and makes the sauce so smooth. If you can't use cashews, you can try subbing tofu, almonds soaked overnight or sunflower seeds. It won't taste exactly the same, but it will give you a similar base. Just adjust your seasonings based on the base that you're using. 
  •  

Nutrition

Calories: 480kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 23g | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g
by Jessica

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Recipe Rating




16 comments

  1. SIMON says:

    I loved it. It looks so delicious I will try today

  2. Michelle says:

    Looks so good! I’m going to make this and drop it off to a family tonight. If I made extra, how are The leftovers? And I’m assuming not freezable, right?

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Awesome Michelle! I hope your family enjoy it. You definitely can freeze it after you’ve made it. I hope this helps.

  3. Meredith says:

    Jessica, this was AMAZING!! I made it this weekend for the family and I had to stop them from eating it all in one sitting, ha. Today’s leftovers were equally excellent. Thank you so much! My daughter, newly vegan, specifically said, “This was the one dish I have missed so much!!”

    One question — for the nutrition information, what size would you consider a serving to be? A cup, or something else?

    • Hi Meredith,

      I’m so happy to hear that!! Aw yay!

      Re serving size, I would just divide the finished product by 8 for one serving!

      • Meredith says:

        Thank you so much! Goodness, I totally missed the serving number listing on the original recipe — I could have done that math on my own, oops! Apologies, and appreciation for letting me know. 🙂

  4. Tyla says:

    5 stars
    I made this macaroni and cheese along with the bang bang cauliflower and my family loved it! My mom(loves dairy and meat) really enjoyed it and went back for seconds! You have great recipes!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      We’re so happy that you and your wonderful family enjoyed this recipe Tyla! Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a nice comment!

  5. Jordan says:

    This recipe was great.
    Today I actually used this cheesy sauce for a quinoa bake with broccoli, chard, and sliced onion. Soooo good.

    I can’t wait to use this in a traditional way and with some more remixes.

    This tasted authentically cheesy which was wild. Btw, USE THE COCONUT MILK. You won’t taste it at all. I’ve been eating vegan for 3 years and have never dared to do a cheesy sauce with coconut milk cuz I always thought I would taste the coconut since that flavor is so strong. I was w-r-o-n-g.

  6. Kimberly Whitney says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe, it was super easy to make and really delicious. I even made it in my Ninja Foodi so I didn’t have to heat the house up with the oven. Will definitely make again.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      We’re so happy that you enjoyed this recipe Kimberly! Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a nice comment!

  7. Jill says:

    5 stars
    I was really shocked at how this came together…I am not a ‘cook’. I had a can of coconut milk in the pantry and used that, following the directions it all came together and the sauce blended up quickly. It was really good! It stored and reheated nicely as well. Thanks for sharing this recipe, it’s been great sharing your recipes with those in my family who are not vegan.

    • Hi Jill,

      Aww I am so happy to hear that!! Thank you so much for your kind comment and review and I’m so happy that you and your family enjoyed!!

  8. Jess says:

    5 stars
    This is DELICIOUS! So easy to make and freezes like a dream, new favourite dish! Didn’t have quite enough cashews so added some cashew butter and it worked perfectly. Yum!

  9. Laura T. says:

    5 stars
    This is my new favorite Mac and cheese recipe! I’m always trying different ones to switch it up, but have stayed away from ones with coconut milk. Although I use coconut milk often I was hesitant to use it in a Mac and cheese, I didn’t want it to taste like coconut. When I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it and I trusted Jessica when she said the coconut milk was a must try. Let me tell you it does not have a coconut flavor. It’s perfect and creamy as so so tasty. Such a satisfying Mac and Cheese. The whole family loved it! Already planning on making again very soon.
    Thanks for another killer recipe Jessica!

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