Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese

By Jessica Hylton - - Updated

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!

Overhead shot of baked mac and cheese.

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 servings
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Universal
Ingredients

Creamy Vegan Mac & Cheese

  • 3 cups elbow macaroni (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!

Video

NOTES
Prep time doesn’t include soaking the cashews overnight.
You can also use gluten free pasta! 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




54 comments

  1. Taylor says:

    5 stars
    Loved this! I’ve already made it twice because it was such a hit with my meat eating fiancé. Made it exactly as written!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Awesome! Thank you so much Taylor we’re so happy that you enjoy the recipe!

  2. Taylor says:

    5 stars
    I’m not vegan, but I’m trying to make the transition/eat a little healthier and let me tell you, you do NOT miss regular mac and cheese with this recipe! So flavorful and creamy and so easy to make!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Oh man, that’s exactly what we wanted to hear! Thank you so much for trying it and leaving such a sweet comment Taylor.

  3. Shauna says:

    5 stars
    Love is an understatement for how I feel about this recipe. This mac n cheese is SO. FREAKING. GOOD!! Even my omni husband loved it and said how tasty it was. This will be a staple in our house for sure! Do yourself a favour and make it using the coconut milk. Adds the perfect amount of sweetness and creamy delicious flavour!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

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

  4. Claudia Valdivia says:

    5 stars
    I want to try this recipe this week for sure! What kind of coconut milk do you recommend? The full fat canned version?

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Claudia thank you so much for reading! Yes we do use the full fat canned version.

  5. Debbie B. says:

    5 stars
    O…M…G…Jessica! This is an amazing Mac-n-cheese recipe. I also made it gf and couldn’t be happier with the results. When I stuck my serving spoon in it and got that gooey sticky sound I knew I’d hit pay dirt. Thank you for all you do with your recipes!!!!

  6. Kate says:

    Cannot wait to make this recipe! By any chance – would it be alright to make the sauce a day ahead of time and assemble right before baking? Thank you for your always wonderful recipes 🙂

    • Hi Kate,

      Thank you so much!! Yes you can – then just bring it to room temperature (or heat!) before assembling!! You’re so welcome and enjoy so much!

      • Kate says:

        5 stars
        Followed the recipe exactly as it is written – and it came out so perfectly! I did cook pasta and make sauce one day ahead to save time, let warm on counter for a few hours before baking – and it was a delicious crowd pleaser. Me, very vegan, and my very not vegan friends all enjoyed it immensely.

  7. Nisha says:

    Made this for Thanksgiving and I really enjoyed it. I used cashew milk as coconut is too strong for me, but overall it was great!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Awesome we’re so happy you enjoyed it Nisha! Thanks so much for reading!

  8. May says:

    5 stars
    Made this today and just had some for dinner. So incredibly delicious! Even my dad (who never likes my vegan cooking) tried it and said he would’ve thought it was regular mac and cheese!

  9. Patsy Brookshire says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is epic. Your family, even the non-Vegans will totally enjoy this as dinner or a side dish. If you’re trying to make a difference in your wellness and the world, this is the best place to start. You’re not going to miss a thing, but the guilt. Nom, nom, nom.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Awesome we’re so happy you enjoyed it Patsy! Thanks so much for reading!

  10. B says:

    5 stars
    I used the recommended full fat coconut milk and it came out really good. We ate it as an indulgent main dish with sautéed collard greens on the side.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Awesome we’re so happy you enjoyed it B! Thanks so much for reading!

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