It’s a common misconception that you have to give up on all your favorite meals when changing to a plant-based diet. Mac and cheese are one of those meals, or side dishes, that warms your heart and makes you feel comforted.
While it’s true that you can’t enjoy traditional mac and cheese when following a vegan lifestyle, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some fantastic options out there. Check out these easy vegan mac and cheese recipes when you can’t get this creamy dish out of your head.
1: The Best Classic, Baked, Vegan Mac and Cheese by Loving it Vegan
If you want a classic vegan mac and cheese that will have you questioning whether it’s vegan, then this recipe by Loving it Vegan is one you need to try.
The recipe calls for elbow macaroni, but you can use whatever noodle you want. You’ll need plenty of coconut milk, a vegan butter of your choice, flour, veggie stock, dijon mustard, and nutritional yeast to create the “cheese” sauce and base for your macaroni. You’ll want to make sure that you use unsweetened coconut milk, or the flavor will be off.
You’ll season your cheese sauce with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. After mixing it all together, you’ll bake it in the oven for 20 minutes.
2: Crispy Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese by Rainbow Plant Life
Another delicious and crispy baked vegan mac and cheese recipe you need to try is this one by Rainbow Plant Life. It’s ideal for those who love that crunchy breadcrumb topping on their mac and cheese.
You’ll need unsweetened coconut milk for this creamy and crispy vegan mac and cheese since it’s thicker than other plant-based milk. Cashews, nutritional yeast, and miso paste will help make the dish resemble mac and cheese more.
Tapioca flour will also help thicken the cheese sauce, and the panko on top is the crispy texture you’re craving with mac and cheese.
3: The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese by Nora Cooks
When you’re craving mac and cheese, the last thing you want is a recipe that takes a long time to make. While it’s always worth it in the end, for those (almost) instant satisfaction folks, this recipe by Nora Cooks is fantastic.
This vegan mac and cheese recipe can be on your plate in no more than 20 minutes but will taste as you worked on it for hours. Raw cashews are what make the cheese sauce super creamy.
The key ingredients you need are turmeric for the yellowish color, noodles, a bag of your favorite vegan cheese, and the rest of the seasonings listed on the recipe.
4: 20-Minute Vegan Mac and Cheese by Minimalist Baker
We love this recipe by Minimalist Baker because besides only taking 20 minutes, they use shells instead of traditional elbow macaroni. While you can switch up the noodles with any recipe, the shell noodles remind us of Velveeta mac and cheese.
All you need to do for this quick and easy mac and cheese is boil your noodles and blend all the other ingredients together to make your cheese sauce.
You’ll need cashews, lemon juice, salt, pepper, turmeric, garlic, nutritional yeast, and chili powder. Once you blend that all together, you can stir it into your noodles, and it’s time to eat!
5: Dang Good Vegan Mac and Cheese by Butter be Ready
For this vegan mac and cheese recipe, you’ll need to soak your raw cashews in hot water for at least 30 minutes. If you can soak them for 45 minutes, that’s even better.
You’ll blend your soaked cashews with garlic cloves, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, onion powder, and anything else that you prefer. If you want that yellow color that most mac and cheese has, a dash of turmeric or curry powder will do the trick!
You don’t have to add the crispy topping, but it’s what’s going to make the mac and cheese that much better. You’ll use vegan butter, panko, and thyme to top the dish before baking.
6: Vegan Mac and Cheese by Love and Lemons
When you first look at this vegan mac and cheese, you wouldn’t even believe that it’s vegan and made with sweet potatoes and nutritional yeast. Love and Lemons has a cheese sauce they live by.
You’ll soak your cashews before blending them up with nutritional yeast, classic mac and cheese seasonings, olive oil, pasta water, and apple cider vinegar. You’ll need to boil your potatoes and sweet potatoes too because they’ll go into your cheese sauce.
As for the noodles, elbows or shells are best, but you can use whatever your heart desires. In all, the recipe only takes about 30 minutes total.
7: Amazing Vegan Mac and Cheese by Cookie and Kate
Cookie and Kate is an established food blog that took its time creating the perfect vegan mac and cheese recipe that will fool non-vegans. It combines all the popular ingredients many plant-based food blogs use to create vegan mac and cheese.
The dish only takes 40 minutes and even has an extra serving of veggies with broccoli florets chopped up and tossed in.
This fantastic vegan mac and cheese uses onions, grated potatoes to thicken the sauce, elbow noodles, raw cashews, nutritional yeast, several seasonings, and a little bit of vinegar to make the flavor unique.
8: Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese by the Simple Veganista
A great baked vegan mac and cheese that’s kid and kid at heart approved is by Simple Veganista. The ingredients are relatively simple, but you’ll forget you’re eating a plant-based dish because of how good it is.
All you’ll need for this easy mac and cheese are elbow macaroni, vegan butter, nutritional yeast, cashews, miso paste, garlic cloves, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cooking oil, and panko for the crispy topping.
Not everyone has miso paste on hand, so you can use Dijon mustard instead if you can’t find it. You’re welcome to add additional seasonings as you see fit, but just salt and pepper with the other ingredients will still taste fantastic.
9: Smokey Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese by Heartful Table
Heartful Table’s take on vegan macaroni and cheese is mostly a traditional vegan mac and cheese recipe with a creamy sauce and crispy top, but it has one unique characteristic.
The one thing that makes this plant-based recipe stand out amongst the others is that it has a smoky flavor. You’ll miss potatoes, cashews, nutritional yeast, and several seasonings for the cheese sauce.
You have to use smoked paprika to obtain that smoky flavor. You’ll blend it all, pour it over your cooked noodles and then place them into a baking dish. You’ll mix oil, parsley, and breadcrumbs for the topping and bake for about ten minutes until it’s crispy on top.
10: Mind-Blowing Vegan Mac and Cheese by Broma Bakery
One of the best things about this vegan mac and cheese recipe from Broma Bakery is that you can bake it with a crispy topping, but it’s just as good without the topping and made only on the stovetop.
The ingredients are pretty simple. You’ll need your favorite noodles, nutritional yeast, cashews, and unflavored, unsweetened plant-based milk. Besides this, there’s a great blend of spices that help mimic the flavor of dairy cheese.
The spices you’ll need are paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Be sure to soak your cashews until they’re very soft before blending them with the other cheese sauce ingredients.
11: Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese by Veggies Don’t Bite
This recipe by Veggies Don’t Bite is a delicious recipe that you can eat without guilt because it’s only made with whole foods. But, you’ll feel like you’re eating a bowl of creamy, cheesy, traditional mac and cheese.
You can use whatever noodles you want, but this recipe suggests penne noodles. The cheese sauce uses veggie stock for extra flavor, apple cider vinegar, mustard seed powder, chickpea miso, and a blend of spices.
By boiling the noodles, making the cheese sauce, incorporating the sauce, and then baking with the crispy topping, you’ll still have dinner on the table in 45 minutes.
12: Truffled White Vegan Mac and Cheese by Rabbits and Wolves
If you’re looking for a vegan mac and cheese recipe that feels like a dish from a five-star restaurant but still feels like a comfort meal, it’s this one by Rabbits and Wolves. The base of the dish is classic vegan mac and cheese, but the truffles elevate the dish.
This dish tastes elegant but only takes about 30 minutes to make, including the prep work needed. You can soak your cashews in hot water for 30 minutes or cold water for at least eight hours before creating your meal.
Ingredients include noodles, nutritional yeast, plant-based milk, seasonings, and other classic elements. The main thing that makes it stand out is the truffle oil, and you’ll be glad you tried it.
13: The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese by Detoxinista
For this recipe by Detoxinista, all you need is 40 minutes. Twenty of those minutes are to prepare all your ingredients and then another 20 for cooking everything. It’s a great weeknight meal or when you’re staying in and watching a movie.
You’ll combine all the ingredients into a blender before pouring over your cooked noodles. You can use any type of mustard you like. Spicy mustard is perfect for those who prefer a kick.
This recipe suggests elbow or shell noodles, but you can use whatever you want. You can also easily switch this to gluten-free noodles to make it gluten-friendly. Don’t forget to soak your cashews before trying to make the dish.
14: Vegan Mac and Cheese by Chocolate Covered Katie
Chocolate Covered Katie may have created the fastest vegan mac and cheese recipe that still tastes delicious. Seriously, though. It only takes five minutes to prepare everything and then another five minutes to cook.
You can use cashews or macadamia nuts for this recipe, depending on your preference, to thicken the sauce. As for the “cheese” part, nutrition yeast is the most common, but you can use vegan cheese shreds too.
The seasonings are simple. You need white vinegar, nutmeg, onion powder, and salt and pepper.
15: Nut-Free Vegan Mac and Cheese by Sweet Potato Soul
Just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you or someone you’re cooking for can eat nuts. Sweet Potato Soul has you covered if you need a tremendous nut-free mac and cheese recipe.
While cashews are generally used to thicken vegan recipes, this recipe uses corn starch, soy milk, grapeseed oil, kidney beans, and a lot of nutritional yeast. You’ll have a super thick and creamy cheese sauce with these ingredients and the plethora of seasonings on the webpage.
Even with all the ingredients required for the recipe, you can have this meal prepared and on your table in only 20 minutes.
16: One-Skillet Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese by Jessica in the Kitchen
The perfect dish you need for Fall, or anytime during the year when you’re missing the flavor of pumpkin, is this one-skillet vegan pumpkin mac and cheese.
You can use elbow noodles or whatever else you desire. As for the sauce, the key ingredient is pumpkin puree. It thickens the sauce and gives it a delicious flavor.
There are a lot of seasonings in the dish like garlic, onion powder, mustard powder, and more to recreate the flavors of dairy cheese. You’ll have this dish ready to eat in 35 minutes.
17: Creamy Vegan Thai Mac by Robin Robertson
Mac and cheese is a great classic, comfort dish, but this Thai twist is definitely one that needs to be on your list of recipes to try. The recipe takes only 25 minutes and serves six people.
Robin Robertson uses classic ingredients like nutritional yeast, cashews, and plant-based milk. You’ll want unsweetened coconut milk and the not-so-secret ingredient, Thai red curry paste.
You can top it with chopped peanuts, Thai basil, and a hefty portion of cilantro to make it even better.
18: Baked Potato Mac and Cheese by Plant-Based on a Budget
A tremendous vegan mac and cheese recipe to bring to your company potluck or next Friendsgiving is this recipe by Plant-Based on a Budget.
A lot of recipes use potatoes to help thicken the cheese sauce, but this recipe makes sure you mash the potatoes first before blending them into your sauce. You’ll use cashews, almond milk, nutritional yeast, tahini, lemon juice, and lots of tasty seasonings.
The prep time for this dish is only five minutes, and the cooking time is less than an hour. You can use whatever noodles you prefer and go without the crispy topping by keeping this a stovetop recipe.
19: 10-Minute High Protein Vegan Mac and Cheese by Veggiekins
This may be the fastest vegan mac and cheese recipe out there that tastes excellent. Veggiekins’ recipe is high protein and will only take about ten minutes to make before you’re ready to eat.
It’s nut-free, oil-free, has no potatoes, and is gluten-free, so almost everyone can enjoy this recipe as a meal or side dish. For the cheese sauce base, you’ll use silken tofu to not only add a lot of protein to your dish but the creaminess.
The other ingredients include your favorite gluten-free and high-protein pasta, carrots, and nutritional yeast. The seasonings you’ll need are garlic powder, salt, pepper, paprika, and whatever else you want.
20: Vegan Mac and Cheese With Shiitake Bacon by Chloe’s
This vegan mac and cheese recipe is a little unique because not only is it topped with shiitake bacon, but the sauce is made with primarily sweet potatoes rather than cashews or other nuts.
You’ll still need cashews for the sauce, but the sweet potatoes are the star of the sauce. The sauce uses those ingredients plus safflower oil, garlic powder, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and mustard seed.
After you cook your sauce and noodles, you’ll toss it all together and top it with the shiitake bacon that only takes safflower oil, shiitake mushrooms, and salt.
21: American Buffalo Chickpea Mac and Cheese by Switch4Good
Do you miss buffalo chicken mac and cheese? Then you’ll love this buffalo chickpea vegan mac and cheese. It’s the closest thing you can get to that buffalo sauce mac and cheese you miss.
It does take almost an hour to perfect, but we promise it’s still easy and so worth it. You’ll need chickpeas to mimic the “chicken,” and you’ll use your favorite buffalo sauce to coast the chickpeas before tossing it into your mac and cheese mixture.
You’ll use raw cashews, vegan plain unsweetened yogurt, vegan mayo, your favorite vegan milk, and plenty of tasty seasonings for the cheese sauce.
Easy Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipes, Final Thoughts
Whether you’re looking for a vegan mac and cheese that resembles a traditional mac and cheese or something a little more unique, you don’t need to give up on your mac and cheese dreams when going vegan.
Dessert is always a great idea after you’ve indulged in your vegan mac and cheese. So check out these vegan cake recipes when you need something sweet.