Vegan Mac and Cheese

The BEST vegan mac and cheese recipe! With a creamy, cheesy sauce made from sweet potatoes and nutritional yeast, it's just as good as the real thing.

Vegan mac and cheese

When I’m craving comfort food, this vegan mac and cheese recipe is the first thing I make. It calls for a handful of ingredients that I almost always have on hand, it’s quick and easy, and it’s absolutely delicious. The creamy sauce is rich, luscious, and filled with nutty, tangy cheddar cheese flavor. Even Jack, who’s a traditional mac and cheese devotee, will happily devour a bowl (or two) of this plant-based pasta any day.

In the past, I’ve made dairy-free mac and cheese with coconut milk, cauliflower, or a big scoop of cashews, but this recipe is my favorite by far. The super creamy sauce still contains a small amount of cashews, but its base is blended yellow potato and sweet potato. The yellow potato gives it a delightful gooey texture, and the sweet potato makes it vibrant orange. Apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion powder, and nutritional yeast perfect its cheesy taste. It’s fun, yummy, and even healthy too! I think you’re going to love it.

Potatoes, sweet potatoes, cashews, and nutritional yeast

How to Make Vegan Mac and Cheese

  • First, make the vegan cheese sauceSimmer sweet potatoes and potatoes until tender. Then, drain them, and add them to a blender with raw cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic, onion powder, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, water, and olive oil. Puree until smooth.
  • Next, cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook it according to the package directions, until al dente. Before you drain the pasta, set aside 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water.
  • Finally, toss it all together! Return the cooked macaroni to the pot and add the cashew cheese. Stir to combine, adding the reserved pasta water, as needed, to loosen the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve the vegan mac and cheese with a simple veggie side dish like roasted broccoli, roasted Brussels sprouts, lemon green beans, or roasted cauliflower. Enjoy!

Pouring vegan cheese sauce onto macaroni

Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe Variations

  • Swap the sweet potato. If you don’t have sweet potato on hand but you still want to try this recipe, don’t worry. An equal amount of diced carrot or butternut squash would work just as well.
  • Make it smoky. Blend 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, to taste, into the vegan cheese sauce for a smoky twist. Or, for texture, stir in a handful of crumbled tempeh bacon bits!
  • Spice it up. Make spicy vegan mac and cheese by pureeing the sauce with 1 tablespoon pickled jalapeños or a chipotle pepper from a can of chipotles in adobo.
  • Go gluten-free. Use your favorite gluten-free pasta! I like to use brown rice elbow macaroni.
  • Add extra veggies. Of course, this vegan mac and cheese tastes good on its own, but adding extra veggies certainly doesn’t hurt. Stir in thawed frozen peas, spinach, or steamed broccoli for a bright pop of green.

How do you like to make your vegan mac and cheese? Let me know in the comments!

Best vegan mac and cheese recipe

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Vegan Mac and Cheese

rate this recipe:
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Serves 3 to 4
The BEST vegan mac and cheese recipe! Sweet potatoes, potatoes, and cashews blend into a luscious, creamy sauce with a crave-worthy cheesy flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe Vegan Cheese
  • 12 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • sea salt

Instructions

  • Make the vegan cheese and set aside.
  • Prepare the pasta according to the package directions, cooking in a pot of salted boiling water, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining.
  • Drain and transfer the pasta back to the pot. Stir in the vegan cheese, adding up to 1/2 cup pasta water to loosen the sauce, as necessary. Season to taste and serve.

 

21 comments

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  1. Jess from inquiringchef.com
    01.31.2013

    I’m looking forward to trying this. I finally got my hands on some nutritional yeast and have been searching for a really good first recipe to test it out on my husband. – he might be a tough sell, but this has a pretty good chance of winning him over!

  2. Joyti from darjeelingdreams.blogspot.com
    01.31.2013

    I AM a “true cheese lover” myself…but regular mac ‘n’ cheese is just too much for me to eat regularly, so I can’t wait to try this myself. It looks DELICIOUS.

  3. Thanks so much Jeanine! Headed to the grocery store in just a little bit to grab what I need. Have a great weekend!

  4. Thank you, thank you for posting this recipe! I’m trying to eat less dairy because no matter how much I love cheese, it doesn’t always love me back. Mac and cheese is one of my favorite foods, so I look forward to trying this.

  5. This version of vegan mac n cheese sounds perfect. I cannot wait to try it!

  6. Kathryne from cookieandkate.com
    02.10.2013

    I experienced my first vegan mac and cheese at a local restaurant the other day (and liked it), but your version looks even better! Though I do love cheese, I don’t often indulge in super creamy, cheesy things, and this looks like a satisfying yet less indulgent option. Hope to give this a try before winter is over!

  7. Nancye
    02.20.2013

    This is for tomorrow night’s dinner, can’t wait to try it… I have all the ingredients at hand, so I’m sure it will be a satisfying meal for my hubby….

    Thanks so much for sharing…

  8. VELLE
    02.20.2013

    Thanks so much!!! And I just wanted to say that I love reading your blog! The layout is so perfect, and each picture is a work of art!! : D I find myself coming back to view your posts (even though i looked at all the recipes!) because it’s so pretty and I love the recipes and photos!!!!!

  9. Vivian
    03.20.2013

    Looks delicious! Thanks for making vegan recipes 🙂

  10. jeanine
    07.08.2013

    so glad you liked it!

  11. I’m transitioning to a plant-based diet – and the one thing holding me back is cheese. I love cheese – not often or in large quantities – but I do love cheese. Thanks for sharing this recipe…I’ve been wanting to try a vegan mac & cheese and this version will be my gateway!

  12. Astha
    10.11.2015

    This is the second time I am making this…thanks so much for the recipe! I added a bunch of veggies to mine…spinach, carrots, broccoli and soyrizo inspired by the Homeroom Mac and cheese and what they have as add ons.

  13. This recipe looks greaaaat but that would be greater to have the propotion of ingredients….
    🙁

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.19.2020

      Hi, they’re in the recipe card at the bottom of this post – just click over to the Vegan Cheese recipe and the measurements are all included.

  14. My children would enjoy only this as a main dish. They love mac n cheese! Even though I see it as a side, they see it as pure food heaven.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.29.2020

      Ha, I’m so glad they loved it 🙂

  15. Amy
    04.07.2020

    The Mac and Cheese looks great. My little guys has issues with dairy. Does the cheese sauce freeze well?

  16. Daniela
    05.12.2020

    5 stars
    Hello! Thank you for the recipe .
    How many cashes should I use ?

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.