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 LOVES classic mac and cheese, 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, lemony 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:
4.95 from 97 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
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.


For the vegan cheese sauce

For the mac and cheese

  • 12 ounces elbow macaroni
  • sea salt, to taste


  • Make the vegan cheese: Place the Yukon Gold potatoes and sweet potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Add a few pinches of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until fork-tender, 8 to 12 minutes.
  • Drain the potatoes and transfer to a high-speed blender with the garlic, cashews, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, olive oil, and water. Blend until smooth.
  • Make the mac and cheese: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the pasta according to the package instructions, cooking until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water before draining.
  • Drain and transfer the pasta back to the pot. Stir in the vegan cheese sauce, adding up to ½ cup pasta water to loosen the sauce, as necessary. Season to taste and serve.



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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Danielle

    Great vegan staple! Especially for the little ones in the house.

  2. Mary

    4 stars
    This was pretty good, but for me, it felt like it would be better with a few tweaks (not that I know what they might be!). I used 1/2 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar, and I could still smell it in the finished sauce (not ideal), and the taste was still holding its weight (which is good). I think the sauce just needs a little something to cover up the vinegar a bit more while retaining its tang. I also added 1/4 tsp of paprika (might try more next time) and sprinkled my portion with nutmeg. I LOVE that this recipe only uses a small amount of cashews since they are quite expensive. The creamy texture is definitely there, and the color is spot on.

  3. Ana

    This looks amazing,! Do u think i can freeze it? Ehat eould be the best way to do that?

  4. rhonda L

    I absolutely lover your site the recipes are great and actually turn out as expected!! I have kids with nut allergies even to cashews – I wonder if you know what a suitable substitute is for cashews to get that creamy texture – without using cream as well!

    Thank you

  5. Preet

    Excited to try this. I was thinking about throwing this in the oven with some bread crumbs on top. Do you think that would work? How long should I leave it in the oven for?
    Also, can I make the sauce a few days ahead for Thanksgiving?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Preet, I think it would be great! You can make the sauce up to about 4 days in advance. It’ll thicken in the fridge so stir in some water (or better yet, some of the starchy pasta cooking water) before you’re ready to assemble… just enough so that the sauce is really creamy again. Top with panko and broil for just a few minutes until it’s warmed through and the panko is crisp. You don’t want to bake it too long or the sauce gets less creamy. I hope you enjoy!

  6. Susan Bishop

    5 stars
    This was delicious! I’ve tried other vegan Mac and Cheese recipes and this was by far the best! I love that it can be so good and creamy, and there is zero dairy.

  7. Samantha Barnett

    Ate this for dinner tonight! I added chopped broccoli and smoked paprika.

  8. Amy Rupple

    Made this earlier this month!

  9. Vanshita Bansal

    Just tried the recipe. Came out amazing!!
    It’s my first time entering the competition. Hope I win!
    Love your recipes.🥰😍

  10. Mila Motora

    4 stars
    Tasty but needs some tweaking! The consistency came out really nicely but I think next time I would play around with less vinegar and more nutritional yeast.

  11. Sibyl

    5 stars
    Delicious! Made it for September cooking challenge and cane out so well. We topped w boca chickn patties and hot sauce

  12. Lindsay Adolphson

    5 stars
    So delish! Will definitely make again.

  13. Michele McCarthy

    4 stars
    This was the best potato/sweet potato based Mac and cheese I have had. It didn’t taste like boiled potatoes and carrots:). I topped it with almond parmesan for crunch.

  14. Bridget Cassun

    5 stars
    This was delicious; creamy, easy and nutritious. I added chipotle peppers; next time think I will try shiitake bacon!! It’s so versatile and did I say delicious? Have made several vegan macs before but I think this is my new favorite!

  15. Tova Teitelbaum

    5 stars
    This came out better than I imagined! First of all, the “cheese” LOOKS really cheesy – both the color and consistency. And the flavor was really good, too! When I re-heat my leftovers I am going to add caramelized onions and mushrooms to add even more flavor.

  16. Sara Nieman

    5 stars
    Such a great recipe! Added the paprika and loved it! Will definitely be making again 🙂

  17. Liz Holman

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! I was skeptical since I’ve tried making vegan cheese dips and Mac and cheese before but wasn’t a fan. I’ve tried your other recipes and they’ve been a hit so I figured I’d give it a try! It was good!!! I don’t like nutritional yeast but still used it and could still smell it but once I tasted the Mac and cheese I didn’t even think about it. So give it a try!!!

  18. Stevie Smith

    5 stars
    This is so easy, creamy and delicious! I added smoked paprika and pickled jalapeños which made it perfectly tangy!

  19. Cecilia Caughman

    Delicious and creamy. Added roasted poblanos!

  20. Leah Jones

    This was incredibly delicious, Mac and cheese is my go to comfort food!!

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.