Dear mac and cheese lovers of the world,
It’s my pleasure to introduce you to this wonderfully creamy, silky, and buttery mac and cheese that is totally vegan and most importantly, totally delicious.
This is such a fun and supremely yummy recipe – I love it so much.
Some vegan mac and cheeses involve boiling and pureeing sauces.
Some use nuts to create the creaminess.
But this one has no blending, no nuts, and comes together in a very Easy Mac type of way: a “cheeze” powder whisked into the plant milk of your choice to create a silky cheese sauce, poured over macaroni noodles, and mixed all together with a knob of vegan butter.
VOILA. First lunch, second lunch, after-school snack, midnight noodle craving… it checks all the standard mac and cheese boxes.
What Is Vegan Mac and Cheese Made Of?
Here’s our very short ingredient list:
- Nutritional yeast
- Some spices for flavor and color – like onion powder, garlic powder, turmeric, and paprika
- Non-dairy milk of choice – I like soy milk or oat milk
- Vegan butter to make it extra luxe
All the dry stuff is going to make an Easy Mac-style cheeze powder which looks like this:
AND HOLY BUCKETS LOOK AT WHAT IT BECOMES.
A creamy, luscious sauce that coats every nook and cranny of your macaroni noodles and brings you to the mountaintop of the macaroni and cheese experience with minimal time, minimal effort, and maximal delight.
What Does It Taste Like?
All vegan mac and cheese has its own flavor based on what you use for the sauce, but this one is pretty straightforward.
Texture-wise, it’s super, super similar to just a regular box of mac and cheese, which is just a wonderful gift from the mac and cheese angels
Flavor-wise, the nutritional yeast drives the bus with a nutty, umami-ish, salty cheeze vibe, and the taste of the sauce will vary slightly with the type of milk you use. But the best news of all is that I find that this truly tastes buttery in the best way with the addition of a little knob of vegan butter melted in at the end.
Obviously we are no strangers to true cheesy goodness combined with noodles over here at Pinch of Yum (see here, here, and here), and I personally eat mostly everything, including real cheese, but I love having a good plant-based option in my back pocket and this one is just glorious.
Vegan Mac and Cheese: FAQs
Cashew milk is a great option and is highly recommended if you can find one that isn’t too watery! Almond milk was pretty good, oat milk was great, and soy milk is great if you can find one with no flavor – we had a batch that was supposedly “unsweetened” and “unflavored” but definitely tasted like vanilla, so you’ll want to look for a milk with as neutral of a flavor as possible.
Yes and it turns out great! Check out the notes for how to do this at the bottom of the recipe card.
Just store it at room temp in an airtight container.
Prefer To Watch Instead Of Read?
Source Notes: I got this idea from The School Night Vegan blog! I had literally never heard of anyone making vegan mac and cheese by making a dry cheeze powder until I came across his blog post. It’s such a smart idea! His cheeze powder used a few ingredients that I don’t normally stock, so I just made it a little more pantry-friendly for what I normally have on hand. But the cheeze powder method is his genius idea – and he has a super fun website with lots of vegan recipes that is worth some perusing if you like plant-based recipes!
Truly incredible Vegan Mac and Cheese is ready for you! Silky cheese sauce, made with plant milk and nutritional yeast, is poured over macaroni noodles and comes together with creamy plant butter. It’s luscious!
The “Cheese” Powder:
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 6 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric and paprika (for color)
- 1/2 box elbow macaroni pasta
- 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (unsweetened almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk are my favorites)
- 3 tablespoons non-dairy butter
- teensy squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
- “Cheese” powder: Blend all cheese powder ingredients until you get a fine powder, about 30 seconds. Store this powder in a jar and this will be enough powder to make 3-4 future batches of vegan mac and cheese for ya!
- Noodles: Cook macaroni according to package directions.
- “Cheese” Sauce Magic: Pour milk + 3 tablespoons powder into a small saucepan. Whisk thoroughly and gently bring to a slow simmer until you are looking at a creamy, “cheesy” sauce.
- Finish and Delight: Combine cheese sauce and cooked macaroni. Stir in your knob of butter. Finish to taste – I like just a tiny squeeze of lemon juice (not enough to taste like lemon, but just enough to wake the whole thing up), plus some freshly cracked black pepper. So creamy, so “cheesy”, so yum.
Instant Pot instructions: Add macaroni, 1 1/2 cups of water, and a pinch of salt to the Instant Pot. Cook for 3 minutes on high pressure. Use the Quick Release function to release the steam. Uncover and add in 1/2 cup non-dairy milk, 3 tablespoons of “cheese” powder, non-dairy butter, and stir. If the macaroni seems too liquidy, let the macaroni cook for a minute on the Sauté function until it begins to boil. Press cancel and give it a good stir. The macaroni will thicken as it sits. If the macaroni needs more milk, add in 1/4 cup at a time.
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: vegan mac and cheese, vegan pasta, vegan cheese