They say that one of the hardest things for folks to give up when going vegan is cheese. I can definitely see why! Before making the switch, I probably ate cheese 5-6 times a week. Most likely more! One of my favorite things to eat has always been mac and cheese.
After going vegan, this was definitely a challenge for me. I’d tried a few vegan versions, but nothing ever tasted close to the real thing. Good vegan mac and cheese is hard to come by. Lucky for you, I’ve got an Easy Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe that delivers!
How to Make Easy Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese
Making this Easy Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese is really simple. With just a few ingredients, you’ve got yourself a tasty side that’s ready in no time! Like any vegan mac and cheese recipe, you’ll want to start by boiling the noodles.
Once those are finished, you’ll drain the water, then coat them in a tablespoon of butter. The butter will not only add flavor to your mac and cheese, but it will also help keep the noodles from sticking together while you’re preparing the “cheese sauce.”
Choosing the type of vegan cheese to use is totally up to you, so choose your favorite! Lately I’ve been enjoying the new vegan cheese from Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value brand. It’s less expensive than most other brands ($3.99) and gets the job done!
As for other national brands, I also enjoy Violife and Chao (Field Roast). I used a pretty moderate amount of cheese for this recipe (2 cups/ 1 package).
However, if you want to go all out, you could opt to use even more for EXTRA cheesiness! I tried using 4 cups and that seemed a little OD, so I think I’ll stop at 3 next time. 🙂
Tips for making this Easy Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese
Because this is I know you’ll love this Easy Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese such a savory dish, it’s important that the plant milk you use is unsweetened. I used my old faithful almond milk, but as long as your milk is unsweetened, I’m sure that soy milk and others would work fine here too.
If you’re thinking about getting creative, and adding in some nutritional yeast… DON’T! It’s gross and tastes soooo inauthentic.
Trust me, I’m speaking from experience! I think this is where a lot of people go wrong when making vegan mac and cheese. It seems like the perfect addition because nutritional yeast is known for adding a nice “cheesy” flavor. Welp, it doesn’t work here.
You might also be tempted to add a little extra vegan cheese to the top before putting the dish in the oven. I’d advise against this too. When I tried this, it left a lightly crispy cheese layer on the top.
If you reaaaally want to do a top layer of cheese, I think covering the dish with aluminum foil might help. My experience could have also been due to the brand of cheese I used. Some perform differently than others.
I’ve tried a lot of different versions of vegan mac and cheese and this is by far one of my favorites. I served this as part of my vegan Thanksgiving dinner spread and both my husband and dad really enjoyed it!
Believe it or not, my husband even went back for seconds. SHOCKING! I look forward to trying this I know you’ll love this Easy Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese in different variations. I’m thinking a white cheddar version next… Or maybe even a combination of different vegan cheeses.
How to Store Vegan Mac and Cheese:
- Can you freeze vegan mac and cheese? The short answer is yes. However, I prefer fresh or refrigerated. When frozen, the vegan cheese mixture separates and when it’s reheated it doesn’t really come back together like you might want.
- How long will vegan mac and cheese last in the fridge? Store this in an air-tight container in your fridge for up to 3-4 days.
What to Pair with this Easy Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe:
I’ve got LOTS of ideas for you to make this into a complete meal! I’m a southern girl at heart and I love some good ol’ vegan comfort food. Here are some of my recommendations on what to pair with this Easy Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese:
- Easy Vegan Collard Greens
- Vegan Jackfruit Crab Cakes
- Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins
- Easy Whipped Sweet Potatoes
- Black Eyed Pea Fritters
- Chicken Fried Cauliflower
- Easy Vegan Cornbread
- Cranberry Sauce
I know you’ll love this Easy Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe! It’s thick and creamy, plus it’s super reminiscent of the real thing! Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments below!
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Easy Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese
- 1½ cups elbow macaroni noodles
- 1 dollop of olive oil
- 2-3 cups vegan cheddar cheese (I used Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value brand, but you can use whatever brand you enjoy most)
- 3 tbsp vegan butter separated
- 1 pinch of salt
- black pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1½ cups unsweetened almond milk
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Cook the macaroni noodles according to the package instructions with a dollop of olive oil.
- Once noodles are done cooking, drain the noodles (do not rinse) using a colander, then coat with 1 tbsp of vegan butter. Set aside.
- In a medium sized pot, melt 2 tbsp vegan butter over low-medium heat. Add in salt and pepper to taste and smoked paprika.
- Slowly whisk the flour into the mixture until smooth, then add in the unsweetened almond milk. Bring to a boil then stir in the vegan cheddar cheese until melted.
- Combine the mixture with the pasta and place in an appropriately sized baking dish (I used an 8×8).
- Transfer the dish to the oven and bake for about 30 minutes.
- Once finished baking, let cool for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!
I’m so intrigued with this vegan cheese you’ve recommended. I’m going to swing by Whole Foods tomorrow to pick some up.
This is my first time hearing that WF has their own brand of vegan cheese! Thanks for advising us about the possible pitfalls and giving some best practices for this recipe. My husband has been thinking about transitioning into veganism so this will definitely be on my to-make list.
This looks delicious! What is you recommended brand of vegan cheddar cheese to use for this recipe?
I would agree and say cheese would be hard to give up but your recipe looks amazing!!! Saving it for my Vegan Foodies!!!
I actually quite love vegan mac and cheese, even tho I’m not vegan. I never tried making it at home tho, but this beautiful recipe makes me want to try!!!
Yess! Give it a try and let me know what you think! 🙂
This mac and cheese looks delicious! I love Chao Tomato Cayenne, it makes the best grilled cheese. I will have to look for the Whole Foods cheese next time. I agree, cheese is the hardest thing to give up.
Agreed! Chao makes amazing vegan cheese!!
I know my daughters will love this twist to Mac and cheese as it’s their favorite. This is going into my list of recipes to make for the holidays.
I’m obsessed about how creamy and delicious this looks! YUMMY!
Yum! This looks too good to be vegan–wow.
I have vegan Mac n cheese once and it was really good. But i would t know where to start with making it. Def gonna give this a try
This was soooo good and creamy. Most vegan mac and cheese recipes are pretty complicated, but this was easy to put together and very satisfying.
Hey Jessica! I’m so glad you liked it! 🙂
This recipe is a great switch from nooch based sauces! I used the “good planet” brand cheddar and it came out delicious!
Thanks Amber! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
Made this Mac and cheese tonight and all four kids went crazy over it! I am so loving learning how to make vegan recipes.
I forgot to leave my stars! I would give this ten if I could.
Tracy, I’m soooo glad you and the kiddos enjoyed it! Thanks for giving it a try!
Just made this and… it’s DELICIOUS!! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Would totally make again! Great tips, suggestions and so easy to make, all with ingredients I had on hand. Can’t wait to try more recipes! 👍💚
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This was such an easy recipe to follow and out came out so good. My not so picky ass husband loved it too 😆!
HAHA! Love it! Thanks for trying it Chante!
Greetings, what WF vegan cheese flavor/type do you recommend for this recipe?
Hi Rochell, you’ll want to find vegan cheddar shreds.
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This is hands down the best vegan mac n cheese I’ve ever made. Kudos to you Desirée!
Can you sub all purpose flour with almond flour for this recipe?
Hey Chelli, I haven’t tried it personally so I can’t say for sure. If you do, please come back and let us know how it went!
Is it possible to make this recipe up until the baking part a day ahead, and then bring to room temp and bake day of Thanksgiving? Would that ruin the sauce?
Hey Elizabeth, I haven’t tried it personally but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work! You can actually skip the baking part all together if you prefer. Totally up to you! If you try it please come back and share how it went!
Have this in the oven now… have made it many times and it’s delicious!!
I made this using Violife cheddar and it was delicious… even better the second day!!
Y’all. My search for the best, EASY vegan mac and cheese recipe is over! While chowing down on this, my omni friend exclaimed, “I don’t know how people can bash on vegan food with this mac and cheese exists” and I was so proud! Desirée has done it again! I used the cutting board Daiya mozzarella and cheddar blend shreds and they worked perfectly. I also added a bread crumb topping before baking. Do yourselves a favor and make this mac!!!! You won’t regret it.
Best mac ever!
Recipe is perfection !
Super good! Added some breadcrumbs on half the top (1/2 the household likes) and both sides came out great! Easy and yummy.
I made this (along with chickpea cutlets and your awesome mashed potatoes) for Thanksgiving and it was a HIT! So delicious! I used Kite Hill butter (my current favorite) and Violife cheddar, and skipped baking in favor of creamy stove top style. Even the non-vegan went back for seconds and staked out leftover claims. Thank you!
I used Violife Cheese but the kept everything else the same. It was delicious and two non-vegans tried it and said it was good. Definitely is going to be my go-to recipe for Mac n cheese
I made this today, and there is less than half left now! So delicious, and seriously so easy to make! I used Violife cheese (what I had on hand and also one of my favorite vegan cheeses), and it was creamy and addictive. Honestly the best vegan Mac and cheese I’ve had, and way better and just as easy as premade or box!
Listen when I tell you that this recipe has forever changed my life. You were so so so right about omitting the nutritional yeast. It makes the mac n cheese taste sooooo much more authentic. Thank you so much for this!!!!
This looks amazing! I tried out two different vegan mac and cheese recipes for Thanksgiving. Both used nutritional yeast, and you’re absolutely right – that ain’t it for mac and cheese. Can’t wait to give your recipe a try!
Thanks Linda! Lmk how it goes when you do! 🙂
I made it last night and it was really good. Now I can rock with this! Thank you so much for the recipe!
I made it last night and it was really good. Now I can rock with this! Thank you so much for the recipe!
This is great! I used Violife just like Cheddar and it turned out perfect. Great method just for a cheesy sauce for nachos or anything else as well! Thanks so much for the great recipe and method!
This is the best vegan mac and cheese I’ve ever had. I fed it to some skeptical non-vegans and they loved it.
Loved it! Ive eaten mac and cheese all my life and was so happy to find a vegan recipe that tastes just as good! My family was super impressed! I cant wait to make it again for the holidays 🙂
I recommend this recipe to all my dairy free/vegan friends. It is so easy to make and is the best mac and cheese recipe I have tired.
We made this for the first time last Thanksgiving and it’s AMAZING! It’s what we now bring to every holiday get together! Super easy, so so delicious, and vegans and non-vegans alike will love it.
I’ve made so many vegan mac n cheese recipes. This is the BEST. I used 2 cups of Miyoko’s cheddar cheese and a cup of Violife Colby Jack and OMG so good! It’s not even “good for being vegan” it’s just GOOD, PERIOD! Got your greens recipe going and some cornbread.
Hello, I have a quick question.
When I make Mac n cheese I usually sprinkle bread crumbs on it before baking. Have you ever tried this with this recipe
Hey Lisa, I haven’t tried it personally (just my preference), but I’m sure it would be great!
My son and fiance are allergic to cow protein, so we can’t eat beef or dairy. This recipe is so much simpler than others I’ve found and is saving the day (and my wallet). Thank you for posting!
You’re so welcome! If you like this one, you’ll LOVE this version! https://www.icanyoucanvegan.com/easy-4-cheese-vegan-baked-mac-and-cheese/