Made with a simple cashew cream sauce, this vegan mac and cheese is ultra-rich and creamy. While a pot of noodles cooks on the stovetop, make the cashew cheese sauce by blending soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, hot sauce, and vinegar. Combine with the cooked noodles and enjoy!
When the temperature drops below 40ºF in Minnesota, it’s officially comfort food season. We’re talking soups, stews, chilis, and anything with noodles! This vegan mac and cheese always hits the spot on a cool day – it’s creamy, comforting, and quick to make.
If you’re looking for an easy homemade vegan mac and cheese recipe, give this twist on classic mac and cheese a try. Vegan mac and cheese is one of our new favorite recipes and features a vegan cashew cheese sauce made with soaked cashews and nutritional yeast (the secret ingredient). Ever since we made vegan queso, we’ve been experimenting with other cashew cheese sauces!
What is in vegan mac and cheese?
- Hot Sauce + Vinegar
- Nutritional Yeast
“Just had this for dinner, so tasty and cheesy! Fun to make too 🙂 My Cookworks hand blender (UK) was more than up to the job. Thanks for the recipe!” – Caroline
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Vegan Mac and Cheese Variations
Veggies: Mix in your favorite kind of roasted or steamed vegetable. We love adding roasted broccoli, but peas, mushrooms, or red peppers would all be delicious.
Noodles: Any kind of noodle works! Try elbow shells, fusilli, cavatappi, gemelli, or even a gluten free noodle.
Do you have to soak the cashews first?
YES. This step is absolutely necessary – do not skip it. Soaked cashews will blend up into a dreamy creamy consistency. If you don’t soak the cashews, your sauce will be chunky and grainy.
Can you make this vegan mac and cheese without a blender?
You really do need a high speed blender or food processor for the cashew cream sauce. There’s no way to process the cashews into a smooth consistency without it.
Can you make this mac and cheese gluten free?
It’s so easy to make this vegan mac and cheese also gluten free. Use your favorite kind of GF noodle – no other changes needed.
If you have any leftovers, store vegan mac and cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When ready to enjoy, reheat in the microwave. The noodles continue to absorb moisture even after they’re originally cooked, so you may need to add a splash of water to any leftovers.
Freezing Vegan Mac and Cheese
Because this mac is dairy free, it freezes wonderfully! For best results, freeze vegan mac and cheese in individual servings in freezer-safe containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, let thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat in the microwave or oven.
This mac and cheese is oh so delish on its own, but feel free to get creative and add your favorite mac and cheese toppings like:
- Steamed broccoli or roasted broccoli (we love broccoli + mac!)
- Roasted brussels sprouts
- Steamed peas
- Sautéed mushrooms
- Roasted red peppers
- Hot sauce
- Bread crumbs
Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Prepare the cashews for the sauce by soaking them. Place them in a bowl and fill with water until all of the nuts are submerged. Soak them overnight OR in hot water for 15 minutes.
- Make the sauce. Place all of the ingredients (except for the noodles) into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
- Pour the cheese sauce into a large saucepan/pot with the cooked noodles. Mix well and heat over low/medium to warm through, stirring occasionally. Enjoy!
Tips & Notes
- Storage: Store vegan mac and cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When ready to enjoy, reheat in the microwave. The noodles continue to absorb moisture even after they’re originally cooked, so you may need to add a splash of water to any leftovers.
- Freezing Instructions: For best results, freeze vegan mac and cheese in individual servings in freezer-safe containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, let thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat in the microwave or oven.
- Cashews: Soaking the cashews is essential to recipe success – this step ensures a creamy consistency for the cashew cream sauce (prevents a grainy/chunky sauce).