March 5, 2021

Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese

Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese! Creamy, cheesy vegan mac and cheese topped with breadcrumbs and baked until golden brown and delicious.
Serves 8-10

A must-try baked vegan mac and cheese! A fantastic non-dairy casserole for new moms, families or anyone who wants cheesy vegan mac and cheese with a breadcrumb crust.
First posted in 2013, updated 2021.
Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese

Cheesy baked mac and cheese without the cheese! It’s still delicious, I promise. I remember the first time I tried vegan mac and cheese– I was not impressed. I grew up in Virginia, OK? I know what good, southern-style mac and cheese should taste like and that sorry excuse for a mac and cheese that I had was absolutely not it. 

And then I tried sweet potato mac and cheese, and I loved it a lot more. Perhaps it was the word play? Or the fact that I could appreciate the fact that it wasn’t trying to replicate cheddar-style mac and cheese. It was just pasta in a creamy sweet potato based sauce and I loved it for what it was. 

I love this baked vegan mac and cheese but I’m not going to convince you that it’s mac and cheese. It’s not. It’s a creamy, completely dairy-free sauce with elbow noodles and baked with a herby breadcrumb topping. It’s fantastic pasta and it just happens to be mac-and-cheese like. 

baked vegan mac and cheese

I first published this recipe back in 2013, back when I did a lot of experimenting with vegan eats and was completely blown away that you could make a cheese sauce out of nuts and nutritional yeast. Like, what is this sorcery?

Over the years, I’ve refined this recipe and added in a few spices that I think take it over the top. Isa constantly reminds me that chipotle powder is a secret weapon in any mac and cheese sauce and I love the way smoky paprika makes vegan mac and cheese sing.

Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese

Ingredients you’ll need for Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese

  • Pasta! I’m partial to old school elbows, but any small pasta or small shell will work. 
  • Cashews. That’s what gives this mac and cheese body and creamy texture; I find the best price for raw cashews is at Trader Joe’s. No need to splurge on whole cashews as you’re blending them anyways; grab the pieces. 
  • Nutritional Yeast! There’s a lot of yeast in this recipe, which means brands matter. If you think you don’t like nutritional yeast, try another brand and see if that makes a difference. I recently discovered Druid’s Grove nutritional yeast and was blown away by how parmesan cheesy it tastes and smells. 
  • Almond milk, or any other unflavored non-dairy milk.
  • Spices, especially smoked paprika and chipotle powder to give a smoky cheddar-like taste. If you can’t find chipotle powder, sub in more smoked paprika. 
  • Panko, or regular breadcrumbs for mixing on top. For an extra-buttery flakiness, melt butter and mix with breadcrumbs and a little Italian seasoning, then cover liberally over the mac. 

Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese

How to make baked vegan mac and cheese:

First, you’ll make the cheese sauce. Throw everything into a blender and puree until very creamy and smooth. Depending on the strength of you blender, you may need to stop and scrape down the sauce as it blends; it may take a few minutes. 

Toss with cooked small noodles of choice, then pour into a greased casserole dish. You’ll have more cheese sauce than you think you need and that’s because the noodles will absorb sauce as they bake. 

Cover in toasted breadcrumbs mixed with a little melted butter and Italian seasoning, then tent with foil and bake for 10 minutes, then uncover and brown for an additional 5. 

Can I enjoy this baked vegan mac and cheese without baking it?

Of course! You’ll have a little more cheese sauce than you need as you want to keep it as creamy as possible as it bakes. However, if you prefer stove-top mac and cheese or don’t have the extra time then it’s still delicious without baking it. 

Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese

Hope you love this vegan mac and cheese as much as we do! If you try it, come back and leave a comment and rate it. Your feedback helps other readers and seeing you make my recipes makes my day!

More Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipes:

Print
Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese

Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
  • Category: vegan, casserole
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: American, Southern
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese! Creamy, cheesy vegan mac and cheese topped with breadcrumbs and baked until golden brown and delicious. A fantastic non-dairy casserole for new moms and families!


  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
  • Category: vegan, casserole
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: American, Southern
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
  • Category: vegan, casserole
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: American, Southern
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (16 ounces) elbow noodles, or other short noodles
  • 2 cups raw unsalted cashews*
  • 3 cups unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
    1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon melted vegan butter
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until just al dente, then set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, place the cashews, milk, yeast, spices and mustard in the base of a blender and puree until very creamy and smooth. Depending on the power of your blender, this may take a few minutes. Taste, adding more salt/pepper as desired.
  4. Toss the hot cooked pasta with sauce until well coated, then place in a greased 9×12 casserole dish.
  5. Mix together the breadcrumbs with the butter and seasoning, coating the breadcrumbs as much as possible with the herbs and butter. Cover the noodles, then lightly tent with foil and bake for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and bake another 5 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Remove and let cool slightly, then scoop and enjoy!

Notes

*I’m so lazy and rarely soak my cashews but my blender is strong and can handle it. If yours can’t, then I recommend soaking cashews for at least 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can soak the cashews with boiling water for 10 minutes or so, then drain.

did you make this?

Tag @delishknowledge on Instagram and hashtag it #delishknowledge

The Ultimate Plant-Based Protein Cookbook + Course

(Includes 40+ recipes!)

FREE 7-DAY COURSE + COOKBOOK

Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

one comment
LEAVE A COMMENT

leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. will be making this soon i love mac and cheese sooooooooooo much will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks ramya