Featuring a homemade buffalo cheese sauce and meaty vegan chicken, this Buffalo Mac and Cheese recipe takes regular mac and cheese to a whole new level! Easy to make on the stove or in the oven and ready in about 30 minutes.

For more irresistible vegan mac and cheese recipes, check out my Dairy Free Mac and Cheese, Vegan Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese, and Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese recipes while you’re here!

Vegan Buffalo Mac and Cheese topped with white vegan ranch and hot sauce in a beige bowl.

I love a creamy, comforting batch of classic macaroni and cheese but nothing beats this epic and kid-approved Vegan Buffalo Mac and Cheese! The boldness of vegan buffalo cauliflower wings meets classic vegan mac and cheese to make this crazy delicious meal so creamy with just the right amount of heat. It’s going to blow your mind!

For another fabulous game day recipe, check out my Vegan Buffalo Chicken Dip.

Why you’ll love this vegan buffalo chicken mac & cheese

  • Upgraded mac and cheese – My kids and I LOVE regular mac and cheese but this bold and delicious upgraded version is so much more exciting! The flavors are incredible.
  • Chik’n in every bite – Buffalo sauce and chicken are great together, so I used chewy and meaty soy curls as a vegan chicken substitute in the mac and cheese. You can also use my seitan Vegan Chicken or store-bought vegan chicken strips. Or chickpeas!
  • Stove top and baking instructions – Do you like a crunchy, golden breadcrumb topping? Turn this into a pasta bake! When you want mac and cheese in a hurry, stick to the simple stovetop instructions. Both methods are foolproof and always result in tasty buffalo mac and cheese.
using a wooden spoon to remove a scoop of Vegan Buffalo Mac and Cheese from a large white casserole dish.

How to make buffalo mac and cheese

Make the buffalo cheese sauce by blending the soaked cashews, water, buffalo sauce, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt together in a high-powered blender until smooth. Set aside.

creamy orange vegan buffalo cheese sauce in a blender.

Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, rehydrate the soy curls by soaking them in warm vegetable broth. Set aside for 10 minutes or until they’ve doubled in size and are soft.

Multitask to save time! Soak the cashews overnight, then cook the pasta and make the cashew cheese sauce while you wait for the soy curls to rehydrate.

Squeeze the excess liquid from the soy curls, then add them to the blender with the cheese sauce. Pulse a few times until they’re broken down into small pieces (you can skip this part for bigger “chicken” pieces).

To make it on the stovetop – Mix the drained pasta, cheese sauce, soy curls, and ranch dressing together in a large pot. Heat over low heat until it’s warmed through and the sauce has thickened. Serve in bowls with a drizzle of ranch and hot sauce on top and enjoy!

To make it in the oven – Stir the breadcrumbs and melted vegan butter together in a small bowl. Pour the drained pasta into a prepared casserole dish along with the buffalo cheese sauce, shredded cheese, and optional ranch dressing. Stir well, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and bake until bubbly. Enjoy!

assembling the ingredients for Vegan Buffalo Mac and Cheese in a large white casserole dish.
baked vegan buffalo mac and cheese topped with drizzles of white vegan ranch and red hot sauce.

Frequently asked questions

What kind of buffalo sauce can I use?

Use your favorite vegan brand of buffalo sauce. Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce is a popular choice and is vegan-friendly since it’s made with natural butter type flavor and not real butter. You can also heat red sauce with 1 tablespoon of vegan butter to make your own vegan buffalo sauce.

Is buffalo mac and cheese spicy?

The buffalo sauce does pack a punch but the creamy mac and cheese won’t overwhelm your mouth with heat. If you don’t like spicy food, reduce the amount of buffalo sauce to ¼ cup.

Where can I buy soy curls?

Soy curls are made by Butler Foods, which sells them in grocery stores and health food stores throughout North America. They’re pretty easy to find here in the Pacific Northwest but if you can’t find them, you can order them on Amazon or directly from the Butler Foods website.

What can I use instead of cashews?

Usually, my vegan cheese sauce recipes, like my Cashew Cheese Sauce and Nacho Cheese Sauce, work just as well with blanched slivered almonds instead of cashews. I haven’t tested this recipe with them, though.

Nut allergy? Use my Nut Free Vegan Cheese Sauce instead! Omit the onion and garlic powder, paprika, and cornstarch from the recipe, and add ½ cup of buffalo sauce.

Can I make the buffalo cheese sauce ahead of time?

Sure! Make the cheese sauce (without the soy curls) and store it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for about 2 months. Let it thaw in the fridge before reheating and stirring it in a fresh batch of cooked pasta and rehydrated soy curls.

How do you store the leftovers?

The leftover mac and cheese will last for 3 to 4 days in a sealed container in the fridge. I don’t recommend freezing the pasta and sauce because the texture can become thick and mushy.

close up on Vegan Buffalo Mac and Cheese topped with white vegan ranch and hot sauce in a beige bowl.
Vegan Buffalo Mac and Cheese topped with white vegan ranch and hot sauce in a beige bowl.
5 stars (4 ratings)

Vegan Buffalo Mac and Cheese

Featuring a homemade buffalo cheese sauce and meaty vegan chicken, this Buffalo Mac and Cheese recipe takes regular mac and cheese to a whole new level! Easy to make on the stove or in the oven and ready in about 30 minutes.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients 
 

Buffalo Cheese Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup buffalo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

The Rest

  • 12 ounces small shaped pasta
  • 1 cup soy curls
  • 2 cups warm vegetable broth
  • 7 ounces vegan shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup vegan ranch plus more for serving

Optional breadcrumb topping

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven and prep – If planning on baking it with the breadcrumb topping, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease a 9×13 inch casserole dish.
  • Soak the cashews – Heat up about 3 cups of water in a tea kettle or small pot. Pour the boiling hot water over the cashews and let them soak for 5 minutes.
  • Blend cheese sauce – Drain the soaked cashews and discard the soaking water. Add the cashews, fresh water, buffalo sauce, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and salt to a high powered blender and blend until very smooth. Keep sauce in the blender and set aside.
  • Cook pasta – Cook the pasta according to package instructions, but do not overcook. Drain and set aside.
  • Prepare soy curls – In a large bowl, add the dehydrated soy curls, then cover with warm vegetable broth. Let them rehydrate for about 10 minutes until they have grown in size and softened. Drain in a colander and squeeze any excess water from the pieces. Add the soy curls to the blender with the cheese sauce and pulse a few times to break them down into smaller pieces. Do not blend them in though! You can also leave them larger, if desired, but I prefer to break them down a bit.
  • Mix pasta and cheese sauce for stovetop version – Add the drained pasta back to the pot it cooked in, along with the cheese sauce/soy curls. Mix well over low heat until warm and the sauce thickens a little bit. Stir in the vegan ranch, if using.
  • For the baked version – Mix the breadcrumbs and melted vegan butter in a small bowl. Add the drained pasta to the casserole dish, along with the buffalo cheese sauce, shredded cheese and optional ranch. Stir well in the dish, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until bubbly and hot but not too thick and dry.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes

  1. For nut free, you can try using sunflower seeds instead of cashews. Or use my nut free vegan cheese sauce. And make sure you use a nut free brand of vegan cheese shreds. 
  2. You could substitute chickpeas or vegan chicken pieces for soy curls.
  3. For gluten free, substitute gluten free pasta and breadcrumbs.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 12 servings | Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 758mg | Potassium: 214mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 128IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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Comments

    1. Buffalo sauce is a hot sauce that comes from Buffalo, New York. It’s essentially a cayenne pepper sauce. The brand is Frank’s RedHot. If you’re in the U.S. you can buy it at any grocery store. Otherwise, I’m not totally sure.

  1. I’m pre-rating this 5 stars! I know it will be outstanding. I don’t use a lot of vegan cheese products. Which brand of cheddar shreds do you recommend? Thanks so much!

  2. What amount of chickpeas would you use in place of the 1 cup soy curls? Since I know the soy curls increase in size when they’re hydrated. 2 cups chickpeas?

    1. I’ve used 1 can of chickpeas, which is about 1 1/2 cups. You can use 2 cups though, or a little more. It’s pretty forgiving.

  3. Wow, this is pretty freaking amazing! It packs a kick but it’s not too spicy to eat. I wonder how it would be with some celery whirred up in the sauce mix? I may try that next time, or maybe celery salt instead of regular salt.

    1. I’m so glad you love the recipe, Jackie! It’s always fun to experiment with new spices and flavors. I bet it would be delicious! Let me know! Thanks for taking time to share your awesome review!

  4. So excited to make this! I was wondering though, do I also pulse the chickpeas in the cheese sauce? I don’t plan to use soy curls.

    1. You can, yes, or leave them whole. I’d probably leave them whole, or just barely pulse in a blender. You don’t want them to blend into the sauce completely. Hope you love it!

  5. Dear Nora’
    I am new to vegan cooking. Is there a substitute to using cashews? We have food allergies to cashews, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, and pistachios. Almonds, pignolis and seeds are fine for us to eat.
    Also, I have never bought soy curls…is there a brand that you prefer to use?
    I have enjoyed many of your recipes so far…
    Thank you for such tasty food!

    1. The only brand of soy curls is Butler, and I either order them on Amazon or get them at my local store that carries them. They’re great to have around! You can use raw slivered almonds in place of the cashews, that is probably the best substitute here. I hope you enjoy this recipe and I’m so happy to hear you’ve enjoyed some of my other recipes, thank you!

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