This truly is the BEST Vegan Mac and Cheese ever! Made with just 7 simple ingredients and ready in under 20 minutes. Super creamy, delicious and so easy to make!

vegan mac and cheese in a bowl with a spoonful taken out of it.

My favorite thing about this vegan mac and cheese is how easy and quick it is to throw together. It’s ready in the same time it would take for you to make a box of regular mac and cheese! Really.

But most importantly, it tastes incredible! I wouldn’t care how easy it was to make if it didn’t taste amazing.

This recipe is incredibly creamy, cheesy and just delicious! I didn’t include too many spices, because my kids don’t like that in their mac and cheese. Just cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, a tiny bit of garlic powder and turmeric (for color).

For a nut free vegan mac and cheese, try my Nut Free Vegan Cheese Sauce with noodles. 

bowl of vegan mac and cheese looking down on it.

How do you make vegan mac and cheese?

It’s so easy! First, get your raw cashews soaking. I do this by heating water to a boil in my tea kettle, then pour the hot water over the cashews in a bowl or measuring cup. Let them soak for 5 minutes.

Cook your noodles of choice (gluten free, white or whole wheat, even bean noodles) as directed. Just do not overcook the noodles. Drain them, then add back to the pot.

draining elbow noodles for vegan mac and cheese.

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While the pasta cooks, add the cashews, 1 cup water (not the same water you soaked the cashews in), lemon juice, nutritional yeast, turmeric, garlic powder and salt to a high powered blender such as a Vitamix. Blend for a few minutes until creamy, smooth and no cashew bits remain. Scrape the sides as needed. SEE BELOW FOR FULL AMOUNTS AND INSTRUCTIONS.

Add the sauce to the noodles, stir and serve!

cheese sauce being poured onto noodles for vegan mac and cheese.

What vegetables go well with vegan mac and cheese?

I love mixing some veggies in mac and cheese! My kids prefer peas or broccoli, but I LOVE it with a large serving of kale. What a great way to eat your greens! Some options we enjoy:

  • Green peas -if frozen, simply thaw and stir in
  • 3 Minute Instant Pot Kale
  • Steamed or roasted broccoli
  • Steamed or roasted cauliflower
  • Roasted brussels sprouts

large spoon inside pan of vegan mac and cheese.

Can vegan mac and cheese be frozen?

The sauce itself freezes wonderfully, and is great for freezing, then taking out small portions for single meals or kids lunches. You could even freeze the sauce in an ice cube tray, then transfer the cubes to a freezer bag.

If you want to freeze the pasta + cheese, that is fine but the noodles will be a bit mushier. If you are planning to freeze it, I would undercook the noodles by a few minutes, add the sauce, then freeze in a container. You can reheat the dish on the stovetop from frozen, or bake it in the oven. You could even microwave it if you wanted.

The dish will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

pan with vegan mac and cheese, white background, spoonful being taken out.

Want more vegan pasta dishes?

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vegan mac and cheese in a bowl with a spoonful taken out of it.

The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese

This truly is the BEST Vegan Mac and Cheese ever! Made with just 7 simple ingredients and ready in under 20 minutes. Super creamy, delicious and so easy to make!
5 from 43 votes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large lemon, squeezed for juice (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 12 ounces elbow pasta (use gluten free if needed, or whole grain)

Instructions

  • Soften your cashews by covering them in boiling water for 5 minutes. I do this by heating up water in my tea kettle, and then pouring the boiling water over the cashews in a large glass measuring cup. 
  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions, but do not overcook. 
  • While the pasta is cooking, add the soaked cashews, 1 cup water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, turmeric, garlic powder and salt to a high powered blender and blend until very smooth.
  • When the pasta is done, drain and return it to the pot. Stir in the cheese sauce, and serve!

Notes

  1. The cheese sauce freezes well, so feel free to make extra sauce and freeze some for a super quick meal or kid's lunch option.
  2. I also like to add a vegetable to my vegan mac and cheese. Try thawed peas, roasted or steamed broccoli or cooked kale.
  3. Will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 304kcal, Carbohydrates: 41g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 443mg, Potassium: 309mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 18mg, Iron: 2mg

*This recipe was originally posted in August 2018 and has been updated as of April 2019 with new photos and better instructions. The recipe itself is the same. Thank you!

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