This dairy-free mac and cheese is a family favorite. The creamy, cheesy classic with a buttery breadcrumb topping is vegan comfort food at its finest.
Perfect for Sunday dinner or as a holiday side dish. Bring this to a barbecue or a potluck and get ready for the compliments.
While this recipe is great for holidays, it comes together easily and works well for weekend dinners as well. Serve alongside a vegan meatloaf, sloppy joes or barbecue tempeh. Or make it the main dish and pair with a green salad or steamed broccoli.
Table of Contents
- macaroni - you can go classic with elbow macaroni or use our favorite cavatapi
- vegan butter
- unsweetened plant milk - we like almond milk for a neutral flavor
- spices - garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, salt, pepper, paprika
- nutritional yeast
- shredded vegan cheese - we typically use Violife or Daiya
- bread crumbs - we use panko for extra crispiness, but regular breadcrumbs will work
- spices - dried parsley, paprika, garlic powder, salt
See recipe card for quantities.
Cook pasta according to package directions, but reduce the cooking time by 1-2 minutes so that your pasta is al dente. Drain and then transfer to a 9x13 baking dish along with 1 Tbs of the vegan butter. Stir until butter is melted and the pasta is coated. This will prevent the pasta from sticking together. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large pot, melt vegan butter and then whisk in the flour. Cook this butter/flour mixture for 1-2 minutes until it starts to darken and smell nutty.
Stream in the plant milk and whisk until smooth. Stir in seasonings and nutritional yeast and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes stirring often to avoid scorching.
Stir in the shredded cheese until melted. Then add in the macaroni and mix until coated in cheese sauce.
Pour macaroni and cheese mixture back into the baking dish.
Mix together the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the top of the macaroni.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Hint: For a little extra crunch, broil for 2-3 minutes at the end of the cooking time. Watch this closely so that it doesn't burn.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, they should all work. Just make sure to use unsweetened. However, some milks have a more neutral taste that shouldn't affect the flavor of the dish. Almond or soy milk shouldn't impart a strong flavor to the cheese sauce.
This dish works best when baked in the oven. If you'd prefer this to be a stovetop only recipe, cook the macaroni completely and serve after mixing the macaroni and cheese sauce. It will be extra saucy since some of it reduces and thickens during baking. Skip the topping.
It's a deactivated yeast typically sold in flakes or powder form. It has a cheesy, nutty flavor and is great on popcorn, salads, kale chips, etc. Often referred to as 'nooch' it's usually fortified with vitamins and is used in many vegan recipes.
Here are a few key things to keep in mind for a successful dairy free mac and cheese -
- Make sure to undercook the macaroni so that it doesn't get mushy after baking
- The topping is optional. Skip it if you prefer a simple and minimal mac and cheese.
The dairy free mac and cheese can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days and warmed up in the oven or in the microwave.
This dish doesn't freeze well and is best make fresh.