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Baked Vegan Mac And Cheese

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5 from 1 vote

You will never suspect that this creamy and super cheesy mac and cheese baked with a crispy breadcrumb topping is free of dairy! Serve it as a main or as a side dish. Either way, everyone will be back for seconds.

top side view of white casserole dish with baked mac and cheese, scoop taken out of side and fall leaves in background
This recipe is featured in my cookbook, Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner and Pies – hence the pumpkin and fall decor!

Why This Recipe Works:

  • Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food! There is just something so satisfying about layers of warm, tender pasta snuggled together with rich and creamy cheesy goodness. And adding crunchy breadcrumbs on top takes this classic family-friendly dish to the next level of WOW.
  • My baked vegan mac and cheese recipe is dairy-free and is easy to make gluten free, which means most everyone at the table can enjoy it!
  • It’s simple and quick to make in under an hour. You can even prep this dish ahead of time for a super convenient part of your weekly meal plan, or as a nearly effortless (but impressively tasty!) dish for holiday dinners and special occasions.
  • Main dish, side dish – this oven baked cheesy mac can do it all!

How To Make Baked Vegan Mac And Cheese

  1. First, melt the dairy-free butter in a 3-quart or larger saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk until all the flour is incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
  2. Add the non-dairy milk and broth and whisk until it becomes bubbly. Continue whisking as it boils until the mixture starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Keep in mind, it will thicken quite a bit more after all the remaining ingredients are added.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the nutritional yeast flakes, vegetable bouillon, and paprika. Once combined, whisk in the vegan cheese. 
    Note: You may need to place the pan back over low heat for the cheese to completely melt. It may take several minutes of whisking to become smooth. 
  4. Carefully taste and add more cheese for a cheesier flavor, and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set sauce aside for now.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350°F (approx. 177°C). Grease a 9-x-13-in. (23-x-33-cm) or other 3-quart baking dish with butter and set aside for now. 
  6. Cook the elbow pasta in salted boiling water according to the package directions. Drain well and add the pasta to the pot containing the sauce. Stir well to coat all the macaroni noodles. Add salt to taste.
red pot with cheesy macaroni being stirred by a large metal spoon
  1. Pour the mac and cheese into the prepared baking dish and smooth over the surface. 
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the first six ingredients for the topping. Add the melted butter and stir again. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the surface of the mac and cheese. 
  3. Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until lightly golden brown around the edges. Let the mac and cheese rest at least 5 minutes before serving warm.
top side view of white casserole dish with large metal spoon taking scoop of vegan baked mac and cheese

Looking For More Delicious Dinner Recipes? Then You Have To Try My:

Tips For Making The Best Baked Mac & Cheese

  • If sensitive to salt, use low-sodium vegetable bouillon cubes. You can always add more salt to taste afterward.
  • To make this recipe gluten-free: Use the tapioca starch option instead of the regular all-purpose flour, and use gluten free elbow macaroni noodles. Also, use gluten free breadcrumbs (the panko type, if possible), for the topping.
  • Make-Ahead Tip: Assemble the mac and cheese base 1 day prior to serving by following steps 1 through 7. Let it cool for 15 minutes before covering with plastic wrap and placing in the fridge overnight. The next day, remove the dish from the refrigerator and allow it to warm to room temperature for about 1 hour. Add the topping and bake according to steps 8 and 9. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add broccoli to baked vegan mac and cheese?

Yes, it’s easy to make this a macaroni and cheese with broccoli recipe. To include broccoli, add about 2-3 cups of fresh florets to the pasta when it has 2 minutes left to boil. Then drain with the pasta and continue with the recipe as directed. For frozen broccoli, stir into the cheese sauce right before you combine the sauce with the pasta. (Don’t worry, the broccoli doesn’t need to defrost or cook before the sauce and pasta are combined in the casserole dish.) Bake as directed.

What dishes are great to serve with macaroni and cheese?

Enjoy as a side or main dish with your favorite comfort foods. Mac and cheese is delicious paired with Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts, Easy Roasted Coconut Curry Vegetables, or any sautéed or roasted veggies. We also love to enjoy it with a crunchy and refreshing Vegan Caesar Salad.

How long do leftovers last?

Dairy-free mac and cheese will keep well for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, and up to 3 months in the freezer. Let the dish cool completely before transferring to an airtight container, or cover with plastic wrap. If freezing, the dish should be prepared in an aluminum pan so it can go from freezer to oven safely. I also suggest wrapping the container in a layer of aluminum foil for extra protection.

To reheat from frozen: Allow the dish to thaw at room temperature for at least an hour or overnight in the fridge. Unwrap and reheat in the oven in a 350ºF/177ºC oven for 30 minutes uncovered until piping hot and the topping is crispy.

Did You Try This Recipe? Give It A Star Rating And Let Me Know What You Think In The Comments Below. Your Feedback Is Very Helpful.

baked vegan Mac and cheese

Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese

Your guests will never suspect that this creamy and super cheesy mac and cheese baked with a crispy breadcrumb topping is free of dairy! Serve it as a main or as a side. Either way, everyone will be back for seconds.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, vegan
Keyword: baked macaroni and cheese, dairy free mac and cheese, vegan mac and cheese
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 476kcal

Ingredients

Mac and Cheese Base:

  • ½ c. vegan butter or margarine (113 g), plus more for greasing
  • ¼ c. + 2 Tbsp. 53 g all-purpose flour (53 g), or tapioca starch (48 g) (for gluten free, use tapioca starch)
  • 3 ½ c. unsweetened, unflavored non-dairy milk, such as almond, cashew, or soy (830 ml)
  • ¾ c. low-sodium vegetable broth (177 ml)
  • ¼ c. nutritional yeast flakes (20 g)
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube or 1 tsp. bouillon substitute
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 2 c. shredded vegan cheddar cheese (240 g), plus more to taste
  • ¼ tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  • tsp. black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 16 oz. elbow macaroni noodles (454 g), use the gluten free type, if needed

Topping:

  • ¾ c. Panko breadcrumbs (68 g) (use the gluten free type, if needed)
  • 3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes (15 g)
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ c. vegan butter or margarine, melted (56 g)

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a 3-quart or larger saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour (or starch) and whisk until all flour is incorporated.
  • Add the non-dairy milk and broth and whisk until it becomes bubbly. Continue whisking as it boils until the mixture starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Keep in mind, it will thicken quite a bit more after all the remaining ingredients are added.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the nutritional yeast flakes, vegetable bouillon, and paprika. Once combined, whisk in the vegan cheese. 
Note: You may need to place the pan back over low heat for the cheese to completely melt. It may take several minutes of whisking to become smooth.
  • Carefully taste and add more cheese for a cheesier flavor, and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set sauce aside for now.
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (approx. 177°C). Grease a 9-x-13-in. (23-x-33-cm) or other 3-quart baking dish with butter and set aside for now.
  • Cook the elbow pasta in salted boiling water according to the package directions. Drain well and add the pasta to the pot containing the sauce. Stir well to coat all the macaroni noodles. Add salt to taste.
  • Pour the mac and cheese into the prepared baking dish and smooth over the surface.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the first six ingredients for the topping. Add the melted butter and stir again. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the surface of the mac and cheese.
  • Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until lightly golden brown around the edges. Let the mac and cheese rest at least 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Note: If sensitive to salt, use low-sodium vegetable bouillon cubes. You can always add more salt to taste afterward.
  • For Best Gluten Free Version: Use the tapioca starch option instead of the regular all-purpose flour, and use gluten free elbow macaroni noodles. Use gluten free breadcrumbs (the panko type, if possible), for the topping.
  • Make-Ahead Tip: Assemble the Mac and cheese base 1 day prior to serving by following steps 1 through 7. Let it cool for at least 15 minutes before covering with plastic wrap and placing in the fridge overnight. The next day, remove the dish from the refrigerator and allow it to warm to room temperature for 1 hour. Add the topping and bake according to steps 8 and 9.
  • Dairy-free mac and cheese will keep well for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, and up to 3 months in the freezer. Let the dish cool completely before transferring to an airtight container, or cover with plastic wrap. If freezing, the dish should be prepared in an aluminum pan so it can go from freezer to oven safely… I also suggest wrapping the container in a layer of aluminum foil for extra protection. 

Nutrition

Calories: 476kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 867mg | Potassium: 304mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 572IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 3mg
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