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Macaroni and cheese was always one of my favorite meals as a kid. Whether it was the homemade or boxed, elbow pasta or limited edition character shaped, when it was mac and cheese night I knew it was going to be a good day. After adopting a plant-based diet I searched high and low for a similar version of this dish. This recipe has proved to be a cheap, easy way to achieve that same satisfying and filling dinner I had when I was a kid.

I try to incorporate nutritional yeast in many of my dishes whether it be for a little extra cheesy flavor on top of some veggies or to create recipes that mimic my old favorites like “cheesy” stuffed shells or this super creamy mac! I used penne for this recipe, but using shells and elbows provides an even more classic mac and cheese experience. Or, on the flip side –  pour the plant-based cheesy drizzle over some quinoa for a protein-packed twist!

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Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese

5 from 62 votes
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 21 minutes
Total: 46 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8
Make an irresistible classic vegan baked mac and cheese that’s creamy, 'cheesy', & comforting – topped with crispy breadcrumbs + 100% nut-free, soy-free, and dairy-free!


  • 1 (1-pound) package of macaroni (or your favorite pasta)
  • ½ cup of vegan butter
  • ½ of a medium yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup of all-purpose flour
  • 3 ½ cups of hot pasta water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • 1 cup of nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of red chili flakes (optional)
  • ½ cup of bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon of paprika


  • Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain the cooked pasta over a bowl so that you save the water and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large pot, melt vegan butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute until they become translucent, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and mix until it thickens and becomes a roux. Whisk roux continuously for 3-5 minutes.
  • Whisk the pasta water into the roux. Add salt, soy sauce, garlic, turmeric, nutritional yeast, pepper, and chili flakes (if using), and stir until the sauce thickens.
  • Stir the cooked pasta into the vegan cheese sauce. Transfer the 'cheesy' pasta into a 9×13-inch casserole dish, add an even layer of bread crumbs, and sprinkle with paprika.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Turn the oven heat to broil, and broil for 1 minute.


  • Cook pasta al dente: It will continue to cook when baked, so this ensures it doesn’t become overly mushy.
  • Save the pasta water: This makes up the base of our vegan cheese sauce.
  • Use the right pasta: Macaroni is traditional, but you can use other shapes – just make sure they’re ones that hold/cling to sauces well (i.e., with lots of ridges or curves) for the best vegan baked mac n cheese.
  • Tweak the flavors: Taste the sauce before adding the pasta, and adjust any of the seasonings (or nutritional yeast) to your liking.


Calories: 520kcalCarbohydrates: 76gProtein: 17gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 3gSodium: 913mgPotassium: 395mgFiber: 5gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 133IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 3mg

Disclaimer: Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Lauren Bossi
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Method: Stovetop
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂

Lauren Bossi

My name is Lauren Bossi; I run Track & Field at the University of Hartford in CT. I’ve got a passion for running and plant-based eats. When I’m not wandering around the aisles of the grocery store I enjoy cooking, baking, photography, pun-writing and tag-saling.

More about Lauren Bossi

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    wow these vegan mac and cheese really hits the spot. it is so satisfying and easy to make. Everyone loves them!