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Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese – the epitome of comfort food! Loaded with rich, cheesy and buttery goodness that'll have you coming back for seconds. It's perfect for weeknight meals or holiday entertaining.
Tender macaroni that's smothered in a cheesy sauce, topped with buttery breadcrumbs and baked to golden perfection - it just doesn't get any better! This Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese will win everyone over.
Even my son goes crazy for this cheesy meal and he's my toughest critic. This is his most popular request along with my Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto and Vegan Crab Cakes (he calls them Krabby Patties).
This comforting classic will bring everyone together at the table (vegans and non-vegans alike) so it's perfect for the holidays. It's cozy, satisfying and a real crowd-pleaser!
Ingredients Needed For Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese
The sauce has a base of cashews, soy milk, and vegetable broth that make it ultra-creamy, rich and savory. It's similar to my Vegan Mac n Cheese recipe, but without the potatoes and carrots. To get the cheesy color and flavor, I used pimientos, paprika, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and nutritional yeast. It's divine!
How to make it
- STEP 1 - Cook macaroni until al dente. Rinse with cool water and drizzle with olive oil (not pictured).
- STEP 2 - Combine the melted butter and breadcrumbs and set aside.
- STEP 3 - To a High-Speed Blender, add all the vegan cheese sauce ingredients and blend until creamy and smooth.
NOTE: This is going to seem like A LOT of sauce, but trust me, it will create the creamiest Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese, EVER!
- STEP 4 - Sauté the minced garlic in vegan butter until lightly brown.
- STEP 5 - Now pour in that magical vegan cheese sauce!
- STEP 6 - Cook the cheese sauce until it thickens up and becomes slightly stretchy.
- STEP 7 - Add the cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce and combine well.
- STEP 8 - Pour the cheesy macaroni into your casserole dish and sprinkle with the buttered breadcrumbs. Bake until heated throughout and the breadcrumbs are golden.
- Optional: You can broil the top for 2-3 minutes to make it super crispy, just watch very carefully so it doesn't burn.
Can I make it gluten-free?
Just make the recipe as directed, but skip the breadcrumbs and baking part and store it covered in the fridge for a few days. When ready to bake, add the buttered breadcrumbs and bake as directed, but cover it with foil for the first 10-15 minutes and increase the baking time if needed. If the macaroni seems dry before the breadcrumbs are added, you can add a few pats of vegan butter and a splash of veggie broth and non-dairy milk to moisten it up.
Can I freeze it?
YES! It freezes well for 3-5 months! Just make sure your macaroni is cooked al dente or it will get mushy when baking. Prepare as directed, but don't bake it. Just let it cool and then add the buttered breadcrumbs right before freezing. Cover tightly to prevent freezer burn.
To cook the frozen mac, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover baking dish with foil and cook until hot and bubbly (about 60 minutes). Remove foil the last 10-15 minutes to crisp up the top.
How long will leftovers last?
You can keep leftovers covered in the fridge for 4-5 days. You may want to add a few past of vegan butter on the reheat.
More comfort classics to try
And here are 26 more Vegan Comfort Recipes choose from. I want to make them all!
I love to hear from you
If you make this Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese, let me know what you think by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs so I don’t miss it.
Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese
- 16 ounces dried elbow macaroni , gluten-free if preferred
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs , gluten-free if preferred
- ¼ cup vegan butter , melted and divided
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1 cup raw cashews , soaked in very hot water
- 2 ½ cups soy milk , unsweetened
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth , low sodium
- ¼ cup lemon juice , fresh squeezed
- 3 tablespoons tapioca flour/starch
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup Jarred pimientos , drained
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ¾ teaspoon granulated onion
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt , more to taste
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C). Lightly grease a 3-quart casserole dish and set aside.
- To soak cashews, boil water in a small pot and remove from heat. Add cashews and cover for 15-20 minutes, until softened. (*See note)
- Place macaroni in a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook until al dente & according to package directions (about 9-10 minutes). Drain and cool with water. Drizzle and gently toss with olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
- Combine the melted butter and breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Drain and rinse cashews (discard soaking water). Now place all the cheese sauce ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until cashews have completely broken down and the sauce is smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
- Melt butter in large pot over medium heat (I used the same pot I cooked the macaroni in). Now add minced garlic & sauté for 1-2 minutes, until lightly brown (be careful not to burn).
- Pour in cheese sauce and cook for 4-5 minutes, until sauce thickens up. Stir often to prevent burning. Taste for seasoning, and add more if needed. Remove from heat. Pour the cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce and gently stir to combine.
- Now evenly pour into the greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with prepared breadcrumbs and place in the oven uncovered for 25-30 minutes, until heated throughout and the breadcrumbs are golden (*Rotate casserole dish a few times for even browning). *Optional: You can broil the top for 2-3 minutes to make it super crispy, just watch very carefully so it doesn't burn. Remove from oven and serve. Enjoy!
- Optional toppings: fresh-cut parsley, vegan parmesan, crushed red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, fresh-cracked pepper.
- Cashews: To make things easier, you can prep ahead and pre-soften your cashews by placing them in cool water for 4 hours or overnight in the fridge Then they'll be ready to pop in the blender right away. * If you don't have a high-speed blender, the cashews might not completely break down and this could result in a gritty texture. You can try soaking the cashews longer for 12 hours or more.