Home » Course » Entree » EASY SPICY MAC-N-CHEESE (VEGAN)

EASY SPICY MAC-N-CHEESE (VEGAN)

Easy Spicy Mac and Cheese is a crowd-pleasing favorite that all types of eaters enjoy! Made with only 8 ingredients and ready in 20 minutes, this easy vegan mac and cheese recipe is perfect for a quick and healthy meal.

side angle view of a white bowl with black rim filled with easy spicy vegan mac and cheese.

No frills here, just a simple vegan mac n’ cheese with a kick. This is seriously the easiest recipe ever using only pantry staples and resulting in a creamy, cheesy-ish macaroni!

This is my second mac & cheese recipe to date. My other one, Vegan Mac and Cheese Bake, is supreme to any others I have tried and is an easy cashew based recipe.

But, I don’t always want to use the high fat nut-based recipes. So in comes this new easy vegan mac and cheese recipe which is simply made from non-dairy milk, a little oil, flour, nutritional yeast and a few spices.

It’s delicious and ready in a quick 20 minutes. Plus, the recipe can easily be doubled and is great for weekly meal prep!

I can see this version being made again and again in my kitchen, adding steamed or roasted vegetables for variety. It hits the spot completely and I think you’ll agree!

top down view of ingredients used to make vegan spicy mac and cheese recipe with nutritional yeast, flour and oil.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Using these key ingredients will give this mac n’ cheese lot’s of flavor! Plus, you’ll find ideas for varying the ingredients to suit your needs.

  • Pasta – Any small pasta will do. You can even toss it with noodles for a change!
  • Non-dairy milk – I used almond milk for mine, but you can opt for your favorite nut free, non-dairy milk instead to make this nut free.
  • Nutritional Yeast – Nutritional yeast, aka ‘nooch’ or ‘savoury yeast flakes’, has a savory/umami characteristic. With its nutty, cheesy flavor, that’s an acquired taste, it’s great for mimicking cheese flavored dishes. It’s a great addition to your plant-based diet! For starters, it’s a complete protein containing 9 grams of protein per serving, 2 tablespoons. It’s also low in fat and sodium, and contains B vitamins. Some brands are fortified with B-12, like this Now (<affiliate link), so be sure to seek out those brands.
  • Spices – This is a spicy mac and cheese, but not overly so, calling for just a little chili and chipotle powder for a little heat and flavor. Feel free to omit the chili spices, using just garlic powder, for a milder flavor.
  • Oil – I used olive oil, but you can use your favorite neutral flavored oil.
  • Flour – All-purpose, spelt, gluten free flour blend or rice flour will all work well.

side by side showing the process of making easy mac n cheese with nutritional yeast.

How To Make Vegan Mac and Cheese with Nutritional Yeast

  • Cook your pasta according to package directions.
  • Next, make the roux by heating the oil over medium heat, add the flour and whisk until flour is dissolved. Slowly add in the the almond milk, continuously whisking, until mixture thickens. Feel free to add in the spices, once it starts to thicken.
  • Remove from heat, stir in the nutritional yeast. I prefer to add the nutritional yeast at the end so it doesn’t lose any of the nutritional benefits.
  • Add the pasta and cheese sauce together, mix well to coat. Taste for seasoning.

This is an easy, versatile mac n’ cheese that will win hearts!

top down view of freshly spicy made vegan mac and cheese recipe with nutritional yeast.

How To Store Leftovers

  • Refrigerator: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer: This mac and cheese is freezer friendly and will last 2 – 3 months stored in freezer safe containers (affiliate link). Let thaw in the fridge, or bake from frozen.

How To Reheat Mac n cheese

  • Stovetop: Warm on the stovetop over low heat, adding a splash of non-dairy milk or water to bring back its creaminess.
  • Microwave: Using 30 seconds intervals, microwave until warmed through, stirring between each interval.
  • Oven: Heat in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until warmed through.

top down, up close view of spicy vegan mac n cheese.

Serving Suggestions

This savory mac & cheese is great alone and can be made even better when paired with any of this serving options for a healthy lunch or dinner.

More Recipes With Nutritional Yeast

If you’re wondering what else you can do with nutritional yeast, you can find a few more ways to use it here. And if this is new to you, it’s a flavor that you may have to adjust to. I’ve heard many do not like it at first, but it will grow on you, and you will find it to be a useful and tasty addition to your healthy diet.

Lots of ways to put nutritional yeast to use in your kitchen. You may even try sprinkling some on your popcorn!

top down view of a white bowl with black rim filled with easy spicy vegan mac and cheese.

More Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipes

If you make this vegan mac and cheese recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.

Print

EASY SPICY MAC-N-CHEESE

No frills here, just a simple vegan mac n’ cheese with a kick! No dairy and no cashews. Add in steamed or roasted veggies to suit your taste.

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Vegansita
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3 - 4 1x
  • Category: Entree, Pasta
  • Method: boil, simmer
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 oz. favorite pasta (I used quinoa pasta)
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened plain almond milk (at room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons flour (spelt, rice, tapioca or all-purpose)
  • 1/41/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • mineral salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions

Pasta: Cook your pasta according to package. Drain and place back in pot, set aside.

Vegan Cheese Sauce: In a small/medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat, add flour and whisk to incorporate. Continue whisking and cook for 2 minutes, mixture will be bubbly. Add milk slowly, whisking constantly. Add the garlic powder, chili & chipotle powder and salt. Turn heat to low and cook until sauce thickens, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in nutritional yeast. Stir until everything is incorporated and smooth again. Taste for flavor.

Assemble: Add sauce and pasta together, tossing well, add more milk as needed and serve right away.

Serves 3

Store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 – 5 days in a covered container.

Notes

This recipe is just a template. Add as much of the salt and spices to suit your taste. You may even like to omit the chili and chipotle opting for a mild mac n’ cheese. Or use either the chili or chipotle powder alone.

For the nutritional yeast, if using powder form reduce the amount to about 1/4 cup. You can try playing around with the amount. I have used less, 1/4 – 1/3 cup, and still had a nice cheesy flavor. You may opt to start with less and add more to taste.

Toss in steamed or roasted vegetables of choice with the pasta…broccoli, brussels sprouts, sun-dried tomatoes, tomatoes, spinach, kale and corn are a few that come to mind that will work with the flavors. I’m sure I missed a few and would love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.

To reheat, add a small amount of milk and heat over low until warmed.

You may also like to top with some almond parmesan!

Updated: Spicy Mac & Cheese was first published October 2013 and has been updated December 2019 with new photos and helpful tips.

FOLLOW TSV on FacebookInstagramPinterest or RSS for more updates and inspiration!

86 Comments

  1. I was making regular Mac n cheese for my girls, and said “hey I want Mac n cheese too!!” So did a search and found this recipe. I had all the ingredients on hand and whipped it up in no time!! It is delicious (I’m still eating it) LOL – and perfect flavor. I followed the recipe exactly except used unsweetened milkadamia instead of almond milk. A keeper!

  2. Delicious! I omitted the garlic and chilli, and used soy milk, but otherwise followed the recipe. My very fussy vegan 4 year old, who usually refuses my attempts at mac n cheese, LOVES this. And I do too :) Thank you for an easy and tasty recipe.

  3. This recipe is amazing!!!!!!!!

    I used 2 tbsp of flour
    And added a lot of smoked paprika!

    Delicious!!!

  4. hippychick says:

    Four stars for how uncomplicated and easy this is.
    Three stars because I felt the 3T of flour called for was far more than necessary. Most roux recipes call for 1. Because I used 3 (not thinking, just following the recipe), the sauce was far too thick. I simply kept adding vegetable broth until it was the consistency I preferred.
    I agree with other commenters who felt the flavor was lacking. This is definitely where you’ll flavor to your personal taste profile.
    I added at least a full tsp of onion and garlic powder, upped the chili powder and chipotle to at least half a tsp.
    Full disclosure: I too riffed off the recipe, using it as a springboard for a one pot chili-type mac dinner; adding black beans, corn, rotel tomatoes, and plant based “meat” crumbles. I tasted and adjusted to my satisfaction.
    Overall, this was the quick, uncomplicated vegan Mac n Cheez I was looking for. I’ll bookmark and come back to it!

  5. So easy and delicious!

  6. Hello this looks amazing and simple! I am out of carton non-dairy milk. Would canned coconut milk be okay?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Canned coconut milk will have a pretty strong flavor, not sure how it would taste. You can always try to water it down. Also, you can just use water in place of milk. If you’re up for an experiment give either a try. The coconut might be delicious, especially if you’re a fan. Would love to know how it goes!

  7. Madeleine Roe says:

    I’ve made this a couple times and love it! So simple and even the non-vegans in my life enjoy it! I was wondering if you think the texture would stay okay if I used it as a sauce for Mac-N-Cheese bake? I feel like it stay smooth while I have it simmering and I stir it but was unsure if it would change after baking?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Great question, Madeleine! I’ve never tried it, but I would think it would ok. You may even want to make a little extra sauce to ensure it doesn’t dry out during the bake time. Would love to know how it goes, it’s super helpful to others too!

      1. Hello,

        I’m going to try baking this as well and replacing the oil with vegan butter, I was thinking of adding bread crumbs. I’ll report back! :)

  8. Christina says:

    I have made this recipe twice now, and I love how easy it is (no cashew prep, roasted veggies or food processor needed). The sauce has come out extremely creamy and delicious. I did add some roasted cauliflower. I just wish I could amp up the flavor of the sauce…adding salt helps and I plan to do more of the spices next time, but am wondering how it would be to melt in some vegan mozzarella. Open to suggestions :)

  9. I’m going to try out this recipe tonight although I was wondering if I could do a gluten free flour? I’ve been dying for a vegan gluten free Mac and cheese I hope it works!

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      You can use gluten-free flour, but not all will work the same. I recommend any of these – King Arthur gluten free all-purpose flour, rice flour, cassava flour, or plantain flour. All can be subbed 1 – 1 for regular flour when making a roux. Feel free to try your favorite gf flour blend to see if it works, some gf flours may tend to gum up. Best of luck, and do let us know how it goes. It’s super helpful for others too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating