top down view of baked vegan mac and cheese with spoon.

4.9 from 11 reviews

Kid-approved, this cashew-based mac, and cheese is 100% vegan and so easy to put together in under 1 hour! It’s ultra-creamy and saucy with a delicious crispy topping that is a ‘tried and true’ family favorite recipe!


  • 16 oz. package pasta of choice (works with an 12oz package too)
  • paprika, garnish (optional)

For the crumb topping

  • two pieces of bread or 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • generous pinch of salt

Cheese Sauce

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked (see notes *)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/41/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon or 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon white miso or 2 teaspoons dijon or 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot (will help keep it creamy), optional
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • dash of cayenne, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, cook your noodles and set aside.

Bread Crumbs: While waiting for the water to boil, start with your bread topping first. I toasted two pieces of bread we had on hand really well and processed them in the food processor until crumbly, a high speed blender will work too. Place the crumbs in a small bowl, drizzle with olive oil and a twist or two of the salt grinder, mix well and set aside. Quickly rinse the processor/blender bowl and move on to the cheese sauce.

Cheese sauce: In food processor/blender, combine all of the cheese sauce ingredients and blend until creamy. Add more water, a tablespoon or so at a time, and blend again. Taste for flavor adding anything extra to taste – salt, nutritional yeast, garlic.

Assemble: Once pasta is cooked and drained. Add pasta back to the pot it was cooked in, add the cheese sauce and combine well (you can also mix it together in the baking dish). In baking dish, pour mac & cheese and top with bread crumbs.

Bake: Place in oven for 20 – 25 minutes, check after 15 minutes if crumbs are darkening too much for your liking, cover with foil. If your oven doesn’t brown the top very much (like mine didn’t), you can put it under the broiler for 5 minutes or so. Just keep an on it so the top doesn’t burn.

When done, let cool for about 10 minutes and serve. The sauce will thicken upon standing.

Serves 8

Store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 – 6 days.


*Two ways to soak cashews (aids digestion and helps soften them): Soak in cool water for 2 – 3 hours OR soak in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain cashews and rinse before using.

If you use a smaller baking dish or use ramekins, lessen the cooking time to 10 – 20 minutes depending on the size of dish you use.

To make this gluten free use gluten-free pasta.