This deliciously creamy and gooey baked vegan mac and cheese is made with just 5 ingredients and tastes just like the classic version! Naturally dairy free, vegan, and gluten free, this easy vegan mac and cheese is perfect for weeknight dinners or holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas!

vegan mac and cheese in dish

Why you’ll love this vegan mac and cheese recipe:

If you love baked mac and cheese, then you’re going to absolutely become obsessed with this super easy vegan mac and cheese, whether or not you’re vegan. It’s creamy, gooey, cheesy, and perfectly baked with a simple oat-breadcrumb topping.

This dairy free mac and cheese is super easy to make and based off of the classic baked mac and cheese, so the flavors, texture, and overall presentation is nearly identical. You only need 5 simple and easy-to-find ingredients, and there’s no need for a food processor nor blender.

Basically your favorite comfort food made undetectably dairy free, gluten free, vegan, nut free and soy free. Oh, and guess what? You don’t have to make this a baked vegan mac and cheese! Just want an easy dairy free mac and cheese that’s ready in 15 minutes? No problem- skip the baking, and just make the mac and cheese as is!

creamy vegan mac and cheese

This vegan mac and cheese is perfect as a main dish or side dish for vegan Thanksgiving, or any holiday dinner, weeknight dinner, or family gathering. And if you’re doing Veganuary or just looking for a plant-based version of your favorite favorite winter comfort food, this is your recipe.

What is vegan mac and cheese made of?

I wanted to keep the ingredients to this healthier mac and cheese really simple and straight forward. I think there are some wonderful vegan mac and cheese recipes that use vegetables in the sauces, but sometimes you just want something super quick and easy to make!

This means no blending up vegetables to make the sauce. You can still have a vegan mac and cheese while using a store bought vegan shredded cheese (and I’ll list my favorites below). Of course, I personally don’t qualify this as a “healthier” baked vegan mac and cheese. But when you want a classic comfort food and you’re vegan, this is the recipe to make.

To make this healthier baked vegan mac and cheese, you’ll need:

  • Macaroni pasta: I recommend Jovial Foods pasta- they’re my absolute favorite! They have both bean based, gluten free, and regular pasta. Or you can even make your own homemade pasta!
  • Vegan cheese: I used both vegan cheddar cheese and vegan mozzarella cheese. You can use one or the other, or both! For brands, I used Violife, as they are nut-free (some family members are nut-free!). However, if you’re not nut-free, you can also use Forager Project! I just tried their new vegan cheeses, and they’re amazing.
  • Oat milk: You can also use homemade nut milk or coconut milk. However, I don’t recommend using store bought nut milk, as it tends to be too watery.
  • Oat flour: this will be to thicken the cheese sauce. You can also use all purpose flour (if not gluten-free) or gluten free 1:1 baking flour.
  • Vegan butter: we’re going with a classic baked mac and cheese style, so this truly does taste just like the classic version- only vegan and dairy free! I recommend Flora Plant Butter for the best taste.

The breadcrumbs on top are technically optional. If you’re not baking this vegan mac and cheese, then you can omit them. However, it’s a simple mixture or oat flour, vegan butter, and herbs. So delicious and naturally gluten free!

vegan mac and cheese ingredients

How to make an easy baked vegan mac and cheese (overview)

For the full written instructions and ingredient measurements, see the bottom of this post in the recipe card. You can also hit the “jump to recipe” button at the top of this post! Here, we’ll go over a brief overview of the steps, along with providing visuals for a better understanding of the recipe.

Like I mentioned above, you can absolutely make just a regular vegan mac and cheese from this recipe- without the baking. However, baked mac and cheese, with the breadcrumbs on top, is such a treat!

Here’s how to make an easy baked vegan mac and cheese:

  1. Cook the pasta.

    We’re going for al dente here, especially if you’re baking the mac and cheese. Over cooked pasta will be too soggy once baked.

  2. While the pasta is cooking, make the vegan cheese sauce.

  3. making a dairy free cheese sauce is actually quite similar to how a traditional mac and cheese sauce is made. Heat the vegan butter then stir in the flour. Whisk together, and then add in the dairy free milk. Once the mixture is thickened and hot, stir in the vegan cheese until melted.
  4. Drain the pasta, then toss the pasta and cheese sauce together.

    You can either do this in the pasta pot or the cheese sauce pot- whichever is easiest! Then spoon the mac and cheese into the casserole dish.

  5. Make the breadcrumbs and top onto your vegan mac and cheese.

  6. Simply mix together the oats, herbs, and melted vegan butter. Sprinkle over your vegan mac and cheese evenly.
  7. Bake the mac and cheese.

    You’ll only need to bake this mac and cheese for 15-18 minutes. Then serve!

how to make vegan mac and cheese
how to make vegan mac and cheese

How to make easy vegan gluten free breadcrumbs for mac and cheese:

It’s actually the vegan gluten free breadcrumbs. I don’t know why I think it’s so cool, but I do. Probably because it reminds me of the Panko breadcrumbs my mom used to put on top of her homemade baked mac and cheese.

To make vegan gluten free Panko breadcrumbs, simply grind up the oats in a food processor into a rustic flour. We don’t want it to reach an actual oat flour, but just enough that the oats are into smaller pieces- like breadcrumbs.

Mix with vegan butter and herbs (like rosemary and thyme). Then just sprinkle on top of your mac and cheese, along with a dash of sea salt (and you can add in some more nutritional yeast if you’d like!) for flavor.

Bake and enjoy!

bowl of vegan mac and cheese

What shape of pasta should I use for mac and cheese?

For any mac and cheese recipe, you really can use any form of short pasta that you’d like. You can use penne or rigatoni, but honestly, the best pasta shapes for mac and cheese are the ones with the nooks and crannies (as then the cheese sauce gets into the pasta with really every bite!).

I recommend using macaroni (elbows), fusilli, conchiglie (or shells), rotelle (or wheels), rotini, or cavatappi.

More Vegan Mac and Cheese FAQ’s

What dairy free milk should I use for this vegan mac and cheese?

I recommend a very thick dairy free milk, such as coconut cream or oat milk. If you don’t want a coconut after taste in your vegan mac, then I recommend going with the oat milk. That’s my personal favorite. The thicker the milk, the creamier your healthy mac and cheese will be! You can also use homemade nut milks if you don’t have a nut allergy. I don’t recommend using store bought refrigerated almond milk: it just won’t be thick enough and will yield very watery results. Though this mac and cheese is healthier, you still want it to taste good!

Can I make this vegan mac and cheese gluten free?

This baked vegan mac and cheese can easily be made gluten-free (and I actually often make it that way myself since I love using chickpea pasta for extra protein). I recommend using Jovial chickpea pasta, lentil pasta, or your favorite brand of gluten free pasta (such as a rice blend and the like).

Can I make this baked mac and cheese ahead of time?

Yes, you can definitely easily make this mac and cheese ahead of time, especially to save on time during the holidays. To make this easy vegan mac and cheese ahead of time, simple follow the recipe card steps below up until Step 5. Complete step 5 and then place the casserole dish covered and in the fridge for up to a day. When ready to bake, simply preheat the oven to 350F and bake for 40-42 minutes until the oats are slightly golden on top.

plate of vegan mac and cheese

Customize this vegan mac and cheese:

Jazz up this classic vegan comfort food with a few different twists:

  • Add roasted broccoli, zucchini, or cauliflower tossed into the mac and cheese
  • Stir in cooked lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, or black beans for added protein
  • Add in frozen green peas before baking for a twist on pasta with peas
  • Stir in spinach or kale for added greens
  • Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes to the cheese sauce

Storage:

If you have any leftovers after making the baked vegan mac and cheese, here’s how to store it:

  • Refrigerator: store any leftovers in an airtight container that’s oven friendly and in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: store any leftovers in an airtight container that’s oven friendly and in the freezer for up to 1 month.
  • Reheat: when reheating the pasta, remove the lid off of your pasta container and place it into the oven to heat for 10-12 minutes at 300F.
casserole dish of mac and cheese

You are just going to absolutely love this easy vegan mac and cheese! It’s such a simple and quick dinner to make that will please all eaters, whether or not they’re vegan.

This vegan mac and cheese is:

  • Perfect for holidays, like Thanksgiving
  • A quick and easy weeknight meal
  • Easily adaptable as either regular mac and cheese or baked
  • Kid-approved and picky eater-approved!
  • Easily made nut free, gluten free, and soy free
  • A delicious comfort food for any cozy night in!

Happy mac and cheese baking!

plate of vegan mac and cheese

More vegan dinner recipes you’ll love:

Paleo vegan sweet potato gnocchi

Easy vegan lentil meatballs

The best ever hummus lentil loaf

Paleo vegan cauliflower gnocchi

Creamy Instant Pot Vegan Mushroom Risotto

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

Best Easy Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese (Gluten Free!)

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!

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casserole dish of mac and cheese

Best Ever Easy Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese (Gluten free!)

  • Author: thebananadiaries
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: British
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This deliciously creamy and gooey baked vegan mac and cheese is made with just 5 ingredients and tastes just like the classic version! Naturally dairy free, vegan, and gluten free, this easy vegan mac and cheese is perfect for weeknight dinners or holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 16 ounces macaroni pasta, gluten free*
  • 480 ml unsweetened dairy free milk (oat milk recommended), room temperature
  • 8 ounces shredded vegan cheddar cheese*
  • 8 ounces shredded vegan mozzarella cheese
  • 5 tbsp oat flour
  • 66 grams salted vegan butter
  • Optional: 2 tbsp plain pea protein

Vegan Gluten Free “Breadcrumbs:”

  • 45 grams rolled oats, ground into flour
  • 66 grams salted vegan butter, melted
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Please read through all instructions before beginning. 
  2. Prep: Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a large casserole dish with olive or cooking oil and set aside. Measure out all ingredients before beginning.
  3. Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in the macaroni pasta, and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water. While the pasta is cooking, you’ll make the vegan cheese sauce.
  4. Make the vegan cheese sauce: In a medium pot, heat the vegan butter until melted, then add in the oat flour. Whisk for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Then add in the dairy free milk, along with the reserved pasta water, and whisk until combined. Allow the mixture to begin to boil then reduce the heat to medium. Add in the vegan cheeses, and whisk together on medium-low heat until the vegan cheese has completely melted into the milk mixture. This should be about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Add the pasta to the cheese sauce: Stir the pasta into the cheese sauce until evenly coated. Then spoon the mac and cheese into the casserole dish and set aside as you make the breadcrumbs.
  6. Make the vegan bread crumbs: combine the oat flour with the rosemary, thyme, and nutmeg. Whisk in the melted vegan butter, then sprinkle the oats over the mac and cheese.
  7. Bake the vegan mac and cheese: Place the casserole dish into the oven to bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned. Turn the broiler on for the remaining 2 minutes of baking to evenly brown the breadcrumbs.
  8. Serve and enjoy! Remove the mac and cheese from the oven, and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before serving. 
  9. Storage: Store any remaining vegan mac and cheese in an airtight container and in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Notes

Vegan cheese recommendations: I recommend using Violife or Forager Project.

No bake option: simply follow steps 1-5, omitting the casserole dish, for an easy vegan mac and cheese recipe. 

To make ahead of time: Make the pasta up until step 5. Then cover and place the pasta dish into the fridge to chill until the next day. When ready to bake, preheat the oven and bake the pasta for 40-42 minutes or until the oats are slightly golden in color. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/10 of recipe
  • Calories: 425
  • Sugar: 1.6 g
  • Sodium: 364.5 mg
  • Fat: 17.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 10.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 49 g
  • Fiber: 3.7 g
  • Protein: 15.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 32.5 mg

Keywords: vegan mac and cheese, baked vegan mac and cheese, easy vegan mac and cheese, healthy mac and cheese