Creamy and comforting - this is hands down the Best Vegan White Mac and Cheese! This only takes 20 minutes to put together and is a crowd pleaser!
Mac and cheese has been the single hardest recipe for me to recreate. I have tried tons of recipes, and there is just always something "off" about them. I don't know about you, but the thought of making potatoes and carrots into a cheese-like substance sounds pretty far off the mark.
And that's why when creating this recipe I went back to my roots.
When making traditional mac, you start off with a roux - butter and flour. Well, that's simple enough. Vegans have already mastered butter.
TSV TIP: My favorite vegan butter is Earth Balance.
Next, we'll add in some non-dairy milk (unsweetened, of course - we don't want vanilla flavored sauce) and vegan cream cheese.
Cream cheese is another ingredient that I think vegans have mastered.
TSV TIP: My favorite vegan cream cheese brands are Trader Joe's, GoVeggie, Tofutti and Kite Hill.
This is going to make the sauce super creamy and give it that cheesy texture.
At this point, other vegan recipes would call for a butt-load of nutritional yeast. I know I may stand alone in the vegan community when it comes to my opinion on nutritional yeast, but that stuff tastes NOTHING like cheese. I know it has nutritional value, but I can't get past the weird flavor.
SO, to achieve that cheesy flavor, we are going to use vegan parmesan!
The final step is just to add in your spices. And this is where you will make this dish your own. Start off with my recommended measurements and then adjust to your liking.
Want more spice? Add in some red pepper flakes (I also like hot sauce). Need more acid? A little more lemon juice will do the trick.
You could also throw in some vegan chicken to make this even heartier.
Whether you add anything or keep it exactly as written, this is sure to be one of your go-to comfort meals!
Need more mac and cheese inspo? Check out my Baked Vegan Mac & Cheese with a bacon and shallot breadcrumb crust!
Best Vegan White Mac and Cheese
- 16 oz dry pasta
- ¼ cup vegan butter
- 2 garlic cloves diced
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 ½ cups non-dairy milk unsweetened
- 8 oz vegan cream cheese
- ¼ cup vegan parmesan
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional Toppings parmesan, tabasco, parsley, red pepper flakes
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions. Drain and place pot back on the stove over medium-low heat.
- Add butter to the pan. Once butter has melted, add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add flour and whisk until smooth and bubbly.
- Stir in milk ½ cup at a time, whisking constantly. Once heated through and thickened, add cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Add parmesan, white pepper, ground mustard, garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, pepper and tabasco. Stir to combine and taste sauce. Adjust seasoning as needed.*
- Add pasta to sauce and stir to combine.
- Serve with any of the optional toppings and enjoy!
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What is a good sub for the flour? My son can't have wheat. Thanks!
You could use GF flour or a cornstarch slurry instead.
This is absolutely hands down the Best Vegan recipe I have ever made. I am not vegan or dairy free! My teenage daughter is vegan and I try to support her by making recipes she might enjoy. Most are barely edible to say the least. You cannot even tell this is not real cheese. I did tweak it a tad, which I believe made it even better. 1. I used Kate Hill chive cream cheese which is really good. We have tried multiple plain cream cheeses and we just cannot eat them. 2. I made the vegan Parmesan from scratch. I use 3/4 cup unsalted roasted cashews, 3 TBSP nutrition yeast, and 1/4 tsp garlic salt. I really don’t like the store bought. Even my picky husband said this was good! You will not be disappointed! ❤️
Yay! So glad it was a hit with the whole family. That homemade vegan parm sounds like a great add!
Is the 1/2 tsp ground mustard in the recipe referring to a mustard powder or actual stone ground mustard?
mustard powder 👍
So good! The whole family loves it. I’ve made it numerous times now. I use Kite Hill cream cheese and some Violife shreds in place of the parm.
Yay! So glad you liked it. And you can't go wrong with Kite Hill cream cheese 😉
Try Violife Parm if you can find it. It’s truly the closet thing to real Parmesan…. We love it.
I don't normally leave comments, but I felt I should on this recipe. For those who say this isn't Mac and cheese, think again. I am the only one in my house who has dairy issues, so I didn't need all this to myself. To make it more like Mac and cheese, I used Miyokos Roadhouse cheddar cream cheese and Violife cheddar shreds. My oldest son, who has said vegan cheese is "okay," ate a bowlful. This is a great base recipe!! Try it as you won't be disappointed.
So glad it was hit with you and your family!
So excited about this recipe! My you fest toddler is lactose intolerant, but her and her sisters FAVORITE meal is m&c. We’ve tried so many different vegan ones from the boxed ones recommended to us by friends to homemade ones and they were all so gross. I don’t know why I didn’t every think to use the vegan cream cheese! That stuff is amazing! I even love it on a bagel in the morning and I don’t have to eat dairy free. Definitely can’t wait to try this with them, think we may have just found lunch for today!
I've made nut based M&C before, thinking it was the only way to go, and was never happy. OMG--THIS was AMAZING! My vegan teen loved it & my meat eating husband couldn't believe it was dairy free. I made it as written and I wouldn't change a thing. Thank you for a recipe I am so excited to add to my meal rotation!
They are my favorite. I love it. Thank you for sharing
Ever since I found kite hill cream cheese I've added it to pasta. It's amazing! This recipe reminds me more of an alfredo tho. But it still looks tasty 🙂
Ive made this several times, but I just made it with Kite Hill chive cream cheese and it was the BOMB! I’ve also added broccoli, peas etc It is such a foolproof recipe!
Yum! I love Kite Hill cream cheese. I feel like their jalapeno version would also be a fun add. So glad it turned out well!
oh my gosh! I was wondering if the chive flavor would work well. that was the only flavor I could find at the store, so I bought it. can't wait to try the recipe now!
This was a fail 🙁 I don’t know what I did wrong
OHHHHHHHH, HOLY MOLY!!! This sauce is so delicious!! I can't stop licking the bowl! I think it can also be used in a variety of different ways and not just mac. I know what I'm incorporating in my dishes all week long!
I LOVE your entire site! You are my go to when it comes to making vegan dishes. I've been checking out your page for about a year now and this is my favorite recipe of yours! I am a huge foodie, and I love food with big bold spicy flavors and cream sauce is basically a requirement for living. However, I've suffered health issues over the past two years and for the sake of my health, I've started incorporating vegan dishes into my diet to lower my animal protein, dairy and fat intake, You're recipes make me come back again and again, and I can't thank you enough for creating dishes that are vegan and ACTUALLY tasty,
I made this Mac for the third time today, and each time I make it differently with my own toppings. I only used half the vegan cream cheese to lower the fat content and it was still creamy enough for me. (I'd use the whole thing, but again for the sake of health!) Thank you for making the best base for a vegan mac and cheese on the whole internet. You've changed my life in a huge way!
Hi Cassandra! So, so glad you love this recipe. You're right, cream sauce should be a staple in life 🙂
This was so awesome! I have Tried many Mac and cheese recipes and this is by far the best!! Yum!!!! I’ll be tricking my carnivore friends with this one!!
Kimberly Fawn Panzarella
Updated comment - This gets better every time I make it. I use about a 1/2 cup of vegan parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast and a tablespoon of miso paste. It’s SO delicious!
I have tried so many mac and cheese recipes, and they were all flops. Turned me off mac and cheese for awhile. I found this little gem of a recipe by accident...happy accident! It's amazing! Tastes just like the boxed white cheddar mac and cheese I used to love.
Thinking about adding some cheddar shreds next time for more cheesiness.
Thank you for restoring my faith in my favorite comfort food!
haha - my pleasure 🙂 And I totally understand, it took me a lot of testing in the kitchen to get it right. So glad you liked it!
This is THE best vegan mac and cheese I have tried to date. The only additions I needed were some salt and pepper and maybe another 1/4 cup of vegan parmesan. I had to leave the Tabasco out because I was sharing with the kids, but I put a little in my own bowl and YAAASSS.
Woohoo, can’t wait to try this recipe! Finally one that looks amazing with zero nooch required! ? ?
Yum! I added some sun-dried tomatoes and peas, plus some American cheeze for extra creaminess. Delicious!.
This recipe is delicious. I used a 1/2 coconut 1/2 almond milk. I also added a layer of vegan cheese and bread crumbs on top and baked it. I had some problems scrolling through the recipe though. The ads kept popping up and changing the place I was reading. The site became very jumpy and I had a hard time getting back to my place in the recipe. I understand your need for ads, but it was a bit much in my taste.
I save the recipes on my tablet as a PDF and work off of that. Hope this helps!
Made this today and my 9 yr old loved it! So delish and creamy. I’ll definitely be making this again soon. The recipe also says to add more seasoning or spice to match your taste. Not sure why people are all crazy about it. Thanks for the recipe!
So glad you guys liked this. And I agree...cooking is all about personal taste.
I wish that vegan people would stop making recipes that say "mac n cheese" when it isn't mac n cheese. Like, it's okay that it's not... just call it what it is: white sauce. Cream sauce. Or, bland cream sauce.
I followed this recipe to a T and it tastes like... nothing. I tried adding more cheese, nooch, spice, salt, lemon (in increments with tasting between, of course).
I'm so tired of being disappointed by pasta recipes.
Calm down girl! The reason why this is called Vegan Mac n’ Cheese, is so that you can actually know what is going on, since if you want to make something similar to that you’re not going to search it in any other way. You are going to search Vegan Mac n’ Cheese because your goal is to make something like Mac n’ Cheese. Your view of the thing is just nonsense...
Agreed. Don’t make a “vegan” recipe if you want something that tastes like fat.
Wow , get with the program.
It's VEGAN, does that commute?!LOL
Wow , get with the program.
It's VEGAN, does that compute?!LOL
So let me clarify this... You're freaking out over mac and cheese... Literally you're freaking out over noodles with sauce. Uhhh... okay. You alright?
Vegan food isn't about exacting the tastes of meat, or dairy, or egg based foods, sure it helps those who are in transition for the sake of the animals. If you go Vegan expect foods to be different in taste so if I was you I would stop searching for the best recipe that tastes just like the real thing because it isn't going to happen!! I don't care diddly squat that Vegan food doesn't have the original taste I grew up with, in fact it grosses me out to think of all those saturated fats that clogged my veins, very scary indeed. The most important thing to remember is why you converted to being Vegan in the first place. It shouldn't matter what the food tastes like, yes of course we expect our meals to be nice and tasty but if you are doing it for the animals then taste shouldn't be an issue.
For the Animals...
So yummy! I added a bit of nutritional yeast to give it a kick. Tasted great.
tried this tonight, big hit for my mom and i! i did sub nooch for the parm bc i didn’t have any parm on hand. i used unsweetened original flax milk + protein, which is mu favorite plant based milk. we’ve been vegan 3+ years so we’ve experimented with every style of vegan mac n cheese from store bought to healthy homemade to indulgent homemade to baked homemade lol so far i haven’t run into many pasta dishes i dislike, but this one will be topping my list of what to serve non vegan company!
Kimberly Fawn Panzarella
I love that this comes out nice and creamy. I've made this twice, for some reason it seems like it’s missing something that I can’t put my finger on. I even added some nutritional yeast and shredded Violife cheddar cheese, but it doesn’t seem to have that “Mac n cheese” cheesey flavor. Any idea what I can add to give it a more cheesey flavor?
Thanks so much!!!
Hi Kim - Unfortunately, vegan mac & cheese is not going to taste exactly like real mac (at least for now). I know one day there will be a cheese alternative that tastes just like real cheese, but until then, we can only work with what we have. You could try upping the amount of vegan parmesan. You might also want to check out my new Baked Mac & Cheese recipe. It has "bacon" bits and a crispy topping that add another layer of flavor. Hope that helps!
Try adding a teaspoon of miso.
Kimberly Fawn Panzarella
Good idea! I’ll give that a whirl this weekend.
Thank you 🙂
I just made this and it is super yummy and so easy to make! I used homemade cashew milk that made it really creamy! Love the sauteed garlic pieces too! Thank you for a delicious recipe!
This dish was the bomb!!! My tween daughter is a mac and cheese expert and said this was really good and she could not tell it was a vegan dish. I forgot to take photos but I will be making again and again and I will snap photos!!
Yay - so glad you liked it. Can't wait to see the pictures!
This turned out really good! I used the almond milk I had in the refrigerator but next time I'll make sure to get unsweetened - it definitely still taste really good but I'm sure would taste even better if I follow all the directions lol! So good! Added sun dried tomatoes which was a nice addition too!
It tastes just like classic mac n cheese! Super cheesy and creamy- and just the right amount of kick from the spices.
This recipe was everything I thought it would be and MORE. Thank you so much!!
So glad you liked it!
Just made this, I added some nutritional yeast for an extra cheese flavor. It was awesome! Vegan Mac and cheese can be a hard one to replicate and hard to make creamy but this one is on point. Thank you!
Seriously, this is the best vegan mac and cheese recipe ever. I share it every chance I get. I use GF pasta, just 'cuz. Thank you so much for this deliciousness!
Yay! So glad you liked the recipe. Vegan mac is one thing every vegan should have a go-to recipe for. Glad you found yours! 🙂
what brand vegan parmesan cheese do you use?
I like the GoVeggie brand - it is pretty easy to find and inexpensive. I have heard good things about Kite Hill as well though.
We make our own, raw cashews, garlic powder, salt and nutritional yeast blended and then throw it in a jar in the fridge.
Hello! This is our favorite Mac and Cheese recipe! It's so creamy and flavorful, thank you for that! I am wondering if you have any nutritional information already figured up I could see? Thank you!
Hey Sara - so glad you like this recipe as much as I do! I do not track nutritional info, but there are tons of sites out there that can calculate it for you. 🙂
Wonderful!! Made this for Thanksgiving and it went over really well with everyone.
Awesome - so glad everyone liked it!
This looks SO good! My youngest can't have dairy but we also suspect a sensitivity to soy (which is in the vegan butter). Could I use avocado or olive oil instead of butter? If so, in the same amount? My kiddos have wanted mac n cheese for so long I was hoping to surprise them with it for Thanksgiving.
Hi Brooke - you could definitely swap the vegan butter for oil. It may not have the same exact flavor, but it should have the same texture. I would just say taste as you go because you may need to adjust seasonings to balance everything out. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
Thank you for your quick reply! Happy Thanksgiving!
I use the Earth Balance soy free butter. It’s great!
There’s a soy free earth balance vegan butter
I wanted to make this on Thanksgiving for my family. I was wondering, is this something that I could make and put into a baking dish and bake to reheat before serving?
Hi Alicia - you could definitely put this in a baking dish and reheat. You may want to thin the sauce a bit, just so it doesn't dry out when baking. Have a great Thanksgiving!
Which vegan butter do you use? I am also gluten free, do you think that this would work well with a gluten free flour for the sauce?
Hi Amber - I love Earth Balance. It's my ride or die vegan butter! I have never tested this with GF flour, so I don't know how it will turn out. The point of making the roux is to thicken the sauce. If the GF flour doesn't work, you could try a corn starch slurry. Add it to the melted butter and it should have a similar effect. Again, I haven't tested this, so let us know how it works out for you!
I made this and poured it over oven roasted broccoli. It looks and tastes so professional I actually feel like a real vegan chef! Lol. Wish I could send the photo. 🙂
Love this! Nothing like feeling like a professional chef at home. So glad you liked it! 🙂
So I know this is months and months later but just wanted to pop in and say I use white rice flour in my roux. It's the only thing I've found that works just like wheat flour.
What type of milk and what brand of cream cheese did you use? I just made this and mine came out extremely thick! But its definitely delicious! (: Also sadly, my local grocery store doesn't carry white pepper so I had to go without it. Thank you for posting this recipe!
I usually buy Silk or Simply Balanced almond milk (Target brand) and Trader Joe's Cream Cheese. I'm glad you like it even though it was a tad too thick. You can always thin it out with some veggie broth or additional milk. 😉
This looks absolutely delicious! Think I might make this tomorrow for Easter as a side. Thanks for the recipe!
Awesome. I hope you enjoy!
do you happen to have the nutrition facts for this? i have to track my macros and micros and would love to know! thank you 🙂
Wow this vegan Mac n cheese looks so yum.. cant wait to try!
Thanks - enjoy!
I LOVE that you did a vegan white mac and cheese recipe! That was always always my favorite as a kid, and I can't wait to have it again 🙂
Let me know how you like it!
AMAZING - full of flavor. Added extra lemon juice
Used kite hill cream cheese, earth balance butter, and follow your heart Parmesan (love this parm!!)
Tasted more like pasta with Alfredo sauce but that’s what I imagined going in.
Keep making recipes like this.
I gather this is anywhere from 375-500 calories for serving for anyone else counting calories.
Do you think you can freeze a couple of servings?
You should totally be able to freeze this and thaw as needed! So glad you liked it!