Mac & Cheese – Vegan and Gluten-Free

I’ve made a few versions of vegan and gluten-free mac & cheese before. Most were tolerable and enjoyable enough. I couldn’t honestly say it was a close match to authentic baked mac & cheese but it would curb the craving.

But then I found a recipe online that used Daiya Cheese Shreds and I knew I had to try it. We’ve become quite enamored with Daiya Cheese in our house. Levi likes to make fried potatoes for a lazy Saturday morning breakfast with melted Daiya Cheddar on top. I’m not as much of a fan of a breakfast like that, but to each his own.

The recipe is from Daiya’s website and it turned out beautifully. I hope they don’t mind that I share it here. There are a ton of great recipes on their site that I suggest you go and check out.

The original recipe calls for 8 ounces of pasta, but I used a whole 1 lb package of brown rice elbow noodles and the sauce coated it perfectly. I suspect that had I used only 8 ounces the noodle-to-sauce ratio wouldn’t have been as good.

recipe source

5.0 from 8 reviews
Mac & Cheese - Vegan and Gluten-Free
  • 1 lb brown rice elbow pasta, cooked just shy of al dente
  • 3 tablespoons vegan margarine
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used plain, unsweetened almond milk)
  • 3 cups Daiya shreds (I used 1 cup cheddar and 2 cups mozzarella, as that's what I had on hand)
  • ½ cup gluten-free and vegan bread crumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt vegan margarine.
  3. Add nutritional yeast and black pepper.
  4. Pour in non-dairy milk and add Daiya shreds.
  5. Whisk to mix and reduce heat to medium-low.
  6. Continue to whisk occasionally while shreds melt and sauce becomes smooth. Do not let the sauce scorch.
  7. Once the sauce is smooth and heated through, pour over cooked elbow noodles.
  8. Pour into a casserole dish.
  9. Mix bread crumbs and paprika then sprinkle on top.
  10. Bake about 15 minutes in preheated oven, until sauce begins to bubble and topping browns slightly.


A few notes:

This turned out great. I tried some before baking it and it was great just like that. This is a rich, creamy sauce. Because I used mozzarella- and cheddar-style shreds the color was light. It could probably pass as a gourmet white-cheddar style mac & cheese.

I often think adding ketchup to the tasty food I make is akin to a slap in the face, however ever since I was a kid, one of the only things I would eat with ketchup was macaroni & cheese. This recipe is so rich that having some ketchup with it is actually a nice addition. The acidity of the ketchup cuts through the intense creaminess and richness. But shh, don’t tell anyone I suggested that.


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40 Responses to “Mac & Cheese – Vegan and Gluten-Free”

  1. olivia
    December 7, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    Oh that looks so good! Too bad I am allergic to food, I just found out it makes me fat… Lol… Seriously, I’m just on a diet, but this looks super yummy! Perfect for make a winter day nice and cozy.

    • Megan
      December 8, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

      You are funny Olivia. It’s total winter comfort food! This isn’t diet food, that’s for sure. Good luck with your weight loss. I am on a perpetual diet all the time. I like to think I am anyway. ;-)

  2. Noah
    March 3, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    Thank you for the recipe. Very good! This gives me something to work with. Do you have a recommendation as a substitute for the Nutritional yeast? There is an allergy to it in the family.

    • Megan
      March 4, 2012 at 10:05 am #

      Excellent! I’m glad. I think the amount of nutritional yeast in this recipe (1 tablespoon) is so little compared to most vegan mac n cheese recipes that you could probably omit it and not lose too much in the way of flavor. Thanks for stopping by. Let me know how it turns out without the nut.yeast.

  3. lea
    July 5, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    I used a bag which is 8oz./1 cup and had some extra maybe a quarter cup and it worked purrrfecto. So you don’t need to buy three bag to put 3 cups, FYI.

    • Megan
      July 5, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

      Oh that’s great to know Lea. Thanks for sharing the tip! I’ll try making this again soon with less Daiya and see how we like it! :)

  4. Trinity
    August 18, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    Wow that looks sooooooo good i am making it RIGHT NOW!!!! We used less daiya cheese but it seems to be working so far. And we have an allergy of nutritional yeast so we didn’t put any in. I will tell you how it turns out when I am done

    • Megan
      August 18, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

      How did it turn out?? When I read your comment earlier today it made me want to make mac & cheese for dinner. (I need to go buy groceries but it’s on the menu for tomorrow!) Yum.

  5. Trinity
    August 19, 2012 at 6:58 am #

    Wow! i don’t know what to say!!!!!! That Mac n Cheese was AMAZING!!!!! I have never eaten meat or cheese before so i don’t actually know what real Mac n Cheese tastes like! But i loved it !!!!!!!!!!! Thank you sooooooooo much for this recipe!!!!!!! I cant explain how much i LOVED this recipe!
    Thank you !! <3 <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

    • Megan
      August 19, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

      I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe Trinity! I think it tastes pretty similar to real Mac n Cheese (and I’ve had the real stuff before! LOL). Thank you for stopping by to share how much you loved the recipe. Made my day! :)

      • Trinity
        August 24, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

        Im glad i made your day, Megan!!

      • Trinity
        August 24, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

        Im glad i made your day, Megan!! I am making it AGAIN tonight!
        I cant wait!

  6. August 25, 2012 at 4:47 am #

    Dear Megan
    I’m Trinity’s Mom. Just wanted to let you know that Trinity is 10 years old. I’m so proud of her for entering the world of cooking. She is quite the budding chef. We all got to enjoy your mac ‘n cheese. So thank you. And thank you for responding to her comments. You made her day each time too! :) With thanks, Melissa

    • Megan
      September 19, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

      Hi Melissa (&Trinity),

      I somehow missed a few comments on my blog that I’m finally finding today. So sorry for not replying to you sooner. I’m so impressed that your 10-year old is attempting real recipes like this. Good job Mom! :)

      Thanks again for all your great comments. Hope to see you here again.


  7. Jessica
    October 25, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    This recipe turned out so awesome. I sauteed 3 cloves of minced garlic in olive oil (instead of vegan butter) and substituted 1 cup of the cheese with nacho cheese teese (soy based cheese). i didn’t have gluten free breadcrumbs so I crushed up gluten free chips instead. It was so good my boyfriend couldn’t even tell it was vegan!

  8. Jessica
    October 25, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    Oh- and I forgot that I added a bit of sriracha. So good.

    • October 26, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

      Your version sounds absolutely amazing. I am a huge fan of sriracha and I definitely approve of your adding it to this Mac & Cheese! Haha.

  9. Laura T.
    November 10, 2012 at 5:14 am #

    Im not vegan, but I’m a veggie trying to reduce my animal product intake, so I’ll definitely be trying this! Have you tried adding tomatoes to the sauce to cut the richness? I often do, so I guess it’s a bit like the ketchup idea! :)

    • November 10, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

      Hi Laura, Love the idea of adding tomatoes to mac & cheese! Thanks for sharing. :)

  10. Sophia
    November 19, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    So excited to try making this when I get home from college tomorrow (my mom already bought all the ingredients for me)! I do have a question though – does the almond milk give the mac n’ cheese any of its flavor? I’m not a huge fan of almond milk’s aftertaste and prefer rice milk, but I was thinking that rice milk might be too thin for something like this?


    • November 19, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

      Go ahead and use rice milk. Almond milk is my non-dairy milk of choice so that’s why I always default to it in my recipes, but just use any regular unsweetened non-dairy milk you prefer and you’ll still have great results I’m sure! Enjoy!

  11. Melissa B
    December 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    I added organic fresh spinach and sun dried tomatoes to it. Mmmmm! I used organic Caesar croutons that I smashed and organic whole wheat spiral pasta (I don’t have an allergy, so I mix my carbs up).

    Thanks for a great recipe.

    • December 18, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

      Melissa, your additions sound divine! I want to do this recipe with broccoli too. Broccoli and cheese just feels right. And adds some good greens to the meal. You better believe I’m going to be trying your suggested add-ins for sure! Thanks for commenting. :)

  12. Erin
    February 7, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    Thank you for this recipe. I recently developed food alergies to dairy and wheat so I am always trying to find ways to replace my favorites. I tried this recipe using Daiya chees which I now love, and quinoa pasta which cooks up much better than rice pasta. I added a bit of Siracha to give it the kick my Thai fiance loves. Thank you, I will be coming back for more recipes.

    • February 8, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

      Awesome to hear Erin! I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe. I enjoy quinoa pasta too but I find it a bit pricey. Hopefully it’ll catch on and come down in price like brown rice pasta did. Oh and I’m always a fan of adding Sriracha to ANYTHING. :)

  13. craig
    March 26, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

    Good easy to make recipe. This recipe is suitable for vegan diets and it’s healthy and delicious, too. Gluten free mac and cheese is easy to decorate, so feel free to add fresh herbs and veggies if you want referral than visit you have on hand to make it extra nutritious and special.

  14. Megan Kelly
    July 24, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    Pfft, who says you can’t have mac and cheese on a diet. A few modifications and It’ll be great. Unfortunately the days I can I the cheese I can’t have margerine (Too much fat) So I’ll figure another buttery flavour out, if I even need it. I have some ideas, but this recipe will be a good guide to me making healthy mac :P Especially the paprika measurement.

    • July 25, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

      Awesome to hear Megan!

  15. Priyanka
    August 4, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    I came across your blog desperately looking for vegan gluten free mac and cheese recipes and I have been a fan of yours ever since :) I added your blog to my “favorites” tab right away! Thank you so much for sharing these amazing recipes with everyone!

    • August 5, 2013 at 10:32 am #

      Thanks so much Priyanka!

  16. Ana
    September 13, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    OH. MY. GOD. This was incredible. I had to stop myself from eating half of the final yield LOL! Just phenomenal. It tasted just like real cheese <3 and it was soooo richhh mmmmmmm!

  17. Chris
    September 14, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    2 cups Pepper jack + 1 of Mozzerella Daiya worked great to give it just enough kick to keep it from being too rich. Thanks for the recipe.

    • September 15, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

      Thanks for the tips Chris! Glad you enjoyed it.

  18. Miranda
    December 8, 2013 at 7:14 pm #

    DELICIOUS! Made it exactly according to the recipe, but used Italian bread crumbs. To die for!! Thank you!!!!!’

  19. Nicole
    January 4, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    Seriously delicious! This reminds me of Amy’s organic mac-n-cheese. I’ve already made this two times since discovering the recipe last week!:)

  20. Lucy
    February 2, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

    This is the BEST vegan mac & cheese I have ever had! (And I have tried several). I will definitely be making this again! Oh, and I left out the TB of nutritional yeast flakes because I also have a sensitivity and I still thought it was great. :)


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