This is the best dairy free mac and cheese recipe! It's so rich and creamy, and the sauce is ready in just 5 minutes. This cheese sauce is made with carrots, cashews, coconut milk and nutritional yeast. Not only is this cheese sauce dairy free but it's also gluten free, vegan, paleo and Whole30 compliant.
Why you will love this recipe:
- Move over Amy's, Daiya and Trader Joe's. This is the best dairy free Mac and cheese recipe!
- It's so quick and easy to make and the sauce is ready in less than 5 minutes.
- The dairy free cheese sauce in this recipe is so delicious, thick and creamy.
- Not only is this homemade Mac and cheese dairy free but it's also vegan, gluten free, lactose free, paleo, plant based and Whole30 compliant.
- This Mac and cheese makes great leftovers and is perfect for meal prep.
- This is a healthy Mac and cheese recipe.
- it's made with simple ingredients like carrots, cashews, coconut milk, nutritional yeast and no milk, no butter, no cheese, and no eggs.
- This macaroni and cheese is so good that even kids and toddlers love it!
- If you prefer a veggie based cheese sauce for Mac and cheese, you can use my cauliflower cheese sauce instead!
Taste and texture:
This Mac and cheese recipe is thick, rich and so creamy. Even though it doesn't have any cheese in it, it still has a cheesy flavour due to the nutritional yeast. This macaroni and cheese has a mild flavour and is not spicy.
Key ingredients and substitutions:
- Carrots - carrots not only add a healthy vegetable to this plant based cheese sauce, but they also help give this Mac and cheese a beautiful orange color.
- Coconut milk - full fat coconut milk gives this lactose free Mac and cheese such a rich and creamy flavour, while keeping it dairy milk free. Be sure to use full fat and not low fat coconut milk for the best flavour. You could swap this for cashew milk or almond milk.
- Cashews - raw cashews are such a great substitute for milk or cream in dairy free recipes. They blend beautifully to give this milk free cheese sauce the most delicious creamy texture. I have not tried swapping cashews with any other nuts or making this recipe nut free, and I do not recommend trying it.
- Nutritional yeast - nutritional yeast is used to give this sauce a cheesy flavour, without any cheese or dairy.
How to make:
First, cook the pasta as per the instructions on the package.
While the pasta is cooking make the cheese sauce by placing all the ingredients into your high speed blender.
Then blend the ingredients until you have a smooth sauce.
Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse it and pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and stir it well to coat the noodles in the sauce. Then serve and enjoy!
How to serve:
- Serve this Mac and cheese over any type of pasta noodles that you like - my favourite are elbow noodles.
- Turn this into a complete meal by adding cooked chicken, tofu, pork or beef.
- Top it with some cooked bacon or vegan bacon.
- Feel free to add extra veggies when you serve it - some of my favourites include peas, bell peppers, cooked cauliflower or broccoli.
Tips and variations:
- If you don't have a Vitamix blender you will likely need to soak the cashews for a few hours before blending.
- If you can't have coconut milk, I would try substituting cashew milk or almond milk instead.
- If you like a thinner sauce, add a bit more water or coconut milk to the recipe.
- The sauce for this recipe freezes really well so feel free to make a double or triple batch and freeze some for later.
- To make this a dairy free and gluten free Mac and cheese: use gluten free pasta noodles.
- To make this Mac and cheese paleo: use noodles that are grain free. Some options include zucchini noodles, carrot noodles, sweet potato noodles or these heart of palm noodles.
- To make this into Whole30 Mac and cheese: Use vegetable noodles. Options include carrot noodles, sweet potato noodles, parsnip noodles or zucchini noodles. Noodles made from heart of palm would also work!
How to store and reheat:
Store any leftover sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.
This dairy free macaroni and cheese also freezes really well for up to 3 months. After freezing, let it thaw completely in the fridge before reheating.
To reheat this Mac and cheese, warm the leftovers in a microwave for a few minutes or in a pot on the stove. Stir in a little warm water or non dairy milk to thin out the sauce if needed.
The nutritional information for this recipe will vary depending on the type of noodles you serve it with, but if you include typical macaroni noodles, one serving of this macaroni and cheese has approximately 928 calories, 113 grams of total carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber, 105 net carbs, 30 grams of protein and 43 grams of fat. This Mac and cheese is dairy free, vegan, paleo, Whole30 compliant and gluten free. It is not low calorie, low carb or keto.
Frequently asked questions:
Instead of dairy milk you can make Mac and cheese with coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk or oat milk. This will give the sauce a nice and creamy texture while keeping it dairy free and lactose free.
No. Velveeta cheese is made with modified milk ingredients as well as cheese so it is not dairy free or lactose free. It is also not vegan as it contain animal products.
No. Kraft Mac and cheese contains whey and milk fat so it is not dairy free or lactose free. Because it contains animals products it is also not vegan.
No. Annie's Mac and cheese contains cheese, milk, whey, butter and cream meaning it is not dairy free or lactose free. It is also not vegan as it is made with animal products.
Yes! As long as you use gluten free noodles this Mac n cheese recipe is gluten free and dairy free.
Other dairy free recipes you will love:
- Paleo Teriyaki Chicken and Broccoli
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice with Shrimp
- Vegan Alfredo Sauce
- Whole30 Meatloaf with Blueberries
- Teriyaki Vegetable Stir Fry
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Dairy Free Mac and Cheese
- 16 oz pasta of choice
Dairy Free Cheese Sauce Ingredients
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Prepare the pasta as per the instructions on the package (while the pasta is cooking make the cheese sauce).
Cheese Sauce Instructions
- Place all the ingredients into your high speed blender.
- Blend well until smooth.
- Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta and stir well to combine and coat all the noodles.
- Serve and enjoy!
- If you like a thinner sauce feel free to add extra water or coconut milk.
- You can substitute cashew milk or almond milk for the coconut milk.
- Nutritional values are an estimate and will vary depending on the exact ingredients used.
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