Dairy Free Mac and Cheese

This Dairy Free Mac and Cheese is made with a vegan cashew cheese sauce that is unbelievably creamy and savory. Try adding peas and broccoli!

This post is sponsored by Yondu. All opinions are my own.

Dairy Free Mac and Cheese

Honestly, who doesn’t love a big bowl of mac and cheese? If you asked 100 people what their comfort food is, I bet 90 people would say mac and cheese.

Friends, I’m so excited to share this dairy free mac and cheese recipe that is done in just 30 minutes. That means there is only 30 minutes between you, right now, and a hearty bowl of mac and cheese. Ready, set, COOK!

pouring yellow cheese sauce over pasta in a stainless steel pot

How to Make a Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce

First, let’s talk about why cashews make the best base for a vegan cheese sauce. Cashews are full of healthy unsaturated fats, which give the sauce richness and creaminess.

Making a vegan cheese sauce is easier than you think. Here’s what you need:

  • Raw cashews. Be sure to use raw cashews, not roasted or salted. Tip: if you forget to soak your cashews overnight (I always do!), just boil them for 10 minutes.
  • Unsweetened non-dairy milk. You can also use water.
  • Lemon juice. Make sure to balance out the savory flavors with some acid.
  • Nutritional yeast. It gives this dairy free mac and cheese lots of cheesy flavor.
  • Yondu Vegetable Umami. This is an all-purpose umami seasoning sauce that is slow-fermented for 3 months so you can have a shortcut to rich umami flavor in your own kitchen! Yondu is absolutely perfect for this dairy free mac and cheese because it gives the recipe umami flavor in just a couple teaspoons.
  • Garlic powder.
  • Turmeric. Totally optional, but adds that quintessential yellow color of mac nad cheese.

Really, I cannot recommend grabbing a bottle of Yondu for your own kitchen, especially if you eat a lot of plant-based meals that need a punch of umami flavor. I love to use Yondu in soups, pasta dishes, salad dressings. You can also use it in place of umami boosters like fish and oyster sauce! It really is a vegan kitchen staple. You can get 20% off your YonduYondu order with code 20emilieeats.

What type of pasta should I use?

You’ve got tons of options for pasta to use in this dairy free mac and cheese recipe:

  • Regular white pasta.
  • Whole grain pasta. For a boost of fiber!
  • Gluten free pasta. Great for those with celiac or a gluten allergy.
  • Bean-based protein pasta. I love making this mac and cheese recipe with bean pasta because it instantly becomes an all-in-one meal!

As far as shapes, I can’t help but stick with the classic shells for mac and cheese. But really, go crazy with trying all the shapes!

PS – if you’re looking for more pasta recipes, head to my recipe index and filter by “pasta” under ingredients!

How to make:

Dairy Free Mac and Cheese

This Dairy Free Mac and Cheese is made with a vegan cashew cheese sauce that is unbelievably creamy and savory. Try adding peas and broccoli!

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
6 1x


  • 16 ounces pasta (gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 head broccoli (about 3 ½ cups), chopped into small florets
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or boiled for 10 minutes
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons Yondu Vegetable Umami
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup green peas, drained


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.
  2. Steam broccoli; drain. Add to pot with pasta.
  3. To a blender, add cashews, milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, Yondu, garlic powder, and turmeric. Blend until smooth.
  4. To the pot with pasta, add cheese sauce and peas. Stir to combine.

Thanks to Yondu for sponsoring this post! I love working with brands whose products I really love and would honestly recommend. Thank you for your support!