| | | |

Vegan Instant Mac & Cheese

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This Vegan Instant Mac & Cheese is a terrific classic Blue Box copycat, but made vegan with your favorite cheese sauce.

Mac n’ Cheese is probably in my top 10 (maybe 5) favorite dishes of all time! Like a lot of folks in the US, I grew up on the Kraft Blue Box. And what’s cool is there’s actually quite a few vegan options available.

But growing up, I ate the heck out of this stuff. I can’t remember if I’ve already told this story on one of my other Mac n’ Cheese posts (I have a few) but when I was 10 I asked my mom to have this like 2 or 3 nights in a row. She couldn’t believe that I wanted to eat it every night. So she told me she was just going to make Mac n’ Cheese every night until I got sick of it. I happily obliged.

I think after 10 nights she finally gave in and made something else. But I often wonder when I would’ve gotten sick of it! Who knows!

why you’ll love vegan instant mac n’ cheese

Even though there’s a decent amount of options out there for instant vegan mac n’ cheese, they can sometimes be pricey. And I almost always gotta add a bunch of seasonings to ’em since they are usually kinda bland.

So why not make some of our own Mac n’ Cheese Powder to have whenever we get a hankering and wanna make some in an INSTANT!

And one of the reasons I love this recipe so much is just like the boxed stuff, it’s SUPER CONVENIENT! No soaking cashews, boiling carrots, and you don’t need to worry about buying any vegan cheese at the store!

ingredients for vegan instant mac n’ cheese

  • Nutritional Yeast – Not a surprise if you’ve been vegan for more than 1 week! This is the backbone of this powder and it’s pretty mandatory.
  • Mushroom Seasoning – I use this stuff in a lot of my recipes, and for good reason! It packs a good umami punch in just about anything. If you can’t get your hands on some you can use more nutritional yeast.
  • Onion and Garlic Powder – These also help out with the savory flavor. But don’t add too much as they can overpower the powder very easily!
  • Lactic Acid – Another ingredient that might not be super common. But if you are making vegan cheese on a semi-regular basis, it should be a staple! It just adds a superior cheesy tang that I haven’t found a substitute for. Some people have said they use citric acid in its place, but I haven’t tried that yet.
  • Sazon or MSG – These are optional, but they do help out if you can get ’em!
  • Tapioca Starch – This is going to thicken the sauce and give it a bit of a stretch! I’m not sure you can substitute this, cornstarch might work, but I’d be worried it would come out gummy.

how to make vegan instant mac n’ cheese

The recipe we got here is good for about 1 pound of dry pasta. I would honestly say to double it since the powder will last a good long while and it’s nice to have this handy whenever you want.

To make the powder, you just need to whisk everything together.

I highly suggest blending it if you can. This seems to intensify the flavor!

Then just store it until needed!

To actually put this to use, it’s basically the same process as the non-vegan stuff. Cook 8 oz. of macaroni according to package instructions. Then add unsweetened plant milk and vegan butter.

Then add 4-6 Tbsp of the powder.

Stir to combine, taste and adjust for seasoning and you’re done!



Store in a jar and use within a year. But honestly I don’t know how this stuff would last more than a few weeks, it’s too good!!

other recipes you might like!

Recommendations for Kitchen Gear, Spices & Pantry Items, or what I use for my Photos and Videos, check my Amazon Storefront!

Vegan Instant Mac & Cheese

Thee Burger Dude
4.59 from 219 votes
Servings 4 -6 Servings


Vegan Cheese Powder

  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp mushroom seasoning
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp onion powder*
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vegan lactic acid
  • 1 tsp Sazon or MSG optional
  • 6 Tbsp tapioca starch

Mac and Cheese

  • 8 oz. dried macaroni
  • 1 cup unsweetened plant milk
  • 2-3 Tbsp vegan butter
  • 4-6 Tbsp vegan cheese powder


  • To make the cheese powder, simply combine everything in a small blender or spice grinder and blend thoroughly. Adjust seasoning to taste. Store in a jar or tupperware.
  • To make mac n' cheese, boil pasta according to package instructions, but take out 1 minute before it's done so it's al dente. Then drain, return to the pot over medium low heat, along with the vegan milk, butter and cheese powder. Stir until butter melts and tapioca starch thickens, about 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately!


*A couple folks have said the onion and garlic powder at 1 tsp each is overpowering, so start with 1/2 tsp and add more as you see fit.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Similar Posts


  1. Hi! I’ve been so excited to make this for so long and I’m finally getting around to it. Is the sub for sazon and msg/annato a 1:1 swap? I’ve never worked with msg before but picked it up so I can make my own sazon for your taco bell nacho fries.

    1. Hi! I hope you enjoy it! I would say do 1/2 tsp each of MSG and annatto! Add more to your taste!

  2. Just made this tonight!! Very tasty! I’m not sure why i get a bit of a beef stroganoff taste though. Definitely will be making it again!

    1. You should be able to get it on Amazon, search Druid’s Grove Lactic Acid. If not you can try citric acid but use less as it’s more sour. You can also just skip it, it should still be good! Thanks!

  3. Really good (and I’m hard to impress)! I added a dash of mustard powder to the prepared mac and it really set it off!

  4. Hi!

    This looks really good excited to try. I cant get mushroom powder in my country though, can I sub for MSG is it similar?


    1. Hi, they are similar, but MSG is a bit stronger, so if you are using that I would just use less, like maybe half as much or even less, thanks!

  5. Hey, can’t wait to make this. What brand of vegan lactic acid do you recommend? It’s hard to find in my area so I’ll need to order it but I’m not sure what to look for.

  6. Great pantry meal! Really surprised at how creamy it came out. I added some tajin to the finished bowl and that really kicked it up a notch from its baseline tastiness.

  7. Very good. Measured everything out but I’m going to say it’s a little heavy on the onion and garlic powder. Will quarter it next batch. Added a splash of Frank’s and some cracked pepper. Was excellent. Always love the recipes. Also wanted to mention I swapped for citric acid as it’s all I had and it did the trick.

    1. I agree that the garlic powder is a bit overpowering and I will, also, use less for my next batch. With that being said, this is the BEST vegan Mac & cheese recipe I have found!

  8. Lactic Acid is hard to find except on Amazon until…you read that it is also used a a pH balancer in beer brewing which means that almost any home brewers shop worth it salt is going to have it. And pretty much every town has a few home brewer supply shops right?

      1. Is there anything I can sub for MSG? I do not eat that ingredient as it’s triggered my headaches since I was a kid.

  9. I’m slightly confused with the recipe – how much of the powder is used when preparing 8oz of noodles? Thanks! Looking forward to trying it.

    1. Recipe is in there but it’s
      8 oz. dried macaroni
      1 cup unsweetened plant milk
      2-3 Tbsp vegan butter
      4-6 Tbsp vegan cheese powder

  10. Finally got around to trying this today. Perfect! So glad to find a cheese sauce I can whip up at last minute from container in my pantry without cooking/blending. I can see adding different spices–Mexican, Italian, etc.–to suit dish. Thank you!

  11. I keep a container of this in my pantry. Just add some fresh or frozen veggies to the final dish (steamed over the boiling pasta), and you have a complete meal.

    1. Hmm, the nutritional yeast is kind of the base of the powder, so I’m not sure it can be subbed and taste the same. It really does a lot of the “cheesy” flavor for this unfortunately.

  12. This taste nothing like I remember the blue box tasting, it is so incredibly much better! It’s way better than the cashew-based mac & chezes. Thank you for a fabulous recipe😊

  13. I made this because I was craving Mac n cheese and didn’t LOVE any of the grocery store options. I just found my husband (who is not vegan) chowing down on the leftovers stating that they were so good and when I told him what he was eating he looked surprised and mumbled (between bites) that it was damn good.

    1. Haha, that’s awesome! I also haven’t been a huge fan of store-bought versions, so glad you and your husband liked it!!

  14. Currently making a double batch of the powder cause I’ve done gone through batch one! Have told all my vegan friends about this recipe! No regrets on having to order a few ingredients to make this come together. Absolutely delicious! Thank you

  15. I’m about to try this recipe with “spike” since Iit’s far cheaper and more available than Mushroom powder. Will report back. Guess i’ll try 1:1 with that ingredient.

    1. Spike is a lot saltier than mushroom seasoning so I would go easier with it! But let me know how it goes!

  16. I made this. I used 1/2tsp onion and garlic powder. I didn’t have mushroom seasoning, so I used 1 tbsp msg. I still added the 1tsp sazon. I did 1tsp salt. Does it tastes like real cheese? No. It tastes like nutritional yeast. Do I love nutritional yeast? YES. The texture of this is really nice and stringy and creamy. Now that I’ve made the seasoning mix, it’s so easy to mix up the sauce, and I love that the most. This is the best vegan Mac I’ve ever tasted. Thank you for this recipe!!!!!

  17. I made this recipe for my lunch today, and I am trying it out right now……and wow! 😘
    You are genius my friend ❤️
    Thank you so much for teaching and sharing such amazing recipes on your beautiful website.

  18. Holy heck dude. This recipe is just incredible. It’s the BEST vegan mac ive ever had. I’m in shock. Thank you so so so much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating