Creamy, comforting, and ready in just 15 minutes, my recipe for Vegan Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is certain to become a family favorite! Made with just 11 ingredients (most of which are pantry staples), this simple one-pot meal is ideal for a busy weeknight.
If you’ve followed the blog for a while now, you know that the hardest part of transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle was leaving cheese behind. Mac and cheese has always been a favorite dish of mine. As a kid, I was all about that blue box lifestyle. Nowadays, I want my food to be as real and unprocessed as possible.
Luckily, making a super satisfying vegan dupe for every kid’s favorite pasta dish is extremely easy. This recipe is made even easier with the use of the Instant Pot! All you need are 11 easy-to-find ingredients (most of which are already in your pantry) and roughly 5 minutes of active prep time to make a steaming hot batch of *dairy-free* cheesy comfort. Come along with me to the kitchen to learn how!
Recipe Ingredients & Substitutions
As promised, you only need a handful of ingredients and some pantry staples to make my vegan mac and cheese in the Instant Pot. Here’s what to grab:
- Elbow Macaroni or Cavatapi Pasta - Elbows are traditional, but feel free to swap in any short pasta shape you prefer. Feel free to use whole wheat pasta for an added nutritional boost.
- Vegetable Broth - You can easily use plain water, but I find that veggie broth gives this Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe an added layer of flavor.
- Vegan Butter - For richness. Vegan butter has come a long way since I went vegan in 2015! I typically prefer the brands of vegan butter that come in stick form like Miyoko’s or Earth Balance. There’s also Country Crock plant butter, which I’d recommend only if you can’t find the others as it contains palm oil.
- Dijon Mustard - Mustard in mac and cheese, you say? It’s actually a classic ingredient in most from-scratch recipes! Feel free to use yellow mustard or ground mustard powder in a pinch.
- Salt & Pepper - For seasoning.
- Garlic Powder & Onion Powder - For all that allium goodness without any sticky fingers, annoying papery skin, or tears.
- Smoked Paprika - I love the slight hint of smoky flavor in this mac n cheese. Feel free to swap in regular sweet paprika if you prefer a more traditional flavor profile.
- Nutritional Yeast - Also affectionately known as “nooch” in the vegan community, these tiny yellow flakes pack major cheesy vibes alongside a serious nutritional boost.
- Plant-Based Milk - Since we’re hoping to achieve maximum creaminess, make sure you’re choosing the creamiest type of plant-based milk possible. I recommend either unflavored, unsweetened oat milk or soy milk here.
- Vegan Cheese - There are almost as many types of plant-based cheeses on the market nowadays as there are dairy cheeses. Feel free to mix and match to your heart’s content!
How To Make Instant Pot Vegan Mac and Cheese
Add the macaroni, water or vegetable broth, butter, Dijon mustard, and spices to a 6 or 8-quart Instant Pot.
Give everything a quick stir, and then place the lid on the Instant Pot and set the valve to "Sealing." Cook on the manual function at "High Pressure" for 4 minutes.
When the cooking cycle finishes, do a quick release by turning the valve to "Venting" and release all of the steam.
Add the milk (starting with ½ cup), nutritional yeast, and vegan cheese to the pot and stir until the cheese is melted and creamy. Add more milk if needed to get desired consistency, and adjust any seasonings to your liking.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Pro Tips For Instant Pot Vegan Mac and Cheese
Storage: Save any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stovetop, in the Instant Pot using the sauté function, or in the microwave. Use a splash of milk as needed to loosen the sauce.
If your vegan cheese isn’t melting after adding it, turn the Instant Pot onto sauté to boost the temperature until it does.
What are the best cheeses for making mac and cheese? I personally like the VioLife brand and used a mix of their cheddar and mozzarella shreds, but taste is totally subjective. Make sure to try lots of combinations to find your own personal best! When you find what you like, let me know in the comments below so I can try your genius idea!
If you’re looking for ways to jazz up your vegan Instant Pot mac n cheese, consider these variations:
- Veggie Mac - Add up to 2 cups of frozen peas at the end to heat them through. You can also add steamed or roasted broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, and/or mushrooms to the mix.
- Gluten-Free - Swap in your favorite gluten-free pasta, but note that you might need to adjust the cook time down if you do.
- Mediterranean Mac - Add a scoop of vegan pesto and some sun-dried tomatoes for a bright spin.
- Kimchi Mac - Add some chopped, spicy fermented cabbage for a fun flavor boost and a probiotic punch.
- Add Protein - Consider some vegan bacon bits, vegan chick’n, vegan hot dogs, or meatless crumbles to bulk up your mac.
- Add Crunch - Sauté some minced garlic in vegan butter, then add a couple of handfuls of panko to the pan to toast. Add chopped parsley, then sprinkle over your mac and cheese for more of a traditional casserole-style flavor.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you’re still looking for reasons to try my super easy vegan mac and cheese recipe, there is plenty to go around. This recipe is:
- Quick & Easy. It’ll be ready in just 15 minutes (plus the time it takes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure), plus there’s no need for dirtying a colander. Even cleanup is a snap!
- Wholesome & Nutritious. Unlike the hyper-processed blue box I grew up with, this Instant Pot mac and cheese is made with whole food ingredients that are easy to pronounce.
- Super Versatile. With dozens of different types of cheeses and even more opportunities to shake things up with mix-ins, this simple recipe can be reinterpreted night after night to keep things interesting.
- Made With Mostly Pantry Ingredients. In fact, I’d bet you have most everything you need on hand already. Don’t you just love it when that happens? ME TOO.
Let me know if you try this Instant Pot vegan mac and cheese recipe, and if you do, I would love it if you left a rating and review below! Make sure you are also following along on Instagram and Pinterest for more food inspiration.
More vegan pasta recipes to try:Print
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