Instant Pot Vegan Mac and Cheese

Instant Pot Vegan mac and cheese. It’s totally a thing, and it’s a thing you are going to want to know about if you’re trying to adapt a dairy-free/plant-based lifestyle as a busy lady. Because truly, mac and cheese is life.

It’s comfort food at it’s finest. It’s a bowlful of warmth that reminds you of your childhood, although WAY better than what came in the blue box. What the heck was in the packet of powder anyway? It definitely wasn’t cheese!

That’s what I wanted to talk about actually. 

So with vegan mac and cheese, I’ve tried it many different ways. 

  • traditional mac & cheese but subbing in dairy-free store bought “cheese” products… blegh! worst mistake ever.
  • using butternut squash and pumpkin as the “cheese” base. good, but not quite authentic or comforting.
  • using this recipe I’m sharing with you today – SO yummy, but it still took time to cook the veggies, then the noodles, then blend the sauce, then mix it together. 

The thing is, this mama is busy, and I’m guessing that you are too! 

Whether you’re working outta the home or you’re a busy mom at home wearing //all the hats// you’re feeling the pressure, and trying to make healthy meals for your family is just adding to the ever-growing to-do list.

So instead of taking on all the pressure yourself, how about you hand it on over to something that knows exactly how to handle the pressure… the INSTANT POT! (see what i did there???)

Do you have one yet? 

I absolutely love the pressure cooker for so many things (even with a plant-based diet):

  • steel cut oats every morning – make one batch to last the whole week
  • perfect quinoa (in 5 minutes!!)
  • dried beans, saving me tons of money
  • soups
  • lentil curries
  • chili
  • spaghetti
  • mac & cheese like the one I’m showing you right here

And if you eat eggs, they really do make the most perfect hard-boiled eggs ever, and the shells literally just come right off. 

So if you don’t have the instant pot yet, you’ve got to get yourself one, and you’ll save so much time! This is the one I have.

For this specific recipe, I am using a couple of other products to divide the sauce ingredients from the noodles.

First, I put this trivet over the mac noodles. Then I add this pan on top of the rack to put all the veggies and cashews into. 

Using those tools for your instant pot mac and cheese allows you to cook the noodles at the same time as your vegan cheese sauce ingredients. Then you just pull out the cheese ingredients, throw them in the blender for like 30 seconds, and pour it all back over the noodles in the instant pot. EASY!

But a big question I know you have –

Does this instant pot vegan mac and cheese actually taste like real mac and cheese?

but it’s close.

As a vegan, I think we’re all trying to find something – ANYTHING – that matches the taste of cheese. The truth of the matter is that nothing really does. And you kind of have to learn to accept that.

But with this vegan mac and cheese, we’re really close to hitting that mark. You’re getting a creamy texture you get from a traditional mac. You’re getting a new flavor palate that does resemble mac. 

AND you’re hiding veggies in dinner, and your kids won’t even know it! TOTAL win.

Of course, the recipe is below, but if you need a little visual help, I’ll throw in a video to make it even easier for you.

AND you’re hiding veggies in dinner, and your kids won’t even know it! TOTAL win.

Of course, the recipe is below, but if you need a little visual help, I’ll throw in a video to make it even easier for you.


  • 16 oz dried elbow macaroni
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup potato, peeled & chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup water


  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp tapioca flour, or corn starch
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


  1. In pressure cooker, elbow macaroni, olive oil, and 4 cups of water to cover the pasta.
  2. Place trivet on top of pasta and set cake pan on top of trivet (see links for product details).
  3. In the cake pan, add cashews, potato, carrots, garlic, butter, & 1/4 cup water. Cover with foil.
  4. Add pressure cooker lid, and make sure the vent is closed.
  5. Cook at high pressure for 4 minutes.
  6. Once cook time is finished, do a quick release right away.
  7. Carefully remove cake pan from the pressure cooker and pour all ingredients in pan into your blender. Add all sauce ingredients to the blender and blend on high for about 30 seconds, or until completely smooth.
  8. Add sauce mixture back into the pressure cooker on top of the noodles, and stir. The sauce will be thin at first, but as you stir, it will become a thicker sauce within a few minutes.
  9. Enjoy!

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