Ah, boxed mac and cheese: a great American pastime. Fortunately for those who have decided to quit supporting factory farming — a not-so-great American pastime — there are endless boxed vegan mac and cheeses on the market these days.
And yes, Kraft does now make a vegan Kraft mac and cheese — but don't get too excited. The brand rolled the product out in Australia in July 2021, as per VegNews, but the product has yet to spring up in the U.S. yet.
Keep reading for the rundown on five of the most popular boxed vegan mac and cheeses, a few of which you can regularly find in grocery stores across the U.S.; the others, you'll have an easier time finding at Whole Foods, in health food stores, and online.
Annie’s Deluxe Rich & Creamy Shells & Vegan Cheddar
Vegetarian-and vegan-friendly brand Annie’s makes a Deluxe Rich & Creamy Shells & Vegan Cheddar, which comes with a packet filled with sauce, rather than powder, meaning no extra ingredients are needed.
Annie’s actually makes a few vegan mac and cheeses, but we chose to highlight this one because BuzzFeed personality and YouTuber Merle O'Neal recently ranked it in the No. 1 spot on her vegan mac and cheese taste test. Annie’s products can be found in many grocery stores around the U.S.
Modern Table’s mac and cheeses are all vegan, allergen-friendly, and gluten-free, as the noodles are made from a combination of lentils, rice, and peas. That combo makes for 15 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving (of which there are two in each box).
Modern Table’s mac and cheeses come in five flavors: Southwest, Classic Cheddar, White Cheddar, Creamy Alfredo, and Creamy Parmesan & Herb, the last four of which are some of my personal favorites, and regularly on my grocery list. To turn the powder into sauce, you’ll need some vegan butter and milk.
Seed Ranch Flavor’s Better Forking Flavor Mac & Cheese
Hot sauce company Seed Ranch Flavor recently rolled out the Better Forking Flavor Mac & Cheese, which I got to try at the Plant Based World Expo. Not only was it yummy, but it also had some standout packaging — inside the cardboard box, the powder to make the cheese sauce is packaged in a compostable pouch, whereas most boxed mac and cheeses package their sauces in packets that cannot be recycled or composted.
Upton’s Naturals’ Original Ch’eesy Mac and Ch’eesy Bacon Mac
Upton’s Naturals is perhaps best known for its seitan, but the company makes a pretty mean Original Ch’eesy Mac, as well as a Ch’eesy Bacon Mac. This is another option I buy somewhat regularly — not only is it tasty (especially the bacon version), but it is also super convenient. There’s no need to boil water for the pasta, because the noodles come pre-cooked and vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag, as does the sauce.
To cook, all you have to do is combine both packets, either in a frying pan or in the microwave. This is a super handy option, especially for people who do not have stoves, or to take with you while staying in a hotel — the only downside is that it has more plastic packaging than all the other options on this list.
Daiya’s Deluxe Mac and Cheeze
Daiya is the original vegan cheese brand — and while many vegans disagree on the quality of Daiya’s cheese, many more are big fans of the company’s various Deluxe Mac and Cheezes, which come in Cheddar, Alfredo, White Cheddar, Meatless Bac’n & Cheddar, and Four Cheeze Style With Herbs.
Each flavor is free of the eight major allergens, including gluten, and the boxes come with a sauce packet inside, meaning you don’t need to add any plant-based butter or milk. Daiya is another brand that can be easily found in a variety of stores across the country.