One Pot Vegan Jalapeño Mac & Cheese

GFGluten FreeNFNut FreeVVegan

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This One Pot Jalapeño Mac & Cheese is creamy, spicy, and topped with the most delicious garlicky homemade breadcrumbs for the perfect crunch! Vegan & Gluten-Free option. 

I’ve been on a serious pasta kick lately. Honestly, who could blame me? It’s the perfect fuss-free, satisfying comfort food – and this One Pot Jalapeño Mac & Cheese is nothing short of fuss-free coziness. Creamy, cheesy, and garlicky, with a touch of crunch from homemade seasoned breadcrumbs and a kick of spice from fresh jalapeños!

bowl of vegan jalapeño mac and cheese with garlic breadcrumbs on marble countertop

INGREDIENTS + INSPIRATION

If you couldn’t tell from my Vegan Baked Jalapeño Poppers or my Jalapeño Popper Pasta Bake, jalapeños are one of my favorite peppers for spicing things up. Their mild heat pairs perfectly with cheesy dishes like mac & cheese, and thus…this One Pot Jalapeño Mac & Cheese was born! The homemade garlic panko breadcrumbs on top are the ultimate finishing touch for the perfect crunch. And don’t worry – making your own seasoned breadcrumbs at home couldn’t be easier. I love the added kick of garlic they bring. Honestly, I want to put them on everything.

ingredients for vegan jalapeño mac and cheese in small white bowls on marble background

This Jalapeño Mac & Cheese is made from relatively simple ingredients – pasta, a few aromatics, and vegan cheese, obviously 🙂 I would highly recommend making the garlicky breadcrumbs as well. Homemade breadcrumbs may sound intimidating but trust me – you’ll be thanking yourself later when you have a crunchy, buttery, and garlicky kick in every bite!

**Pro-Tip: the spiciest part of the jalapeño is in the seeds, so if you remove all of them, the dish has a kick that’s actually quite mild! If you like things *extra* hot, thinly slice a raw jalapeño (seeds and all) and fold it in at the end 🙂

HOW TO MAKE ONE POT VEGAN JALAPEÑO MAC & CHEESE

side-by-side photos of toasted homemade breadcrumbs and cooked pasta in large sauté pan

I absolutely love one pot pasta recipes because who doesn’t love one less dish to clean?! The starchiness from the pasta helps to further thicken the sauce here – plus it gets infused with extra flavor, too

  1. Sauté garlic, breadcrumbs, and salt in a pan until breadcrumbs are golden. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, sauté red onion until translucent, then add garlic, jalapeños, nutritional yeast, and cumin (optional) and continue to sauté.
  3. Place the dry pasta in the pot, pour garlic broth over top, and stir well. Bring to a boil.
  4. Cook the noodles until they are al dente. Add vegan cheese and mix until melted. Let cool slightly, allowing the sauce to thicken.
  5. Top with garlic breadcrumbs and enjoy!

There’s nothing that says comfort food like creamy macaroni & cheese. This spicy Jalapeño Mac will bring a heavy dose of comfort to any day. Enjoy it as a filling lunch or a quick and easy dinner. This dish is most delicious when served fresh, but any leftovers you have will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days and can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of non-dairy milk or water 🙂

bowls of vegan jalapeño mac and cheese topped with garlic breadcrumbs

COOKING TIPS + FAQ:

  • Gluten-Free: to make this dish gluten-free, simply use your favorite gluten-free pasta brand, as well as gluten-free breadcrumbs.
  • Cheese-Free: for a more whole-food version, omit the vegan cheese and replace it with 3 tablespoons of cashew butter, plus extra salt to taste for a wholesome ‘cheese sauce.’ Feel free to add more nutritional yeast as well, if you’d like to up the cheesy flavors.
  • Protein-boost: give your pasta a punch of extra protein by serving it with my super easy crispy tofu!

cooked vegan mac and cheese in large sauté pan with navy spoon

If you’re looking for more ‘dressed up’ cheesy pasta recipes, you’ll also love this One Pot Cheesy “Beef” Pasta, and this Baked Vegan Pumpkin Mac & Cheese, or keep it classic with this creamy Baked Vegan Mac & Cheese!

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂

Print

One Pot Vegan Jalapeño Mac & Cheese

This One Pot Jalapeño Mac & Cheese is creamy, spicy, and topped with the most delicious garlicky homemade breadcrumbs for the perfect crunch! Vegan & Gluten-Free option.

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 to 4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale

For the Garlic Breadcrumbs (Optional):

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (35 g) panko bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 

For the Pasta:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup (120 g; about 3) chopped jalapeño peppers (remove seeds for less spice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 
  • 8 oz (225 g) pasta* 
  • 3 1/2 cups (830 ml) garlic broth (or sub vegetable)
  • 1 cup (110 g) vegan mozzarella-style shredded cheese

Instructions

  1. ​​Make the Breadcrumbs (optional): Warm the olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat (or use the same large pot for the pasta). Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, then add the breadcrumbs and salt and mix well. Toast for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the breadcrumbs are golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Aromatics: Warm the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the red onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic, jalapeños, nutritional yeast, and cumin (if using) to the pot and sauté for an additional minute to toast the spices.
  3. Add the Pasta: Place the dry pasta in the pot and pour the garlic broth over it. Mix well, then bring everything to a boil over high heat.
  4. Simmer: reduce the heat to medium and cook until the noodles are al dente, stirring occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking. Cook time will vary based on the pasta, but it will most likely be the longer end of the estimated cook time on the package.
  5. Final Touches: Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the vegan cheese to the pot. Mix until melted, then turn the heat off. Allow the pasta to sit for 3 or so minutes and cool slightly; the cheese will thicken some and create a creamy sauce.
  6. Serve: transfer the mac & cheese to serving bowls and sprinkle generously with garlic breadcrumbs, if using. This recipe is best enjoyed fresh, but leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days and can be reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Notes

  • Gluten-Free: use gluten-free breadcrumbs and gluten-free pasta to easily make this recipe gf-friendly! Corn and brown rice pasta varieties tend to break less than bean-based ones.

Keywords: vegan jalapeño mac and cheese, jalapeño popper pasta

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About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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Comments

  1. Made this recipe tonight and it was so creamy, garlicky, and delicious! Not sure it hit the spot for a mac’n’cheese flavor but the dish still turned out fantastic and I’ll be making it again in the future! It was also super fast and easy to put together after work!

  2. Made this tonight and it was so easy and delicious! I ran out of veggie broth and used low-fat coconut milk and it was delicious and creamy!

  3. My husband made this for me for mothers day and it is so delicious! Super easy recipe to make as well! We will definitely make again