Instant Pot Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese (Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free)


Can’t tolerate dairy? Are you vegan or making dinner for vegan friends? Well this pumpkin mac and cheese is allergy-friendly and sure to please everyone!

Instant Pot Vegan Mac and Cheese (gluten-free and dairy-free) by ashley of

I can’t believe that I’m about to say this but I like this vegan mac and “cheese” better than my recipe for mac and cheese which calls for actual cheese. Honestly, I do. It’s so “cheesy!” And creamy and delicious! The pumpkin adds color and a bit of sweetness and the nutritional yeast is what gives the dish its cheesy flavor.

I had my one-year-old, Tony, “taste test” this for me and he just loves it! I love having an adorable taste-tester who actually eats what I make without asking me twenty questions first. My (also adorable) husband always wants to know what “funny” things I’ve put into recipes (heh, like nutritional yeast) but Tony doesn’t question me. That kid just gobbles up whatever I give him. Except avocado. He has a strong aversion to avocado, which only makes me a little sad considering it was his first food. I think I over did it back in the day (you know, like 4-5 months ago) but I guess that’s neither here nor there considering there’s no avocado in this recipe…

Getting back on track now… this pumpkin mac and cheese is a winner you guys. Sometimes I even surprise myself with how well my recipe ideas turn out (cue: eye roll).

Look at the creamy sauce coating these little noodles – can you believe that there’s no cheese in this? It’s true, I’m basically a food genius.

Instant Pot Vegan Mac and Cheese (gluten-free and dairy-free) by ashley of

I used canned pumpkin in this recipe but you can use mashed sweet potato or butternut squash or basically any variety of potato/squash. I’m just riding the pumpkin train because it’s fall (see my pumpkin recipes here).

This recipe calls for gluten-free elbow macaroni – I’ve tried several different brands of gluten-free noodles and this brand is the only one that works for me every single time.

Instant Pot Vegan Mac and Cheese (gluten-free and dairy-free) by ashley of

Try this once and I’m sure you’ll be mackin’ on this mac. I’m sure I used the phrase incorrectly. That’s probably not a thing people even say anymore (did anyone say it ever?).

I wonder if Tony will read my blog one day and be like “omg my mom was so uncool.” Or maybe he’ll always think I’m the greatest (ha. yes, yes wishful thinking, I know).

Make this pumpkin’ mac y’all. It only takes 4 minutes, so make it then come back and tell me how much you liked it!

Instant Pot Vegan Mac and Cheese (gluten-free and dairy-free) by ashley of

Instant Pot Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese (Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free)

Instant Pot Vegan Mac and Cheese (gluten-free and dairy-free) by ashley of

Instant Pot Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese (Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free)

4.7 from 13 reviews
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  • Add the macaroni, water, palm shortening, and salt to the Instant Pot.
  • Secure lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 4 minutes at high pressure.
  • Quick release pressure as soon as the time is up, then immediately stir in the coconut milk, pumpkin puree and nutritional yeast.


  • Make sure to quick release pressure as soon as the time is up. If you wait too long, the noodles will overcook.
  • I use Barilla gluten-free elbow macaroni
  • Please let me know if you try another brand of gluten-free pasta and if it works for you
  • Brands that work (will update this as I try more brands): Barilla gluten-free elbow macaroni; Ann from the UK says that Garofalo gluten-free penne pasta worked for her
  • Brands that do not work: Trader Joe’s Brown Rice and Quinoa Pasta; Trader Joe’s Black Bean Pasta (these will turn to mush)
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Jessica says

    We’re new to the gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free life (16 month old is intolerant). Did you use canned coconut milk or the coconut milk in the dairy cooler? Will be trying this recipe in the near future.

  2. Jennifer says

    This was tasty, the best GF/DF mac n cheese I’ve found so far. I followed the recipe except first I cooked a few slices of bacon in the Instant Pot, then removed the bacon and all but 1T of the remaining oil. I used some of the water to scrape the brown stuff off the bottom. While the pasta was cooking I sliced the bacon, and added it with the rest of the ingredients. It was a bit sweet, so I added some miso, and that helped. I can’t tell if the sweet is from the coconut milk or the pumpkin. I might try some soy or fish sauce next time. Thanks!

  3. Ale says

    Why do you use palm shortening or “other fat” to cook pasta? Is it necessary? I’ve noticed you do that quite a bit with IP pastas. If it was for the sauce, that’s one thing, but pasta? Im asking because I’m curious and no one i know cooks pasta with oil– they cook it with water and salt. The coconut milk seems like will make it super yummy and fatty enough. Can I omit it? Thanks so much, this looks amazing!

  4. A says

    Would it be possible to have metric measurements please as I’m based un the UK.
    I did try and convert the cups to grams and mls but it wasn’t quite right.
    Thank you.

  5. Joanna Rodriiguez says

    4 stars
    This is so yummy, and it was nice to find a recipe with such simple ingredients and no dairy free cheese! I was skeptical with the coconut milk in there, but I couldn’t taste the coconut flavor. I did add a few additional ingredients for extra flavor and nutrition: dijon mustard, smoked paprika, curry powder, hot sauce, kale, and a couple cut up grass-fed hot dogs (I’m not vegan, just gluten and dairy free). I used Wegman’s brand brown rice macaroni and it was perfect!

  6. Virginia says

    I would like to say that this was really simple and so delicious. I’m amazed at how great this taste. I tweeked the recipe just a little but I’m in awwwwe right now. Thanks for sharing and I found this right before thanksgiving yesssss

  7. Robin Schiesser says

    4 stars
    This recipe is great! I used Ancient Harvest Organic Corn and Quinoa pasta because that’s what they had at Vitamin Cottage and it held up very nicely. Only change I made was to double the nutritional yeast after tasting the original version in order to get a more tangy sauce. Also you must salt to taste. Tonight we’re going to try making a cheesy vegetable medly version with broccoli, mushrooms and onions for a paleo-friendly version. Will just have to figure out how to adjust the water amount since there will be no pasta to absorb it.

  8. Sondi says

    5 stars
    I made this with the Tinkyada brand brown rice elbows and pureed carrots, and it turned out wonderfully. I added a little bit of extra water because I was paranoid everything would stick to the pot, so it was a little saucier than yours yet still super delicious. My husband really enjoyed it too (he is a big fan of traditional mac and cheese with gluten and dairy, and often wary of vegan facsimiles). Will definitely be making this again – thank you!

  9. Maureen says

    I don’t have an instant pot so is there another way to make this? I’m not much of a cook (I’ve burned water before) so, I should probably invest in one. Lol! Also in the recipe you stated “other fat” what other fat is there that I can use? Thank you so much.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Maureen, you can cook the noodles and sauce separately then just mix them together 🙂 I love my instant pot though and highly recommend it! As for another type of fat, if you want to keep it vegan you can try avocado oil or refined coconut oil (you’ll want to use refined coconut oil to avoid giving the dish a coconut flavor). If you don’t care to keep this vegan then I’d go with butter or ghee 🙂 Hope that helps!

  10. Nanoose says

    I am dairy-free, gluten free so was excited to find this recipe! I used Andean Dream Quinoa shells. It definitely was not cooked at 4 minutes. So I did three additional rounds of 1 minute each with a quick release after each since I didn’t want to overcook it but it finally got the pasta done perfectly. I think next time I will try 7 minutes. The flavor for me (used to dairy free) was really good! I added in some broccoli and mushrooms! YUM! I know you posted this recipe awhile ago but thanks for sharing it! I will definitely be making this again!

  11. Maryanne says

    3 stars
    Really fast and good texture but the taste was a little funky compared to our other vegan mac n cheese recipes. We added some chipotle and it really perked it up and cover some of the pumpkin flavor.

  12. Marsha says

    5 stars
    This was very good
    I used Ancient Harvest Pow! Pasta (Red Lentil Rotini 8 oz box) and needed to add the remainder of the box (after the 2 cups) as there was way more sauce than pasta.

  13. Maneesha says

    5 stars
    Hi Ashley! I made this yesterday using Banza pasta, and I sauteed some mushrooms with the pasta in the instant pot – so tasty!! Definitely a great and creamy pasta dish, especially with the cheesy flavor of the nutritional yeast! Thank you for the recipe! My husband really enjoyed it too! And he didn’t realize it was dairy-free and grain-free!

  14. Christina Gilmore says

    I had high hopes for this! I tried it tonight and it wasn’t anything like it expected. The texture was right, but I didn’t find that it tasted at all cheesy 😞 I’m not sure what I did wrong. Maybe I expected nutritional yeast to be tangier? When I added some salsa to the mix, I found it more enjoyable, but still not like the Mac and Cheese I grew up on. Do you have any tips?

  15. Sarah says

    5 stars
    Hi Ashley,

    I’ve tried way too many gf/df mac and cheese recipes over the years, many of which are okay (although complicated), but I haven’t found any that are worth making again. I know I should write it off, but it’s just such a great comfort food. When you posted the cheesy mac and cheese recipe I was jealous, and when you came out with this vegan version I decided I had to give it another try (basically, I trust you!). Well, I thought it was fantastic and my Kraft mac and cheese loving BF really liked it as well. He added some extra nutritional yeast and is scheming to add bacon or prosciutto next time, which means “next time” is a thing 😉 Thank you for this recipe, I can’t get over how simple it is…yay!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Sarah! I’m so happy to hear that you liked it!! And that’s awesome that your BF liked it too!! Getting approval from a kraft mac and cheese fan is exciting lol. Thanks for letting me know how it turned out 🙂

  16. Fiona says

    I thought this was too soupy at first, but then it thickened up. I liked it! Curious to see if my husband who is working late will like it. He’s not quite as adventurous in terms of pumpkin/vegan/etc.

  17. Katherine says

    Thank you, Ashley! I will try this for the family next time I cook for my husband, his ex, their 8 year old, and the ex’s husband. The kid LOVES mac and cheese, and it’s hard to get healthy things (like squash) into him. I made spaghetti with sauce using GF Barilla the first time I cooked for the whole family, and the ex’s hubby now wants the GF Barilla for ALL pasta made at home, even when I’m not visiting. Can’t wait to try this! Your recipes are always winners!

      • Katherine says

        5 stars
        I haven’t had a chance to make it for the kiddo yet, but I made it last night as a quick dinner after my husband and I spent 2 1/2 hours in the cold and dark maneuvering a nearly 500 lb. soapstone stove off of a rotting wooden trailer and into the house. We made a side of plain fish to go with it. The mac and cheese is so good! Husband does not like coconut, but so far in this and in other dishes (mostly your recipes), he has enjoyed. This recipe is another winner and will be on the menu often this winter.

        The relationship we have is lovely. It’s wonderful that we can all be friends with one another; it’s really the best thing for our son.

        • My Heart Beets says

          Katherine, I’m so glad you both liked the mac and cheese!! Thanks for letting me know how it turned out for you guys 🙂 Congratulations to you both on the wedding 🙂 Love hearing updates from you! Do let me know how your son likes it!

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