Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese

published Feb 19, 2022
Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese Recipe

This creamy, cheesy mac and cheese only takes 30 minutes to make.

Serves4

Prep5 minutes

Cook25 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
macaroni and cheese being picked up by a spoon
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

When someone first realizes that gluten needs to be removed from their diet, it can feel like many of their favorite foods are suddenly off limits. However, nowadays, there are more options than ever for someone on a gluten-free diet.

This easy and creamy gluten-free mac and cheese builds flavor by starting with a roux made with butter and gluten-free flour. It’s transformed into a white sauce using whole milk, then freshly shredded cheddar cheese is stirred in to form a gooey sauce. All of this is tossed with gluten-free pasta and spices. It’s the ultimate way to satisfy your mac and cheese craving, without any gluten in sight.

How to Make Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese

Gluten-free mac and cheese can be made just like the traditional version but with two simple swaps.

  • Start by opting for gluten-free pasta. While there are many gluten-free pasta options available, I like the one made by Barilla because I find it tends to cook up to be less gummy than some other brands.
  • Next, when making the roux for the cheesy sauce, thicken it with a gluten-free all-purpose flour alternative rather than traditional all-purpose flour. I like to look for a baking flour that is specifically formulated as a cup-for-cup swap to all-purpose flour. I have had a lot of luck using Bob’s Red Mill. It’s also readily available in the baking aisle of most grocery stores.
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

How to Make Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese Extra Cheesy

If you want to take your gluten-free mac and cheese to the next level, the secret is to add more cheese. After transferring the mac and cheese to a greased baking dish, you’ll top it with a few more handfuls of shredded cheese then bake in a 400°F oven until melted, bubbly, and extra cheesy.

What Cheese and Milk Should I Use for Mac and Cheese? 

Freshly grated cheddar cheese is best for mac and cheese. Pre-shredded cheese contains stabilizers that cause the sauce to clump up rather than become smooth and creamy. You can feel free to use your choice of mild to sharp cheddar, or even smoked cheddar cheese. I prefer using whole milk when making mac and cheese because it results in a richer sauce.

Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese Recipe

This creamy, cheesy mac and cheese only takes 30 minutes to make.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces

    gluten-free dried elbow macaroni

  • 8 ounces

    cheddar cheese

  • 4 tablespoons

    (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons

    gluten-free cup-for-cup baking flour

  • 2 cups

    whole milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    dried mustard powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    garlic powder or granules

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    onion powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, grate 8 ounces cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater (about 2 cups).

  2. Add 12 ounces gluten-free dried elbow macaroni to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes less than package instructions for al dente. Meanwhile, start the sauce.

  3. Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons gluten-free baking flour and whisk constantly until bubbly and lightly golden in color, about 2 minutes. While whisking constantly, add 2 cups whole milk about 1/2 cup at a time. (The mixture will seize up at first.) Whisk until smooth and bring to a simmer.

  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and whisk to combine. Gradually add the cheddar cheese about 1/2 cup at a time. Stir until completely melted and combined, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

  5. When the pasta is ready, drain. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir until coated and well-combined. Top with more black pepper if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.