This Gluten Free Mac and Cheese Recipe is cheesy, creamy, and so tasty your guests will never guess that it’s egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, and with a vegan-option, too! Serve it as a side dish, or bulk it up to make a complete meal.
Can People with Celiac Eat Macaroni and Cheese?
However, when regular noodles are swapped out for certified gluten-free alternatives, mac and cheese becomes suitable for those with a gluten allergy or intolerance, as long as no other gluten-containing ingredients are included, of course!
How to Make the Best Gluten Free Mac and Cheese Recipe
Skip the boxed versions and store-bought options! This recipe comes together with minimal prep time and a total time of less than 30 minutes, using a handful of simple ingredients.
Ingredients (and Substitutions)
- Gluten-Free Pasta – We use macaroni noodles, but any small shape such as elbow or penne will work.
- Unsalted Butter – Substitute plant-based butter or a neutral oil such as avocado oil, if preferred.
- Non-GMO Cornstarch – Gluten-free flour (without thickeners or binders) will also work.
- Seasonings – Garlic powder, kosher salt, and black pepper create a savory taste. Technically optional, we also like to add a pinch of smoked paprika for extra depth and a hint of heat!
- Canned Coconut Milk – Coconut milk lite works well, too. Or, non-dairy milk alternatives with a higher fat content such as cashew milk or unsweetened dairy-free creamer can be substituted.
- Non-Dairy Milk – Any dairy-free milk such as almond milk, oat milk, or hemp milk will work.
- Gluten Free Bouillon – This is optional but helps enhance the rich flavor without the need for extra cheese.
- Cheese – Use a high-quality shredded cheese (medium to sharp cheddar cheese), or opt for a soy-free vegan cheese or nutritional yeast.
Pro-Tip: For the best results and a gooey cheese sauce, use a block of cheese, and grate it yourself. Pre-shredded varieties contain anti-caking agents that cause them not to melt as well!
- Prepare the noodles. Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package instructions. Then, drain the liquid, and set them aside.
- Form a roux. Heat a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, and melt the butter. Then, add the cornstarch and seasonings, and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes darker in color.
- Add the wet ingredients. Working slowly, whisk in the coconut milk, non-dairy milk, and bouillon until no clumps remain.
- Thicken. Allow the mixture to cook over medium-low heat until it begins to thicken.
Note: If the ingredients come to a boil, remove the pot from the heat. Then, reduce the heat to low, and return the pot to the stove.
- Add the cheese. Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the cheese until it is melted and well combined. Add the smoked paprika, if using, and any additional seasonings.
- Thicken. Allow the gluten free mac and cheese to sit for a minutes to thicken, and enjoy warm!
Tips for Success
- Use Enough Water. Gluten-free pasta tends to foam more than standard varieties, and it won’t cook if it is not submerged in liquid. So, be sure to use a large pot, cover the noodles completely, and allow a little extra space at the top.
- Avoid Overcooking the Pasta. Gluten-free pasta noodles can be a little bit finicky. So, be sure to follow the package instructions, and keep a close eye on your noodles as they cook. For the best results, we recommend removing them from the heat when they’re just a little undercooked. They’ll continue to cook when added back to the sauce!
- Adjust the Consistency. Add an extra splash of milk as needed until your desired sauciness is achieved.
Note: If using nutritional yeast, the sauce will be thicker and will continue to thicken after cooling.
Toppings and Add-Ins
Additionally, if you want to add more nutrients to your recipe or transform it into a complete meal, feel free to add mix-ins such as:
- Veggies – broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, peas, jalapeno, etc.
- Protein – Ham, chicken, ground beef, ground turkey
Store and Reheat
This recipe is best enjoyed while it’s fresh as gluten-free macaroni can become a bit soggy once stored and reheated. However, if you have leftovers, they can be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to three days.
To reheat, warm individual portions in the microwave. Or, heat leftovers in a pot over medium heat on the stove. Stir in an extra splash of milk or broth as needed to thin out the sauce and freshen it back up.
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