Gluten Free Mac and Cheese Bites (dairy free option too)

26th February 2021
Blog post

I’m rarely lost for words but I cannot find the words to explain how good these Gluten Free Mac and Cheese Bites are. You’re just going to have to make them and try for yourself!!

Hopefully this picture will speak a 1000 words for me…

Yep, divine. I have made GIANT Gluten Free Mac and Cheese balls but you could make these any size you like. Comfort food at its finest.

I’m a big fan of a homecooked pub-style sharing platter and these will front and centre from now until the end of time haha. Highly recommend with a salsa or sweet chilli dip.

We’ve had these every night for a week now and I’m still craving more. Next time I’m thinking of shaking it up and added some crunchy bacon bits to the cheese sauce. What else could I add? Send me your thoughts!! My Instagram is @jessicaskitchen_gf

Which pasta should I use for my Gluten Free Mac and Cheese Bites?

My brand of choice: Garofalo!!! Always, always always. I only ever use Garofalo because it cooks perfectly and there is absolutely no compromise on taste. No one ever guesses its gluten free.

My shape of choice: Casarecce. Its got a rough texture to help the sauce stick and I loveee the way the cheese flows into the folded shape so you get plenty of that delicious sauce in every bite.

Want to know where you can buy it? (not an affiliate link, just want to make it easier for you!!)



Want to make Dairy Free Mac and Cheese Bites?

Another thing that’s super rare for me to say – you can make the dairy free version and barely notice the difference from the “normal” version.

The dairy free versions cheesey sauce is slightly less stringy but the taste is 95% identical and heaven. See the notes at the bottom of my recipe for my suggested dairy free swaps! Tried, test and beaut!!!!

Gluten Free Mac and Cheese Balls (dairy free option too)

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Cooling time1 hour
Servings: 5 giant Mac & Cheese balls
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American, english


  • 100 grams Garofalo pasta - I used Casarecce

Cheese Sauce

  • 25 grams butter/spread
  • 1/4 tsp garlic granules
  • 1/8 tsp paprika - -aka a small pinch!
  • 100 grams grated cheese - *see notes below for my top choice and dairy free options
  • 1 tbsp gluten free plain flour
  • 150 ml milk - *see notes below for my top choice and dairy free options


  • Generous sprinkle of gluten free plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 packet gluten free breadcrumbs - I use a gluten free stuffing mix (which is basically flavoured breadcrumbs anyway!)


Cook the pasta

  • Bring a pan of water to the boil.
  • Once boiling, add your pasta and reduce to a simmer.
    >Give the pasta a little stir in the boiling water to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Leave to cook for 2 mins less than the time stated on the packet (e.g. Casarecce says 12 mins so cook the pasta for 10 mins).
    >You want the pasta to be JUST undercooked. It will keep cooking once fried and if its already cooked, it'll go soggy at this stage.
  • Drain and set aside.

Cheese Sauce

  • If your cheese isnt grated, do that now! Grate into a bowl and set aside.
  • Add the butter, paprika & garlic to a saucepan. Turn to a low heat, allowing the butter to slowly melt but not burn.
  • Keeping your pan on a low heat, add the tbsp of plain flour and thoroughly mix together with a spoon.
  • Leave cooking for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
    >This step is important to prevent your end cheese sauce tasting powdery.
  • Add 1/3 of the milk and use a balloon whisk to stir the mix together.
  • Once smooth, add the next 1/3 and stir until smooth. Then repeat for the last 1/3.
  • Keep whisking continually until the sauce has thickened. It takes about 4 mins.
    >It might feel like its taking forever and nothing is happening, but it will suddenly thicken so keeeeep whisking!!
    >How to know when its thick enough: Your whisk should leave a little ribbon pattern on the surface on the sauce (hopefully you can see this in my picture), and should stay there for 2-3 seconds.
  • Once the sauce has thickened, remove from the heat and add the grated cheese. Whisk in until its all melted and you've got a deliciously smooth sauce!
    >It'll look like a lot of sauce – don't panic you've done it right 😉
    >If you're using dairy free cheese, you might need to whisk the cheese in whilst keeping the pan on a very low heat – it might need a little extra help to melt!!
  • Add salt/pepper to your taste.


  • Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce and mix through.
  • Let the mac and cheese cool completely.
    >To do this in the quickest way, I transfer the balls to a bowl/dish and leave to cool for 10 mins. I then place the mac and cheese into the fridge to cool completely – takes about 30mins-1hr.
    >A shallow bowl/dish is easier as it speeds up the cooling time
  • Using a spoon/ice cream scoop, scoop out 5 large balls of mac and cheese, placing them onto a plate.
  • Prep 3 bowls: 1 with a scattering of plain flour, 1 with a beaten egg, 1 with your breadcrumbs.
  • Roll each of the balls in flour, then dip into a bowl of beaten egg (so its completely covered) and roll in your breadcrumbs.
    >Once the breadcrumbs are on, be quite heaved handed with them. Roll them around in your hands to make perfectly round balls.


  • Add approx 1 inch of oil to a frying pan/saucepan.
  • Bring the oil to around 170oC.
    >If you haven't got a thermometer, you're looking for a little sizzle like my picture when the Mac and Cheese balls are placed into the oil They won't instantly brown, but it'll only take 5-10 seconds to start to see a beautiful golden colour appearing
  • Carefully place your mac and cheese balls into the pan. Leave until they're a golden brown on underside then flip and cook on the other side
    >Takes about 20-30 seconds on each side but let the colour dictate the time! You want them to be a nice golden brown.
  • Carefully lift each of the Mac and Cheese balls out of the pan and onto either a cooling rack or kitchen roll (so the excess oil can either drip through the cooling rack or get soaked up by the kitchen roll).
  • Leave to cool for a couple of mins and then EAT!!!!!


100g of any hard cheese (or combination of different cheeses) will work but here’s our favourites:
*Not dairy free: Charlie loves using 75g of a pre-grated cheddar & mozzarella mix and 25g of red Leicester. 
*Dairy free: I love using 75g of Violife mature chedder and 25g of a vegan red cheese (either cheddar with jalpano & chilli or a vegan red leceister style cheese)
*Not dairy free: ideally use semi-skimmed or full fat
*Dairy free: you need a “full fat” option to get a nice, thick sauce. I mix together 50ml of soya cream (carton of alpro long life) and 100ml of full fat soya milk.
Print Recipe

**This is part of a paid collaboration with my all time fave pasta brand, Garofalo. As always, the views, pictures and recipe are my own.**

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