My Ultimate Gluten Free Mac & Cheese: easy recipe
A delicious, easy recipe for this classic… gluten free Mac and Cheese! Gooey middle & crunchy top, quick to make and around £1.50 a portion including my favourite premium gluten free pasta, Garofalo!!!
Are you sold?! Surely???! Ideas for sides, variations, dairy free options and top tips below.
Dairy free? You do not need to miss out!! I’ve included tons of ingredient swaps in the section below. We all know that dairy free cheese just doesn’t form the same browning top on things like this, but trust me, the sauce will be just as creamy and delish! This is my dairy free version. Look at that sauce!!!
- 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. You could use anything you like but I go for Casarecce because it’s 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!!)
Two pieces of advice: (1) Do not buy pre-grated – your sauce won’t be as silky (2) mix up a couple of different types. I go for 1/3 Cheddar, Red Leicester and Mozzarella.
You could swap in any of your faves – gouda and gruyere are two other popular options online.
Dairy free? The same advice applies. I usually go for a mix of Violife epic mature cheddar or mozzarella and a vegan Red Leicester. Vegan cheeses actually melt reaaaaally well into this sauce so you’ll have no trouble there. The only compromise is the look of the top – it never looks quite as melting and perfect does it?! Taste epic all the same.
You can use any milk you like! Skimmed to full fat. Some people even like using half and half cream but I personally think semi-skimmed milk is more than enough for a rich, velvetty sauce.
Dairy free? Anything goes for you too! I like using soya milk because it hasn’t got a strong taste but whatever you’ve got will be fine, even dairy free cream.
Either plain or self-raising… just make sure its gluten free! Its such a small amount that it doesn’t really matter which of the two types or brand you go for.
I use Flora Original because its what I keep in the fridge for my toast! No need to buy anything special, just use what you have in the fridge. Any form of butter or margarine/spread will work.
Dairy free? There’s loads of spreads out there now and any will work! The Flora in the pic above is actually dairy free too!
I’ve searched the internet high and low for everyone’s top tips on making Mac and Cheese and here’s my faves:
- Don’t buy pre-grated cheese. Your sauce will not be as silky. (Caveat: I buy grated mozzarella because that’s a real faff, but nothing else!!!)
- Don’t make ahead of time. This dish needs making, baking and eating straight away.
- Cook the flour off. When you add the flour to the melted butter, make sure you give it a good stir and cook for 30 seconds before adding the milk. This will stop your sauce tasting grainy.
- Avoid overheating your cheese because it can become greasy and “gritty”. To avoid that,
- (1) take the pan off the heat when you stir the cheese into the sauce [step 9 in the recipe]. Extra unnecessary info that you might like to know: this is one reason why I only put 1/3 of the cheese into the sauce… 1/3 melts in really easily without needed to be kept on the heat! Another third gets put as a layer in the pasta so you still have a really cheesy sauce but its not been overcooked
- (2) don’t leave your gluten free Mac and Cheese in the oven for any longer than 15 mins/when the top just starts to brown.
I wanted to include this because Mac and Cheese always feels like an indulgent, expensive option but at £1.54 for a big portion, I think its pretty good!!! If you were to have your Mac and Cheese as a side, you’d make a smaller portion. You’d probably make 1/2 or 2/3s of the size so 77p to £1 each.
Per Portion: £1.54 (as a main)
- Pasta – 56p (Garofalo £7.50/kg on Amazon)
- Butter – 6p (Tesco buttery spread £2.20/kg)
- Flour – 2p (FREEE £1.70/kg)
- Milk – 10p (Tesco semi skimmed 70p/litre)
- Cheese – 80p (varies on which you pick but my 3 average £8/kg using Tesco own brand)
*I’ve picked Tesco because it seems to be a popular option with you guys and its probably more of a mid-range supermarket so the prices are very realistic!
Inspiration!! Sides and Variations
Sides: If you want Mac and Cheese as a side but you’re a bit lost for what to have it with, here’s a few ideas:
- Southern fried chicken – premade from most supermarkets free from aisle or use my my KFC chicken
- Peas and bacon – tons of recipes online for this
- Burger or Ribs – Mac and Cheese over chips for me! Or both?!
- Slice up a kiev and lay over the top. The garlicky butter running over the mac and cheese is too good.
- Sprinkle some fried chorizo over the top
- Change the cheese – anything goes!
- Add a breadcrumb topping. You can buy premade breadcrumbs in the free from aisle but you could also toast some bread and whizz it up into crumbs into a smoothie maker/food processor
- Add bacon or butternut! You could add ANYTHING but I recommend both of these. Both need cooking first and then stirring into the cheesy pasta before placing into the oven
- Mix in cauliflower – again, cooked and stirred into the cheesy pasta. Cheap way of bulking it out and having one of your five a day. Thank you to a lovely follower for this idea!
Gluten Free Mac and Cheese
- 150 grams gluten free Garofalo pasta
- 30 grams butter/spread
- 20 grams gluten free flour - plain or self raising is fine
- 300 ml milk of your choice
- 200 grams of cheese - I go for 1/3 cheddar, 1/3 mozzarella, 1/3 red Leicester
- Sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste
- 1/8 tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp garlic granules
- Pre-heat your oven to 170oC
- If you haven't done so already, weigh out all the ingredients. This recipe comes together very quickly so you need to start with everything weighed out.
- Grate all 3 cheeses into a bowl. Mix them together and divide into 3 roughly equal piles.
- Boil a pan of water and cook your pasta to two minutes less than the required cooking time. It should still have a bite and taste just undercooked.
- Add the butter to a pan and melt on a medium/low temperature.
- Sprinkle in the flour and mix together.> Use a wooden spoon/spatula at this stage.
- Keep stirring for 20 seconds. Then add half milk and whisk it in.>I recommend everyone uses a whisk at this stage to make sure there is no lumps. If you haven't got a whisk, try using a fork and whisking it like you are beating eggs!
- Add the other half of your milk and mix it in.
- Turn the heat up to a medium temperature and keep whisking until the sauce is thick, like condensed milk.>If you like your mac and cheese super saucy, leave it slightly runnier.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add 1 pile of cheese. Stir it in until fully combined.
- Season with paprika, garlic granules, salt and pepper to taste
- Drain pasta and stir in cheesy sauce.>Top tip: if you're not sure what size dish to use, before you add the cheesy sauce, tip the pasta into a few dishes to try them for size! It needs to fill the dish but doesn't really matter how deep it is (shallow = more crispy top, deep = more saucy!)
- Tip half the cheesy pasta into an oven-proof dish. Scatter another pile of cheese over the top. Tip the remaining pasta over the top. Scatter with the remaining cheese.
- Bake 15 mins, or until the top has started to brown.