This gluten free mac n’ cheese recipe is a delicious way to create a comfort food favorite with no gluten in one pot! Read on for the recipe with tips and tricks for how to make the best gluten free macaroni and cheese ever!
I don’t know about you, but I grew up on boxed mac n cheese. As a kid, somehow I didn’t pick up on the fact that it’s not very good.
But as an adult, I’m a lot more picky.
I need creamy, cheese, perfectly cooked pasta.
That’s the dream comfort food.
As a family with gluten allergies, that hasn’t changed.
My husband, who has celiac disease, loved mac ’n cheese too, and he’s even pickier than I am.
So you know we had to develop a really good, but still easy recipe to satisfy the taste buds, as well as the fact that when we make it, it’s usually because we don’t have a lot of time or creativity.
So here’s how to make it from scratch – sans gluten and all.
Gluten Free Pasta
The first step to making good gluten free mac and cheese is selecting good pasta.
We have tried a lot of different pastas over the years, and one of the best for this recipe is thankfully also one of the easiest to find; Tinkyada.
This is usually available at Walmart with the other gluten-free foods. You can also order it through Amazon.
Why this pasta?
When cooked, it has a very good al dente texture, doesn’t fall apart, and isn’t mushy as long as it’s not overcooked.
One of the things that helps make this gluten free mac ‘n cheese so rich and creamy is the way the starch interacts with the water and milk. this is easy to achieve with traditional wheat pastas, but not all gluten free grains bleed starch the way you need it to here.
This is also the reason I do not recommend using a lentil or chickpea pasta. It just doesn’t react the same way.
A note on pasta shapes: If you can’t find elbows, you can use penne, shells, etc. It’s mostly personal preference on that front!
Ingredients for Gluten-free Mac ’N Cheese
Some the ingredients here are essential, and some are more based on your flavor preference. Let’s discuss.
- Pasta. This goes without saying
- Cheese. Also non-negotiable. However, you can change the type of cheese up depending on your preference. My family generally prefers a medium cheddar cheese, but Monterey, or pepper jack, colby, and gouda are also really good.
- Milk. This helps make your creamy sauce
- Chicken broth. You can use water, but the broth is a big flavor boost
- Butter. Flavor and creaminess
- Onion powder. This one is strictly for flavor
- Garlic. Another flavoring, because why not? You could also sub garlic powder.
- Salt – flavor
- Pepper – flavor. Honestly, Mac ’n cheese with freshly ground pepper is the bomb.
How to make macaroni and cheese in one pot
Okay, so the general expectation is that you’ll boil the pasta, drain it, and make cheese sauce in a separate pan, right?
Don’t tell the pasta purists, but we’re going to circumvent all the extra steps, and do it all in one pot.
Trust me, it’s a lot easier, less messy, and ends up the creamiest.
In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat
Add garlic, and sauté about 30 seconds
Add the pasta, milk, chicken broth, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
Cover and bring to a simmer.
Simmer until pasta is just about tender – 12-14 minutes for brown rice elbow pasta.
Uncover, and add the cheese. If it seems like there’s an awful lot of liquid in there still don’t worry, just stir the cheese in, keep the pot uncovered, and simmer for another minute or two until the pasta is tender, then remove from the heat.
The sauce will thicken up as it cools.
That’s all there is to it.
Gluten Free Mac n Cheese
- 8 ounces gluten free pasta (I use this)
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups chicken broth (can also use water)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup cheese
- Melt butter over medium heat and add garlic in a large saucepan or Dutch oven
- Sauté for 30-60 seconds,
- Add onion powder, black pepper, pasta, milk, chicken broth,
- Cover, and bring to a simmer over medium heat
- Simmer about 12 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbs. The pasta should be just shy of tender
- Uncover and stir in cheese
- If there seems to be too much liquid, keep simmering, stirring with the pot uncovered to allow steam to escape, until mac ’n cheese is saucy, but not soupy. Keep in mind that liquid will continue to be absorbed as pasta sits, so it’s best to err on the side of sloppy
- Remove from heat and serve
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