Baked Gluten Free Mac & Cheese is one of the best comfort foods.
The cheesy-ness, the noodles and the crunchy bread crumbs all come together beautifully to satisfy any cravings and fill the need that only comfort food can do.
Everyone has their favorite way to make baked mac & cheese and recipes can differ greatly depending on your preference. So for this recipe I’m going to break down the basic recipe, explaining my ingredient choices and methods, as well as explain some modifications you can do.
This recipe uses traditional elbow style noodles. I love using the one’s from Barilla (see the amazon pick below). They use a blend of non-GMO corn and rice to make the noodles. I prefer pastas made with corn blends because they tend to have great texture and stand up to the cooking process better than other gluten free noodles.
If you are avoiding corn in your diet I highly suggest using noodles that use multiple flours. Avoid using straight rice noodles as they are not as forgiving and if overcooked will turn into a goopy mess.
For this recipe you par-boil the noodles and cook them until they are almost done (al dente). This makes sure they don’t become too soft or gooey when they’re baked.
I call for three different cheeses in this recipe. A mild cheddar, cream cheese and a finely shredded cheese. The finely shredded cheese is a layer between the mac & cheese and the breadcrumb topping. It can be any cheese you like, even more of the mild cheddar you used earlier. Just make sure it isn’t too pungent or sharp of a cheese and make sure to use a cheese that will melt.
I opted to use cream cheese in this recipe because I love the smoothness it gives the sauce. It also helps thicken the sauce without using any starches, flour, or eggs like other recipes do. The cream cheese creates a wonderful sauce base that allows the cheddar cheese to melt without becoming grainy and lets its flavor be the shiny star of the show.
The Bread Crumbs
The bread crumbs are optional but add a nice crunch and even flavor to the dish. Make sure to use bread crumbs you like the taste of. You can make your own by following my recipe for gluten free croutons and crushing them up or you can use store bought. I’ve even used leftover gluten free stuffing mix that had sage seasoning on it (sooo yummy!). You can play around with flavors to make the perfect mac & cheese topping for yourself.
If you follow the recipe below the noodles with be soft but not mushy and the cheese sauce will get thick and cling like crazy to the noddles. I love this style of Gluten Free Mac & Cheese, but I also love super saucy, extra cheesey, baked mac & cheese too. If the recipe below isn’t exactly how you like your mac & cheese don’t worry, there are a few tweaks you can do to achieve the mac & cheese that you want.
Want firmer noodles? Instead of baking it, broil the mac & cheese till it’s golden on top. This will lesson the time that the noodles are cooked.
Want more cheese sauce? You can double the sauce ingredients so the baked mac & cheese is saucier. Alternatively you can either not bake the mac & cheese at all and cook the noodles to your liking before combining everything (but that’s not really baked mac & cheese). Or you can broil it like mentioned above. It will still have the effect and taste of a baked mac & cheese but broiling it will take less time and the noodles will not be able to absorb all the liquid, leaving you with a saucier baked mac & cheese.Print
Baked Gluten Free Mac & Cheese
Cheesy goodness paired with noodles and breadcrumbs and baked to perfection.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 8 1x
- Category: Main Course, Side Dish
- Cuisine: American
- 4 1/4 cups Water
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3 cups Gluten free Elbow Noodles
- 4 oz Cream Cheese
- 2 cups Mild Cheddar Cheese (Shredded)
- 1 cup Milk
- 1/4 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1/8 tsp Salt
- 1/8 tsp Pepper
- 1/2 cup Finely shredded Cheese
- 2 cups Fine Gluten Free Bread Crumbs
- Place the 4 1/2 cups of water in medium sized pot. Add the salt and bring the water to a boil. Once it's boiling add the gluten free pasta and cook until al dente (slightly under done). Drain the pasta and set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat place 1/4 cup of the milk and the 4 oz of cream cheese. Using a whisk, break up the cream cheese until it becomes smooth and incorporates into the milk. Then add the remaining milk, the mild cheddar cheese, mustard and salt and pepper. Whisk until the sauce is smooth.
- Pour the noodles into a rectangular baking dish and cover with the cheese sauce. Mix to fully combine and spread out evenly. Sprinkle the finely shredded cheese over the top, followed by the gluten free bread crumbs.
- Bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then serve.
If you prefer a very saucy mac & cheese you can either leave it un-baked and cook the noddles all the way or you can double the sauce ingredients and bake as normal.
Keywords: Baked, Cheese, Gluten free, Mac & Cheese, Oven baked