Easy Stovetop Gluten Free Mac and Cheese

Easy Stovetop Gluten Free Mac and Cheese

Gluten free mac and cheese at its easy best. This recipe only takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish, and it’s made entirely on the stovetop. So good!

Gluten free mac and cheese at its easy best. This recipe only takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish, and it's made entirely on the stovetop. So good!

If you only have one recipe…

This super easy gluten free mac and cheese is just the recipe you need. I know this because I use it regularly for a last-minute dinner in my house when I basically have nothing planned and everyone is hungry hungry hungry.

It’s made entirely on the stovetop, uses only basic gluten free pantry ingredients (yes, you really do need a basic gum-free gluten free flour blend but it’s only 3 simple flours and incredibly useful), has no eggs and is ready in minutes.

So not only is it perfect for a weeknight (or a Friday night when you’re just.plain.tired), it’s also perfect for the holiday table since, well, it doesn’t use the oven!

Easy Stovetop Gluten Free Mac and Cheese

It’s creamy and dreamy and delicious. And you can even make the pasta hours and hours ahead of time, then just cover it and keep it at room temperature until you’re ready to throw together the cheese sauce and serve. It’s that easy!

Easy Stovetop Gluten Free Mac and Cheese Step by Step

How easy is it really?

Okay so I did the step-by-steps and the video above because you can see for yourself how easy it is. All you do is make a roux out of butter and the simple flour blend, then add the milks and the cheese with a bit of seasoning, and mix in the cooked pasta.

There are ways to make this even easier by tweaking the method to cook the dried pasta in the same saucepan first, but you have to use more liquids and the overall method isn’t any easier. In fact, I think it’s more complicated and confusing.

Gluten free mac and cheese at its easy best. This recipe only takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish, and it's made entirely on the stovetop. So good!

The good news is that you can even boil the pasta ahead of time, toss it with some olive oil, then cover it and keep it at room temperature for hours (or even a day, when the weather isn’t steamy). Then, make the cheese sauce, add the pasta and dinner is served.

So creamy! I’ve even made the pasta at home, then brought the handful of cheese sauce ingredients and a medium-size pot, and made this at my brother’s house to serve a great gluten free meal away from home with ease. All you need is a simple veggie side dish, like this Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad from Fearless Dining, and dinner is served.

What if you’re dairy free, too?

I would never have thought that I could tell you that there was even a prayer of taking my recipe for gluten free mac and cheese and making it dairy free. But ever since I made Paleo pizza with vegan cheese that actually melts, I think it’s worth a shot.

To be perfectly clear, I have never tried to make this mac and cheese recipe (or any, really) myself dairy free. But I think it’s worth your while to try replacing the butter with Earth Balance buttery sticks, the milk with unsweetened almond milk, and the cheese with my favorite recipe for meltable vegan mozzarella by Miyoko Schinner.

If you do give it a go, please report back and let us know how it went! Press play ▶️ on the video below and see for yourself just how easy it is…

More Links:
Casserole-style GF Classic Mac and Cheese.
Slow Cooker GF Mac and Cheese.

Gluten free mac and cheese at its easy best. This recipe only takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish, and it's made entirely on the stovetop. So good!

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 6 to 8 servings


16 to 20 ounces small dried gluten free pasta (I used Barilla gluten free pasta elbows)

1 to 2 tablespoons (14 to 28 g) extra-virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, chopped

1/3 cup (47 g) gum-free gluten free flour blend (31 grams superfine white rice flour + 10 grams potato starch + 6 grams tapioca starch/flour)

1 can (12 fluid ounces) low-fat evaporated milk

2 to 2 1/2 cups (16 to 20 fluid ounces) milk, at room temperature (any kind, just not nonfat)

1 pound (16 ounces) semi-hard cheese, shredded (a mix of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses is nice, or all cheddar)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste


  • Boil the pasta in a large pasta pot to an al dente texture, according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, return it to the pasta pot and toss it with olive oil to prevent it from sticking together. Cover the pasta pot and set it aside.*

    *Make ahead option: You can place the cooked pasta in a large bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and leave it out at room temperature for up to 8 hours before proceeding with the recipe.

  • To make the cheese sauce, melt the chopped butter in a medium-sized, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour blend and stir to combine well. The mixture will clump at first, and then smooth. This is the roux that will thicken the cheese sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has just begun to turn a very light brown color (about 2 minutes). Add the evaporated milk to the roux very slowly, stirring constantly to break up any lumps that might form. Add 2 cups of milk, and whisk to combine well. Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced by about one-quarter (about 7 minutes). The sauce should coat the back of a spoon. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the grated cheese and mix to combine with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste, and the remaining milk a bit at a time if you like a thinner cheese sauce.

  • Pour the hot cheese sauce over the cooked pasta, and stir carefully to coat all of the pasta in the cheese sauce without breaking up the pasta at all. Serve immediately.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2014. Video and some photos are new, the recipe is unchanged.


Comments are closed.

  • Tobius
    May 14, 2017 at 10:43 AM

    Hi I always make dairy free mac and cheese, have been for years actually.
    I use Rice and sometime Almond milk and Daiya cheese quite good really :-)

  • Kali
    May 1, 2017 at 6:02 PM

    I make mac and cheese dairy free with chicken broth instead of milk. Nutritional yeast (like a lot) makes a great addition to dairy free “cheese” sauces and so does vegan “cream cheese”
    As always, thanks for all your hard work!
    Is there a pasta brand you recommend for this dish?

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 2, 2017 at 8:47 AM

      Yes yes yes! These days, I rarely use anything other than Barilla gluten free pasta. It’s the best I’ve tried, and I’ve tried many.

  • Sherry
    December 1, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    I tried making the gf Hawaiian bread rolls and failed horribly. but i’m determined to make this work.
    is the a gf pasta that will work well in cold salads?

    • Brenda Hardy
      May 8, 2017 at 1:35 AM

      I really like the Barilla pasta that Nicole mentions, and have used it for cold salads, but after 24-48 hours in the fridge, the GF pasta gets dry and almost brittle. It soaks up a lot of whatever sauce you are using and the texture becomes unpleasant. We make a cold Greek pasta salad with Barilla Penne noodles that is awesome for the first day. We try to eat it within 2 days because after that it’s definitely sub par.

      • Nicole Hunn
        May 8, 2017 at 8:59 AM

        I try not to refrigerate cooked pasta, Brenda. If it’s just plain cooked pasta, tossed with butter or oil, we put in a sealed container and leave it on the counter. It’s good for at least a day.

  • Lucy
    November 28, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    I have been out of power here for over 48 hours, I could have used this recipe!
    I was cooking on our woodstove, we heat with wood so we had a lot of beef stew….lol :)
    Next time I’ll have mac and cheese too :)

    • November 29, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      Oh no, Lucy! I hope you’re back in business really fast!!

      • Lucy
        November 29, 2014 at 6:39 PM

        Yes we are back online, just in time too, temp at -12 C = 10.4 F.
        Burrrr it’s cold! With the wind it feels more like -20 C = -4 F.

  • Noni
    November 28, 2014 at 9:19 PM

    I tried this today. Everything went well, but the cheese has a bitter flavor to it. Do you have any advice on how to combat that so I don’t waste the whole pot of mac and cheese?

    • November 29, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      Noni, I’m afraid I don’t know why your cheese would taste bitter. Perhaps it was spoiled? This is such a simple recipe that the taste of the cheese will really shine through.

    • kittywitty
      December 1, 2014 at 6:29 PM

      Noni–I tried making this tonight and I burned the bottom of the roux, so it caused a bitter taste. I turned up the heat to get the roux/milk mixture to come to a simmer quicker and all of a sudden I noticed a burnt smell. I tasted the sauce and it was bitter. Do you think that might have happened to you, too?

  • AmandaM
    November 27, 2014 at 10:51 PM

    This looks amazeballs! I wish I could have dairy still. Maybe, I’ll just make it for my husband and live vicariously through him

    • November 29, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      You must really love him, Amanda. :)

  • GraceFaithGlitter
    November 27, 2014 at 8:51 PM

    Oh my goodness!! Those pictures are making me salivate & I just had my 4th helpings of Thanksgiving dinner!! Consider this pinned, & when I have more room in my stomach, know that I will be making this because I’m a sucker for Mac & Cheese!

    • November 29, 2014 at 1:28 PM

      Stomach space is at a premium this time of year, indeed, GraceFaith!!

  • KLarimore
    November 27, 2014 at 5:50 PM

    I made this today and my very picky, only from the box, Mac n cheese eater, actually ate it! I also made your mashed potatoes (had to sub Greek yogurt for the sour cream), your gravy (subbed buttermilk for the evaporated milk), your green bean casserole, and your stuffing (used your cornbread recipe for the bread) — all delicious! Other than planning better for my grocery shopping (only bought one can of evaporated milk), I think it went pretty well. We ordered a smoked turkey from a local barbecue restaurant, so I didn’t have to worry about the turkey. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful recipes!

    • November 29, 2014 at 1:28 PM

      That all sounds perfect, KLarimore! I think your Thanksgiving table looked a whole lot like mine. Except for that smoked turkey—I’d have loved some of that!!

  • kittywitty
    November 27, 2014 at 7:15 AM

    I may need to see if I have time to squeeze this one in today since it doesn’t require the oven! My husband and son love mac and cheese to be creamy–this looks perfect! I’m baking your apple pie in a bag (I made and froze it a week ago) and your green bean casserole today. Happy Thanksgiving!!

    • November 29, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      I hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving, kitty!!

  • hal
    November 26, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    I’m not a cook.. can you just use Gluten free flour, or does it have to be a blend???

    • November 26, 2014 at 6:26 PM

      You must use the flours as specified, Hal. No one single GF flour will work.

  • Jennifer S.
    November 26, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    Classic. :-)

  • carole
    November 26, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    Since we found the Barilla pasta we use no other

    • Sandy
      May 1, 2017 at 8:07 PM

      We have used GF Barisal pasta also but I have found Walmart brand GF elbows quite good too!

      • Nicole Hunn
        May 2, 2017 at 8:47 AM

        Do you mean Barilla, Sandy? If so, then I wholeheartedly agree. :)

  • Tina
    November 26, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    I am soo making this over the weekend

  • Mare Masterson
    November 26, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    OMG!!!! I saw gf Barilla elbows just yesterday and thought that I needed to check the blog for a mac n cheese recipe…and here it is today! I am convinced you have super powers! I hate the stuff in the box! I haven’t had this in a very long time! I love you! ♡♡♡♡♡♡

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2014 at 1:53 PM

      I’m totally convinced she does have super powers… besides cooking and baking, I mean.
      Because two days ago I tried to make a version of this on my own (my family has never made stovetop mac and cheese, so I knew it was risky), and it was one of the biggest, nastiest fails in recent cooking memory. It’s still sitting in my fridge waiting for me to decide if I really am just going to throw away my expensive ingredients in their big gloopy pile. Now, at least, I have a chance at redo redemption. :)

      • November 26, 2014 at 6:27 PM

        Oh no, Lauren! That sounds like you used a xanthan gum-containing flour blend. It can do that to you in a roux. :(

    • November 26, 2014 at 6:27 PM

      Aw, Mare, I love you, too. :)

  • Donia Robinson
    November 26, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    Excellent work, Brian H!

    • Brian H
      November 26, 2014 at 8:57 PM

      Thank you. Hand modeling is no easy task. But at least you get to eat the props.

  • Kathleen
    November 26, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    Hi Nicole,
    What is the topping that is sprinkled on? Grated cheese? Or bread crumbs?
    (Love all of your books!)

    • Donia Robinson
      November 26, 2014 at 12:19 PM

      Looks like crumbled cheese crackers to me (which sound good!) We will await her answer! My family would love this recipe!

      • youngbaker2002
        November 26, 2014 at 3:37 PM

        some sort of powdered cheese maybe?

    • November 26, 2014 at 6:28 PM

      Hi, Kathleen! Actually, it’s just ground cornflakes. I always have a whole container of those because I use them so often!

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