Classic Southern Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
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Classic southern creamy Macaroni and Cheese has all the cheesy goodness you love made gluten-free and is ready in minutes!
Macaroni and cheese is one of those dishes that my entire family LOVES. I always have to make a double batch of it when I made some because our oldest and my husband will eat it all before anyone else can get their hands on some, haha. I'm talking they will stand in the kitchen waiting for me to make it and start eating it out of the pot while I make the rest of the meal; they love it so much.
Funny story about macaroni and cheese; My husband grew up on the boxed Kraft kind, and when we were first married, he asked me to make some of that (before he knew I knew how to make it from scratch). Not even kidding; I totally failed at it, not just a bit, like it was a TOTAL flop. My husband still makes fun of me to this day about it, and so our girls. So whenever they are in charge of making macaroni and cheese (boxed gluten-free kinds these days), he's usually the one to make them. When they want the real deal, good stuff like this recipe is when they come to me to make it.
So now, 15 years later and I'm still making my family homemade macaroni and cheese. Sure, the pasta might be gluten-free now, and a few tiny tweaks to keep it that way, but don't worry, this is still the real deal, classic comfort food we all love and need in our life!
Ingredients in Macaroni and Cheese
- Gluten-free Pasta of Choice
- Heavy Cream
- White Cheddar Cheese
- Medium/ Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- Parmesan Cheese
- Potato Starch
- Eggs (optional)
There are a LOT of gluten-free pastas on the market these days, which is good because there is something for everyone. Lately, my go-to has been the Barilla Chickpea pasta because it's a simple one ingredient pasta that holds its shape and doesn't fall apart once it's cooked. However, you can use whatever one you like best. For this recipe, I will usually cook this pasta about 3 minutes longer than the box says because I love my mac and cheese soft but not mushy. Don't worry; this pasta can handle it without falling apart.
Barilla does not sponsor this post; I've just been slightly obsessed with it since my husband found it at our local store.
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How to Make Macaroni and Cheese
- Make the pasta and set it aside.
- Make the sauce
- Combine and enjoy!
Cheese - When it comes to cheeses for macaroni and cheese, I always find a mixture that works best to get the full flavor. However, if you don't like a specific kind or have one hand, just sub in the total amounts for the cheese you want to use; it will still be delicious.
Potato Starch - I don't recommend subbing this out for something like tapioca in this case. The reason being is the way the sauce ends up sticking to the pasta. I've tried tapioca and arrowroot starch for this, and it just doesn't yield the same smooth, thick texture that macaroni and cheese needs.
Can you bake gluten-free mac and cheese?
Short answer, yes you can! I always add two (2) eggs to the mixture of milk and potato starch (see directions below). Adding this simple ingredient helps to bind everything in the oven even more so you don't end up with separated noodles and cheese sauce with dried-out baked pasta.
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Classic Southern Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 Box Gluten-free Pasta of Choice
- 1 ½ C Milk
- 1 ½ C Heavy Whipping Cream
- ¼ C Butter
- 1 C White Chedar Cheese
- 1 ½ C Cheddar Cheese I like using sharp.
- 1 C Parmesan Cheese
- ¼ C Potato Starch or arrowroot starch
- 1 ½ TSP Dried Mustard
- ½ TSP Paprika
- ½ TSP Pepper
- 1 ½ TSP Salt
- 1 TBS Garlic Powder
- 1 TSP Onion Powder
- 2 Large Eggs optional if baking
- Boil the pasta per the box instructions and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking shred the cheeses as needed and set them aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the potato starch and 1 cup of the milk and set it aside. (If you are going to bake this macaroni and cheese, add the eggs to this mixture.)
- Place the remaining milk, heavy cream, and ½ the butter into a small pot and bring it to a low simmer over medium heat. You do not want the liquid to start to boil
- Once it's simmering, add half the cheese to the pot and stir until it is melted. Add in the remaining cheese and continue to stir until all the cheese is completely melted.
- Then remove the pan from the heat and add the spices, milk and starch (egg) mixture and stir till the sauce is nice and thick, and then set it aside.
- Toss the remaining butter with the cooked and drained pasta.
- Combine the pasta and the sauce and enjoy!
If you are baking the mac and cheese for extra creaminess:
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Follow the steps above and make sure you add the eggs.
- Transfer the macaroni and cheese to a 9x13 baking dish.
- Top with additional cheese if desired.
- Bake the mac and cheese for 20-25 minutes or until the top is melted and slightly golden.