Last Updated on January 18, 2022
Today we’re going to be answering the question, does macaroni and cheese have gluten? Macaroni and cheese is a staple household favorite and it’s not hard to see why. Soft macaroni pasta and creamy cheese sauce – is there really anything better? It’s incredible, and well-loved by almost everyone! If you’re looking for your mac and cheese fix – look no further.
Is There Gluten In Mac and Cheese?
The bad news? There’s most definitely gluten in mac and cheese. As it contains pasta, unless it’s labelled gluten-free – mac and cheese will never be gluten-free. Pasta is made from wheat flour, which we know is a no-go for those following a gluten-free lifestyle. However, the cheese sauce that you use to make mac and cheese is often suitable for us. We’ll be taking a look at gluten-free alternatives further into this article.
Does Cheese Have Gluten?
Some good news – almost all cheese is gluten-free. In fact, I’ve yet to find any cheese that isn’t suitable. I would strongly advise always reading the labels when purchasing foods though. Depending on the preparation area and the manufacturers, there may be some cross-contact issues. Cheddar is the cheese you’ll usually find in most macaroni and cheese. I always avoid cheese that has been prepared behind a deli counter; they’re sometimes not labelled as a “may contain”, but will often be prepared in the same area as gluten-containing products.
Learn more about: How To Make Nacho Cheese Without Flour
Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese (Store Bought)
More good news! There are plenty of options available for us. It’s one of the most popular dishes around – so of course, they’re made lots of great alternatives to buy in your local grocery store. We’ll be looking at shop-bought ones for now, and later we’ll be exploring some gluten-free recipes.
Annie’s is a great brand that offers a range of different gluten-free options. Their pasta is made from rice and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There’s shell rice pasta with creamy white cheddar and microwavable macaroni rice pasta and cheddar. It comes in small pots or bigger servings. They even offer a gluten-free vegan option! You can find their full range here. You can usually pick up this product from your local grocery store, starting from as little as $3.
Daiya Deliciously Dairy-Free
Daiya offers an incredible 5 different varieties. Not only does it offer variety, but it’s free from a huge range of allergens – dairy, gluten, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. The five varieties are Cheddar Style, Alfredo Style, White Cheddar Style, Meatless Bac’n and Cheddar Style, and Four Cheeze Style with Herbs. They’re made with brown rice pasta and are super easy to make!
If you’re buying direct from their store, each mac and cheese will set you back around $5, but can often be bought in your local grocery store for around $5.
Banza is slightly different than other brands we’ve taken a look at because their pasta isn’t made from rice, but with chickpeas instead. There’s a whole lot of fiber and protein-packed into this, and far fewer carbs – which makes Banza a great alternative. Their varieties are Elbows and White Cheddar, Elbows and Classic Cheddar, Shells and Classic Cheddar and Shells and White Cheddar. They also offer a vegan alternative, for any gluten-free vegans out there!
You can usually find Banza available in your local grocery store for around $3.50 a box. It may be worth buying from their online store though, as they offer variety boxes which come with free shipping.
The suggestions keep getting wilder and this one is no different! This macaroni and cheese is made from cauliflower. It has an incredible 11g of protein per serving! And it’s certified gluten-free, which makes it as safe as they come for us. They also have a sweet potato mac and cheese too – it looks absolutely delicious. This is unlikely to be in your local grocery store but it’s easy enough to source online.
Gluten-Free Macaroni and Cheese Recipes
If you’d prefer to make your macaroni and cheese at home, there’s a plethora of recipes out there for you to try. Whether you’re making it entirely from scratch or using a pre-made sauce, it’s surprisingly easy to make. I’m a lazy cook so if I can buy a sauce already made, I will. However, fresher usually tastes better.
Gluten-Free on a Shoestring has my favorite Easy Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese Recipe which can be made in as little as 20 minutes. There’s 3 different styles to choose from but the main ingredients you’ll need are gluten-free pasta, oil, salt pepper – and of course, cheese.
Daiya offer a great gluten-free cheese sauce if you’re wanting to make life easier. There’s a range of cheese sauces out there that are naturally gluten-free but always remember to check the label, no matter how safe a product may seem. It’s difficult to get into the habit of checking everything, but once you get there – it’ll become like a second nature to you.
Making The Most Of Mac and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is one of the only foods out there where the gluten-free alternatives are just as tasty and we have an abundance of options. So whilst traditional mac and cheese is off the table for us, we certainly don’t have to go without it! Whether you prefer rice pasta or want to experiment with a variety of styles like chickpea or cauliflower, there’s definitely something for everyone.
Do you have a favorite mac and cheese selection? I would love to know. And if you have a mac and cheese recipe that you feel like you need to share with the world, please let us know in the comments below – all gluten-free, of course. Where would we be without the humble mac and cheese? A creamy dish worthy of the love it receives!
Hi, my name’s Zoë. I’m 28 years old and live in London, UK. I work full time as a freelance writer and critic for West End theatre. Writing has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I spend most of my free time at the theatre, or at conventions. I’m married to the love of my life, and live in a small apartment with my fur baby, Lillie. I run two of my own blogs: No Safer Place and Stage to Page: both of which have won awards. I also have a YouTube channel where I talk about all things stagey.