This is the BEST Baked Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese. Plus, this easy gluten-free mac and cheese comes together so quickly! Toss everything together in a big bowl, dump into a baking pan, & bake until crispy on top. Plus you can easily hide seasonal veggies in it - from cauliflower to squash.
You all keeping cool for the 4th of July weekend? We ditched city life and the convenient cell phone service & wifi that comes with it to escape with my parents to their woodsy lake cabin for a long relaxing weekend. As nice as it feels to disconnect from the outside world for a few days, we weren't prepared, and after 36 hours, we find ourselves enjoying an iced tea and the free wifi at the Peninsula Market.
We definitely need more practice in leaving the hustle and bustle of city life behind. You know you've got a problem when you run your phone battery down while searching for one burst of service so you can load your Instagram feed. How else will I know what Tina's doing in Iceland or what The Kitchen McCabe baked for the 4th of July?!
I'm trying my hardest to channel my inner country girl who grew up camping, fishing, and throwing muddy tea parties on the beach. That tow-headed blonde girl spent every daylight hour running around on the beach, and wore a dark tan without ever getting a sunburn despite swearing off sunscreen. She spent hours snorkeling stomach-down on an inner tube hunting for lost lures along the beach, gutted her own fish, and almost always had a scrape on her knee.
This grown-up city girl got a splotchy sunburn after 4 hours wearing SPF 50 under an umbrella. We spent the afternoon on the beach with the family, taking turns spinning circles on the WaveRunner between constant snack breaks, with a fishing line in the water just in case something bites. Tonight we'll grill up bass tacos with my aunt, uncle, and my cousin Alex - the one who taught me how to build rock forts in the woods, while I brought along my pink plastic tea set and showed his Ninja Turtle action figures a proper party.
Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese Recipe
What's the best side dish for a 4th of July grill-out? This vegetable-filled gluten-free mac and cheese (and maybe this perfect potluck potato salad). On the back of our wedding RSVP cards, we asked our guests to "share a favorite family recipe." My gal Lana Shea sent us her recipe for "THE BEST EVER MAC AND CHEESE!!!" that she later made for my bachelorette slumber party with a dozen of my closest girlfriends. Lana doesn't lie; this gluten-free mac and cheese recipe is perfect in every way. I'd say a year later is about the right time to start sharing some of these tried-and-true recipes, right?
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Cauliflower is the perfect vegetable to hide in mac and cheese! When our next door neighbors had a baby, I knew just the dish to bring over. Since I'm a sneaky sneaky cook, I hid some shredded squash and grated cauliflower in the dish to slip some veggies to their 3 year-old daughter. And she was none the wiser.
Hiding among the cheese, the yellow squash and cauliflower add only a slightly noticeable flavor boost, while bumping up the nutrition benefits tenfold.
In the fall/winter, I grate up a raw butternut squash in place of the yellow squash and bake that into it instead!
Easy Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese Baked
This easy gluten-free mac and cheese comes together so quickly! Just toss everything together in a big bowl, dump into a baking pan and bake!
Sharp cheddar mixed with sour cream and cottage cheese give this casserole a hearty texture with bursts of cheese. The melted cheese on top add a crispy layer that give every bite of this baked mac and cheese substance.
Prepare to field several recipe requests every time you make it. With this baked cauliflower macaroni and cheese, you'll never need another mac and cheese recipe again. Pinky promise.
What are the best cheeses for macaroni and cheese?
For baked mac and cheese, sharp cheddar cheese from Tillamook is the best choice. For stovetop creamy mac and cheese, a blend of sharp cheddar, gruyere, parmesan, and/or goat cheese work well together.
When my friend Lana gave me this recipe, she specifically wrote "Tillamook cheddar" in the ingredients. I asked her about it and she assured me that Tillamook would do. I've since made this recipe over 100 times - I make it for every family holiday from 4th of July to Thanksgiving - and I agree: Tillamook sharp cheddar is THE BEST cheese for baked mac and cheese.
Smoked Cheddar Mac and Cheese
I've also made this recipe using a combination of Tillamook sharp white cheddar and smoked medium cheddar, adding in a bit of smoked paprika and bacon breadcrumbs. You can get the recipe for that smoked cheddar mac and cheese here!
More Mac and Cheese Recipes
- Smoked Cheddar Mac and Cheese
- Creamy Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese
- Cheesy Cauliflower and Kale Baked Rigatoni
- Chile Rellano White Mac and Cheese from Heartbeet Kitchen
- Smoked Gouda Instant Pot Mac and Cheese from The Pig & Quill
- Healthy Mac and Cheese with Turmeric from Dessert for Two
- 1lb gluten-free macaroni or your favorite macaroni (I use Bionaturae elbows)
- 1-½lbs Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese, shredded & divided (I've made this with other brands, but Tillamook is always the best flavor)
- 8 ounces cottage cheese
- 8 ounces sour cream
- ½ head of cauliflower, finely chopped (I just send mine through the grater of the food processor)
- 3 yellow squash or 1-2 small zucchini, shredded (*See Note)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Cook the macaroni according to the directions, under cooking it just slightly. Gluten-free mac and cheese can over cook REALLY fast, so as soon as it is al-dente, drain it.
- While the macaroni cooks, mix the rest of the ingredients together in a large bowl, reserving 1-½ cups of grated cheddar cheese.
- Drain the macaroni and add it to the large cheese bowl. Mix until well-combined.
- Pour the macaroni into a 9x12 glass baking dish.
- Sprinkle the reserved grated cheddar cheese over the top.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 6-9 more minutes until the top turns brown and crispy.
*For a fall/winter variation, I replace the summer squash with raw grated butternut squash and it works great!