Craving the homestyle goodness of Cracker Barrel’s renowned Macaroni and Cheese without the gluten?
Our Gluten-Free Copycat Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese Recipe is your key to enjoying that comforting, cheesy delight at your own table.
I’ve been gluten free for over a decade! Looking for more of my gluten free favorites? Check out my favorite gluten-free recipes here.
And be sure to see the other versions of this recipe too.
WHAT TO EXPECT WITH GLUTEN FREE MAC N CHEESE
Macaroni and Cheese is both super easy to make gluten free and also not so easy. You’re taking one of the main ingredients and substituting it for a gluten-free version. Anytime you do that, you’re going to alter the texture a little bit
When my family and I made Cracker Barrel’s Macaroni and Cheese in the regular recipe AND a gluten-free version on the same day and compared, this is what we found:
- There was ZERO taste difference – we truly couldn’t tell which recipe was gluten free and which recipe wasn’t based on taste alone.
- There is a texture difference. If you’ve been eating gluten free pasta, then you know that the texture is close, but just a little different than regular pasta.
- The gluten-free version of this recipe does NOT reheat well. I’ve found this to be the case with gluten-free pasta in general, and this holds true for our gluten-free mac n cheese.
This can be a great main dish weeknight meal, or you can serve it as a side dish with fried chicken, pork chops or even hot dogs. This is a family favorite recipe that can be a quick family dinner.
GLUTEN FREE PASTA
You can use the gluten free noodles of your choice. We recommend using a corn-blend versus a brown rice or chickpea version. Those are going to get really mushy really fast with this recipe. In terms of the pasta shape, use what you can find.
If you’re not able to find traditional elbow macaroni in a gluten free version, Rotini or a shell are both great options.
You’ll use this to create the roux for your cheese sauce.
GLUTEN FREE FLOUR
Use the 1:1 gluten-free flour blend of your choice. We like Namaste (from Costco) or Cup 4 Cup. We do not recommend using rice flour.
You can also use chicken stock if you’d rather.
For best results, we recommend you use heavy cream and step away from skim milk or whole milk.
We recommend shredding this your self! Pre-shredded cheese has a powdered coating that prevents it from melting like regular cheese. You could also replace some of the colby cheese with sharp cheddar, but it depends on your personal preference.
SALT AND BLACK PEPPER
Stir in some meaty mix ins, like diced ham or cooked bacon bits. We also like to top ours with gluten free panko breadcrumbs.
Step 1: Follow the box instructions to cook your gluten-free macaroni to al dente. Shred your cheese.
Step 2: Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add gluten-free flour and whisk to create a thick paste.
Step 3: Stir in chicken broth and heavy cream. Stir until the sauce thickens. Add shredded cheese and stir until melted.
Step 4: Combine with cooked noodles and pour into oven-safe dish. Top with gluten-free panko breadcrumbs (optional) and bake until edges are browned, typically for 10 minutes.
HINT: An 8-ounce block of cheese typically makes 2 cups of shredded cheese. For this recipe, you’ll want to purchase at least a 12-ounce block of cheese.
Avoiding Dairy? You won’t believe how creamy our Dairy-Free Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese Copycat Recipe is.
Looking for the regular recipe? If you’re not avoiding dairy, grab the regular recipe for The Best Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese Copycat here.
You’re going to be happiest when you eat this the night you make it.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Plan on the texture being very different when you reheat.
We do not recommend freezing this gluten-free recipe.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We recommend using a corn-based gluten-free pasta for this recipe. You want to avoid rice flour or chickpea-based pastas as they will be too mushy for this recipe.
Follow the package instructions for cooking the gluten-free pasta, being mindful not to overcook. Rinse it under cold water after cooking to stop the cooking process and prevent mushiness.
Colby is key to replicating the signature Cracker Barrel taste. Feel free to experiment with adding additional cheeses to match your cheese preferences.
We don’t recommend it for this version of the recipe. The texture changes when you reheat this dish, so make it and eat it. 🙂
Pair it with a crisp green salad, roasted vegetables, or grilled chicken for a well-rounded meal. The versatility of this dish makes it a perfect companion to various sides.
Absolutely! Customize your mac and cheese by adding crispy bacon bits, gluten-free breadcrumbs, or even a dash of hot sauce for an extra kick.
Gradually add the cream while making the cheese sauce, and avoid overheating. If it seems too runny, let it sit for a few minutes off the heat to thicken.
While pre-shredded cheese is convenient, shredding your own will give you a smoother melt and better texture. Pre-shredded cheese often contains anti-caking agents that can affect the sauce.
Yes, it can easily be vegetarian-friendly. Simply substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth. Double-check the other ingredient labels to ensure there are no animal-derived additives in your chosen pasta and cheese.
- 2 1/2 cups uncooked gluten-free pasta (use a corn-blend and avoid rice flour or chickpea based gluten free pasta)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons 1:1 gluten-free flour (we like Namaste brand or Cup4Cup)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
- 2 1/2 cups Colby Cheese (shredded)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Optional: 1 cup gluten free Panko bread crumbs, 1 cup diced ham, 1 cup cooked bacon
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Cook gluten-free pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
- Shred cheese.
- In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add the gluten-free flour and whisk until a thick paste / roux is formed.
- Gradually pour chicken broth over the roux, stirring constantly.
- Add the cream and stir until the sauce thickens.
- Add the shredded cheese and stir until it melts.
- Stir in the cooked gluten-free macaroni and mix well, until the macaroni is completely coated in the creamy sauce.
- Add a little bit of salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the mac and cheese into an oven-safe dish, like a cast iron skillet or casserole dish.
- Top with gluten-free breadcrumbs (optional).
- Bake uncovered for 10 minutes or until the edges and breadcrumbs are golden brown.
An 8-ounce block of cheese typically makes 2 cups of shredded cheese. For this recipe, you’ll want to purchase at least a 12-ounce block of cheese.
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 30 min