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Gluten Free Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese Copycat Recipe

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.

Gluten Free Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese Recipe with a fork holding up a bite of noodles

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.

The Best Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese Copycat Recipe (Regular Version)

Dairy-Free Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese Copycat Recipe

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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.

INGREDIENTS

Gluten Free Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese Recipe ingredients: chicken broth, black pepper, cheese, heavy cream, gluten free flour, gluten free pasta, salt

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.

BUTTER

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.

CHICKEN BROTH

You can also use chicken stock if you’d rather.

HEAVY CREAM

For best results, we recommend you use heavy cream and step away from skim milk or whole milk.

COLBY CHEESE

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

OPTIONAL:

Stir in some meaty mix ins, like diced ham or cooked bacon bits. We also like to top ours with gluten free panko breadcrumbs.

INSTRUCTIONS

Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese Copycat Recipe: step 1 - boil the elbow macaroni until al dente

Step 1: Follow the box instructions to cook your gluten-free macaroni to al dente. Shred your cheese.

Gluten Free Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese Recipe, combine melted butter and gluten free flour over medium heat to create a roux.

Step 2: Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add gluten-free flour and whisk to create a thick paste.

Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese Copycat Recipe: Add cheese, heavy cream and chicken broth and seasonings to roux. Stir and cook until thickened.

Step 3: Stir in chicken broth and heavy cream. Stir until the sauce thickens. Add shredded cheese and stir until melted. 

Gluten Free Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese Recipe: Mix cooked noodles into homemade cheese sauce

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.

VARIATIONS

Gluten Free Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese Recipe in a casserole dish on a cutting board

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.

STORAGE

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.

FREEZER

We do not recommend freezing this gluten-free recipe.

Gluten Free Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese Recipe with a fork holding up a bite of noodles

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I use any type of pasta for this gluten-free Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese copycat recipe?

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.

How do I prevent the gluten-free pasta from becoming mushy when cooking?

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.

What kind of cheese should I use to get that authentic Cracker Barrel flavor?

Colby is key to replicating the signature Cracker Barrel taste. Feel free to experiment with adding additional cheeses to match your cheese preferences.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time for a party or gathering?

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. 🙂

Is it possible to make this dish dairy-free?

Yes, You can see our dairy- free recipe here.

What can I serve as a side dish with this macaroni and cheese?

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.

Can I add extra ingredients like bacon or gluten-free breadcrumbs for a twist?

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.

How do I achieve that perfect creamy texture without it becoming too runny?

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.

Can I use pre-shredded cheese instead of shredding it myself?

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.

Is this macaroni and cheese recipe suitable for vegetarians?

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.

Print

📖 Recipe

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Gluten Free Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese Recipe in a casserol dish, seasoned with black pepper

GLUTEN FREE CRACKER BARREL MAC AND CHEESE COPYCAT RECIPE

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.

  • Total Time: 40 min
  • Yield: 6 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  2. Cook gluten-free pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
  3. Shred cheese.
  4. In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add the gluten-free flour and whisk until a thick paste / roux is formed.
  5. Gradually pour chicken broth over the roux, stirring constantly.
  6. Add the cream and stir until the sauce thickens.
  7. ​Add the shredded cheese and stir until it melts.
  8. Stir in the cooked gluten-free macaroni and mix well, until the macaroni is completely coated in the creamy sauce.
  9. Add a little bit of salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Pour the mac and cheese into an oven-safe dish, like a cast iron skillet or casserole dish.
  11. Top with gluten-free breadcrumbs (optional).
  12. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes or until the edges and breadcrumbs are golden brown.
  13. ​Enjoy!

Notes

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.

  • Author: Anna Luther
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min

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3 Comments

  1. This was delicious – my husband had NO IDEA it was gluten free! Thank you!

  2. Margret W says:

    Best. Dinner. EVER.

  3. Perfect! I added in bacon bits from Costco, and it was a full MEAL!

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