This simple recipe for mac and cheese without flour is a fast and ultra-creamy dish for homemade macaroni and cheese lovers.
The mac and cheese recipe without flour is a creamy, cheesy delight that doesn't compromise on taste. This simple dish offers classic comfort, easy preparation, and satisfying flavors—the ideal meal for a busy weeknight, ensuring enjoyment for your entire family!
👍Why will you love this easy recipe?
- Delicious: This mac and cheese without flour recipe is incredibly delicious, everything you could wish for in a typical macaroni and cheese recipe: creamy, cheesy, the ultimate comfort food, one of my kids' favorite dishes.
- No flour roux: The cheesy sauce is made without flour, thus skipping a sometimes tedious cooking step: making the roux or white sauce. And that also means less time spent cooking.
- The bad news? This dish is so good you will probably overeat. You will think you will just have a normal-sized portion (after all, the dish is so filling you don't need much to be full), but you will probably not manage to control yourself… just one more spoonful… and one more… just a little bit more… and so on…
- I made a huge pot the other day and thought there would be leftovers for my husband's lunch box… there was nothing left, just some cheese sticking at the bottom of the pot.
No Milk? No problem!
Check out our super fast Mac and Cheese without Milk.
The recipe calls for cheap and simple ingredients.
- Pasta: Elbow macaroni is the typical kind you would use for this dish. However, rest assured the dish will taste just as excellent with your pasta of choice. It's preferable, however, to use a short kind of pasta.
- Whole wheat pasta might not be typical, but it also tastes great.
- Cheddar: About 2 cups of shredded Cheddar. I like using sharp cheddar cheese; it has the best flavor.
Tip: Buy a block of cheese and grate it yourself on the box grater or in the food processor. Don't use already grated cheese; its additives will prevent it from melting nicely, so the dish will not have that desired creamy texture.
- American cheese makes the dish creamier than you could possibly imagine. Many people don't like to use it, and I admit I rarely buy it myself, but I find it is a must in this recipe.
- Half and half: You can use only heavy cream or just whole milk if you like.
- The whole milk might seem like a feeble attempt to lower the calorie count in this dish, but it works fine, so I keep using it. Anything counts, I suppose.
- Other ingredients: A little butter, mustard, salt, black pepper, paprika powder, garlic powder. For a bit of heat, you can add some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to taste.
🧀Can I use another cheese?
My favorite cheese for this mac and cheese recipe is Cheddar, but another kind of cheese is fine. Try different types of cheese like Gouda, Gruyere, Jarlsberg Swiss cheese, Colby, or a combination.
I would not use mozzarella alone; I find it too plain for mac and cheese. But mozzarella combined with Parmesan cheese or another stronger-tasting sort will be great. And mozzarella is excellent for stretching, so if you like that, add some to the combo.
I often make this recipe using cheese leftovers I find in the fridge. I shred them all in the food processor, and that's it; make sure you have more or less 2 cups of it.
👩🏻🍳How to make mac and cheese without flour?
Cook pasta al dente in a large pot of salted water. Drain well.
Shred Cheddar. Tear the American cheese slices. Set aside.
Mix half and half, butter, salt, pepper, mustard, paprika, and garlic powder in a saucepan. Warm for about 2 minutes on medium heat, but don't let it boil.
Add cheese to the sauce. Stir gently on low heat until smooth. Don't let the mixture become too hot.
Add drained pasta and stir to coat. Adjust taste.
🍲Can I make baked mac and cheese without flour?
Definitely! The stovetop macaroni can also be baked in the oven. Just follow a few additional simple steps.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a baking dish.
- Cook the pasta for about 2 minutes less than indicated on the package, as it will continue cooking in the oven.
- Make the creamy sauce and mix everything.
- Pour the mac and cheese into the prepared casserole dish.
- Sprinkle everything with breadcrumbs. I prefer Panko breadcrumbs for this recipe; they are larger and crisper. They can be found in the Asian section of the supermarkets.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the casserole is golden brown and bubbly. Let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.
I prefer to serve mac and cheese immediately, but you can make the dish ahead of time if necessary. Making ahead works best if you make baked mac and cheese without flour. The baking time will allow the pasta to reheat appropriately.
- Cook pasta, drain it, and mix it well with one tablespoon of butter or olive oil. This will stop it from sticking. Let cool to room temperature, then store in the fridge.
- Make the sauce, cover the saucepan, and let it cool.
- When ready to bake, reheat the sauce gently. Add a splash of extra milk or cream if it seems too thick.
- Mix it with the cooked noodles, pour the mixture into the baking tray, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and heated.
- OR assemble cooked pasta and sauce in the baking dish and store, covered, in the fridge. However, this option might cause the pasta to be a bit too soft in the end.
- Vegetables: Add sautéed vegetables like spinach, broccoli, diced tomatoes, or bell peppers to enhance both flavor and nutritional value.
- Add spices like paprika, cayenne pepper, or a dash of hot sauce for a bit of a kick.
- Different cheese blends: Experiment with various cheese combinations such as aged Gouda, Gruyere, Monterey Jack, or Parmesan.
- Protein: Add cooked bacon, diced ham, shredded chicken, or seasoned ground turkey.
Pasta: Use any short pasta you like. Elbow macaroni, farfalle, penne, rotini, rigatoni etc.
Cheese: Try a combination of good-melting, stronger-tasting cheese sorts; this is an excellent recipe to clean out your fridge.
Don't use pre-shredded cheese; the anti-caking agents will prevent it from melting properly, making the sauce grainy.
Sauce: Don't overheat the sauce, or it might separate. Stir constantly until the cheese melts.
You actually can! Use pasta made of lentils, peas, or chickpeas. Read the ingredient list to make sure it's gluten-free as well. Or use gluten-free pasta.
To avoid a too thick sauce, add milk gradually while whisking. If it becomes too thick, you can add a little more milk to reach the desired consistency. Conversely, if the sauce is too thin, you can thicken it by adding a bit more cheese or a cornstarch slurry (cornstarch mixed with cold water).
Refrigerate leftover mac and cheese in an airtight container. Consume within 3-5 days.
For freezing, portion the food into servings, store in airtight containers, and freeze for 2-3 months. Defrost in the fridge and reheat before serving.
Microwave: Place a serving in a microwave-safe dish, cover with a microwave-safe lid or damp paper towel to retain moisture, and reheat in intervals, stirring occasionally until thoroughly heated.
Stovetop: Transfer the mac and cheese to a saucepan or skillet. Add a splash of milk or cream to restore creaminess. Heat over low-medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking or burning.
Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftovers in an oven-safe dish, cover with foil, and reheat for about 20-25 minutes or until warm.
🍽️How to serve?
For mac and cheese pairing ideas, don't miss our recipe collection: What to Serve with Mac and Cheese.
I prefer to serve the dish immediately.
We usually have it as a main dish. I might make a green salad, or I might forget that healthy part and just indulge… If you serve it as a main meal, it will serve 4 to 6 people. Six would be ideal; four would probably be the reality.
When serving this as an easy side dish, it should be enough for 8 people. It is a perfect side dish for lots of mains. Try it with chicken, roast pork, sausages, steak, or even roast turkey for Thanksgiving.
🍝More mac and cheese recipes
Give my quick recipes a try for your next family meal! Feel free to reach out if you need any assistance!
Simple Mac and Cheese without Flour
- 1 lb elbow pasta macaroni, Note 1
- 2 cups Cheddar Note 2
- 8 slices American cheese 6 oz
- 1 ½ cups half and half or only cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅔ cup Panko breadcrumbs only if baking the mac and cheese
- Cook pasta according to the package instructions and drain well.1 lb elbow pasta/500 g
- Shred the Cheddar cheese and tear the American cheese slices into smaller pieces. Set aside.2 cups Cheddar/ 200 g + 8 slices American cheese
- Make sauce: Mix half and half, butter, salt, pepper, mustard, paprika, and garlic powder in a saucepan. Warm for about 2 minutes, but don't let it boil.1 ½ cups half and half/ 350 ml + 1 tablespoon butter + 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard + ½ teaspoon sweet paprika + ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Melt cheese: Add all the cheese and stir gently on low heat until the cheese melts. Don't let it become too hot or come to a boil.
- Combine: Add drained pasta and stir to coat. Adjust the taste with a bit of salt and pepper if necessary.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Butter a baking dish.
- Cook pasta for 2 minutes less than indicated on the package; it will continue to cook in the oven. Drain well.
- Sauce: Make the sauce as instructed above. Mix with pasta and pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.⅔ cup Panko breadcrumbs/ 40 g
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the dish is golden and bubbly.
- Pasta: You can use any other kind of short pasta like penne, farfalle, rotini, rigatoni, etc.
- Cheese: Use other sorts like Gouda, Gruyere, Jarlsberg Swiss cheese, Colby, or a combination. Add some mozzarella to the mix to make the dish stretchy if you like.