Simple mac and cheese without flour is a fast and ultra-creamy recipe for homemade macaroni and cheese lovers.
The good news: this simple mac and cheese recipe without flour is incredibly delicious, everything you could wish for in a typical macaroni and cheese recipe: creamy, cheesy, the ultimate comfort food, and one of my kids’ favorite dishes.
Then it’s made without flour, thus skipping a sometimes tedious cooking step: making the roux or white sauce. And that also means less time spent cooking.
Check out our super fast Mac and Cheese without Milk
The bad news: it’s so good you will 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.
And if you like a quick and delicious pasta dish, you could also try the Fast American Chop Suey Recipe, the Creme Fraiche Salmon Pasta or the Creamy Tuna Carbonara. Or try the Mac and Cheese without Milk.
What do you need?
The recipe calls for cheap and simple ingredients.
- Elbow macaroni is the typical kind. 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 tastes great as well.
Cheese: A lot of it!
- Cheddar: about 2 cups shredded. I like using sharp Cheddar cheese; it has the best flavor.
- Vital tip: buy a block of cheese and grate it yourself on the box grater or in the food processor. Don’t use already pre-shredded; the additives it contains will prevent it from melting nicely, so the dish will not have that desired creamy texture.
- Can I replace Cheddar? My favorite sort for this mac and cheese recipe is Cheddar, but another kind of cheese is fine as well. Try different types of cheese like Gouda, Gruyere, Jarlsberg Swiss cheese, Colby, or a combination.
- What I would not use is mozzarella alone; I find it too plain if standing alone. 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; just make sure you have more or less 2 cups of it.
- American cheese: it makes the dish creamier than you could possibly imagine. Many people don’t like to use it, and I have to 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 if you like. The whole milk might seem like a feeble attempt to lower the calorie count, but it works fine, so I keep using it. Anything counts, I suppose.
- Other ingredients: a little butter, mustard, salt, black pepper, paprika powder, and garlic powder. For a bit of heat, you can add some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to taste.
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 or come to a boil.
- Add drained pasta and stir to coat.
- Adjust the taste with a bit of salt and pepper if necessary.
Can I make baked mac and cheese without flour?
Definitely! The stovetop macaroni recipe can also be baked in the oven. Just follow a few additional simple steps.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). 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 together.
- Pour the mac and cheese into the prepared casserole dish.
- Sprinkle everything with breadcrumbs; I prefer to use Panko breadcrumbs for this recipe; they are larger and crisp better. They can be found in the Asian section of supermarkets.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes until the casserole is golden and bubbly. Let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.
- Use any short pasta you like. Elbow macaroni, farfalle, penne, rotini, rigatoni etc.
- Try a combination of good-melting, stronger-tasting cheese sorts; this is a good recipe to clean out your fridge.
- Don’t use pre-shredded cheese; the anti-caking agents will prevent it from melting properly, and the sauce will be grainy.
- Don’t overheat the sauce, or it might separate.
- Stir constantly until the sauce is smooth.
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.
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.
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, or sausages, with steak, or even roast turkey for Thanksgiving.
I prefer to serve the dish immediately, but you can make the dish ahead if it must be.
Making ahead works best if you decide to 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 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 through.
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.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. I prefer the microwave in this case because reheating on the stove might cause the cheese to stick to the bottom of the pan. If you reheat on the stovetop, do it in a nonstick pan, add a splash of milk, and stir almost constantly until reheated.
Let cool completely and freeze in airtight containers or freezer bags (flat) for up to 3 months; the sooner you eat it, the better.
Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for a few hours.
Reheat in the microwave, on high, stopping and stirring every minute. You can reheat from frozen as well; it will take a bit longer. Again, make sure you stir regularly.
Reheat on the stovetop. Use a nonstick saucepan or pan, add a splash of milk, and reheat, stirring almost constantly.
- White Cheddar Mac and Cheese
- Creamy Ricotta Mac and Cheese
- Mac and Cheese Burger Recipe
- Old-Fashioned Baked Mac and Cheese
- Gouda Mac and Cheese (5 Ingredients)
- Tuna Mac and Cheese
- Easy Thermomix Mac and Cheese
Check our web story for this recipe: How to make Mac and Cheese without Flour
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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
- 2/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs only if baking the mac and cheese
- Cook pasta according to the package instruction and drain well.
- Shred the Cheddar cheese and tear the American cheese slices into smaller pieces. Set aside.
- Make sauce: Mix half and half, butter, salt, pepper, mustard, paprika, garlic powder in a saucepan. Warm for about 2 minutes, but don't let it boil.
- 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 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). 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.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the dish is golden and bubbly.
- Or any other kind of short pasta like penne, farfalle, rotini, rigatoni, etc.
- Or other cheese kinds like Gouda, Gruyere, Jarlsberg Swiss cheese, Colby, or a combination. Add some mozzarella to the mix to make the dish stretchy if you like.