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Gluten Free Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese

 Gluten Free Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese - Mac & Cheese Chick

About a year ago, I created my own riff on Panera Bread’s Signature Macaroni and Cheese. Long story short; it was quick, easy, and delicious! So much so that I wanted to create a gluten-free version as well. Fast forward to now, a year later, and I have finally gotten around to doing just that.

Without further ado, here is the gluten-free version of the mac and cheese recipe that so many folks love from Panera Bread.

Gluten Free Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese - Mac & Cheese Chick

I used Tillamook Vintage White Extra-Sharp cheddar again as I loved the tang it gave the original version.

Gluten Free Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese - Mac & Cheese Chick

In addition, I used Tinkyada brown rice spirals and Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free baking flour. To make it slightly healthy, I used fat-free milk.

Gluten Free Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese - Mac & Cheese Chick

First, I cooked the brown rice spirals per the package directions, then drained and set them aside.

Gluten Free Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese - Mac & Cheese Chick

Gluten Free Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese - Mac & Cheese Chick

While the pasta is cooking, prep your cheeses. I chopped the American slices into 1″ squares and shredded the cheddar cheese (yep, I went old-school with the cheese grater).

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter.  Once it is melted and gives off a nice fragrant nuttiness, add the gluten-free flour and whisk. Continue whisking and cook over medium heat for one minute.

Gluten Free Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese - Mac & Cheese Chick

Slowly whisk in the fat-free milk. Still over medium heat, cook until the mixture begins to thicken. For me, it took about two minutes.

Gluten Free Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese - Mac & Cheese Chick

Add both cheeses, mustard, hot sauce and seasoned salt. Stir over low heat until the cheeses are melted and everything is combined and happy.

Gluten Free Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese - Mac & Cheese Chick

Add the pasta to your cheese sauce, then stir until everything is combined. You know what comes next: plate your gluten-free mac and cheese and enjoy the heck out of it! I certainly did: I give this one four enthusiastic elbows up!

Gluten Free Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese - Mac & Cheese Chick

I rated the original recipe three elbows, so whatever difference the gluten-free ingredients made just took it up another notch.  It was unbelievably creamy. Subtle Dijon essence that came through amidst the layers of flavor – and the extra sharp cheddar really made it sing (I swear, it broke out in an aria. Really).

Gluten Free Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese - Mac & Cheese Chick

Here is my recipe, adapted from my own riff on Panera Bread‘s recipe.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Gluten Free Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mac & Cheese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 as a side
 
Gluten Free Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces gluten-free pasta (I used Tinkyada brown rice spirals)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup gluten-free flour
  • 2½ cups fat-free milk
  • 6 slices American cheese, chopped
  • 1 cup extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon country Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • ¼ teaspoon hot sauce
Instructions
  1. Prepare pasta per package directions, drain and set aside.
  2. In the large pot in which you cooked the pasta, melt butter. Once melted, whisk in flour and cook for one minute, whisking constantly.
  3. Slowly whisk in milk, cooking over medium heat until the mixture thickens (about 2 minutes).
  4. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Add cheeses, mustard, salt and hot sauce to the pot. Stir until cheeses are melted. Add pasta and stir to combine.
  6. Serve and scarf down immediately!

 

Gluten Free Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese - Mac & Cheese Chick

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Emily May 17, 2014, 3:00 pm

    Can’t wait to try this!

  • Chris March 6, 2015, 4:52 am

    I was skeptical about the 1/2 cup flour in proportion to the 1/4 cup butter and 2 1/2 cups of milk, so reduced the flour to 1/4 cup. I also wanted a baked mac and cheese. It turned out great. To me it was better baked but that may be a personal taste. Thank you for all your variations. Most would be easy to convert to GF. For my family I made two pans, one GF and the other with wheat pasta. The GF flour makes no difference in taste so I used the same sauce on both.

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