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Easy Stovetop Low FODMAP Mac and Cheese

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Low FODMAP Mac and Cheese with gluten-free pasta, real cheddar cheese, lactose-free milk and a majorly creamy consistency. Made on top of the stove in less than 30 minutes.

creamy mac and cheese on a white plate with salad on white counter
Super creamy low FODMAP Mac and Cheese that you can make in 30 minutes!

Make Mac and Cheese On The Stovetop

Does the world need another mac n’ cheese? We think so! Our Easy Stovetop Low FODMAP Mac and Cheese is super simple to make, quick enough for a weeknight and is made on the stovetop, start to finish. No waiting for the oven to preheat or a long baking time in the oven.

How Do You Make Low FODMAP Mac and Cheese?

No, it doesn’t start with opening a box! And, once you make our version, I promise that the boxed stuff will become just a faint memory. This mac and cheese is so good, so creamy and cheesy AND can be made in about 20 minutes! You will never want to make boxed again (not to mention that ours is also low FODMAP, too!)

We begin with simply boiling pasta. Then, I will show you how to make an easy roux-thickened sauce, which is simply a combination of butter, flour and lactose-free milk to make a creamy sauce to which we add our tangy, melty cheese.

Creamy easy stovetop mac and cheese on white plate with salad; purple flowers in background with stack of plates on the left

Let’s Talk Pasta

It starts with low FODMAP pasta and our preference is for rice-based pasta. While there are many pastas to choose from that can be suitable for the low FODMAP diet, we find that high quality rice-based pasta holds its shape and texture the best.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I find that corn based often falls apart – and any of them will fall apart if overcooked. So don ‘t!

Not All Pasta Brands Are Equal

Brands vary as well. I like Jovial and highly recommend that you try it. They make pasta with traditional brass dies (the machines that extrude the pasta dough), which makes for very distinct shapes. You could use small shells or even rotini, but we like elbow shapes for a classic approach to Low FODMAP Mac and Cheese.

Every Jovial brand pasta shape we have tried has been consistently excellent in taste and texture.

Creamy mac and cheese on white plate wih salad

Let’s Talk Cheese

Did you know that cheese is low FODMAP? The low FODMAP diet is not a dairy-free diet, although it is lower in lactose.

We dive into cheese in depth in our article, Is Cheese Low FODMAP? You might be surprised to find how much, in terms of quantity, and what kinds of cheese are considered low FODMAP.

This recipe for Easy Stovetop Low FODMAP Mac and Cheese of course takes all of the formal lab-testing into account and is low FODMAP in the serving sizes suggested.

closeup of easy stovetop mac and cheese on white plate with green salad

What Kinds Of Cheese Make The Best Mac and Cheese?

Cheddar cheese is classic – some like sharp, while others like mild. Orange colored cheddar is usually the go-to, but white cheddar will work as well. And you don’t have to go fancy. In fact, aged-cheddar does not melt as smoothly, so you don’t have to spend the big bucks.

Any hard cheese that melts well can be used, such as Gruyere, Monterey jack, pepper Jack, Fontina or Gouda, for instance, work well. You can even do a combo. Mozzarella melts well, of course, but it is too mild to be used for 100% of the cheese in this recipe (in our humble, but cheese-loving opinion. BTW did you know that Robin used to manage a cheese store and has managed many a cheese department in gourmet stores? We are two versatile babes, let me tell you)!

Can I Use Pre-Shredded Cheese To Make Mac and Cheese?

Well, you “can” but I do not recommend it. Pre- shredded cheeses are packaged with potato starch, powdered cellulose or other ingredients to prevent clumping. They are not high FODMAP ingredients, but they do inhibit ultra-smooth melting – and that is part of this mac and cheese’s charm! Shred your own.

comparison of pre-shredded cheddar cheese and block cheddar cheese against white wooden backdrop
We do not recommend that you use pre-shredded cheese, as shown on the left. It does not melt as well as block cheese, shredded as you need it.

What Is Mustard Doing In A Mac and Cheese Recipe?

Many traditional recipes for mac and cheese call for a tiny bit of dry, powdered mustard. It doesn’t add a mustardy taste; it just adds a little unidentifiable something in the background that punches up the cheddar cheese flavor.

If you don’t have dry mustard around, you can use about 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard instead. Taste and adjust!

Ingredients for Easy Stovetop Low FODMAP Mac and Cheese

Ingredients of easy stovetop mac and cheese

Let’s look at the ingredients one by one:

Low FODMAP, Gluten-free Pasta – We recommend rice-based pasta. You can choose other shapes, but we think the little elbows have a nostalgia factor.

Butter –  Unsalted butter will form the basis for your creamy sauce. Butter is low FODMAP and considered lactose-free, in small portions.

Low FODMAP, Gluten-free All-purpose Flour – When baking cakes and cookies I like blends that contain xanthan gum for the best texture in my finished baked goods. For Low FODMAP Mac and Cheese that isn’t necessary, but I wouldn’t ask you to have a special flour blend on hand. The Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Flour Blend works very well here and is our Test Kitchen pantry staple.

Powdered MustardYou can find dry, powdered mustard in the spice aisle. It is marvelous in this dish, and if you have it in your pantry you might fins uses for it, like adding to vinaigrettes and sauces. But if you do not have it and do not want to buy it, you can sub in prepared Dijon mustard (which we hope you have around).

Kosher Salt – We always like to use kosher salt in our cooking and table salt in baking. They measure differently, so use what is called for.

White PepperYou can use black pepper, but there will end up being little black flecks in your Mac and Cheese, which is not the end of the world. White pepper solves that problem and has a milder flavor. But I use black all the time. Your choice,

Lactose-Free Milk – I like to use whole milk for this recipe for the creamiest results, but you can try lower fat lactose-free cow’s milk. I am not partial to plant based milks for this particular recipe.

Cheese – Sharp, orange-colored cheddar cheese is my cheese of choice for my mac and cheese, but you could use mild. You could even use part Moneterey jack, for extra creaminess, but I think you gotta have some cheddar in there for true Mac and Cheese flavor.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Melt The Butter

First make the roux. A roux is simply the combination of fat and flour, cooked together, to form the basis for many different kinds of sauces. It acts as a thickener and adds body. In  our Mac and Cheese we use unsalted butter and low FODMAP, gluten-free all-purpose flour. Below you can see the butter melting – you do need a fair amount! Don’t skimp!

melting butter in pot for low FODMAP mac and cheese

Whisk In The Flour

Whisk in the flour and cook for a few minutes to remove any raw flour flavor and to lightly toast the flour for best taste.

Whisking flour into butter to make a roux for low FODMAP Mac and Cheese

Add The Milk

Whisk in the milk, bring to a low simmer and whisk and cook until silky smooth and thickened.

creamy cheese sauce ready for pasta in our low FODMAP Mac and cheese recipe; in pot with whisk

Time To Add The Cheese!

Then it is time to add your cheese! Add your cheddar (I always at least partially include cheddar) and whatever other cheeses you might be using, if you are going the combo route. Whisk until cheese melts and sauce is smooth.

Adding cheddar cheese to the creamy roux to make sauce for low FODMAP mac and cheese

Fold In The Pasta

Then just fold in the al dente pasta! Adjust seasoning and serve!

folding pasta elbows into cheese sauce for low FODMAP mac and cheese; in pot with silicone spatula

Now you are ready to make it in YOUR kitchen!
creamy mac and cheese on a white plate with salad on white counter
5 from 2 votes

Easy Stovetop Low FODMAP Mac and Cheese

Low FODMAP Mac and Cheese with gluten-free pasta, real cheddar cheese, lactose-free milk and a majorly creamy consistency. Made on top of the stove in less than 30 minutes.

 

Makes: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Author: Dédé Wilson

Ingredients:

Preparation:

  1. Bring a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil and cook the pasta till al dente; do not over-cook. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in another large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, salt, pepper and mustard and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, whisking frequently. You are removing the raw taste of the flour and allowing it to very lightly brown.
  3. Gradually pour in milk, whisking until smooth. Continue to cook over medium heat, allowing to simmer gently, whisking constantly for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and is super silky. Turn off the heat, leave the pot in place, and whisk in the cheese until melted, creamy and SMOOTH! Fold in cooked, drained pasta and serve!

Tips

If you are good at multi-tasking, you can make the sauce while the pasta is boiling and you will have your meal ready in 20 minutes! If not, do one at a time.

Variations:

For a baked Lobster Mac and Cheese, we have a recipe for you HERE.

Bacon Mac and Cheese: Cook 10 slices of bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon and add to pasta and cheese sauce right before you fold it into the pasta.

Bacon Jalapeno Mac and Cheese: Cook 10 slices of bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon fat in pan and sauté 1 jalapeno that has been seeded and finely chopped just until it has softened. Crumble bacon and add the bacon and the sautéed jalapeno to pasta and cheese sauce right before you fold it into the pasta.

Three Cheese Mac and Cheese: Instead of 8-ounces (225 g) of cheddar, use a third cheddar, a third Parmesan and a third Monterey jack.

Broccoli & Carrots Mac and Cheese: Have handy 1/2 cup (64 g) chopped baby carrots and 1 cup (122 g) tiny broccoli florets. About 2 minutes before the pasta is done, throw in 1 cup (128 g) chopped baby carrots. Make sure water comes back to a boil quickly. About 1 minute before pasta is done add 2 cups (244 g) tiny broccoli florets. Drain pasta and veggies, toss with cheese sauce and serve immediately.

If You Can Tolerate

Fructans: If you passed the fructan wheat Challenge, you can use traditional wheat based pasta and regular all-purpose flour in lieu of the gluten-free pasta and flour in the recipe.

Lactose: If you passed your lactose Challenge, you can use conventional cow’s milk in lieu of the lactose-free milk in the recipe.

FODMAP Information

Our recipes are based on Monash University and FODMAP Friendly science.

  • Cheese: Many cheeses have low FODMAP serving sizes. The low FODMAP diet is not a dairy-free diet. Hard cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano or Cheddar have been lab tested by Monash University and are low FODMAP in 40 g amounts.

Please always refer to the Monash University & FODMAP Friendly smartphone apps for the most up-to-date lab tested information. As always, your tolerance is what counts; please eat accordingly. The ultimate goal of the low FODMAP diet is to eat as broadly as possible, without triggering symptoms, for the healthiest microbiome.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 601kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 619mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g

All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more. For a more detailed explanation, please read our article Understanding The Nutrition Panel Within Our Recipes.

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