Mozzarella Mac and Cheese

This homemade mozzarella mac and cheese is a creamy, cheesy delight! The dish is made with gluten-free macaroni noodles combined with a cheese sauce made with mozzarella cheese, butter, and milk. A little parmesan cheese finishes it off for a salty, savory flavor. A chiffonade of basil amps up the flavor making this a dinner recipe the whole family will love.
A closeup of a wooden spoon with a big scoop of mozzarella mac and cheese over a large skillet of mac and cheese.
A bowl of mozzarella mac and cheese topped with basil with a small bowl of ground black pepper to the side.

I absolutely love mozzarella mac and cheese! It’s so creamy, cheesy, and delicious. The combination of mozzarella and parmesan cheese creates a perfect harmony of flavors. You get the creaminess from the mozzarella and the bite and saltiness of the parmesan. It’s delicious! 

Cheddar cheese tends to get all the credit when it comes to mac and cheese, but if you’ve ever wondered “Can I make mac and cheese with mozzarella?” The answer is yes!

 I also love how versatile it is – you can make it with different types of cheese, vegetables, and even meat! I tend to throw in some fresh basil into this recipe, but you can also do parsley if you prefer. You can add your favorite mix-ins, too. Steamed broccoli, asparagus, or even crispy bacon are all great additions to this homemade mozzarella macaroni and cheese recipe. 

I make my mac and cheese gluten-free with gluten-free macaroni noodles and gluten-free flour because I have celiac disease, but if you aren’t gluten-free feel free to use regular noodles and flour!

You’ll love this recipe because:

  • It’s so creamy. Using a combination of mozzarella cheese and parmesan keeps this homemade mac and cheese recipe super creamy while providing a great flavor. 
  • It’s quick. Making mac and cheese on the stove top from scratch is almost as quick as making it from the blue box! All you have to do is make a quick cheese sauce and toss your pasta in it. And trust me, it’s so much tastier than the blue box stuff! 
  • It’s easily made gluten-free. Before I found out I had celiac disease, I made this recipe all the time using normal macaroni noodles and all-purpose flour. Now that I’m gluten-free, I have adapted the recipe by using gluten-free macaroni noodles and gluten-free flour blend. No matter which way you choose to make it, it’s absolutely scrumptious! 

Ingredients

Ingredients in small bowls to make gluten-free mozzarella mac and cheese, including milk, gluten-free flour, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, ground mustard, onion powder, unsalted butter, basil, and salt with a text overlay over each ingredient.

Ingredient Notes

  • Macaroni noodles – Since I have celiac disease, I used gluten-free macaroni noodles for this recipe. You can use your favorite macaroni noodles, gluten-free or not.  
  • Mozzarella cheese – I used a block of mozzarella cheese that I shredded myself. I don’t like the pre-shredded cheese as the starch on it to prevent it from sticking together also prevents the cheese from melting easily into a sauce. You can use fresh mozzarella cheese if you prefer.  
  • Parmesan cheese – Parmesan cheese adds a little bit of a nutty bite to this pasta. Since mozzarella cheese is rather mild, just a bit of parmesan cheese goes a long way in helping to flavor your mozzarella mac and cheese. 
  • Ground dry mustard (ground mustard powder) – I like to think of ground dry mustard as my secret ingredient to my macaroni and cheese. All you need is a teaspoon of this spice to take your mac and cheese recipe to the next level. Ground mustard adds a subtle tanginess to your mac and cheese and enhances the flavor of the mozzarella and parmesan. If you don’t have dry ground mustard in your spice rack, you can use 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard in its place. Add it with the milk instead of in the roux with the flour. 
  • Basil – I didn’t include fresh basil in the ingredients list because you don’t have to include it. However, if you have it on hand, I highly recommend stirring in ¼ cup of chiffonaded basil into the mac and cheese. It goes so well with the parmesan and mozzarella. You could also use finely chopped parsley instead if you prefer. 

For best results, use blocks of cheese that you shred yourself. Pre-shredded packaged cheese is coated with a starch to keep it from clumping up together in the bag. This also prevents it from melting smoothly. Use a box grater or the shredding attachment of your food processor to quickly shred your cheese just before using.

Step-by-Step instructions

This mozzarella mac and cheese is so simple to make with just a little bit of time and some pantry staples. The steps below with matching photos are meant to help you see the recipe made at different stages so you know what to look for. Pay attention to the color of the roux in the 3rd step and the consistency of the cheese sauce in the 6th step!

For the ingredient list with measurements, full instructions, printable recipe, and additional notes, please scroll down to the recipe card.

A knob of butter melting in a large white skillet.
Melt butter on the stovetop in a large skillet.
Melted butter, salt, pepper, gluten-free flour, onion powder and dry mustard powder in a skillet before mixing together.
Add the gluten-free flour, dry mustard powder, salt, pepper and onion powder to the butter. Stir to combine.
A gluten-free roux being stirred together by a blue spatula in a white braiser pan.
Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture has formed a paste that is golden brown in color.
A white cream sauce being stirred together with a blue spatula in a white skillet.
Add the milk and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened.
An overhead view of shredded mozzarrella cheese being stirred into a white cream sauce with a blue spatula.
Add the shredded mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese to the milk mixture. Stir until the cheese melts.
An overhead view of a white cheese sauce in a white skillet being drizzled from overhead by a blue spatula.
Cook and stir the cheese sauce until it is smooth and thick.
A closeup of mozzarella mac and cheese in a white skillet.
Add the cooked gluten-free macaroni noodles to the smooth sauce and stir until combined.
A white dutch oven with mozzarella mac and cheese with a pile of thinly sliced basil in it with a blue silicone spatula to mix it together.
Season with additional salt and pepper and top with thinly sliced basil. Serve immediately.

Recipe FAQs

Can you use mozzarella cheese in macaroni and cheese?

You sure can and this recipe proves that! Mozzarella cheese melts beautifully into a creamy sauce and coats macaroni noodles so well. It’s a subtle flavor that is enhanced by parmesan cheese, ground mustard powder, and black pepper. 

Can you mix cheddar and mozzarella?

Yes, if you aren’t ready to go with a full mozzarella mac and cheese, feel free to use half mozzarella cheese and half of another cheese like sharp cheddar. White cheddar is one of my favorites to pair with mozzarella! Some other great options include gouda and gruyere. … even pepper jack cheese to change up the flavor (maybe add some bacon and jalapeños as some fun mix-ins, too!) Some of the best mac and cheese recipes use a combination of cheeses for flavor! You can also try my classic gluten-free mac and cheese recipe which has a combination of cheddar and parmesan cheese.

Do I have to make this mac and cheese gluten-free?

No, you don’t. As written this recipe is gluten-free, but I’ve included notes where you can use regular macaroni and all-purpose flour instead. The recipe has been tested both ways. 

hints & tips

  • I find that pre-shredded cheese from the bag is not the best for melting. It has a coating on it to keep it from sticking together in the bag. I much prefer to shred a block of mozzarella cheese instead. It keeps your sauce really creamy. 
  • The same goes for parmesan cheese. Shred it straight from the block. Many pre-shredded parmesan cheeses are really hard and waxy, making it tough to melt properly. 
  • You can use fresh mozzarella cheese if you prefer, as well. The moisture content is higher in fresh mozzarella cheese, so you may need to add a little less milk to keep it thick and saucy. 
  • Salt your pasta water. For best flavor, add a few teaspoons of salt to your pasta water. It will flavor the macaroni noodles. 
  • Stir your pasta once it’s poured into the boiling water. This will help it from clumping and settling on the bottom of the pan. After about 30 seconds, you can stop and just stir occasionally to ensure it does not stick together. Gluten-free pasta especially tends to clump together into a large mass. 
  • Don’t rinse your pasta. Rinsing your pasta will cool the pasta down and I don’t know if you’ve ever had cold gluten-free pasta, but it’s not the best. Just drain the pasta and leave it in the colander until you’re ready to use it. That leaves some starch on the pasta which will help it adhere to the cheese sauce.

Storage instructions

  • Storage: Store leftover mac and cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. 
  • Reheat: To reheat, you can either use the microwave or the stovetop. I recommend adding a splash of milk to thin out the sauce when reheating for the best consistency.

A closeup of a wooden spoon with a big scoop of mozzarella mac and cheese over a large skillet of mac and cheese.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to know! Please rate it and leave a comment below. You can also share your pictures and tag @adashofmegnut on Instagram.

A closeup of a wooden spoon with a big scoop of mozzarella mac and cheese over a large skillet of mac and cheese.

Gluten-Free Mozzarella Mac and Cheese

This homemade mozzarella mac and cheese is a creamy, cheesy delight! The dish is made with gluten-free macaroni noodles combined with a cheese sauce made with mozzarella cheese, butter, and milk. A little parmesan cheese finishes it off for a salty, savory flavor. A chiffonade of basil amps up the flavor making this a dinner recipe the whole family will love.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 454kcal
Author: Megan

Ingredients

  • 12 oz gluten-free macaroni noodles (340g)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (43g)
  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour (27g)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups whole milk (16 fl oz, 480g)
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese (shredded (230g))
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (shredded (48g))

Instructions

  • Cook the gluten-free elbow macaroni noodles according to the package directions. I personally like to take 2 minutes off of the cooking time so that my pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  • Place a large skillet or saucepan on the stove top over medium heat. Add the unsalted butter and melt.
  • Once the butter is melted, add the gluten-free all-purpose flour, salt, ground mustard, onion powder, and black pepper. Whisk until a paste forms, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Pour in the whole milk. Whisk until the mixture has thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle in the shredded mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.
  • Mix until the cheese is completely melted.
  • Add the cooked pasta back into the pan.
  • Fold the pasta into the cheese sauce. Top with fresh basil if desired. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • I do not like to use pre-shredded cheese because it typically has an anti-caking coating on the cheese which doesn’t allow it to melt as smoothly. Instead, shred a block of cheese yourself for best results.
  • I used Jovial gluten-free elbow macaroni in this recipe and cooked the pasta until al dente, about 9-10 minutes total.
  • I used Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour (in the blue bag) in this recipe. You can use any gluten-free flour blend that is meant to be a 1-to-1 swap with all-purpose flour.
  • If you are not gluten-free, feel free to use regular macaroni noodles and all-purpose flour in this recipe. It’s delicious! 
  • You can use other cheeses besides parmesan and mozzarella. Some other options to try are cheddar, gouda, white cheddar, gruyere, fontina, and monterey jack. I personally like to use a mix of cheeses to give the mac and cheese some interest. 
  • To reheat, you can either use the microwave or the stovetop. I recommend adding a tablespoon or two of milk to thin out the sauce when reheating for the best consistency. If you cooked your gluten-free noodles just until al dente, you should not have any problems with them becoming mushy when reheating. 
  • Remember to cook the noodles until al dente. A good starting point is to knock 2-3 minutes off the cooking time on the box of pasta and check for doneness.

Nutrition

Calories: 454kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 818mg | Potassium: 166mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 625IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 394mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @ADashofMegnut or tag #adashofmegnut!
A bowl of mozzarella mac and cheese topped with basil.
A bowl of mozzarella mac and cheese topped with basil and a spoon.
about megan

I’m Megan

A gluten-free food blogger from Chicago and lover of all things food, showing you gluten-free can be easy and delicious, too. Let’s make gluten-free stress free together! Read more…

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10 Comments

  1. ADashofMegnut says:

    I loooovvveee paneras mac and cheese. White cheddar is awesome. Now I’m craving it.

  2. Allison's Delicious Life says:

    First of all, I can’t believe you had never liked mac and cheese before college! It was definitely a favorite of mine as a kid. I never have mac and cheese anymore, though! Don’t know why. Now I have a huge craving… Panera has the best white cheese mac n’ cheese, btw!

  3. Fresh basil would be incredible in this mac n’ cheese! Ahh, I’m drooling.

  4. claire amberson says:

    i just ate lunch but i am still wanting this NOW!

  5. Katharine Hubbard says:

    I made this last night, I did end up throwing it in the oven for about 30 minutes, and I didn’t follow it exactly (I like to mix things up) but it turned out amazing! Thank you for such a great recipe.

  6. ADashofMegnut says:

    Thanks Katharine! I’m glad you liked it!

  7. I made this tonite – (Oct 2, ’12) — and it PASSED THE HUBBY TEST!!! Now that’s is a winner!!! I did have to do some modifications — just milk, no heavy cream… omitted the onion and pepper, used less salt and used a GF flour… and poured the sauce over GF brown rice elbow mac….

    1. So glad you liked it and were able to make modifications to make it work for you and your family!