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Don’t have flour or realized you’re all out while making mac and cheese? Or maybe you just don’t like using flour in your macaroni and cheese recipe. Whatever it is, keep reading to see the best ways to substitute for flour in mac and cheese.
Many mac and cheese recipes -whether baked or stovetop- use all-purpose flour in the milk mixture, roux, or cheese sauce to help thicken up macaroni and cheese dishes. However, if you have no flour on hand or you do not like the idea of using it, you may be wondering if flour can be effectively replaced in mac and cheese.
Thankfully, it can be and we will show you how.
What can I substitute for flour in mac and cheese?
Here are the best substitutes for flour in macaroni and cheese:
- Tapioca flour
- Arrowroot flour
- Potato flour
- Gluten-free all-purpose flour
- More cheese
- Evaporated milk
Best substitutes for flour in mac and cheese
Cornstarch is one of the easiest ways to substitute for flour in mac and cheese as most people tend to have it in the pantry.
When using cornstarch to replace flour in a creamy mac and cheese recipe, a cornstarch roux will need to be made.
To make a cornstarch roux that can be used to make a rich cheesy sauce, you need to combine a fat like butter and cornstarch. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then sprinkle equal parts cornstarch and whisk until combined, for 1 minute. Next pour in your milk or half-and-half and whisk until smooth. Cook, while whisking constantly until a thick consistency is achieved. Then add your seasonings and grated cheese and mix until smooth.
Lastly, add the cooked pasta to the cheesy sauce until coated. This cheesy sauce made with cornstarch makes a thick, creamy, and delicious macaroni and cheese recipe.
You can replace flour with cornstarch at a 1:1 ratio.
Tapioca flour is a great flour substitute for mac and cheese as it can also be used to make an easy roux to thicken up a cheese sauce.
Tapioca flour is tasteless and orderless and adds a nice glossy finish to sauces. It can be used as an alternative to flour when making cheesy sauces for mac and cheese at a 1:1 ratio.
Another good replacement for flour in mac and cheese is arrowroot flour. Arrowroot flour can serve the same purpose as all-purpose flour since it can help to make a smooth roux to thicken up a creamy cheese sauce.
Typically, when looking for a flour substitute for mac and cheese, a 2:1 ratio is applied. This means for every tablespoon of all-purpose flour used, replace with 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder.
Another thickening agent that can be used to thicken up a mac and cheese recipe is potato flour.
Potato flour is a gluten-free flour made from whole, peeled, potatoes that are ground into a powder. This type of flour is a great alternative for smooth, thick sauces like cheesy mac and cheese sauce. For most mac and cheese recipes, a 1:1 ratio of flour to potato flour is ideal.
Gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour
Gluten free 1-to-1 baking flour is another ideal flour substitute in mac and cheese. It is basically a gluten-free all-purpose flour that can be used to thicken sauces, gravies, etc.
How to make mac and cheese without flour
While all-purpose flour is most regularly used to thicken mac and cheese, there are still a few ways to thicken up this type of dish without any kind of flour. These ways include:
With more cheese
Adding more grated cheese to a cheese sauce is a simple method for adding extra thickness, cheesiness, and gooeyness to a mac and cheese dish. Therefore, if the recipe calls for 2 cups of cheese, consider including a third cup of grated cheese for thickness.
Evaporated can be used as a substitute for flour in mac and cheese as it is able to make a rich and creamy dish.
It works especially well in stovetop mac and cheese recipes. Using equal parts elbow macaroni, evaporated milk and cheese is ideal for the best results. For example, a good stovetop mac and cheese recipe can be achieved with 5 ounces of elbow macaroni, 5 ounces of grated cheese, and 5 ounces of evaporated milk.
And, if none of these work for you, I’ve shared a simple mac and cheese recipe without flour that you’ll want to check out.
Also, I’ve shared the best substitutes for evaporated milk in mac and cheese here if you want more information.
FAQs about flour alternatives in macaroni and cheese
Why do you need flour in mac and cheese?
Flour is used to thicken cheese sauces that are to be used in Mac and cheese dishes. Flour is usually used together with a fat like butter to make a roux that effectively thickens mac and cheese sauces.
Can I use cornstarch instead of flour in mac and cheese?
Yes, you can. Cornstarch can work in place of flour since it is also a good thickener for cheese sauces.
Can I make a roux without flour?
Yes, you can. You can make a roux with cornstarch, potato flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot flour, and all-purpose gluten free flour.