Skip to content

This Mac and Cheese Recipe Has a Unique Secret Ingredient

This Mac and Cheese recipe is hearty and uses leftover ingredients from your fridge. It can also be made vegan and gluten free

Bookmark article to read later

By House & Garden South Africa | August 31, 2023 | Recipes

This mac and cheese recipe by best-selling food writer Becky Excell cleverly uses small amounts of leftover cheese and crackers from the previous day’s cheeseboard. What’s great is this dish can easily be made vegan and gluten free by virtue of your favourite vegan cheese, dairy free butter, and gluten free crackers and pasta shells. Not only does this recipe reduce waste, it also comes together in only 30 minutes, and is freezable too.

Crumbling sage and leftover crackers over your mac and cheese creates a delicious crunchy, oven-baked topping. Image via pexels.


400g dried gluten-free macaroni

3 tbsp butter

2 tbsp cornstarch

400ml milk

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

100g Stilton, crumbled

50g extra-mature cheddar, grated

50g Wensleydale with cranberries, crumbled

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

4-5 gluten-free oatcakes or crackers, roughly chopped

Small handful of fresh sage, finely chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 200℃ fan

2. Cook the macaroni according to the package instructions - gluten free pasta can often clump together, so adding a teaspoon of oil to the water and a teaspoon of salt, can massively help prevent this. You want to err on the undercooked side, as the pasta will cook further in the oven.

3. While the pasta is cooking, place a large ovenproof frying pan or skillet over medium heat, then add the butter. Once melted, add the cornstarch and mix together using a wooden spoon until it forms a smooth paste without lumps. Pour into the milk and mix constantly until it forms a smooth sauce. Take off the heat.

4. Add the mustard and all the cheeses and stir until melted, then season with salt and pepper.

5. Drain the macaroni and add to the pan. Mix until well coated in the sauce. Spread everything out in the pan so it’s all in an even, flat layer. If you’re not using an ovenproof frying pan or skillet, pour the contents of your pan into an ovenproof dish, and spread out into a flat layer.

6. Combine the chopped oatcakes and sage, then scatter evenly over the top. Place in the oven for 15 minutes or until the top is golden and crisp.

This recipe originally appears in Gluten Free Christmas by Becky Excell