Aida’s Pimiento Mac and Cheese, Gluten-free Print Recipe Print Recipe

My husband has claimed that this is the best homemade mac and cheese he’s ever had. I would have to agree, after I fought him for the last serving. He then proceeded to tell me it was in his top 10 of all my recipes. That’s pretty huge.

You are right, this is not your typical mac and cheese. It’s better. With the flavor of the pimientos, the herbs & seasonings in the breadcrumbs and real cheese with touch of dijon mustard. HEAVEN!

Even better, it’s gluten-free!


Before we get too caught up in the mac and cheese, let’s back up a second.

I’ve been a huge fan and follower of Aida Mollenkamp, even when she was on the Food Network doing Ask Aida – anyone else watch that?? I loved it, thought she was [she still is] so smart and made the best food. Then after that, I started following her blog and then realized we had a few mutual friends. When she announced her new book, Aida Mollenkamp’s Keys to the Kitchen and asked if I’d be apart of the Keys to the Kitchen Virtual Dinner Party, I was a giddy little girl honored!

This literally is my new kitchen bible. It has everything you need to know about cooking and would say it’s for anyone, beginner or advanced. She covers it all from pantry pointers, to the fundamentals [from browning butter, handeling meat, to caramelized onions] how to shop & store, entertaining ideas, to the tools to explore your own culinary creativity.

It’s a little gold nugget that everyone should have in their collection.

Aida Mollenkamp’s Keys to the Kitchen is available for purchase on Amazon. Hey, Christmas is just around the corner…

Now, back to the mac and cheeeeeeese!! My pregnancy staple.

I had to keep myself from sitting down, alone with this plate and digging right in.

I had never cooked with pimientos before. Honestly, I didn’t really know what they were until this recipe.

It’s a type of red pepper that’s sweet and more fragrant than a red pepper. It adds incredible flavor to this dish.

Now I want to add pimientos to everything. Maybe a dip or sauce. My mouth is already watering.


How would you like to WIN a copy of  Aida Mollenkamp’s Keys to the Kitchen?

Simply, leave me a comment telling me ANY comment you’d like [maybe it’s what your favorite kitchen gadget or secret ingredient] and you’ll be entered to win a free copy!

Giveaway ends Tuesday, November 30th.

Small Print: Open to US residents only. One winner will be chosen using


CONGRATS to the winner, Kari N !! Please email me so I can send you your copy – [at] gmail [dot] com


Recipe Notes:

Note: Since it’s just the two of us, I halved the recipe and it was still enough for a few days of leftovers. Feel free to double the recipe if you’re cooking for a crowd. 

You can make this gluten-free or not. If you’re not gluten-free, you can use regular panko and any type of elbow macaroni pasta 


Pimiento Mac and Cheese, Gluten-free

[Recipe adapted from Keys to the Kitchen]

PRINT Recipe

Serves 4


Breadcrumb Topping

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free panko bread crumbs – Ian’s GF bread crumbs work great for this!
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika – or regular paprika
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Mac and Cheese

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni pasta, gluten-free – Ancient Harvest hold up nice in this dish
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 3 ounce jar pimientos, diced
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese – or aged cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard



For the Topping:

In a small saucepan, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter over low heat. While that melts, mix together panko bread crumbs, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, and ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Pour melted butter over mixture and toss to combine. Set aside.

For the Mac and Cheese:

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until 2 minutes short of the package directions. Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.

Return the pot to the stove over low heat and add the remaining butter. When the foaming subsides, add the onion, season with salt and cook until golden. Stir in the half and half, pimientos, and remaining paprika.

When the mixture just begins to simmer, add the Cheddar cheese and whisk until smooth. Add in the remaining Parmesan and the mustard and whisk until melted. Add the pasta and salt and stir to coat. Taste and season with additional salt as needed.

Note: you can serve the recipe at this point [without breadcrumbs] for a stovetop mac and cheese. 

Turn on boiler and butter or spray with non-stick baking dish.

To assemble, pour the pasta mixture into the baking and top with the panko mixture. Put under the broiler until the mixture bubbles and the top is browned, about 2 minutes. Remove from the broiler and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve and enjoy!


*gluten-free *vegetarian


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  • Carolyn

    That does look like amazing mac and cheese. The ultimate comfort food.

  • christina

    This mac and cheese looks wonderful! My new favorite ingredient is sherry vinegar. It’s acidic with a touch of sweetness. I love it!

  • Natalie

    Looks absolutely amazing!! Can’t wait to try this!

  • Gail Annacarto

    My tip is cook a few meals on the weekend so after work I can chill

  • Louise E.

    I like to cook up enough of a recipe so I can freeze some and have
    leftovers! Thanks for the contest.

  • Nichole S.

    Lovely blog! Who couldn’t use another cookbook?

  • Alison Lewis

    love this one! Hope you’re doing okay

  • Sheila

    We love mac-n-cheese around here! This one looks amazing. I always love the flavor pimentos bring to a dish, but often forget to use them! Thanks for sharing ; D

  • Jeanette Chen

    Love how pretty this mac n cheese looks with the pimento!

  • Kari N

    I love Aida! I’m sure the book is awesome. First time on your blog. Awesome blog.

  • Jenni

    Now this is something my kids will not pick at but will ask for more! BTW, I think you meant the giveaway ends Oct. 30th, not November 30th (?). Beautiful book!

  • Samantha Angela

    I would love to win a copy. I keep hearing such good things.

  • WithStyleGrace

    you’re the lucky winner!! email me your address when you get a chance and I’ll have the book sent out shortly. Email:

  • Kelly

    Swoon. I am in love with pimento cheese. The thought of it WITH macaroni is making me crave it at 9:30!

  • Brenda G

    Would love to win that cookbook… I must be missing something? It says contest ends November 30…….so why is there a winner already?