Apple "Cheddar" Mac and Cheese (dairy-free & gluten-free)

Apple "Cheddar" Mac and Cheese (dairy-free & gluten-free)

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Apple "Cheddar" Mac and Cheese (dairy-free & gluten-free)

This Rich and Smoky Apple Mac combines savory thyme with rich and smoky Core and Rind cheese sauce that satisfies all the comfort food cravings that come with cooler weather!

Rich & Smoky Cashew Cheesy Sauce is the perfect pair with sweet, crunchy apples and savory fresh thyme. It’s savory goodness in a bowl! Made in one skillet, it’s an easy weeknight dinner ready in less than 30 minutes.

Paired with gluten free pasta of choice, it’s the perfect savory apple ‘cheddar’ mac and cheese that is completely dairy free, gluten free and vegan!

Ingredients You Need for Rich and Smoky Apple Mac

For this recipe, you will only need a handful of fresh and pantry ingredients.

  • Dairy free butter: Use your favorite brand or what you can find. You can substitute olive oil, but ‘butter’ lends an extra richness to the dairy free mac and cheese.
  • Fresh thyme: Fresh is best here, don’t substitute with dried.
  • Apples: This recipe was tested with gala, as they hold up well when ‘cooking’, are slightly sweet and crunchy- but use your favorite variety.
  • Elbow macaroni: Banza chickpea pasta was used for this recipe, substitute with your favorite gluten free brand, but note that cooking time may change.
  • Plant based milk: Unsweetened oat milk was used as that is a very creamy dairy free milk. You can use almond, cashew, soy - final taste may change.
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Core and Rind Rich and Smoky: Recommended best for this version of apple ‘cheddar’ mac and cheese.

Try Core and Rind Bold and Spicy with Mexi Mac or use Sharp and Tangy for Plant Based Mac n Cheese.

Serving Recommendations

Rich and Smoky Apple Mac is a one pot meal in itself! If you are extra hungry, you might like to pair it with fresh steamed broccoli or a salad - of course, you can also top both of those with your favorite Core and Rind sauce!

Storing: This apple mac n cheese is best served fresh! But if you find yourself with leftovers, you will want to reheat those with a splash of milk and some extra cheesy sauce.

Apple "Cheddar" Mac and Cheese (dairy-free & gluten-free)


  • 1 Tbsp dairy free butter or olive oil
  • 2 -3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 small gala apples (2 cups) chopped very small
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, gluten free - I used an 8 oz box of Banza
  • 3 cups plant based milk *I used unsweetened oat milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • ½ jar Core and Rind Rich and Smoky

Optional: ¼ cup gluten free panko, additional thyme

  1. Heat dairy free butter in a large skillet. Add apples and thyme to skillet and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Discard thyme sprigs and transfer apples to plate.
  2. Add pasta, 2 1/2 cups milk, salt and pepper to the skillet. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 7-8 minutes or until milk is reduced to a thick sauce, stirring constantly. Add ½ cup more milk as needed when it starts to soak into pasta.
  3. Add Core and Rind rich and smoy, use ½ the jar or the whole jar - your preference. Cook and stir for another 5 minutes.
  4. Top with reserved apples and serve immediately.
  5. Optional: Top with ½ cup of gluten free panko breadcrumbs, place in the oven on high broiler setting for up to 5 minutes. Garnish with additional chopped thyme.


  • For this recipe I used a large cast iron skillet, so I could transfer the skillet to the oven.
  • This recipe has only been tested using oat milk, other milks may taste slightly different.
  • Reheat on the stovetop with an additional splash of milk and Core and Rind cheesy sauce.
  • Other varieties of apples can be substituted


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