In childhood absence epilepsy, cortical seizures are brief and intermittent; however there are extended periods without behavioural or electrographic ictal events. This genetic disorder is associated with variable degrees of cognitive dysfunction, but no consistent functional biomarkers that might provide insight into interictal cortical function have been described. Previous work in monogenic mouse models of absence epilepsy have shown that the interictal EEG displays augmented beta/gamma power in homozygous stargazer (stg/stg) mice bearing a presynaptic AMPA receptor defect, but not homozygous tottering (tg/tg) mice with a P/Q type calcium channel mutation. To further evaluate the interictal EEG, we quantified phase-amplitude coupling (PAC) in stg/stg, stg/+, tg/tg and wild-type (+/+) mice. We found distinct gene-linked patterns of aberrant PAC in stg/stg and tg/tg mice compared to +/+ and stg/+ mice. Treatment with ethosuximide significantly blocks seizures in both stg/stg and tg/tg, but the abnormal PAC remains. Stg/+ mice are seizure free with normal baseline beta/gamma power and normal theta-gamma PAC, but like stg/stg mice, beta/gamma power is significantly reduced by NMDA receptor blockade, a treatment that paradoxically enhances seizures in stg/stg mice. Stg/+ mice, therefore, have a latent cortical network phenotype that is veiled by NMDA-mediated neurotransmission. Altogether, these findings reveal gene-linked quantitative electrographic biomarkers in the absence of epileptiform activity and provide a potential network correlate for persistent cognitive deficits in absence epilepsy despite effective treatment.