This smoked mac and cheese recipe is to die for! It uses a mix of smoked gouda and smoked cheddar in a creamy garlic bechamel sauce. The flavors are rich, creamy and smokey as-is but I also share instructions for smoking it in a smoker for even more tastiness.
Smoked Mac and Cheese
My husband's favorite thing in the world is, well... smoked things.
And since he lives with me, his second favorite thing in the world, by default, is mac and cheese! Lol.
So when I was coming up with a new mac and cheese recipe, I had him in mind.
This smoked mac and cheese recipe is all that is good in the world! It's creamy, rich and perfectly savory with deep smokey notes.
And although it's already quite smokey on as-is, I also share instructions on how to smoke it in a smoker if you're extra into that flavor like my hubs is.
But you do you and smoke away if you like!
I've also got some more tasty mac and cheese variations if you're looking for more inspiration!
How to Make It
Making smoked mac and cheese is super easy!
To begin, boil your pasta and cook it until it's al dente. Strain and set aside.
I used Cavatappi Pasta because I think it's a perfect shape for mac and cheese. But you could totally use another noodle of your preference!
Meanwhile, melt some butter in a pan over medium heat.
Once it's melted add minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt.
Before the garlic begins to brown, add 2 tbsp of flour and whisk until it's combined with the butter. This is now a roux and it should cook for 2-4 minutes so that the flour taste is gone.
Once the roux is cooked, slowly add the milk and stir to combine. Once the mixture starts to bubble, continue stirring and watch as it turns into a super thick sauce.
At this point, slowly stir in the heavy cream.
Let this mixture simmer and bubble away for a bit until the sauce has thickened and the milk mixture has slightly reduced.
Now it's time for the cheeses.
I always buy Red Apple Cheese because it's one of my favorite brands and they use applewood to smoke their cheeses so the flavor profile is right on.
But before you add the cheese, you'll want to shred it by hand. Don't use pre-shredded cheese because it will make a clumpy cheese sauce since it's coated in anti-clumping agents.
Now that the cheese is ready, add in the smoked gouda, little by little and stir in a figure 8 until the cheese has melted.
Then add in half of the cheddar and continue to stir until it's all melted.
Once the cheese has melted, stir in the hot sauce, the mustard and ½ tsp of salt. It should be seasoned properly at this point but feel free to add more salt if you think you need it.
Now it's almost done! Turn your oven's broiler on and place the mac and cheese into a greased baking dish.
Place the cheese topped mac and cheese under the broiler for 7 minutes or until it loos like the picture below!
How to Smoke it in a Smoker
Once the mac and cheese is all ready, it's time to smoke it if you'd like!
Preheat your smoker to 225F using applewood.
Once it's ready, simply place your mac and cheese in your smoker uncovered.
Close the lid of your smoker and let your mac and cheese smoke for 30-40 minutes.
Since we're using smoked cheeses, you won't want to have it in much longer than this since it'll become too smokey.
And if you'd like to save this recipe for later, pin it below!
Smoked Mac and Cheese
- smoker * optional
- 1 lb cavatappi pasta cooked al dente
- 3 tbsp salted butter
- 5 garlic cloves finely diced
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1.5 cups smoked gouda such as Red Apple
- 1.5 cups smoked cheddar such as Red Apple, divided
- ½ tsp franks hot sauce
- ¼ tsp yellow mustard
- Melt butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes or until softened but not browned.
- Whisk in flour and let the roux cook for a few minutes or until the flour taste has cooked out.
- Whisk in milk, then let simmer until thick. Slowly add in heavy cream then turn the heat to medium-low.
- Let simmer for about 10 minutes until sauce has thickened and has slightly reduced.
- Now whisk gouda cheese, little by little. Once it’s melted, whisk in half the cheddar and continue to stir until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Be sure to reserve the other half of cheddar.
- Stir in the the hot sauce, mustard, ½ tsp salt and stir. Season with more salt if needed.
- Mix in the pasta and pour into a greased baking dish.
- Top with the remaining smoked cheddar and place under the broiler for 7-10 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
- Remove from broiler and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.