Smoked gouda mac and cheese is a creamy blend of gouda, mozzarella, and cheddar baked to gooey perfection. Its smoky undertones set it apart from traditional mac and cheese - baked in a velvety cheese sauce and topped with buttery bread crumbs. It also takes less than 1 hour to make!
This is the ultimate comfort food! Skip the boxed Kraft mac and cheese because this smoked gouda mac and cheese recipe is mouthwatering and super easy to make. It has the luscious, creaminess you expect with an added smoky flavor that makes it super addictive.
Sprinkle some panko breadcrumbs on top for a crispy finish and you have the best smoked gouda mac and cheese! It's family favorite and your dinner table is not complete without it!
- Classic Comfort Food! After the first forkful of creamy gouda mac and cheese, I get a warm, cozy feeling. A bowl of this is great on its own during the fall and winter months.
- Perfect for Holiday season! They say not to experiment on Thanksgiving but this is enough like the original to not be led astray. It's a great recipe to impress your guests with a tasty twist on a classic recipe. Your family will start requesting it for Christmas and random weeknights so be warned!
- Easy to Make! After 15 minutes of prep on the stove, bake smoked gouda mac and cheese for about 20 minutes. It's quick, simple, and so tasty - making this the perfect side dish!
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Butter & All Purpose Flour - Combine them to create a roux. This is the foundation of the bechamel sauce (basically a cheesy white sauce). Roux thickens the creamy cheese sauce so it sticks better to the pasta.
Heavy cream and whole milk - Milk enriches the cheese sauce and makes it velvety smooth, giving it that creamy texture. Once milk is added to the roux, it becomes a béchamel sauce, the creamy sauce that is the base for most mac and cheese recipes.
Thyme - This adds a fresh pop of herby flavor.
Spices & Seasonings - Season the cheese sauce with nutmeg, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and ground mustard.
Cheese - we're using three kinds of cheese! I use shredded smoked gouda, Vermont cheddar (you can also use a white cheddar cheese), and mozzarella. But I double the amount of smoked gouda so the smoky flavor of the semi-hard cheese shines through. The smoky flavors of gouda cheese really shine through with this recipe!
Pasta - Choose whatever macaroni noodles you prefer, and cook them to al dente. I love elbow macaroni and cavatappi!
Chicken bouillon - This seasons the macaroni noodles and adds a mouthwatering savory flavor that gives this dish some extra wow factor.
Panko breadcrumbs - Breadcrumbs add a crunchy contrast to the soft, gooey cheesiness just beneath the surface. Toast them beforehand to make them even more irresistible.
- Cheese: Swap cheddar or mozzarella for Monterey jack, Colby, fontina, or gruyere cheese.
- Pasta: Besides elbow macaroni noodles, try cavatappi, penne, or rigatoni. Any pasta with ridges will work.
The smoky flavors of this side dish pair well with something sweet. Some great options are to try it with my Bourbon Maple Glazed Ham recipe or Stovetop Candied Yams for a mouthwatering combination of smoky, sweet, salt, and savory flavors.
Store leftover mac and cheese in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat it in the microwave. Add a splash of milk to restore the moisture.
Gouda melts into an incredibly smooth sauce so it's ideal for macaroni and cheese.
Smoked gouda complements sweet flavors like fruits, honey, and white wine. Add them to charcuterie boards alongside nuts and cured meats.
Smoked gouda tastes amazing on its own but I always add other cheeses to mac and cheese for depth of flavor. Sharp cheddar adds a tangy and robust flavor to the dish, complementing the smokiness of the gouda. While mozzarella has a mild flavor, it has a gooey consistency when melted so it's perfect for mac and cheese.
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