Smoked Mac and Cheese with Bacon

Creamy smoked mac and cheese with bacon, made the easy way with a smoky mac and cheese sauce with smoked paprika, smoked Gouda, smoked cheddar, and smoked Gruyère! This ridiculously good smoked mac and cheese is a must make!

If you like this smoked gouda mac and cheese, you’ll love my Havarti Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Caramelized Onion, my Skillet Blueberry Cobbler with Smoked Sugar, and my Air Fryer Sweet Potato Chunks!

closeup of smoked mac and cheese with bacon
Creamy Smoked Mac and Cheese

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Creamy Smoked Mac and Cheese with Bacon

What could be better than mac and cheese? I’ve got your answer! This smoky mac and cheese is so incredible! It’s made with smoked Gouda, smoked Gruyère, and smoked cheddar cheeses, all in a creamy, flavorful cheese sauce. But that’s not the best part — we’re adding crispy, smoky bacon to take it over the top! You won’t regret trying this ridiculously good smoked mac and cheese!

No smoker? No problem! This shortcut easy smoked mac and cheese with bacon doesn’t use a smoker or grill, but it’s perfect for when you want that smoky flavor but you don’t have a charcoal grill or smoker, or if it’s chilly outside. The smoked cheese, smoked paprika, and bacon give this smoky mac and cheese all the amazing smoked flavor you could want!

What is the most popular cheese used in mac and cheese?

The most popular cheese for mac and cheese is sharp cheddar, but in this recipe we’re using a mix of four cheeses! For the smokiness, we’ll add smoked Gouda, smoked Gruyère, and smoked cheddar cheese, and a bit of mozzarella cheese to help it all melt well.

ingredients for creamy smoked mac and cheese
Ingredients for the Best Smoked Mac and Cheese with Bacon

Easy Smoked Mac and Cheese Ingredients

  • elbow macaroni – you can use regular elbow macaroni or any other small shaped pasta like cavatappi or shells.
  • bacon – bacon gives this smoked Gouda mac and cheese even more smoky and delicious flavor!
  • unsalted butter – we’ll add in a little butter to help create our Béchamel base for our cheese sauce.
  • onion & garlic – these aromatics are so delicious in this smoky mac and cheese sauce!
  • flour – this is the key to thickening up our cheese sauce!
  • milk – I used whole milk, but you can use whatever milk you prefer.
  • evaporated milk – you can replace this with more regular milk, but I like the texture from evaporated milk like in my southern baked mac and cheese!
  • mustard powder – I love the added flavor the mustard powder gives this recipe. If you don’t have mustard powder on hand, you can use Dijon mustard.
  • smoked paprika – a little smoked paprika adds even more smoky flavor to make this the best smoked mac and cheese!
  • cayenne pepper – this is optional, but I like to use cayenne pepper to add a little spice to my smoky mac and cheese sauce.
smoked mac and cheese in a pan
Easy Smoked Mac and Cheese with Bacon
  • smoked Gouda, smoked Gruyère, and smoked cheddar cheeses – this blend of smoked cheeses really makes this smoky mac and cheese sauce perfect! We’re also saving some of it to add a golden brown cheesy topping. You can usually find these smoked cheeses in your supermarket’s specialty cheese or deli section. I got all of mine at Aldi, and I’ve also found them at Trader Joe’s, at Whole Foods, or on Amazon. You can also switch it up and use any semi-hard smoked (or non-smoked) cheese you like!
  • mozzarella – a bit of mozzarella cheese helps the cheese sauce to melt smoother and mellows it out a bit.
  • salt & cracked pepper – add salt and pepper to your preference once all the cheese is melted in. I also like to crack a little black pepper on top.

Equipment

You’ll want a stockpot to boil your macaroni, and a saucepan to whip up your smoky mac and cheese sauce! Then, you’ll need a 2-quart baking dish or cast iron skillet to finish your smoky mac and cheese in the oven.

Tips and F.A.Q.

What is the best seasoning for mac and cheese?

This 4 cheese smoked mac and cheese with bacon has lots of flavor from sautéed onion and garlic, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, mustard powder, and salt and pepper. I also like Creole seasoning in mac and cheese, like in my southern baked mac and cheese recipe.

What kind of cheese should I use?

We’re using a blend of smoked cheddar, smoked Gruyère, and smoked Gouda cheeses in this smoky mac and cheese recipe. You can usually find these smoked cheeses in your supermarket’s specialty cheese or deli section. I got all of mine at Aldi, and I’ve also found them at Trader Joe’s, at Whole Foods, or on Amazon. You can also switch it up and use any semi-hard smoked (or non-smoked) cheese you like!

How is smoked cheese made?

Good-quality smoked cheese is made by being smoked in a smoker for several hours, often with applewood chips or hickory chips.

spoon scooping out smoky mac and cheese

What kind of bacon should I use for this recipe?

You can use any kind of bacon you like! I used regular sliced applewood-smoked bacon, but thick slices or center cut bacon would work too. Thick slices would be easier to cut into small pieces before cooking.

How do I store leftover smoked mac and cheese?

Let your mac and cheese cool to room temperature, then cover tightly or place in an airtight container. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days. You can also freeze, tightly covered, for up to 2 months.

How do you reheat smoked mac and cheese?

You can easily reheat this recipe! Just place it in an oven-safe dish and cover with foil. Heat in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes, or until it’s hot and the cheese on top is melty. If you like, remove the foil and heat another 10 minutes to brown the top.

spoonful of ridiculously good smoked mac and cheese
Ridiculously good smoked mac and cheese

If you try this recipe, I would love it if you could leave a rating and comment below! It’s so wonderful hearing your feedback! And don’t forget to share your creations with me by tagging @chenee_today on Instagram!

More Savory Recipes You’ll Love

closeup of smoked mac and cheese with bacon

Smoked Mac and Cheese with Bacon

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Creamy smoked mac and cheese with bacon and a smoky mac and cheese sauce with smoked Gouda and Gruyère! It's so easy! This ridiculously good smoked mac and cheese is a must make!
Prep Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine :American
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 205kcal
Recipe Source: Chenée Lewis

Equipment you may need

Ingredients

  • cooking spray
  • 8 oz elbow macaroni - boiled al dente according to package directions
  • 8 slices bacon - diced
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion - chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic - chopped
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk - or milk of your choice
  • 1 13-ounce can evaporated milk - or ¾ cup whole milk
  • ½ tsp mustard powder - or 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper - (optional)
  • ½ cup smoked Gruyère cheese - freshly grated
  • ½ cup smoked Gouda cheese - freshly grated
  • ½ cup part-skim mozzarella cheese - freshly grated
  • ½ cup smoked sharp cheddar cheese - freshly grated
  • salt and cracked pepper - to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F and spray a casserole dish or cast iron skillet with cooking spray.
    cooking spray
  • Boil macaroni according to package directions, removing from heat 1 or 2 minutes early.
    8 oz elbow macaroni
  • Cook bacon, stirring, over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Remove bacon grease from the pan, reserving 2 tbsp of grease.
    8 slices bacon
  • Heat reserved bacon grease and butter in pan over medium heat until butter is melted. Add chopped and garlic and cook until softened.
    2 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 medium onion, 4 cloves garlic
  • Whisk in flour and cook a minute or two. Remove from heat.
    2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Slowly whisk in milk and evaporated milk and stir mixture until slightly thickened. Stir in mustard powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt to taste.
    1 cup whole milk, 1 13-ounce can evaporated milk, ½ tsp mustard powder, ½ tsp smoked paprika, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, salt and cracked pepper
  • Stir in grated cheeses, reserving about 2/3 cup for the topping. Cheese should begin to melt.
    ½ cup smoked Gruyère cheese, ½ cup smoked Gouda cheese, ½ cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, ½ cup smoked sharp cheddar cheese
  • Add macaroni and stir to coat. Pour mixture into prepared dish or skillet and top with reserved cheese and fresh cracked pepper.
    salt and cracked pepper
  • Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until cheese filling is melted. To brown topping further, place under broiler on low for 2-3 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Video

Notes

Blend of cheeses: We’re using smoked cheddar, smoked Gruyère, and smoked Gouda cheeses in this smoky mac and cheese recipe. You can usually find these smoked cheeses in your supermarket’s specialty cheese or deli section. I got all of mine at Aldi, and I’ve also found them at Trader Joe’s, at Whole Foods, or on Amazon. You can also switch it up and use any semi-hard smoked (or non-smoked) cheese you like!
 
Storing and freezing:  Let your mac and cheese cool to room temperature, then cover tightly or place in an airtight container. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days. You can also freeze, tightly covered, for up to 2 months.
Make-ahead or reheat leftovers:You can easily refrigerate and reheat this recipe! Just place it in an oven-safe dish and cover with foil. Heat in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes, or until it’s hot and the cheese on top is melty. If you like, remove the foil and heat another 10 minutes to brown the top.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 205 kcal | Carbohydrates: 18 g | Protein: 10 g | Fat: 10 g | Saturated Fat: 6 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 33 mg | Sodium: 169 mg | Potassium: 118 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 2 g | Vitamin A: 345 IU | Vitamin C: 1 mg | Calcium: 227 mg | Iron: 1 mg
Nutrition Disclaimer
Tags: best smoked mac and cheese, creamy smoked mac and cheese, easy smoked mac and cheese, ridiculously good smoked mac and cheese, smoked gouda mac and cheese, Smoked mac and cheese, smoked mac and cheese recipe, smoked mac and cheese with bacon, Smoky mac and cheese, smoky mac and cheese sauce, smoky mac and cheese with bacon
Did you try this recipe? Rate it below!I can’t wait to see (and share) your results! Follow me on Instagram at @chenee_today and tag #cheneetoday!

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