Smoked Mac and Cheese takes a favorite dish and infuses it with smoky flavor. Starting with uncooked noodles makes it extra easy.
Love smoky flavors? Then you’ll love this smoked mac and cheese
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a traditional, old fashioned macaroni and cheese. In fact, we have a recipe here that was inspired by the way my Mama made it. I worked for years trying to recreate hers, and finally got it pretty darn close.
But if you want to take that favorite dish and bring it into the world of smoky flavors this is the recipe for you. It’s really easy and we help keep it that way with all the tips you need.
Can you really get the smoked flavor throughout the mac and cheese?
YES! This is accomplished by not just “baking” like you would in an oven but actually “cooking” in the smoker. Every twenty minutes or you’ll give it a stir. This brings all of the ingredients to the surface giving an opportunity to truly infuse the smoke flavor through and through.
Starting with no boil, or uncooked pasta is key
If you did all of that cooking and stirring with cooked noodles you’d end up with mush by the time it was over. So beginning with uncooked pasta not only makes this dish super easy, it’s really necessary to make a perfectly prepared smoked mac and cheese.
Because the noodles are not boiled first you’ll begin with lots of liquid. As you stir and smoke the liquid will slowly be absorbed into the pasta.
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Smoked Mac and Cheese FAQ’s
We like a combination of sharp cheddar and smoked gouda. But you can use any good melting-type cheese and even adding a hard cheese like parmesan, will put a slightly different spin on the flavor.
Hands down our favorite is a 10 inch cast iron skillet. It holds up to the heat and smoke best of all. You can use a disposable aluminum pan but we advise keeping the heat of your smoker at the low end of the recommended range due to a lack of insulation.
Yes! We always recommend freshly grated. It melts better, tastes better and lacks the additives needed to keep the shreds separated. Our Cheese Tartlets, Sausage Balls and Potato Gratin with Aged Gouda just wouldn’t be the same without freshly grated cheese.
Our favorite woods for smoking this dish are pecan and apple. Use whatever you like to smoke with but keep in mind that mac and cheese is a more delicate dish than a big piece of meat like Smoked Ham on Big Green Egg or Barbecue Pork. The pasta will really soak up that smoke flavor.
A good rule of thumb is 2 hours, but it will vary. We’re giving you a range of temperatures, though you definitely want to keep your smoker on the low side. Even so, the time will depend on how steady the heat remains in your smoker and the size of the noodles.
When the dish overall goes from being liquid-y to creamy check a piece of pasta for doneness. As long as it’s cooked to your liking you can then top your mac and cheese with the final sprinkle of cheese, seasoning and breadcrumbs if you like. Give it just enough additional time to melt the cheese on top.
This recipe made the suggested list for the Backyard BBQ Menu Ideas. You’ll want to visit for lots of other recipes as well as tips, tricks and planning help for your cookout.
One Pan Smoked Mac and Cheese
- 8 ounces freshly grated cheddar cheese
- 6 ounces freshly grated Gouda cheese smoked or regular
- 6 ounces cream cheese cut into small pieces
- 3 Tablespoons butter cut into 3-4 pieces
- 3 cups half and half***
- 8 ounces elbow or mini penne pasta
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon bbq spice rub blend optional
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika optional
- 2 Tablespoons breadcrumbs optional
- Place butter in dish (preferably 10 inch cast iron skillet) and set in smoker heated to about 225-250 degrees until butter melts.
- Set aside about 1/3-1/2 cup of grated cheese for topping.
- Remove from heat and add noodles, half-and-half, cheeses and black pepper, stirring until well combined.
- Return skillet to smoker and smoke for approximately 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes.
- At about 1 and 1/2 hours the mixture should be creamy with much of the liquid absorbed. Top with remaining cheese, spice blend mixed with paprika (if desired) and breadcrumbs (if desired).
- Return to smoker for final 20-25 minutes.
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