Smoked Mac and Cheese is comfort food in a cast iron skillet. Creamy and rich macaroni and cheese with a crisp panko topping and the perfect kiss of smoke flavor.
I love a good mac and cheese, so I have spent years perfecting and refining my recipe. I’ve tried different cheeses, milks, cream, toppings and more to come up with the perfect blend of flavors and textures. I think this is important for any good mac and cheese, but especially important for smoked mac and cheese! You need to to able to taste the smoke without it overwhelming the subtle notes of the cheese and pasta underneath. After much trial and error, I’ve put all of my tips and info into this recipe for you to enjoy!
How to Make Smoked Mac and Cheese
If you’ve been using a smoker for a while, you know that porous, wet, or soft items take on smoke really quickly. That is great news if you want to whip up this smoked macaroni and cheese as a side dish for something like a smoked brisket or pork shoulder. You can pull off your big meats to let them rest for an hour and get your mac and cheese right into the smoker without having to preheat your grill.
Tips for the BEST Smoked Mac and Cheese
- Use cast iron. A 12 inch skillet will go from stovetop to smoker to the dinner table without too much hassle or too many dishes. Plus it will give you plenty of surface area for your mac and cheese to take on smoke.
- Keep your smoker temperatures low. Anything over 225 degrees F will overcook your noodles and make your mac and cheese dry.
- Use a mild wood. I recommend cherry, apple, maple, or pecan wood.
- Feed free to mix it up! This mac and cheese is a great base for other flavor additions, bacon, green chiles, lobster, pulled pork… get creative! My favorite thing to do is add my Signature Sweet Rub to the panko topping for that classic BBQ flavor.
Love Smoked Mac and Cheese?
If you like this mac and cheese recipe, here are a couple of other mac and cheese variations I’ve created over the years:
Smoked Mac and Cheese Recipe
Watch the video below the recipe card and I’ll show you step-by-step how I make this smoked mac and cheese recipe at home. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipe videos on YouTube, Instagram, or our Facebook Page. Follow along and let’s make awesome food together!
Rich and creamy smoked mac and cheese with a crispy panko breadcrumb topping.
- 1 pound elbow macaroni noodles cooked according to package instructions
- 1/2 cup butter
- 4 Tablespoons flour
- 1 Tablespoon mustard powder
- 2 cups half and half
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 3 cups cheddar
- 1.5 cups gouda
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 Tablespoons Signature Sweet Rub
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook macaroni noodles until they are al dente, meaning they still have a bit of chew and texture (not too soft).
Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F using a mild hardwood. My favorite is cherry or apple.
Heat a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Melt 1/2 cup of butter and whisk in the flour until a smooth, thin paste forms. Then whisk in the mustard powder.
Carefully pour in the half and half and bring up to a boil while whisking. Reduce the heat and whisk in the cream cheese until smooth.
Whisk in the cheddar cheese and gouda cheese and stir until melted. Turn off the heat and pour in the cooked macaroni noodles. Stir gently until the noodles are coated by the cheese sauce.
Combine the melted butter, sweet rub, and panko bread crumbs in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the mac and cheese.
Place the skillet in the smoker, close the lid, and smoke for 1 hour. You can smoke for up to 2 hours if you want a stronger smoker flavor, but the noodles will take on quite a bit of smoke fairly quickly.
Serve your mac and cheese while it is still warm and the cheese is nice and melty!