Rich, creamy, and made with bold, smoky flavors, smoked gouda mac and cheese is the best kind of macaroni. It’s perfect for any occasion!

For more side dishes, try Cheesy Mashed Potatoes, Lemon Asparagus Risotto, or Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash

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Why This Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese Recipe Works

If you’re a fan of traditional mac and cheese, you won’t be able to resist mac and cheese with smoked gouda. The addition of this nutty, smokey cheese is the easiest, most effective way to elevate a classic side dish recipe. 

This version comes together with just ten ingredients. All you have to do is boil the pasta and prepare the cheese sauce on the stove. Then, combine the ingredients in a baking dish, and transfer them to the oven until the cheese is melted and golden brown on top. 

This smoked gouda mac and cheese recipe can easily be made in advance, and you can easily double it to feed a crowd. With minimal prep time and a total time of under an hour, it will quickly become your go-to side dish for every occasion. 


See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

ingredient for baked mac and cheese.
  • Dry Elbow Macaroni: Or another short pasta of choice such as shells or cavatappi. 
  • Unsalted Butter: Adds richness while contributing to the silky, smooth texture of the cheese sauce.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Used to thicken the cheese sauce. 
  • Whole Milk and Heavy Cream: Adds richness and creaminess to the sauce.  
  • Dijon Mustard: Adds a slight tang. 
  • Cheese: Shredded smoked Gouda and shredded mild cheddar cheese form the base of the sauce. 

How to Make Mac and Cheese with Smoked Gouda

Easily create homemade macaroni and cheese in under an hour. You’ll never go back to boxed varieties again! Check out the recipe card below for detailed instructions. 

cooked macaroni in a pot.

Step 1: Cook the macaroni in salted water according to package instructions until al dente. Drain the liquid, and set the noodles aside. 

melted butter with flour in a pan.

Step 2: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Then, whisk in the flour until smooth, and cook for an additional minute. 

milk mixture in a pan.

Step 3: Add the milk, heavy cream, mustard, and seasonings. Heat on low until slightly thickened. 

shredded cheese with milk mixture in a pan.

Step 4: Remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the cheese until melted. 

cooked macaroni with cheese sauce in a pan.

Step 5: Toss the macaroni with cheese sauce. 

baked macaroni in a cast-iron skillet topped with shredded cheddar cheese.

Step 6: Transfer the mixture to a greased pan or skillet, and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake at 350F until hot and melted. 


If desired, you can add additional ingredients to the recipe for extra flavor and texture. Here are a few options to try: 

  • Crumbled bacon
  • Sausage
  • Green chiles
  • Jalapeños
  • Breadcrumb topping

Expert Tips

Try our top tips to make the best smoked gouda mac and cheese recipe: 

  • Use High-Quality Cheese: The flavor of your recipe depends on the quality of your cheese. For the best results, use a brand you trust, and grate the cheese yourself. Pre-grated varieties contain anti-caking agents that impact their flavor and prevent them from melting. 
  • Don’t Boil the Cheese Sauce: Be careful not to let the cheese come to a boil, and be sure to whisk it continuously. Otherwise, it’s likely to stick to the bottom of the pot and may become too thick. 
  • Avoid Overcooking the Noodles: The noodles will continue to cook slightly when they are transferred to the oven. So, be careful to cook them just until al dente. They should be tender but still firm enough to hold their shape. 
  • Adjust the Consistency: For an even creamier sauce, feel free to add an extra splash of milk or heavy cream to the sauce while it’s simmering on the stove. 
close up baked mac and cheese with gouda.

Recipe FAQs

What do I do if the cheese sauce hardens? 

It is normal for cheese sauce to harden as it cools. To loosen it back up, warm it in a pan on the stove, and slowly stir in a splash of extra milk until your desired consistency is achieved. 

Can I make this smoked Gouda mac and cheese recipe low-carb? 

You can substitute the elbow macaroni with a low-carb pasta, or use cauliflower instead. Adjust the cooking time as needed. 

Is Gouda a good melting cheese for mac and cheese? 

Smoked Gouda melts nicely, making it a great option for mac and cheese. Avoid hard Gouda as it has a crumbly texture and doesn’t melt well. 

Can I make this recipe ahead of time? 

Yes, prepare the recipe as directed, but do not bake. Instead, allow it to cool completely, cover it with aluminum foil, and store it in the fridge for up to one to two days. When ready to serve, allow the mac and cheese to come to room temperature, and bake as the recipe card states. 

How should I reheat leftovers? 

Warm leftovers in a pan over medium heat on the stove or in the microwave. Add a splash of milk as needed to loosen the sauce back up. 

If you try Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese, please leave a star rating and let me know how you like the recipe in the comments below.

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baked mac and cheese with wooden spoon on the side.

Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese

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  • Author: Katya
  • Prep Time: 25 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


Rich, creamy, and made with bold, smoky flavors, smoked gouda mac and cheese is the best kind of macaroni. Easy to make, it’s perfect for weeknight dinners, holidays, and special occasions! 


Units Scale
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded smoked Gouda cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese


  1. Cook macaroni in salted water according to package instructions until al dente. 
  2. While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add in flour, whisking until smooth, then cook for 1 minute, while stirring constantly. 
  3. Add milk, heavy cream, mustard, salt, and pepper. Heat on low until slightly thickened, while stirring occasionally. Do not let the mixture boil. Remove from the heat and add Gouda and 1 cup cheddar cheese. Stir until melted.
  4. Combine macaroni with sauce. Pour into a greased 9X13 baking dish or a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Sprinkle with the 1/2 cup reserved cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until hot and melted. Feel free to broil for 1-2 minutes for an extra golden top.


  • Cheese: It’s best to grate the cheese yourself. Hand grated cheese has better flavor and will melt better.
  • To Make Ahead: Prepare as directed but do not bake. Cool completely, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and refrigerate for up to 1-2 days. When ready to bake, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes.


  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 632
  • Sugar: 5.5 g
  • Sodium: 668.4 mg
  • Fat: 38.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 49.8 g
  • Protein: 22.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 118.7 mg