This smoked mac and cheese recipe is perfect for when you want mac and cheese with bread crumbs toasted to perfection, but don't want to heat up your house with the oven. It's a great way to enjoy the smoky flavor of grilled food while indulging in the creamy goodness of macaroni and cheese. This dish is easy to make and can be served as a side or main course.
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Why You Should Make Smoked Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese tastes amazing on its own, but adding the smokey flavor and seasoned bread crumbs to the top toasted to perfection, amplifies the already delicious flavor we know and love.
- Macaroni noodles - this recipe requires the noodles to be fully cooked before adding them
- Butter and flour - for the roux
- Cream cheese - adds cheesy flavor
- Whole milk - adds liquid to the roux to make the sauce.
- Mustard - adds flavor
- Mozzarella cheese - you can sub this with any of your favorite cheeses.
- Crumbed bacon - adds protein and a smoked flavor
- Seasoned breadcrumbs - you can use store bought, or be like me and crush seasoned croutons
How to Make Smoked Mac and Cheese
Please see full instructions in the recipe card listed below
- Preheat Traeger, Pit Boss, or Green Mountain pellet grill to 220 degrees
- Make roux - this will provide a cheese sauce that will be spread throughout the macaroni mixture
- Layer - layer the macaroni, mozzarella, and bacon until all are used up
- Topping - top with bread crumbs. Bake at 375 for about an hour or until cheesy is bubbly and bread crumbs are toasty.
Yes, you can prepare the entire recipe ahead of time, minus the grilling part. Put aluminum foil over the top and store in the fridge for about 3 days. When ready to cook, remove from fridge for about a half hour to allow pasta to come to room temperature. Then, bake according to directions.
Yes, tightly seal this dish in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months.
You have to grill pasta on a low heat to get the smokey flavor. This recipe takes about an hour to cook since we want to slow cook it for a long time to get the desirable flavor.
The best wood is your favorite mild-flavored wood. We usually use a blend of hickory, apple, or cherry wood.
- Serve with - brisket, ribs, garlic bread, etc. Any meat on the grill would taste amazing with this white mac and cheese side dish.
- Don't over cook - do not let the roux boil or it will overcook. Do not like the pasta fully cook either or it will become mushy on the grill. We want our pasta to be a little undercooked because it will continue cooking on the grill. Think al dente.
- Shred cheese yourself - while making homemade macaroni, you always need to shred your own cheese. The store shredded cheese has cellulose to keep the shreds from sticking together, and that prevents mac and cheese from getting creamy.
- Omit bread crumbs - you can leave off the bread crumbs and sprinkle extra cheese on top instead.
- Omit bacon - this can easily be made into vegetarian smoked macaroni by omitting the bacon.
- Add other meats - you can make this into chicken alfredo, brisket mac and cheese, etc by adding other grilled meats.
How to Reheat and Store
Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to one week. Reheat in microwave or stovetop and add a small splash of milk to remoisten the smoked macaroni.
More Macaroni Recipes
Smoked Macaroni with Crispy Topping
- 1 lb cooked macaroni noodles warm
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 8 oz cream cheese room temp and cubed
- ¾ cup whole milk room temp
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 3 strips crumbled, cooked bacon
- 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- Preheat grill to 220 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Begin by making your roux. In the cast iron skillet, melt butter. Once melted stir in flour until no lumps are formed.
- Add cream cheese and ½ cup mozzarella cheese to this mixture. Pour in milk and mustard. Stir until no more lumps. Pour this over cooked noodles in pot and stir to combine.
- When cast iron pan is empty, begin to layer the mixture. Start by adding ⅓ of the cheesy noodles to the pan. Add ⅓ of the mozzarella cheese and bacon. Repeat until all is used up. Top with bread crumbs.
- Place on the grill for about one hour or until cheese is bubbly and breadcrumbs are golden.
All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. Nutritional facts listed are a rough estimate and should only be followed as a general idea.