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Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese

Silky, creamy, and filled with smoky flavors, Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese is the boss of all macaroni and cheese.

If you are looking for the best mac and cheese recipe, the kind that you cannot stop eating because it is so addictively good, you’ve come to the right place.

A bowl of creamy mac and cheese with kitchen towel and spatulas in the background

Mac and Cheese with Smoked Gouda

I am thorough convinced that smoke gouda is put on this planet to create the best macaroni and cheese.

I’ve had smoked gouda in so many different things – sandwiches, pizza, breakfast omelettes, with crackers, by itself…

But none compare to its pivotal role in mac and cheese. Smoked gouda mac and cheese is the mac and cheese of all mac and cheese.

Similar to my Adult Macaroni and Cheese recipe, where the cheese sauce is truly creamy, rich and flavorful, this smoked gouda mac and cheese incorporates the base for my famous cheese sauce with smoky flavors of gouda cheese.

It melts in your mouth, ignites your tastebuds, and takes the meaning of mac and cheese to a whole new level.

Smoked gouda mac and cheese makes the perfect side dish for holiday dinners or dinner parties. It’s like an ‘elevated’ mac and cheese, so it makes it a tad fancier, but the best part is, it is still so easy to make.

Disclaimer: we don’t really just eat this for the holidays or special dinner parties, because we need this smoked gouda mac and cheese more often in our lives that that…

Scooping out some smoked gouda mac and cheese from a bowl

In our household, you’ll find smoked gouda mac and cheese on a regular basis at your dinner table, or my husband and I nuking leftovers in the microwave as lunches or snacks.

Or…eat it by itself.

I highly recommend experiencing the beauty of that magic that is smoked gouda macaroni and cheese by itself, with no interruptions from anything else whether in the form of food, human beings, pets, etc… 😉


Don’t let the thought of making this smoked gouda mac and cheese recipe from scratch intimidate you. It is actually truly simple.

It calls for pantry friendly ingredients and is ready under 30 minutes.

And it tastes 200x better than store-bought boxes with powdered cheese packets.

Here is the short list of ingredients you’ll need to make smoked gouda mac and cheese:

  • Macaroni pasta – shells pasta works as well!
  • Smoked gouda cheese – regular gouda cheese works too if you can’t find smoked gouda, but in my experience, it is less flavorful without the smoky flavors.
  • Butter – I typically use unsalted. If using salted butter, you may just need to add less salt.
  • All-purpose flour – used to thicken the cheese sauce
  • Heavy Cream – super important to create a rich and creamy cheese sauce
  • Milk – 2% milk or whole milk
  • Deluxe American cheese slices – the Deluxe kind tastes a lot better than regular. I like to add American cheese in here because it provides an extra dimension of flavor and it melts easily.
  • Salt – important ingredient to open up all the wonderful flavors in this dish.
A black bowl piled with smoked gouda mac and cheese

How to make smoked gouda mac and cheese

There are two essential parts to this smoked gouda mac and cheese recipe:

  • Pasta
  • Cheese Sauce

I typically make them simultaneously. I have a pot going for boiling the macaroni in water, and then another pot for making the cheese sauce.

I also typically use the bigger pot for the cheese sauce because we will eventually be adding the drained pasta into the pot with sauce, covering those chewy macaroni with the most amazing smoked gouda cheese sauce.

(Drooling while I type this…)

Cheese Sauce

The secret to an amazing smoked gouda mac and cheese lies in the cheese sauce.

And this smoked gouda cheese sauce is the best ever.

To make the cheese sauce portion, start with bring together butter, flour, heave cream and milk.

Important: WHISK to combine to remove lumps and grainy texture from flour. I find that if you use a spatula to do this it just doesn’t work as well.

Cooking cheese sauce in a pot with a whisk

Once sauce is thickened, turn off heat, and bring cooked/drained pasta into the pot and fold it into the sauce.

And yes, now you can use your spatula. 🙂

Adding pasta into the cheese sauce
Stirring gouda macaroni and cheese in a pot with a wooden spatula

Once macaroni pasta is folded in the smoked gouda cheese sauce, remove everything from pot so that pasta will not be overcooked.

And there you have it. Smoked gouda mac and cheese that is flavorful, delicious, and makes the best comfort food well loved by grownups and kids alike.

Tips and Tricks

A few note-worthy points when making smoked gouda mac and cheese:

  • Use good quality cheeses! I find that the quality of your mac and cheese is directionally proportional to the quality of the cheeses you use. I always use Deluxe American Cheese on this, and Trader Joe’s smoke gouda is my favorite smoke gouda to use.
  • Most smoked gouda cheese have a smoke rind, remove it before shredding cheese and adding it into the sauce to avoid pieces of rind in your macaroni and cheese.
  • Use a whisk to combine milk and flour mixture until flour is completely dissolved. This will prevent the sauce from being grainy. I find that using a spatula to stir does not do as good a job.
  • Stir continuously when making the cheese sauce so that sauce does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Add more milk to thin out cheese sauce as needed. If cheese sauce sits out for a while after it is cooked, it will thicken and become clumpy. To get it back to its silky, creamy texture, add milk and stir while heating it under low heat for a few minutes.
  • Do not over boil pasta because it will be ‘cooked’ more when combined with sauce even though heat is turn off.
  • If you find that smoked gouda mac and cheese isn’t as flavorful as you’d like at the end, add a few more pinches of salt to open up the flavors. Salt doesn’t just add saltiness to dishes, it elevates and opens up all the flavors in the dish.
Top down view of macaroni and cheese in a pot, stirred with a wooden spatula

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make ahead smoked gouda mac and cheese?

Yes! When ready to reheat, add a tablespoon or two of milk and heat on stove top under medium heat. Stir continuously so that pasta and sauce do not stick to the bottom of the pot. Lower heat as necessary. Add more milk if needed at any point. Remove promptly once it is heated through.

How to reheat leftover macaroni and cheese in the microwave?

Add a few drops of milk (or water if you don’t have milk) onto mac and cheese, then heat in microwave. Stir halfway through to loosen up pasta and cheese sauce.

Cheese sauce tends to harden after it has been left out for a while. What do I do?

Cheese sauce will solidify after it sits out without being heated. To loosen it up, add some milk, heat it, and stir continuously until cheese becomes silky and creamy again.

How do I make a low carb version of this?

Use macaroni made with chickpeas or cauliflower. Or use straight-up cauliflower instead of pasta! (Check out Kathryn’s Kitchen‘s Cauliflower Mac and Cheese for this).

Dishes that goes well with it

Some of my favorite dishes that goes well with smoked gouda mac and cheese:

DID YOU ENJOY THIS RECIPE? Please comment below and give us a 5-star rating! This will help others find this recipe on Google and Pinterest. We very much appreciate your help! 🤍

More Delicious Side Dishes

A bowl of creamy macaroni and cheese

Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese

Creamy, silky and rich macaroni and cheese flavored with smoked gouda cheese. The BEST kind of mac and cheese! A yummy side dish perfect for the holidays and dinner parties.
4.88 from 66 votes
Print Pin
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 390kcal
Author: MinShien


  • 8 oz macaroni pasta
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk more
  • 6 oz smoked gouda cheese shredded, remove rind
  • 2 slices deluxe American cheese
  • 1 tsp salt or more to taste


  • Boil water in a small/medium pot and cook macaroni pasta based on package instructions. When done drain water from pasta.
  • Bring a medium/large pot to medium heat. Add butter and flour, then add heavy cream, 1/4 cups of milk and salt. Use a whisk to stir continuously to remove the grainy texture formed by the flour.
  • Once it comes to a boil, turn off heat and add shredded gouda cheese and American cheese. Stir to incorporate cheese into sauce until cheese dissolves. If cheese sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of milk and stir to thin it out. (See Note 1)
  • Taste, and add more salt if needed.
  • Fold drained pasta into cheese sauce.
  • Serve and enjoy!


Note 1: Cheese sauce will thicken/harden as time goes on. Adding a few drops of milk is a great way to thin out cheese sauce. 


Calories: 390kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 575mg | Potassium: 143mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 920IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 249mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Take a pic and tag me at @joyous.apron, or hashtag #joyousapron on Instagram!

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4.88 from 66 votes (59 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Love, love this! Polished off the whole dish. Already getting requests to make it again. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Thank you Annette! We love this so much too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Kathleen Pope says:

    5 stars
    Had some friends over last night and just wanted some good old fashioned comfort food! This was so delicious! Of course it was, it’s with smoked gouda!!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      YES – Smoked gouda makes everything better!! Thanks for giving this a try!

  3. Julie Menghini says:

    5 stars
    Oh heavens, this mac and cheese is amazing. We love gouda and I couldn’t believe the difference the American cheese slice made. This is my new fav recipe!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      That’s great! So happy to hear that you all enjoyed it. Yes – the American cheese adds another dimension of flavor and I love it!

  4. 5 stars
    This was THE creamiest and most incredible mac and cheese evaaahh! Gonna have to double it next time so we have lots of leftovers.

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Haha yess! Leftovers are the best! Thanks for making it and sharing how it went!

  5. Michaela Kenkel says:

    5 stars
    I was one of those weird kids that didn’t like boxed mac n cheese – the first time I ordered mac n cheese as an adult was with smoked gouda. I was sold. We made this and LOVED it!!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      YES! That’s what I love to hear! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. 5 stars
    My family loved it! We will make it again SOON!!! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Yay! I’m so glad, Laya! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. 5 stars
    Are the American cheese slices 1/2 ounce each? Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Hi there! Not sure about the weight but it’s the regular sliced American cheese from the generic grocery stores! Kraft singles is one of the brands out there (but get the deluxe kind for best taste)