Smoked Mac and Cheese is a creamy, cheesy pasta side dish with crispy crumb coating on top. Make this recipe in a wood fire smoker, pellet smoker, or electric smoker!
Which is better? Mac and cheese from a box or made from scratch?
There are very few people who say no to a plate of creamy, cheesy homemade macaroni and cheese. For anyone between the ages of 2 and 102, it is the ultimate comfort food!
Aside from being delicious, is it relatively quick to make, even when it’s made from scratch like this recipe is.
So, why enjoy it made with powdered cheese sauce when you can have it with homemade cheese sauce? It’s simple to make and will give the pasta LOADS of extra flavor!
Smoked mac and cheese
I think you will absolutely love this dish. It may seem unconventional to cook it in a smoker, but you might be surprised at how many delicious meals you can make using a smoker!
The primary reason for choosing to make smoked macaroni and cheese is because there are already recipes on this website for Jalapeño Mac and Cheese Bake, Bacon Mac and Cheese Casserole, and Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese.
They are all delicious in their own right, full of flavor and extra cheesy. But honestly, this recipe is better than all of those.
If you have ever eaten smoked cheese before, you may already have a good idea of what makes this dish stand above the others. Smoked cheese is rich and hearty, with a depth of flavor that cannot be found in regular cheese.
This recipe is basic enough to be used as a simple side dish. Although, with a few simple additions, it can also become an incredibly hearty and satisfying dinner.
RECIPE INGREDIENTS + SUBSTITUTIONS
The key to creating an extra creamy, flavorful sauce is to use more than one type of cheese. In fact, there are three different types in this smoked mac and cheese!
Here’s what you’ll need to make the cheese sauce:
- Hot sauce
- Dijon mustard
- Salt and black pepper
- Cream cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
- Cheddar cheese
What about the pasta?
The type of pasta you use is completely up to you. I prefer to use elbow macaroni, but any small variety of pasta works great. Shell pasta or corkscrew (rotini) are great options.
You’ll need to cook the pasta before you combine it with the sauce before smoking. So, feel free to save some time and make the pasta ahead if you want to.
- Wood chips / pellets – When deciding what type of wood or pellet to use, you know that there are plenty of options. I think that cherry or apple flavor make for a delicious smoked mac n cheese. If you prefer another flavor, go for it!
- Breadcrumb topping – The topping will not get crispy in the smoker. If you want a crispy breadcrumb topping, just place the casserole dish under an oven broiler for a few minutes.
As written, this mac n cheese is vegetarian. As a result, it makes the perfect side dish. We absolutely love it with a topping of homemade fire roasted tomatoes!
But there are plenty of ways to adapt the recipe to make it a complete, hearty comfort food meal. Here are a few ideas for add-ins:
- Smoked sausage
- Cooked chicken – This is the perfect use for a rotisserie chicken!
- Vegetables – Cook some healthy green veggies like broccoli or peas, or make it Tex Mex style with the addition of corn and black bean or roasted tomato salsa. Just stir them in before smoking or add them as toppings afterward.
Watch us make smoked mac n cheese below!
Smoked Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 8 tbsp butter separated
- 4 tbsp flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1 tbsp hot sauce
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese or Monterey Jack, shredded
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs (See Note 1)
- 1/4 cup parsley chopped loosely packed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- In a large stock pot boil pasta in heavily salted water per package directions. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil to prevent sticking in a 13x9” casserole dish or 12" cast iron pan coated with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Preheat smoker to 225°F using cherry or apple wood chips or pellets.
- In a large skillet add the butter and melt over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute. Add the milk and whisk to mix thoroughly. Whisk in the mustard, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Lower the heat to simmer and cook for 4 minutes, the sauce will thicken.
- Add the cream cheese and stir to melt in the sauce. Add the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses and stir to melt and incorporate. Sauce should be smooth.
- Pour cheese sauce over cooked pasta and stir to mix in completely. Top with breadcrumb mixture and put it in the smoker for 1 hour uncovered.
- OPTION: If you want the breadcrumbs a golden brown, after smoking, place under broiler for 1 minute, watch carefully! Serve warm.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.