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If you're a fan of gouda and bacon, then this smoked gouda bacon mac and cheese is what you're looking for. I mean I really shouldn't even ask who is a fan of bacon, because who isn't? It really adds a depth of flavor with this gouda mac and cheese, which makes it hard to beat.
So Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Every family has their traditional sides and for my family, you can never have Thanksgiving without mac and cheese. It's almost more important than the turkey! While I usually just make my baked cheddar mac and cheese, I thought this year I might change it up and make a baked mac and cheese with bacon.
How did I come about this gouda mac and cheese you might ask? Well my best friend, Chris, visited me a few years ago in Portland. The first night he was visiting, I decided to make a beer can chicken and some smoked gouda bacon mac and cheese. Now the beer can chicken did not turn out but that's a story for another time, but the smoked gouda mac and cheese was outstanding! It was so good, that when Chris visited a couple of months ago, he asked if I could make it again.
Never one to turn down mac and cheese, I didn't hesitate. The problem was I hadn't written down the recipe I made back then so I did my best to recreate it. Luckily for us, I think it turned out even better! So if you're looking for a great side for Thanksgiving or just love some bacon mac and cheese, this one just might be what you're looking for!
What Ingredients are in this Smoked Gouda Bacon Mac and Cheese?
- Unsalted butter
- Panko breadcrumbs
- All-purpose flour
- Black pepper
- Smoked gouda cheese (I like applewood smoked gouda)
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- Parmesan cheese
How to Make Baked Mac and Cheese?
- Preheat oven to 400°F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake bacon for 20 minutes, or until it is crisp. Remove and crumble up bacon.
- Make breadcrumb topping by melting butter in small saucepan. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in panko breadcrumbs, garlic, and ½ cup Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
- In large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted, stir in flour and black pepper, cooking for 1-2 minutes until well combined and flour is starting to bubble.
- Gradually add milk and cook for about 10 minutes or until them mixture is smooth and bubbly.
- While sauce is cooking, boil macaroni in pot according to package instructions for al dente.
- Once sauce is bubbling, remove from heat and stir in the gouda, cheddar, remaining Parmesan and bacon bits.
- Add pasta and mix until everything is coated.
- Transfer pasta to a greased 9x13 baking dish and top with breadcrumb mixture. Broil for until top is browned, about 1-2 minutes.
Do I Have to Use Cheddar Cheese as Well?
No. I just like the combination of the gouda with the cheddar cheese. I think it compliments it perfectly but if you want straight gouda cheese, that won't be a problem.
Other Mac and Cheese Recipes
Smoked Gouda and Bacon Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb macaroni
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 6 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups milk
- 3 cups shredded applewood smoked gouda (¾ lb)
- 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar (¾ lb)
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled up
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Add bacon to parchment-lined sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before crumbling up.
- To make breadcrumb topping, melt 2 tablespoon butter in small pan over low heat. Once melted, add panko, garlic and ½ cup Parmesan and toss to combine. Set aside.
- In large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt ½ cup butter. Stir in flour and black pepper. Cook for about 1-2 minutes until well combined. Gradually add milk and cook until the mixture is smooth and bubbly, about 10 minutes. You'll want to stir constantly.
- While making sauce, cook macaroni according to package and set aside.
- Remove sauce from heat and gradually add gouda, cheddar cheese, ½ cup Parmesan cheese and the bacon. Stir in until cheese is melted. Add pasta and mix until everything is coated. Pour into a 9x13 greased baking dish. Top with breadcrumb mixture.
- Put under broiler until the mixture bubbles and top is browned. Should be about 1 to 2 minutes. You can't leave unattended or it will burn. Remove from broiler and let rest for 5 minutes.
- No overcooked pasta – cook the macaroni al dente according to the package instructions. The pasta will finish cooking in the oven while it’s in the sauce.
- Freshly grated cheese – don’t use pre-shredded cheese. It doesn’t taste as good and also has addition ingredients that you don’t need.
- Stir constantly – once the milk is added, you must stir constantly as it heats up and becomes thick. Otherwise you’ll have burnt milk on the bottom.
- Lots of sauce – who likes a dry macaroni and cheese? At first when making this, you’ll think it is too much sauce but believe me - the macaroni soaks it all up.
Holy cow!! This looks so good!
Brown T says
Melt 2tbs of what? Before adding panko?
Sorry melt 2 tbps butter. Thanks for pointing out!
It's my first time making homemade mac and cheese. I just used this recipe and it is SOOO GOOD! Thank you for sharing!
Glad you liked it!
Emma S says
Wondering if you've got any good ideas of how you'd do this as a crockpot recipe to be served over a few hours? Any ideas Ryan?
I've had it before, but only fresh. Hoping to make it for a cookout, and would like to have it prepped as much as possible so I can just add what I need to before serving 🙂
Unfortunately I've never made mac and cheese in a crockpot so I wouldn't feel comfortable giving tips on the best way to make it. Looking at some recipes like this it seems like you have to use evaporated milk instead of flour to help thicken the sauce so not sure how well it will translate.
What kind of milk do you normally use?
I use whole milk but have made with 2 or 1% and it works fine.
I made this Gluten-Free and it was absolutely incredible! I used rotini red lentil pasta along with Ian's GF Panko and it was outstanding! This is my first time making homemade macaroni and cheese and this recipe is an absolute keeper!
Awesome. Glad you enjoyed it!
Lesita Bingham says
Could I use light cream instead of milk???
Yes you can.
Monika J. says
I’ve made this a few times and it has been a hit. Mostly recently made it for my parents who loved it, brought the leftovers into my office and everyone went crazy for it. We’re having a chili cook off tomorrow and our division director asked me to make a tray of it to have with the chili! What a fantastic recipe!!
Glad you enjoyed it!
I just made it with crab....oh wow. Very good.
Glad you enjoyed it!