Gouda Mac and Cheese is an irresistibly creamy and delicious meal or side dish. This smoked gouda mac and cheese will quickly become a family favorite thanks to creamy macaroni with a crunchy breadcrumb topping.
Smoked gouda mac and cheese
Mac and cheese is a staple in our household—with four children, it almost has to be. I have to admit, I have had my share of times where I have made the famous blue boxed version.
However, once I realized how easy it was to make a rich smoked gouda mac and cheese from scratch, I was sold. This dish can come together in ten minutes or less, then all you have to do is let the oven take care of the rest.
It almost goes without saying that this gouda mac and cheese is infinitely better than any version that comes with a packet of powdered cheese.
What does gouda taste like?
I am a HUGE gouda fan. Give me a cheese tray with a dozen options and the gouda is the one I’ll be back for again and again. One of the reasons this gouda macaroni and cheese is so out-of-this-world fantastic is that rich, smokey gouda flavor.
Gouda has an incredibly creamy, slightly salty flavor. Typical gouda is quite sharp, but the smoked version mellows the sharpness while adding a rich smokey flavor.
Substitutes for gouda
If you find that you don’t enjoy gouda or can’t find it, there are a few substitutions. This recipe relies heavily on that smokey, creamy gouda flavor, so your best option is to find something that closely mimics it.
Because gouda is a semi-hard cheese, it melts easier and at a different pace than a typical hard block of cheese. Some options to try instead are:
- Smoked mozzarella
- Monterey Jack
How to make gouda mac n cheese
Ready to make gouda mac n cheese? You’ll find the full, printable version of the recipe below, but here are the basic steps you’ll take:
- Cook the macaroni. You can pick the brand of your choice and follow the directions for cooking.
- Create your sauce (photos 1 & 2). The gouda mac n cheese has a rich sauce with a base of butter, flour, and spices whisked with milk.
- Stir in the cheese (photo 3). Take the pan off the heat and let the cheese melt into the sauce while you stir.
- Combine the cheese sauce and macaroni (photo 4). Now put the smoked gouda mac and cheese together by combing the cheese sauce with the cooked pasta. Stir it up then pour into a 2-quart casserole dish.
- Add the breadcrumbs. Top your gouda mac n cheese with a mixture of breadcrumbs and butter, then spread evenly over the top.
- Bake, serve, and enjoy!
Here are some helpful tips and tricks when making this gouda mac and cheese recipe:
- Drain your pasta. As it cooks, pasta releases starch into the water. You don’t want your gouda mac n cheese to be starchy and tough, so make sure to rinse well after the macaroni is cooked.
- Whisk milk in slowly. As you are creating the cheesy gouda sauce, you need to add the milk in a little bit at a time and whisk continually. This will help prevent the milk from becoming scalded or overly frothy.
- Help your sauce thicken. Once the sauce base is put together, you’ll want to cook it 3-5 minutes to let the sauce thicken before adding your cheese.
- Turn off the heat. To help the gouda mac and cheese sauce have that perfect consistency, you need to remove the sauce from heat before adding your cheese. Stir well as the cheese is melting into the milk mixture.
- Look for pre-shredded gouda. It will save you a step to purchase your cheese pre-shredded. I’ve seen it in some stores, but not others. Once you find it, stock up!
- Make homemade breadcrumbs. If you have some stale or dry bread, cut it into cubes than bake it in the oven at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. Then, use a food processor to pulse it into crumbs.
More cheesy favorites:
- Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
- Cheesy Funeral Potatoes
- Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- Broccoli and Cheese Soup
- Garlic Cheese Rolls
- Smoked Italian Cheese Dip
Gouda Mac and Cheese Recipe
- 2 1/4 cups dry elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt , more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- pepper to taste
- 2 cups milk
- 8 ounces smoked gouda , grated (plus additional cheese for topping if desired)
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cook the macaroni according to package directions and drain.
- While macaroni is cooking, melt the stick of butter in a separate saucepan over medium-heat.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, mustard, onion, paprika and pepper. Add to the melted butter and stir together for about 1 minute.
- Add the milk a little bit at a time, whisking constantly. Once all of the milk is added, continue to stir and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Add the cheese, then turn off the heat and stir to combine.
- Add the sauce to the drained macaroni (or the macaroni to the sauce, whichever is in the bigger pot.) Stir to combine, then pour it into a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Top with additional shredded gouda if you want.
- In a small bowl, melt 3 Tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Add the breadcrumbs and stir until they are moist. Spread the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top of the macaroni.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs start to brown.
- To save a step, look for pre-shredded gouda.
- Can mix the extra shredded gouda and breadcrumbs into the macaroni mixture if preferred. Then also top with a little extra cheese/breadcrumbs.
- To make homemade breadcrumbs: If you have some stale or dry bread, cut it into cubes than bake it in the oven at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. Then, use a food processor to pulse it into crumbs.
- Smoked mozzarella
- Monterey Jack
Originally written by Karen from The Food Charlatan.