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Gouda Mac and Cheese

Gouda mac and cheese is an irresistibly creamy and delicious meal or side dish. It will quickly become a family favorite thanks to creamy macaroni with a crunchy breadcrumb topping.

gouda mac and cheese in a white bowl with handles

Smoky Mac and Cheese

Homemade macaroni 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 reminds me of my favorite baked macaroni and cheese, but with a smoky twist!

It almost goes without saying that this dish 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 smoky flavor.

Substitutes for Gouda

If you find that you don’t enjoy smoked gouda cheese or can’t find it, there are a few substitutions. This recipe relies heavily on that smoky, 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
  • Havarti
  • Muenster
  • Monterey Jack
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
steps showing how to make gouda mac and cheese

How to Make Gouda Mac n Cheese

Ready to get started? You’ll find the full, printable version of the recipe below, but here are the basic steps you’ll take:

  1. Cook the macaroni. You can pick the brand of your choice and follow the package instructions to boil and cook.
  2. Create your sauce (photos 1 & 2). It has a rich sauce with a base of butter, flour, and spices whisked with milk.
  3. Stir in the cheese (photo 3). Take the pan off the heat and let the cheese melt into the sauce while you stir.
  4. Combine the cheese sauce and macaroni (photo 4). Now put dish together by combing the cheese sauce with the cooked pasta. Stir it up then pour into a 2-quart casserole dish.
  5. Add the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle with a mixture of breadcrumbs and butter, then spread evenly over the top.
  6. Bake, serve, and enjoy!
mixing together shredded gouda, breadcrumbs and mac n cheese in a glass bowl

Helpful Tips

Here are some helpful tips and tricks when making this recipe:

  • Drain your pasta. As it cooks, pasta releases starch into the water. You don’t want your 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 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.
  • 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.

5 star review

“It was delicious! My husband said it was the best Mac and cheese he ever had!!”

– Vanessa

eating gouda mac n cheese with a fork

More Cheesy Favorites:

bowl of smoked gouda mac and cheese

Gouda Mac and Cheese

5 from 12 votes
Gouda mac and cheese is an irresistibly creamy and delicious meal or side dish. It will quickly become a family favorite thanks to creamy macaroni with a crunchy breadcrumb topping.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Servings: 8

Ingredients 

  • 2 1/4 cups dry elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher 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

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook the macaroni according to package directions and drain. While the noodles are cooking, combine the flour, salt, mustard, onion, paprika and pepper in a small bowl.
    seasonings and flour in bowl
  • While macaroni is cooking, melt the stick of butter in a separate saucepan over medium-heat. Add to the flour mixture and stir together for about 1 minute.
    whisking flour in pot
  • 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.
    pouring macaroni into pot
  • 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. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving.
    Gouda Mac and Cheese

Notes

  • 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.
Substitutes for gouda:
If looking for a substitute, make sure the cheese has a smoky, creamy flavor and is a semi-hard cheese.
  • Smoked mozzarella
  • Havarti
  • Muenster
  • Monterey Jack

Calories: 470kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 672mg | Potassium: 234mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 790IU | Calcium: 299mg | Iron: 1.3mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Jamielyn Nye
Gouda Mac and Cheese

Originally written by Karen from The Food Charlatan.

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