Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese

in Dinner, Pasta, Sides

Okay, this might be a big mistake. I could be putting my entire engagement in jeopardy by telling you this story. However, I don’t see how I can post this recipe for mac and cheese without giving a little background. Here’s the thing – Chase used to not be able to cook at all. I mean, I actually had to teach him how to heat up canned soup. So the fact that this delicious bowl of cheesy-ness is now in my life proves that anyone, I mean ANYONE can learn how to be an amazing cook.

The first time Chase made mac and cheese he wanted to do it all on his own, with no help from me. Which I thought was awesome, to be honest. So, while he got hard at work in the kitchen I curled up on the couch to catch up on the latest episode of “Real Housewives” – try not to judge me. However, eventually there was this absolutely amazing smell of cheese the lured me off the couch and into the kitchen, just in time to see Chase pouring a heavenly pot of cheese sauce onto…raw pasta.

Me: Ummm…babe? Aren’t you supposed to cook the pasta first?
Chase: No, the recipe says to use uncooked pasta.

I took a glance at the recipe and saw no mention of cooking the pasta, which was quite odd. Then… I glanced at the ingredient list and this is what I saw:

  • 5 cups cooked pasta (1 lb uncooked)

Oh dear lord.  My well-intentioned boyfriend had only read the parenthesis and just dumped cheese sauce on raw pasta that is supposed to be cooked. I didn’t see any easy way out of this, and so I broke the news to him that the pan full of mac and cheese that he was about to put in the oven had to be thrown out. Well… I had a bit of a boyfriend meltdown on my hands immediately following that, and for a second it seemed that we weren’t going to be having mac and cheese that night, if ever again. However, after rinsing the sauce off the pasta, cooking it, and then making a fresh sauce from whatever cheese we could scrounge out of the fridge, everything somehow turned out okay.

These days, Chase doesn’t hesitate to boast about his prowess when it comes to mac and cheese. And rightfully so, when he comes up with recipes like this. Until now, he’s tried to keep this tale of his early failure under wraps, but I have to admit it’s one of my favorites. So again, remember this story if you ever get discouraged from a lame kitchen mistake you’ve made.

And babe? Since I assume you’re reading this, I love you. Seriously. Hopefully you can forgive me for this.

Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese

Recipe by Chase Livengood

Print this recipe!

Here’s the trick about smoked gouda mac & cheese. Smoked gouda on it’s own isn’t very creamy and has a very strong flavor, so I don’t think it makes a good mac & cheese on its own. However, if you combine it with some sharp white cheddar beware: This stuff is better than anything you’ve ever had.

1 lb package short pasta (penne, elbow macaroni, etc)
4  tablespoons  butter
4  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
4  cups  milk
½  teaspoon  salt
½  teaspoon  fresh ground black pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
8-oz block sharp white cheddar cheese, grated and divided (about 2 cups)
8-oz block smoked gouda cheese, grated and divided (about 2 cups)

Cook the pasta according to package directions, set aside. (don’t forget this step!)

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Continue whisking and cook for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Whisking constantly, cook for 5 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat to low and stir in salt, black pepper and most of the cheese, reserving about a cup of cheese.

Pour the pasta in a lightly greased 8 x 11 x 2 baking dish. Spoon the cheese sauce over the pasta, stirring lightly to even out the sauce in the pan. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cup of cheese and the paprika.

Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven, and prepare yourself for out-of-this world macaroni and cheese.

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela See, Angela Blog March 18, 2010 at 5:10 am

Aww that’s such a cute story and the mac and cheese looks so delicious it hurts!



Juzo April 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm

I really like the idea of roasted tomatoes with this, Marie. I was thinking this sounded good but might be a little rich, but now that I’m thinking about the two together, I’m getting pretty hungry.


Risa March 18, 2010 at 9:09 am

Smoked Gouda is my absolute favorite cheese. Buuut hubby won’t touch the stuff. Is there any shame in eating the whole batch by myself?!


Jennifer @ T-Bones and Tofu March 18, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Thanks for the story Caroline. I am so sympathetic with Chase. I was the queen of disaster meals (and kitchen tears) for so long. But now I amaze myself regularly (except last night, which was a pretty unimpressive St. Patrick’s Day Irish Breakfast for dinner.) Go Chase!


la mujer March 18, 2010 at 7:02 pm

I love smoked Gouda cheese! I need to check this one out. I love your story, good try Chase.


Caroline March 18, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Risa – there’s definitely no shame in that! We won’t go into how much of that pan was consumed by me alone…

Jennifer – what exactly is in a St. Patrick’s day Irish breakfast?


Jennifer @ T-Bones and Tofu March 19, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Caroline – I interpreted St. Pat’s Irish breakfast as eggs cooked in ramekins with Irish bangers, potato boxte topped with sour cream and green onions and soda bread with roasted tomato jam. Soda bread was the best. The eggs were a complete disaster! No worries though, I’m working on perfecting my eggs en cocette (a la Julia Childs) this weekend!


Toni March 21, 2010 at 6:48 am

Chase – I’m sorry you probably “inherited” your lack of kitchen prowess from your mother (ha ha)…however, I am quite impressed with your ability to rise above your “roots” and soar with the eagles (as you have shown in the story above)! I am going to be putting your recipe to the test at a party with my friends this Tuesday night…I’ll let you know the outcome! Hopefully I will learn from your mistakes and remember to cook the pasta first!


Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets March 23, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Such a darling story, and that may be the most scrumptious looking mac & cheese I’ve ever seen. My man can only cook about 3 dishes, but damn does he do them well.


Erin ( March 24, 2010 at 3:03 pm

What a great story! Macaroni and Cheese could quite possibly be the ultimate comfort food. I have yet to try it with Gouda cheese though! thanks for the inspiration!


Kristin Byrum April 28, 2010 at 5:43 am

Made it last night, and it was so die for! Thanks so much for sharing!!!


Kacey August 24, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Love this story! This looks delicious and I’m glad I found your blog on Foodgawker!


TheHealthyApron October 25, 2010 at 1:03 pm

This looks heavenly


Seasoned mac cooker December 15, 2010 at 4:01 pm

I decided I wanted to try smoked Gouda in some mac and cheese and ran across this recipe. I liked how the mix of cheddar and Gouda sounded so I tried it with a few modifications. I use 1/2 as much flower and butter. I backed out 25% of each cheese and replaced it with Velveeta (this stuff isn’t very good alone but lord does it cream well)I topped it with 1/2 C. cheddar/Gouda mix (no Velveeta) held out of the sauce. Also I used 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper and My wife and I loved it. I’ve been making variations of mac and cheese for allot of years so I knew that 4 T. flour would set more than I prefer. It needed a little salt to my taste but salt to taste is for the end user/eater LOL Thanks for the inspiration.


Caroline January 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Glad it worked out! I’ll have to try your variation sometime, you can never have too many recipes for mac & cheese :)


Cindy December 22, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Major drool! I absolutely cannot wait to make this! I’m a huge fan of mac and cheese but have always been intimidated by the endless ingredients needed for it. This is why I love how your recipe calls for less than 10 ingredients! Thank you for sharing! :)


Tiffany December 25, 2010 at 11:37 am

I have tried this and my boyfriend went crazy! He loves it (I mean I do too but he is a bit over the top)! Thumbs up for a wonderful boyfriend and a wonderfully cute story that goes along with it. That just makes it 10x better. :]


Tiffany December 25, 2010 at 11:40 am

Whoops! I meant to write “a wonderful recipe” xD


Sue December 27, 2010 at 9:11 pm

I can’t wait to make this. I had tasted some Boar’s Head Smoked Gouda and thought it would make a great Mac and Cheese. I will go shopping tomorrow and make it on Wednesday for an “After Christmas Family Gathering”.


Dana January 1, 2011 at 6:49 am

I am making this this week, sounds great!
My husband loves to tell the story of how, when we were first married, I cooked my first chicken and forgot to take the organ bag out of the cavity. I’ve come a long way from that disaster but it still gets a good laugh 15 years later :)


Caroline January 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm

HA! love it :)


Jobst January 13, 2011 at 7:53 am

WOW! This Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese looks AMAZING! When I was younger I tried smoked gouda & hated it! My boyfriend recently made me try it again and now I LOVE it! We have been talking about making home made mac & cheese for months now but couldn’t find a recipe we wanted to try. I think I just found the right recipe! Thanks for sharing! :)


Marie G. January 21, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Wow! I just made this tonight for the first time, with a side of roasted tomatoes (the acidity/sweetness cuts the richness of this one nicely), and it is fabulous beyond even what I’d imagined. Thanks for this awesome recipe! I’m glad I have plenty of leftovers, because I’m dying to see what this will taste like tomorrow, once all the flavors have had a chance to coalesce nicely. :)


beth July 4, 2011 at 11:50 am

made this for fathers day and it was the hit of the party – making a double batch right now for the 4th – the BEST mac n cheese I’ve ever made!


Jessica July 10, 2011 at 12:03 am

I was wondering if I would need to change anything in this recipe if I were to use individual crocks to bake in? I thought it would be cute to have these for my dinner guests. Thank you!


Adrianna July 10, 2011 at 12:07 am

Nope, you shouldn’t need to change a thing. I would, however, keep an eye on it in the oven because it might be ready sooner than 20 minutes!


Heather July 31, 2011 at 5:22 am

Oh, heavenly cheesyness. Smoked Gouda mac and cheese….can’t wait to try it!


Caitie September 11, 2011 at 1:17 am

Just made this with bacon gouda! That’s right BACON gouda. Soooo good! Love the blog.


Iris September 26, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Made this last night. It was awesome!


Brittany October 17, 2011 at 12:26 am

Hi Caroline,

I tried making this recipe this evening, emphasis on the tried! This is the second when trying to make homemade mac and cheese that the cheese sauce turns out grainy. Do you have any thoughts on this? Thanks!


Linda February 2, 2015 at 6:20 am

Same here. The sauce was creamy, but once it baked, the oils separated & looked grainy/curdled. Tasted fine, just didn’t look creamy anymore & didn’t hold together.


Becky November 21, 2011 at 2:30 am

I made this recipe after reading this cute story and it came out so yummy that my family requests it every time we have a get-together now. Tonight I made it for a Thanksgiving feast at work and can’t wait to hear what people have to say about it. It truly is devastatingly delicious! Sometimes, I mix a tablespoon of garlic salt in with half a quart ziploc bag of Panko Bread Crumbs, shake it up and spread it evenly over the top of the dish. It gives it just the right amount of crunch, and the garlic salt compliments the cheeses very well. Thanks for sharing. It is a staple dish for me now.


Kelly December 23, 2011 at 1:15 am

Made this tonite and it was so good! Didn’t think I was a huge fan of smoked gouda, so the cheddar was a perfect mix!


Lindsey December 24, 2011 at 3:37 pm

This is a huge hit anytime I make it. I decided to flavor the butter/roux with garlic, and add in fresh spinach and crumbled bacon to the cheese sauce before pouring. For a big batch, I substitute 2 cups milk for light cream, and the sauce turns out so incredibly creamy you can’t stop eating it. Thanks for such a stellar recipe!


whitney January 2, 2012 at 5:23 am

Found this and made it for a NYE dinner party. Out of this world!! (i must be honest, I added small chopped up pieces of bacon….a happy addition).


Julie January 6, 2012 at 12:49 am

Just made it for dinner … it was gobbled up!


Melanie January 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm

adding caramalized onions is crazy delicious


Rob February 5, 2012 at 6:21 pm

I found this while looking for recipes that use smoked Gouda – as my fiance loves that cheese and I will admit it’s quite good.

Usually I’m not into mac and cheese. I’ve made far too many bland, boring, one-dimensional mac and cheese dishes and wind up feel obligated to eat all of the leftovers. By the time it’s gone, I’ve come to resent mac and cheese. The problem is that usually these recipes call for American, Velveeta, and other processed crap that isn’t even cheese. The fact that this recipe calls for real, legitimate cheese caught my eye immediately.

Now, here’s the thing. There’s a hug variation in what’s being called “cheddar” these days. For example, Kraft sharp cheddar is usually neither sharp nor does it have a good cheddar flavor. For this mac and cheese I used Cabot white extra sharp cheddar, and it was so much better than the Kraft or store brands.

Otherwise, I made this exactly as written, except that I halved the recipe, because as a single guy, a whole pound of pasta would have yielded enough leftovers to last over a week., and like I said, mac and cheese can be a gamble. Anyway… as someone that’s usually not impressed with mac and cheese, I can honestly say that I’d consider making this again.


Rob February 6, 2012 at 9:40 am

One last thing… one of my biggest recipe pet peeves is when a baked dish doesn’t specify whether to bake covered or uncovered. I put this in uncovered, because there’s no indication in the photos or text to do otherwise, but I suspect that had I used a foil cover, the mac and cheese would have been a little more creamy and less dried out.

What’s the correct way to do this?


Sile June 25, 2012 at 12:38 pm

My husband is still learning to cook and sometimes has cooking failure tantrums. I’m glad he’s not the only one. ;)


Melissa September 28, 2012 at 9:31 am

I discovered your recipe yesterday and made this mac and cheese last night. It was so good (and easy to make, too!). Really, it’s to die for. Thank you!


andy December 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I just wanted to thank you for this recipe! I’ve made it for Thanksgiving this year, and now for Christmas dinner (we’re having ours tonight due to scheduling), and it’s been a huge hit.

I did change a few things, though, by replacing the butter with 3oz of black truffle butter, and added scallops and bacon. I also just used smoked gouda, since, for some reason, we had only that and no cheddar.


Adrianna December 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Oh that’s so awesome! YAY! And that black truffle butter addition sounds AMAZING!


Pamala December 25, 2012 at 8:36 pm

This came out good and would make again. Sauce seemed too soupy but it wasn’t once the dish was baked, the starch from the pasta thickened it up. Smokiness of gouda pared well with the filet mignon we made.


Valerie December 30, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I want to try this with buffalo chicken, I wonder how it would be?


Sandy Meier February 27, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Excellent! I made this tonight and it was a big hit with the whole family. I accidentally bought regular gouda instead of smoked so I’m sure mine was very different, but it was so good. Next time, I’ll try the smoked gouda. Excellent recipe! Thank you.


Ashley October 17, 2013 at 6:46 pm

This is a great recipe! I make it using whole wheat flour and unsweetened almond milk to cut out some of the dairy. My boyfriend and I both love it!


John November 28, 2013 at 1:28 am

My boyfriend and I just made this for a Friendsgiving tomorrow and this recipe is unreal. We also added crisp bacon and buttered breadcrumbs on the top. Ridiculous.


Holly December 29, 2013 at 9:01 pm

This was great but I decided to take it up a notch by adding diced Canadian bacon and topping it with some panko bread crumbs for a bit of crunch. I gave the leftovers to a friend and she sent me an email to tell me she had it for breakfast and lunch today.


Adrianna Adarme December 30, 2013 at 8:49 am

Good move.


Kayla January 8, 2014 at 11:11 am

I make this every time i get in touch with my southern roots! this pairs amazingly with a little brussel sprouts, red beans and rice, and some succotash! enjoy!


Rosie May 28, 2014 at 7:35 am

Found this wonderful recipe through Evernote Food. Incredible taste. Best mac and cheese recipe I have tried and I have been married and cooking for 46 years. Thank you.


Donna Torres September 3, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Love this cheese sauce, have made it several times with different meats. Great!


Laurel December 22, 2014 at 6:44 pm

About About a week ago I was craving gouda mac and cheese (for no reason, since I’ve only had it once) so I decided to look up a recipe. I found this and I finally made it tonight. When I was making the sauce I noticed that there was too much milk. It never got very cheesy and there was too much liquid. I tried to simmer It out, and after a while I just put it in the oven, assuming that it would evaporate. It didn’t. I like the recipe, so I’ll make it again, but I’ll definitely play with amounts of milk. The flavor was great, though, and your story is really cute!


Adam Kaufman February 15, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Way too much milk. I cut the milk in half and reduced the amount of macaroni for it to all still get in.


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