Smoky Mac and Cheese

The Dairy Good Cookbook

Where there’s smoke, there’s flavor—at least that’s what barbecue aficionados say. In this recipe, smoked Gouda gives this company‑worthy mac and cheese a very special touch. This recipe comes from The Dairy Good Cookbook: Everyday Comfort Food from America’s Dairy Farm Families. More than just a cookbook, it's a way for each of us to learn where our food comes from and the dairy farm families around the nation that make milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and all our other favorite dairy foods possible. From sharing stories about individual farmers and the family stories behind their recipes to better understanding America’s most common cow breeds, The Dairy Good Cookbook provides a unique perspective into the life of a modern dairy farm. Stay tuned for more great recipes from The Dairy Good Cookbook this month as we celebrate June Dairy Month.
20 min Prep Time
40 min Cook Time
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Servings: 6-8 servings

Servings: 6-8 servings


  • Softened butter, for the baking dish
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 pound smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 to 4 dashes hot sauce
  • 1 ½ cups half and half
  • 1 pound mostaccioli, cooked according to the package directions
  • 1 cup crushed crackers or seasoned bread crumbs


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside.

Step 2

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Pour in the milk all at once and whisk until smooth. Continue cooking, whisking frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.

Step 3

Reserve 1 cup of the cheese for the topping. Whisk in the remaining cheese a handful at a time until melted. Stir in the pepper, salt, and hot sauce. Stir in the half and half.

Step 4

Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and stir until well combined. Pour into the prepared casserole dish.

Step 5

Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Combine the cracker crumbs, the melted butter, and the reserved 1 cup shredded cheese in a medium bowl. Toss to combine. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.

Step 6

Bake for 35 minutes or until the casserole is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Let the casserole stand for 5 minutes before serving.