★★★★★

Gouda Bacon Macaroni and Cheese

Nothing says comfort food like homemade Macaroni and Cheese! The gouda adds a creamy tang while the bacon adds a nice salty, smoked flavor! Try this at your next family dinner!

Baked mac and cheese with gouda and bacon on small white plate.

Why this Recipe Works

I love mac and cheese. My kids love mac and cheese. The whole world loves mac and cheese. Noodles tossed in cheese sauce might be the ultimate kid food but there are plenty of ways to make the dish a little more “grown up”.

Adding gouda cheese for a more complex flavor plus bacon for a smoky touch makes this Mac and Cheese recipe stand out from the crowd. However, it’s not so dressed up that the kids won’t recognize it as good ol’ classic mac!

We can all use a few more ideas for exciting and easy family meals. Gouda Bacon Mac and Cheese is one that’ll have everyone asking for seconds. It’s become my family’s most requested version of macaroni and cheese and I can’t wait for you to try it, too.

Gouda macaroni and cheese served on small white plate.

Ingredient Notes

  • Smoked Gouda Cheese – I prefer to buy blocks of cheese and shred it myself. Freshly shredded cheese melts so much better!
  • Bacon – Cook the bacon and crumble it before making your mac and cheese.
  • Macaroni Elbow Noodles – Feel free to sub other small pasta noodles like penne, bow tie or shells instead.
  • Bread – This is a great way to use leftover homemade bread or store bought bread that’s about the go stale.

Easy Instructions

Before making the cheese sauce, boil your macaroni according to package directions, drain and set aside. You can do this while cooking the bacon!

To make the sauce, melt butter in a large pot on the stove, then stir in skim milk. Sprinkle in flour and whisk while the mixture becomes thick. Keep whisking while you add heavy cream and the seasonings.

Shred the cheeses in a food processor and add to the pot with the cream sauce. Stir until the cheese is melted and everything is combined. Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese mixture.

Now, it’s time to bake your mac and cheese!

Pulse the bread slices in your food processor to make crumbs, then stir in melted butter. Pour the macaroni and cheese into a baking dish and sprinkle the bread crumbs on top along with the cooked bacon crumbles.

Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes until the bread crumbs are lightly browned.

Tips and Tricks

  • Feel free to toss vegetables in with the pasta before baking! Broccoli, peas and mushrooms would all be delicious additions.
  • You can substitute store bought bread crumbs if preferred. Combine with melted butter before adding to the pan as directed.
  • I used a 13 x 9 glass casserole dish for baking the macaroni.
  • This recipe can be used for an unbaked macaroni and cheese too! Just skip the bread crumbs and serve hot!
  • Have a vegetarian in your family? Bake the macaroni without the bacon and let everyone add crumbled bacon to their own bowl of mac if desired. Easy solution!

Recipe FAQ

Can I substitute another type of cheese for the smoked gouda?

Sure, but the flavors will be different. Other kinds of gouda (like chipotle) would be good if your family likes the flavor!

What’s the best way to reheat macaroni and cheese?

This pasta reheats fine in the microwave. The bread crumbs will loose their crispiness but the mac and cheese still tastes delicious!

Why use skim milk AND heavy cream instead of whole milk?

I created this recipe based on what was in our fridge! Using skim milk coupled with the cream helped me control the creaminess of the finished sauce. Feel free to try it with whole milk if you prefer and let me know how it turns out!

Can this be made without the bacon?

Go for it! If you need a vegetarian option, leave the bacon off and you’ll have a delicious smoked gouda macaron and cheese as a main course or a side dish.

Serving of mac and cheese with bacon.

I’ve never met a cheese lover who would turn down a helping or two of this Gouda Bacon Macaroni & Cheese! Warning: There’s a good chance this will become YOUR new favorite Mac n Cheese recipe!

Yield: 12 servings

Gouda Bacon Macaroni and Cheese

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Nothing says comfort food like homemade Macaroni and Cheese! The gouda adds a creamy tang while the bacon adds a nice salty, smoked flavor! Try this at your next family dinner!

Ingredients

  • 16oz elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 ¼ cup skim milk
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • 2 tsp worcestershire
  • 1lb smoked gouda cheese, shredded
  • ½ lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 5 slices bread (about 2cups crumbs)
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • ½ cup bacon, cooked and crumbled

Instructions

  1. Prepare macaroni according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. In large pot, melt butter over medium high heat. Add skim milk and bring to near boiling. Reduce heat to medium and sprinkle in flour. Whisk vigorously over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Mixture should be thick and boiling. Slowly add cream, while whisking. Add in salt, pepper, mustard and worcestershire sauce. Reduce heat to low and continue to stir for about 5 minutes.
  3. In food processor, shred Gouda and Cheddar cheese. Add to pot, stir until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add cooked macaroni to cheese mixture. Pour into a 13x9 dish.
  5. In same food processor bowl (no need to wash it after shredding the cheese), process 5 slices of bread to a fine crumb. Add melted butter. Sprinkle over macaroni. Top with crumbled bacon.
  6. Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.ENJOY!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 514Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 1100mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 23g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on March 29, 2013

Comments & Reviews

  1. I have made this two years in a row now for an annual potluck style “Friendsgiving” celebration.
    Both times it has been hands down the most raved about dish…. and most requested for a comeback this year!
    So, I’m making  several batches for tomorrow’s party…
    My advice, make more than you think you will ever need! The leftovers are great, and if you’re sharing, everyone will want to take some home.

    I use the usual Ritz cracker/butter topping but I’m sure it’s phenomenal with breadcrumbs too. 

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! 

  2. Wow Aimee – this recipe is spot on! We have a very nice upscale restaurant near us that serves the BEST gouda and bacon mac & cheese ! They are well known for this dish and I’ve been dying to find a recipe that would resemble theirs. I knew by the ingredient list that this was going to be the one! Made it tonight – both my husband and I love it! Thank you!

  3. I just made this last night and it was phenomenal. I am not always a fan of mac and cheese because I feel that the flavor is fairly flat, but this recipe had good texture and excellent flavor. A few notes/changes:
    -I halved the recipe and used 4 ramekins for individual servings
    -For the topping I only slightly cooked the bacon so that it could really crisp up in the oven
    -I used artisan beer bread and panko mixed for the topping, using a bit more than called for
    -I didn’t have skim milk so I used 2%
    -I didn’t have dry mustard and used mustard seeds which turned out well

    I served this with an lemon/olive oil dressed arugula salad, toasted beer bread (from the crumbs), and chardonnay.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Looking forward to this. I had mac & cheese made with smoked gouda a few years ago and loved it. Making it myself the first time for Thanksgiving. I usually tweak any new recipe I get, but I had a few questions I was hoping you could answer first.

    I saw that you’re mixing the smoked gouda with a sharp cheddar. That sounds like a very good addition. Is this something you came up with?

    Have you tried adding bacon to the mixture instead of just on top? I’m thinking it would work well.

    Have you tried panko bread crumbs? I use them on another cheese casserole recipe I make.

    Thanks. And whatever I do, I’ll come back and comment on the results.

    1. I have mixed the bacon into the mac and cheese, it still tastes great! And panko crumbs work fine too. I just usually have a freezer bag full of bread crust that needs to be used 🙂 ENJOY

  5. This was Delicious!!! I thought it was going to be over powering with that much gouda but with a fresh cold salad it is just right!

  6. This was AMAZING! Replacing the old family recipe with this one. I used a truffle gouda and aged white cheddar and omitted bacon (bacon was in another dish that evening, so didn’t want to over do it). Used panko instead of bread because I was out of bread. Even though I didn’t totally stick to the recipe, the roux to cheese to pasta ratios were right on so even with some variances you can’t go wrong. Everyone raved about it!

    1. Oh, I forgot to mention, I used cavatappi nooodles. I have seen this in high-end restaurants and with the pricey cheese I wanted it to seem “oo-la-la” with fancy noodles. It was great!

  7. My son asked for mac ‘n cheese as a side dish for Thanksgiving dinner. I think I just found it! Thanks! 🙂

  8. My family loves macaroni and cheese too. It’s always interesting to see how creative it can be. I like the smoked Gouda addition.

  9. Haven’t made it but it looks really good. Adding it to my thanksgiving menu. It seems like the kind of recipe I do ahead but to the last step and reheat in the oven before serving.

  10. I made this today for my family and it is just wonderful! I did not change a thing and my husband ( who is a big mac & cheese guy) was in Heaven:) Not something we could have on a regular basis but as a Holiday or just need a comfort food this will be high on the list!

    1. So glad to hear you loved the mac and cheese!!! Thanks so much for stopping back and letting me know 🙂

  11. This sounds amazing! I’m looking for a version of mac & cheese that I could bake in muffin tins, making little individual “finger foods.” Do you think this would work?

  12. I noticed you used skim milk and then heavy cream. Have you tried using say half and half to lighten it up a little more? I was just curious since I’m always looking for extra ways to lighten things up a little more without compromising the finished product of course. 🙂

  13. I made this for dinner last night and it was everything I hoped it would be. It was so delicious that I had to force myself to not eat all of it. Next time I make it I’m going to add some bacon to the noodles and cheese and cut back a little on the bread crumbs. I used bread crumbs and thought the 1 1/2 cups was a little too much.

    1. So glad you enjoyed the recipe. It’s hard to stop eating! thanks for all the feedback Darlene!

  14. this is the second tome making this,[for a baby shower today] …..the first time i didn’t ‘see’ smoked gouda so i added smokey paprika ….was wonderful !!! ‘momma’ requested this for today, so pleased that it was an easy recipe and so much flavor,….thank you, thank you , thank you!!!!!!!!

  15. I’m 26 years old and have very recently decided to ditch the microwaveable meals and teach myself how to cook. It has been quite the overwhelming experience as I am not accustomed to epically failing in any of my endeavors.

    Pinterest has been my digital cookbook and I have been on the brink of tears after my last few attempts at making something worth eating and worth sharing on Instagram. How is it possible to be sooo awful at something that seems so easy? I had almost given up hope and found myself lingering in the frozen food isle when I came upon this recipe and decided to give this cooking thing one more chance.

    Oh, my, GOSH. I did it. I actually did it. Not only did your recipe turn out EXACTLY like your pictures but it was HEAVENLY. As I was cooking, I did not realize that the recipe yielded enough for 10 to 12 people, so my boyfriend and I took all of the extra food to work this morning and I am now the talk of the labor-hood. Comments such as, “oh my gosh, I neeeeed that recipe” to “girl, I can even taste the love you put in to this” have been pouring my way.

    Cheesy (put indeeded) as this may sound, it was the self-esteem boost I needed to no longer feel defeated and feel confident in the kitchen. I have been pinning some of your other recipes and I can’t wait to make them this week!

    Thank you for posting this! You saved me from defeat and saved my boyfriend from eating more In-n-Out and Chipotle for dinner.

    1. Hooray!!! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Yeah, it makes a ton of mac and cheese!! So happy you found a place to share.

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