The Best Smoked Mac and Cheese Recipe

Last Updated on May 26, 2022 by Anne-Marie

It's easy to make smoked mac and cheese on your Traeger smoker grill. Creamy and oh-so-delicious, it's the ultimate comfort food.

A serving of smoked mac and cheese on a white plate with a fork, blue napkin, and bowl of bacon bits.

Why this recipe works

Smoked mac and cheese is the perfect side dish at any backyard barbecue. Best of all, this creamy macaroni dish is so easy to make.

The only special equipment you need is a disposable aluminum baking dish. (We stock up on disposable aluminum pans when they go on sale.)

What type of smoker should you cook this on?

This recipe was cooked on a Traeger pellet grill.  

Check out my The Best Smoker Grill Guide or my electric smoker review for more preferred smokers.

Spooning up a serving of smoked macaroni and cheese from an aluminum casserole dish.

Ingredients

  • pasta shells, penne, or elbow macaroni noodles (any kind: regular, whole wheat, gluten-free, etc.)
  • whole milk
  • can of evaporated milk
  • unsalted butter
  • cream cheese
  • shredded Muenster cheese
  • shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • kosher salt
  • ground dry mustard
  • ground black pepper
  • nonstick cooking spray

How to make this recipe

You'll love the smoky flavor of this creamy mac n cheese recipe. Use pre-shredded cheese to save time and effort.

1. Boil pasta in a large pot of salted water according to package directions. Cook until al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.

2. Start your Traeger (or other smoker grills) and set the temperature to 180 degrees F.

3. Combine cooked pasta, milk, evaporated milk, cubed butter, cubed cream cheese, Muenster, and Colby Jack cheeses in a large bowl. Reserve some cheese for the topping.

4. Sprinkle seasoning on top and mix in well.

5. Lightly spray a large square foil pan with cooking spray and transfer mac and cheese into the pan.

6. Place the pan on the pellet grill and smoke for 30-45 minutes, depending on how smoky you want the mac and cheese.

7. Stir to blend the melted mac and cheese and sprinkle the reserved shredded cheese on top of the mac. Cover with foil.

8. Increase the temperature to 400 degrees F and cook until the cheese mixture thickens (20 to 30 minutes). Then remove the foil and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

9. Remove from the grill and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

10. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

An aluminum baking dish of mac n cheese being cooked on a smoker grill.

Love mac? Try Gluten Free Mac & Cheese Casserole Recipe or Mac & Cheese Casserole Recipe with Peas, Carrots & Ham.

FAQs

What type of wood is best for smoked mac n cheese?

I use mild wood like oak wood pellets in my Traeger grill. But you can try:

Apple wood pellet or chip

Hickory wood pellet or chip

Pecan wood pellet or chip

or a blend of your favorites.

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yes, you can easily make it ahead of time.

Put together the mac and cheese in the foil pan the evening before. Cover with foil and refrigerate.

When you're ready to cook, just heat up the grill and follow the cooking directions.

Or cook this ahead of time. Then reheat it in the oven at about 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbling.

A white plate with mac and cheese, a tray of cooked macaroni and cheese, and a small bowl of crumbled bacon.

What can I add to this recipe?

Get creative! You can add all kinds of yummy things to this dish, such as:

  • cooked bacon - add the crumbled bacon bits to the mix
  • cooked shrimp, crawfish, or lobster meat (so decadent!)
  • green veggies like broccoli or roasted asparagus, tomato slices, or other roasted vegetables
  • some hot sauce
  • a little bit of sour cream
  • cooked chicken - use leftover BBQ chicken
  • cooked pork – add some chopped pulled pork
  • try another type of cheese (parmesan cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, mild cheddar cheese, pepper jack, Monterey jack, smoked gouda cheese (I love gouda mac!), or a combination of cheeses
  • use some smoked cheese or liquid smoke for an extra smoky flavor
  • add a layer of Italian or panko bread crumbs to the top

Can I freeze this recipe?

Yes, you can freeze this best mac & cheese recipe. First, make sure it's thoroughly cooled down in the refrigerator. Then freeze portions in airtight containers or Ziploc bags for up to three months.

To reheat, thaw the container in the fridge. Then add some milk or water to the mac to help it get moist and creamy. You can then heat it in the microwave or warm it (covered) in the oven at 250 to 300 degrees.

Closeup of mac and cheese with crumbled bacon on a white plate with fork and more in a casserole dish in the background.

Serve with these recipes

Looking for a grilled or smoked main dish at your next cookout? Try these:

What secret ingredient will you add to your creamy smoked mac?

Yield: 8 SERVINGS

Best Smoked Mac and Cheese

Closeup of mac and cheese with crumbled bacon on a white plate with fork and more in a casserole dish in the background.

It's easy to make smoked mac and cheese on your Traeger smoker grill. Creamy and oh-so-delicious, it's the ultimate comfort food.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces pasta (shells, penne, or elbow macaroni - any kind: regular, whole wheat, gluten-free, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 8 ounces shredded Muenster cheese
  • 16 ounces shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • cooking spray (olive oil or canola oil)

Instructions

  1. Boil pasta in a large pot of salted water according to package directions. Cook until al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.
  2. Start your Traeger (or other smoker grills) and set the temperature to 180 degrees F.
  3. Combine cooked pasta, milk, evaporated milk, cubed butter, cubed cream cheese, Muenster, and Colby Jack cheeses in a large bowl. Reserve some cheese for the topping.
  4. Sprinkle seasoning on top and mix in well.
  5. Lightly spray a large square foil pan with cooking spray and transfer mac and cheese into the pan.
  6. Place the pan on the pellet grill and smoke for 30-45 minutes, depending on how smoky you want the mac and cheese.
  7. Stir to blend the melted mac and cheese and sprinkle the reserved shredded cheese on top of the mac. Cover with foil.
  8. Increase the temperature to 400 degrees F and cook until the cheese mixture thickens (20 to 30 minutes). Then remove the foil and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  9. Remove from the grill and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
  10. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 766Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 30gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 142mgSodium: 947mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 33g

Nutritional information is automatically calculated per the ingredients list. Serving size may not be accurate. Please double-check with your preferred nutritional app for the most accurate information.

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