Smokey Bacon Mac and Cheese
Is there a perfect mac and cheese recipe out there? I doubt it, but this is sure to come extremely close to it. This mac and cheese are going to make you slap your mama and pinch yourself to make sure you’re not in heaven.
Growing up in the south there are many many mac and cheese recipes out there. But I have tried to find the best mac and cheese recipe for you. So if you like smokey, meaty, and cheesy this is the perfect recipe for you! No matter if you’re just making mac and cheese for your family get together, or for your friends, this will be a perfect crowd pleaser and everyone will love it!
Ingredients for the mac and cheese:
- 1lb mild cheddar cheese
- 1lb smoked cheddar cheese
- 1lb smoked gouda
- 8oz cream cheese
- 1-quart milk
- 1-quart heavy cream
- 1Tbsp Smoked paprika
- 1Tbsp chipotle chili powder
- 1 1/2 pound Hickory smoked bacon (chopped into 1/2 inch pieces.)
- 2 cups flour
- 5 cups macaroni pasta
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 2Tbsp olive oil
- 3 cups panko breadcrumbs
- Grate the cheeses except for the cream cheese into a large bowl and mix, making sure the smokey cheeses are evenly distributed. Sit mixture to the side. Cut the cream cheese into 1in cubes and set to the side on a separate plate.
- Add your bacon to a large pot and render the bacon on low to medium heat about 2/3rds of the way.
- Add the spices to the bacon and mix well.
- Add the flour to the bacon and spice mixture and form a roux. Let it cook for about 2 more minutes, then add the heavy cream in 3 additions, making sure to mix thoroughly and not have any flour lumps.
- Once all of the cream has been well combined, add the milk and stir to incorporate it into the mixture as well.
- Once the milk is incorporated, add half of the smokey cheese mixture along with the all of the cream cheese to the bacon roux mixture.
- Cook on medium heat until all of the cheeses have melted and has created a fondu. Make sure to stir constantly to avoid any burning on the bottom.
- Remove the smokey cheese sauce from the heat and set to the side.
- Fill a large pot about 2/3rds of the way with water and add the salt along with the oil. Place on high heat and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, add the macaroni to the salted water and let cook for about 5 min or until it has become al dente.
- Drain the macaroni once cooked in a colander. Leave in the sink and then run cold water over it to cool the pasta off and stop them from continuing to cook.
- Once macaroni is cooled, add it to the cheese sauce and mix thoroughly.
- Set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large dutch oven or a deep baking dish, place a layer of macaroni then a layer of the cheese mixture and repeat, making sure you have some cheese mixture left over to cover the top along with the panko. Ex. Picture below
- Cover the mac and cheese with aluminum foil, or a lid if using a dutch oven. Let bake for 1hr 10min. Once the mac and cheese has baked, remove the aluminum foil and broil on low to toast the panko crumbs on the top, making sure not to burn them. (The toasting will happen quickly, so keeping a close eye on the mac and cheese will be necessary).
- Serve this mac and cheese recipe as a side or as a full meal and enjoy!
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