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close up shot of smoked gouda mac and cheese in white casserole dish topped with fresh herbs

Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese

This mac and cheese has the most amazing smoky flavor from the smoked Gouda cheese and is incredibly creamy. The panko breadcrumb topping provides the perfect crunch to this delicious mac!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings


  • 8 ounce uncooked pasta shells
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 ½ cups half and half
  • ½ -1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼-½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups smoked gouda cheese freshly grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Panko Breadcrumb Topping

  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • pinch of salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley


  • Cook pasta shells according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • Melt butter in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. As soon as butter melts, add chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Whisk in flour. Continue whisking until flour is completely mixed in with butter. Cook for about a minute to get rid of the raw flour taste.
  • Slowly add half and half, a little at a time, stirring constantly so lumps do not form. Simmer for about 3-5 minutes until mixture thickens slightly.
  • While sauce is simmering, combine panko breadcrumbs, melted butter, salt, pepper and chopped parsley in a small bowl with a fork until combined and set aside.
  • Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, nutmeg and cayenne to sauce and stir to incorporate.
  • Stir in the cheeses, reserving some for topping. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the pot and stir to evenly incorporate.
  • Transfer the pasta mixture into a buttered 9x13 baking dish; top with remaining cheese and panko breadcrumb topping.
  • Bake at 375 Degrees F° for 20-25 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
Keyword mac and cheese
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