Skip to Content

Smoked Mac and Cheese with Panko

Share to Social

If you’re looking for the perfect Mac and cheese recipe, this is the post for you! This Smoked Mac and Cheese from Backyard Texas Grill is thick, creamy and full of smoky, delicious flavor! And it’s surprisingly simple to make. We can’t wait to share it with you!

Why Smoked Mac and Cheese

Pretty much everyone loves mac n cheese! It’s a dish that is popular with both kids and adults alike. And what’s not to love? It’s cheesy, it’s creamy, and it’s filling! It can be served as a perfect side dish or even as a meal in itself. Mac and cheese is the classic comfort food.

Our family loves the flavor and texture of traditional mac and cheese, but we wanted to take it up a notch! We love using our Traeger pellet grill and the added smoky flavor it brings to dishes, so we started the hunt for the perfect smoked mac and cheese recipe.

We found this great recipe for Smoked Mac and Cheese from Hey Grill, Hey and decided to give it a try. We made a few adjustments to make it our own and I have to say, we are SO happy with how this recipe came to life!

The cheese is thick, creamy and full of delicious smoky flavor from the pellet grill. And the buttery panko topping was the icing on the cake! The crunch of the breadcrumbs blends perfectly with the creaminess of the pasta.

And the best part is, it’s really quite simple to make! This will absolutely be our go-to recipe for mac and cheese from now on!

Ingredients for Smoked Mac and Cheese with Panko

These are simple ingredients you might already have in your kitchen. If not, you can pick them up at your favorite grocery store. You’ll find a full recipe card with measurements at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick look at what you’re going to need. 

  • Large elbow macaroni
  • Butter
  • Ground mustard (also known as dry mustard or mustard powder)
  • Half and half
  • Cream cheese
  • Shredded cheddar three-cheese blend
  • Shredded smoked gouda cheese

Ingredients for Panko Breadcrumb Topping:

How to Make the Best Smoked Mac and Cheese

Preheat smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cook pasta in a large pot until al dente (do not overcook). Strain and set aside.

Melt butter in a large cast iron skillet over low to medium heat on stovetop.

Whisk in flour and mustard powder to make a roux.

Stir in half and half.

Stir in cream cheese and mix until fully blended.

Add the three-cheese cheddar blend and gouda and continue stirring until mixed well (*we use pre-shredded cheese for less prep time).

NOTE: the cheese sauce will be thick!

Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce immediately and stir well.

Remove from heat and set aside (keep it in the cast-iron skillet).

Smoked Mac and Cheese from Backyard Texas Grill

In a separate small bowl, mix melted butter, panko breadcrumbs and seasoning then sprinkle on top of the mac and cheese.

Place the large skillet of mac and cheese on the smoker and close the lid.

Smoke for one hour at 225 degrees f.

Remove and serve immediately while still warm.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and eat within 3-4 days.

What to Expect from this Recipe

This smoked mac and cheese recipe is the perfect balance of cheesy and smoky, creamy and crunchy. The buttery, golden brown panko crust topping is a wonderful compliment to the thick and cheesy texture of the pasta. The smokiness that the pellet grill wood chips added was absolute perfection.

It was a hit with our entire family, adults and kids alike! We could’ve devoured the entire pan in one sitting! This smoky homemade mac will be a go-to recipe for us from now on.

This dish would be a perfect addition to any meal, whether it’s a simple family dinner, a summer BBQ or a gathering of friends and family for a special occasion. We highly recommend adding this smoked mac and cheese to your menu! It is truly one of the most delicious recipes we’ve ever tried!

Make it Your Own

Although we love this dish exactly as it is, there are also some great ways to change it up and make it your own. Here are some great options to try next time:

Bacon: Try sprinkling some bacon pieces onto the crispy panko topping for more added flavor. You can even stir bacon pieces into the pasta and cheese blend before smoking it to take it to a whole new level!

Green onions: Try topping with chopped green onions or green chiles for a little extra flare.

Spice it up!: If you want to add some extra spice, chop up some jalapeños or another pepper of your choice to top the mac and cheese with before grilling. You can even add a little hot sauce to your panko topping blend!

Cheesy goodness: Try changing up your blend of cheeses. You can use colby jack, monterey jack, pepper jack, parmesan cheese, or whatever else you like! Get as creative as you want to here, just keep in mind you may need to adjust the amount of half and half to accommodate for thicker cheese varieties. *You can also use whole milk in place of half and half if using thicker cheese blends.

No Smoke: If you prefer your mac and cheese without a smoke flavor, you can cook this recipe in the oven instead of the smoker. Use the same temperature and cook time.

What to Serve with Smoked Macaroni and Cheese

If you’re looking for some delicious recipes to serve alongside this smoked mac and cheese, here are a few great recommendations to take your dinner table to the next level:

Serve it with our juicy and delicious World’s Best Butter Burgers for the perfect meal!

Nothing would complement this smokey mac and cheese recipe better than a great steak! And our Simple Reverse-Seared Steaks recipe is the best!

Needing a yummy veggie option to go along with your meal? Try this Sautéed Fresh Green Beans Recipe with Garlic and Bacon from Julia’s Simply Southern. So savory, and healthy too!

Looking for the perfect dessert to serve after your meal? Try this Delicious Angel Food Cake from Scratch by Out of the Box Baking. It’s one of our personal favorites!

Thanks for Stopping By!

That’s it for this post, friends! We hope you enjoy the creamy, delicious flavor of this smoked mac and cheese. This is a brand-new recipe and we happen to love it!

Why Not Pin a Few Pics While You’re Here?

See this recipe at:

Full Plate Thursday

Weekend Potluck

What’s For Dinner

About the Man Behind the Grill

Zach Morrow from Backyard Texas Grill

Zach Morrow was born and raised in Texas and has always had a passion for great barbecue. He’s at home behind the grill and loves to feed his friends and family home-cooked favorites as often as he can. He especially loves trying new things and is excited to produce recipes like this one for Backyard Texas Grill.

Yield: 12

Smoked Mac and Cheese with Panko

Smoked Mac and Cheese from Backyard Texas Grill

This smoked mac and cheese with a buttery panko topping from Backyard Texas Grill is thick and creamy, with a delicious smoky flavor!

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


  • 16 ounces large elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) butter
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 2 1/2 cups half and half
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar three-cheese blend
  • 1 cup shredded gouda cheese
  • Breadcrumb topping:
  • One cup plain panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter (melted)
  • 2 tablespoons Holy Voodoo seasoning (or seasoning of your choice)


    1. Preheat smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Cook pasta until al dente (do not overcook). Strain and set aside.
    3. On stovetop, melt 1/2 cup butter in a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat.
    4. Whisk in flour to make a roux.
    5. Whisk in mustard powder.
    6. Stir in half and half.
    7. Stir in cream cheese and mix until fully blended.
    8. Add the three-cheese cheddar blend and gouda and continue stiring until mixed well (sauce will be thick).
    9. Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce immediately and stir until thoroughly mixed. Keep it in the cast-iron skillet and remove from heat.
    10. In a separate bowl, mix 1/4 cup melted butter, panko breadcrumbs and seasoning.
    11. Sprinkle breadcrumb topping on top of the mac and cheese.
    12. Place the cast-iron skillet of mac and cheese on the smoker and close the lid.
    13. Smoke for one hour.
    14. Remove and serve warm.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 484Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 1287mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 21g
Skip to Recipe

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!