Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese

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5 from 6 votes
Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese is truly one of the best comfort foods ever invented. Combining these two foods make a dinner that is next level delicious.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese is truly one of the best comfort foods ever invented. Combining these two foods make a dinner that is next level delicious.

Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese in a bowl.

This Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese make the best dinner. The addition of the smoked cheddar cheese brings a depth of flavor to the whole dish, It is an excellent side dish or main course.

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What We Love About This Smoked Mac and Cheese with Bacon Recipe

What could take creamy, cheesy mac and cheese over the top?  Why, bacon, of course! This recipe doesn’t just have bacon mixed into the cheesy macaroni but the actual roux is made with bacon.  This step adds a deeper smoky, bacon flavor that you just can’t get by stirring in cooked bacon into the cheese sauce.

  • 30 Minute Meal: It only takes 30 minutes and it is work it!
  • Easy Ingredients: All found in pantry or fridge.
  • Family Friendly: I do not know anyone who doesn’t love this recipe.
  • Adaptable: Can make it low-carb or add a veggie or two.
Skillet filled with bacon and cheese.

Ingredient Notes

  • Bacon: One pound of your favorite brand.
  • House Season Blend: This is my go to spice blend however you can use salt and black pepper if you like.
  • Processed Cheese Spread, cut into cubes.
  • Shredded Smoked Cheddar Cheese
  • Pasta: Cooked and drained.
Pasta, bacon and cheese.

Equipment Needed

How to Make Bacon Mac Cheese

These are the basic steps for making smoky mac and cheese with bacon. Please refer to the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.

Cooking the cheese and pasta.

STEP 1: PASTA

First, in a large pot, boil pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat.

STEP 2: BACON

Then cut bacon in small pieces and cook in pan until crispy (about 7 minutes).Remove cooked bacon from skilled and drain on a paper towel and then reserve 1/4 cup of bacon fat; discard the rest of the bacon fat.

STEP 3: SAUCE

Next, add reserved bacon fat back into the skillet and then add flour and stir for one minute until it starts to get pasty. Whisk in the milk and next continue to cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the milk begins to thicken — about 5 minutes.

Mixing the cheese bacon and the pasta.

STEP 4: CHEESE

Finally, add cheese, salt and pepper and stir until cheese is melted and then pour in cooked and drained al dente pasta and stir to combine. Lasty, stir in crumbled bacon.

Prep and Storage Tips for Bacon Mac and Cheese Recipe

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE AHEAD OF TIME

Melt the cheese and make the sauce ahead of time and then store in an airtight container.

HOW TO STORE THIS SMOKED MAC AND CHEESE WITH BACON RECIPE

Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container.

HOW TO FREEZE THIS RECIPE

Place in the freezer in an airtight container for up to three months.

HOW TO REHEAT THIS RECIPE

Heat in the microwave or reheat in a cast iron skillet on the stove until warmed through.

Frequently Asked Questions

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE HEALTHIER?

Really it is easy to make this recipe a little healthier by adding low fat cheese and you can also use a turkey bacon and/or a gluten free or lentil pasta if you are on a low carbohydrates diet.

CAN I SUBSTITUTE DIFFERENT CHEESE?

Of course, try a nice smoked gouda cheese or a smoked mozzarella along with the sharp cheddar cheese.

CAN THIS RECIPE BE DOUBLED OR HALVED?

Truly you can adjust this recipe for the amount of people you need to feed.

CAN I SMOKE MY OWN BACON?

Smoking bacon is extremely easy. Start by preheating the smoker to 200°F and place the bacon either straight on the smoker rack or on a cooling rack atop a baking pan. Then smoke for 30 minutes to give it even more of a smoke flavor.

WHAT IS THE BEST PASTA FOR MAC AND CHEESE?

Elbow macaroni is fine, however try other pasta such as cavatappi, gemelli, or campanelle. You want a pasta that will grab and hold on to that cheese sauce.

Closeup on the bacon pasta.

Expert Tips for Making This Recipe

  • Add Butter: Want a creamier mac and cheese, add butter, cream cheese or heavy cream to the sauce.
  • Crunchy: Feel free to add panko bread crumbs and a little parmesan cheese and bake in the oven.
  • Variation tip: Feel free to add as many tips as you need in this section
  • Alternate ingredient: A tablespoon or two of smoked paprika add a great flavor or also try a little sauteed garlic. try a little dry mustard to taste.
  • Alternate Method: For a crowd or get together, place in a foil pan or dress it up and put individual servings into ramekins.

What to Serve with Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese

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5 from 6 votes

Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese

Yield: 4 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese is truly one of the best comfort foods ever invented. Combining these two foods make a dinner that is next level delicious.
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound bacon
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 oz process cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes (or 1 cup of any other type of shredded cheese)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound pasta, cooked and drained

Instructions

  • In a large pot, prepare pasta according to package directions.
  • Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat.
  • Cut bacon in small pieces and cook in skillet until crispy (about 7 minutes).
  • Remove cooked bacon from skilled and drain on paper towels.
  • Reserve 1/4 cup of bacon fat; discard the rest of the bacon fat.
  • Add reserved bacon fat back into the skillet.
  • Add flour and stir for one minute until it starts to gets pasty.
  • Whisk in the milk. Continue to cook over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally, until the milk begins to thicken — about 5 minutes.
  • Add cheese, salt and pepper and stir until cheese is melted.
  • Add cooked and drained pasta and stir to combine.
  • Stir in cooked bacon

Estimated Nutritional Information

Calories: 1247kcal | Carbohydrates: 100g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 73g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 27g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 146mg | Sodium: 2044mg | Potassium: 731mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 792IU | Calcium: 678mg | Iron: 3mg
The nutritional information provided are estimates. To learn more about how I calculate this information go to www.itisakeeper.com/about-its-a-keeper/privacy-disclosure-policies/
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bacon, Mac and Cheese

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