Easy Smoked Mac And Cheese

Perfectly gooey underneath yet crunchy on the top, this Mac and cheese is a one-tray wonder with a smokey twist
Smoked mac and cheese

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Mac and cheese is one of my go-to barbecue sides.

It’s warm, gooey, and just so satisfying I think we can agree it’s the ultimate comfort food.

So how do we put our own twist on it, how do we make it better? We smoke it! This definitely takes it to another level, and not only that we simplify the entire process.

1. One tray 

Most mac and cheese recipes require you to make a white sauce (also known as a bechamel sauce), but not this one. This is a one-tray beauty.

I used a foil tray, you can use a baking tray but I’m into minimal cleanup!

And then you basically just add everything to it. Colby cheese, uncooked pasta, cheddar cheese, butter, and cream cheese. 

Sprinkle on a liberal coating of your favorite rub, I used Lanes Signature rub, it’s a good all-rounder, but if you want to make your own, check out our recipes here.

Add 6 cups of full cream milk to the tray and you are ready for the smoker, no need to stir it just yet it’s best to wait until the heat softens up all of that cheese.

2. Smoke it

mac and cheese mixture starting to melt in a tin tray on the grill
Once your mac and cheese is in the smoker, leave.

I used my Traeger Timberline 1300 for this cook. Any hooded barbecue will do, you just need to get the temp up to 300°F to 320°F to get the cheese melting.

I used a milder scented wood to smoke with, Bear Mountain Pecan pellets, cherry would be a good choice as well. Fruit and nut varieties of smoking wood tend to have a milder taste and are not so overbearing and one thing with this recipe is you don’t want to overdo the smoke flavor.

Once you know your temp is stable, you can add the tray of mac and cheese. You can leave it alone for 30 minutes. This first 30 minutes is when all the cheese is going to start to soften and the pasta will absorb the milk. 

mac and cheese in tin tray on the grill being stirred with wooden spoon
It does look a little soupy and weird when everything is melting together but after a good stir at the 30-minute mark, it starts to come together.

Once that 30 minutes is up, give it a good stir, it should start resembling mac and cheese by now but still a little runny.

mac and cheese in a foil tray on the grill

Sprinkle the panko crumbs evenly over the top and pop it back in the smoker for another 30 minutes or until the top is nice and crispy.

foil tin of mac and cheese with pank crumbs

Once this is finished cooking, you will have the perfect gooey cheesy consistency that you would expect with any mac and cheese and a nice crunchy crust on top.

Being a classic bbq side dish, this is what we would serve it with:

Smoked mac and cheese

Easy Smoked Mac And Cheese

Perfectly gooey yet crunchy on top, this Smoked mac and cheese boasts a twist or two.
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 1639kcal
Author: Jordan Hanger


  • 24 oz pasta macaroni style
  • 16 oz Colby cheese shredded
  • 16 oz Cheddar cheese shredded
  • 8 oz cream cheese cubed
  • 4 oz salted butter cubed
  • 6 cups full fat milk
  • 3 tbsp BBQ rub
  • 7 oz panko crumbs


  • Get your BBQ up to temp of 300°F to 320°F
  • Add the cheeses, pasta, butter, bbq rub and milk to a baking tray. Do not stir at this stage
  • Put the tray into the smoker for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, give the mac and cheese a good stir to combine and sprinkle the panko crumbs over the top, smoke for a further 30 minutes or until the top is golden and crunchy.


Why can’t I stir everything together when I first put it in the tray? It really won’t mix together until the cheese has had a chance to start softening, which is after about 30 minutes in the smoker.
Can I make my own bbq rub? Yes, check out our recipes here.
What sort of BBQ should I use? Any hooded barbecue will do, you just need to get the temp up to 300°F to 320°F to get the cheese melting. 
What wood should I use for smoking? Pecan or cherry are good options.


Calories: 1639kcal | Carbohydrates: 128g | Protein: 67g | Fat: 96g | Saturated Fat: 56g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 24g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 272mg | Sodium: 1606mg | Potassium: 922mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 3130IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 1552mg | Iron: 5mg
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