Gouda Stovetop Mac and Cheese

In my quest for the perfect stovetop mac and cheese, I absolutely had to try Tracy’s recipe from Tasty Kitchen as soon as I saw it. I’ve never tried using Gouda in my mac and cheese, and was very interested to see how it went down. So after adjusting the recipe to add more onion, more cheese and more cream, here’s how it went down:

Oh baby oh.

Look no further.

Let me break it down for you: I’ve made stovetop mac and cheese at least 4 times in the past few months. I photographed all my efforts so that I could share the recipes with you in the event of success, but none of them made the cut. Until this recipe. Point #2: my husband normally doesn’t even like mac and cheese unless it’s baked. But he loved this recipe. Need I say more?


(Serves 5)

1 lb campanelle pasta (or any other kind)

5 slices bacon

1 whole sweet onion, chopped finely

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup shredded Gouda cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

First, boil some salted water and cook the pasta until al dente.

Set it aside.

You can really use any shape of pasta–elbow macaroni, penne, farfalle, etc.–but I love the campanelle because the little shell-shaped swirls are perfect for capturing the sauce inside. Check it out:

I shall rename this pasta shape “Ye Horne of Plenty.”

While the pasta is cooking, you can focus on the very simple sauce–it all starts with the bacon.

Fry the bacon slices until they’re starting to get crispy, then remove them to a paper towel and pad off the grease. Roughly chop them and set them aside.

As you can see, I used my trusty kitchen scissors for this task.

While the pasta is cooking and the bacon is frying, there’s plenty of time to mince up the onion. First I halve it, then I slice each half like so:

Then I cut in the opposite direction like so:

Thank you photography for saving me from a confusing verbal description of what just happened to that onion.

These little morsels of sweet onion are going to be perfect in that cheesy sauce. Yup.

Take a piece of Gouda . . .

. . . and grate up 1 cup. Or grate up more and eat the extra; the choice is yours.

Can you tell that I grated significantly more than I needed? On purpose? It’s called ‘the cook’s prerogative,’ and I claim that authority. Plus, the packaging says “Great for Entertaining,” and I was in sore need of entertainment after a frustrating day at work.

Nothing like melted cheese to make the stresses of the day melt away. Hmmm–that rhymes. I think I’ll write a song about that. The chorus will go “The stress is melting like cheese in fondue/with this kind of goodness, who could feel blue?/Give me that mac and cheese any old day/cause baby my worries are falling away.” And it will top the charts.

Remove most of the bacon grease from the pot (leaving about 1 TBS) and fry the sweet onion in the bacon grease over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until translucent and slightly soft.

Season the onion with salt and pepper as it cooks.

Add the bacon back into the pot along with the heavy cream.

Simmer over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the mixture has reduced and thickened a little.


Turn off the heat and stir in the Gouda cheese.

As soon as it has melted into the sauce (this will only take a minute), it will look something like this:

Add in the cooked pasta and stir the whole mess around until each and every Ye Horne of Plenty is coated in the sauce.

Taste and re-season, adding salt and pepper as needed. I added a healthy pinch of salt.


Quickly gather the troops, because this is best served hot.

A word to the wise–like most mac and cheese type dishes, this doesn’t reheat extraordinarily well, so chow down! And then thank the Dutch for the miracle of Gouda.

The next experiment: how would it taste if I used smoked Gouda?

Though I don’t know if I want to experiment–it’s so perfect just as it is.

If you need a little more protein, you can always grab that piece of salmon that’s been skulking around in your fridge and give it a quick fry.

Flake it up a little with a fork or two . . .

. . . and toss it in the bowl right along with the creamy pasta goodness.

Also quite choice. Either way, this recipe is fabulous. If you’re a lover of mac and cheese, you will not be disappointed.

Click here for printer-friendly version: Gouda Stovetop Mac and Cheese

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20 Responses to Gouda Stovetop Mac and Cheese

  1. Candace says:

    If mac and cheese wasn’t wonderful enough already, you have kicked it up notches unknown. This looks soooooooo good. I love gouda cheese so much. I’m so making this. Thanks!

  2. That looks seriously good. I don’t think I could be trusted with it.

  3. Wendi says:

    Jenna, I’m glad you have found your perfect Stovetop Mac and Cheese. I have another stovetop recipe posting in a few weeks….and I thought of you as I made it.

  4. Sarah says:

    oooh this looks great, jenna! i made baked mac & cheese last night… and now i want your version too!

  5. This looks soooo goooood! Bacon, cream, cheese and and easy for a work night :) I love Gouda cheese and this is going to my bookmark list!

  6. Nice, I love the salmon. I bet that smoked gouda would be an excellent addition- Paulie

  7. giselle says:

    I LOVE gouda. When I was a little kid, I would ONLY eat ‘the cheese with the red peel’. And I was not to be fooled! You could try to give me gouda without the wax and tell me it was the same thing, but you would not have been successful! I knew adults were tricky. =)

  8. I put gouda cheese and bacon on my grocery list. Then I’ll be back to try this out. I’ve been serving meatless meals. We like it, but we have not covenanted to go meatless. I don’t think that will happen. Blessings to you, Jenna…

  9. Sounds awesome. I will be making this post haste. :-) I recently discovered the awesomeness that is un-smoked gouda. Yum.

  10. Veronica says:

    Fabulous, dahlink! I love your song, too. It could be a jingle for Kraft mac n’ cheese, but that would almost be blasphemy to use a song inspired by this dish for Kraft.

  11. Tracy says:

    I am so glad you loved my fancy mac and cheese! Honestly, it’s one of my favorite meals now and I make it all the time…I love the addition of salmon too; how perfect with smoked gouda! :-)

  12. Twinky says:

    Write the song! Write the song!! Have fun with it!!! So many people can relate to mac & cheese that it really COULD be a hit =).

  13. Sarah says:

    This looks fantastic!!! Thanks for sharing, I’m a new fan of yours now! You’re witty, a good photographer, and write well. Excellent! :)

  14. Although this mac & cheese is perfect the way it is, I love adding the salmon to it

  15. Ellen says:

    This looks wonderful (sans salmon)! Thanks for visiting me at A Season for All Things. I’m your newest follower and look forward to reading more of your posts, recipes, and photos. ~ Ellen

  16. Kimby says:

    Salmon, heavy cream, pasta and cheese in a Dutch oven on top of the stove? SOLD!!!

  17. Ashleigh says:

    I saw this recipe and I wanted to make it for a pot luck lunch at my work. I had been thinking about it ALL week when everyone at my work decided to post pone it until next week. I decided to purchase the ingredients and make it for my husband and my dinner on Saturday. I was so excited to make this I couldn’t stand it anymore!! I prepped the bacon, shredded the cheese, chopped the onion boiled the farfalle, etc… (I used Farfalle because my grocery store did not have Campanelle.) Everything went 100% perfect!! HOWEVER, I used 1 whole sweet onion as your recipe says and it was just WAY TOO MUCH onion. Infact, I think I ruined the entire batch of pasta. I chopped the onion really small but I think that made it worse, because every single bite it just tons of ONION. I am pretty much devastated. Also, to add onto that disappointment once it cools the cheese sauce looks really gross. So… I do not think I will be eating any more or keeping it to eat later. I really hate to throw food away… I wish it stayed looking amazing too…. the cheese sauce is globby now. icky!! Your photos are really beautiful and the recipe is a REALLY good idea, just didn’t really work out for me like I imagined. Had I not put that much onion in I could eat the pasta no matter WHAT the sauce looked like!! LOL YUMM!

    • Jenna says:

      I’m so sorry it didn’t work out, Ashleigh! I’m a huge onion fan, so it looks like maybe we have different tastes. I agree about the reheating ‘issues’ though–I have yet to encounter a mac & cheese recipe that reheats well. Usually the sauce separates at that point and gets kind of greasy. Anyway, thanks for the feedback and I’m sorry it was a disappointment!

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