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Easy and delicious Skillet Mac and Cheese with Smoked Gouda. The crispy Cheez it cracker crust takes this cast iron mac and cheese to the next level! The ultimate comfort food, this mac and cheese is to die for!

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Creamy, smokey Skillet Mac and Cheese with a crispy Cheez it cracker crust

This ooey-gooey, indulgent and decadent Skillet Mac and Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Cheez it Crust is a comfort food nod to childhood, with the grown up flavors of smoked cheese and spices. If you’re looking for an easy mac and cheese recipe off the beaten path, this skillet mac is for you.

skillet mac and cheese

What goes into the Skillet Mac and Cheese?

To make this easy, creamy skillet mac, you will need:

  • Butter.
  • All-purpose flour.
  • A couple cans of evaporated milk.
  • A brick of cream cheese.
  • Shellbows, Cavatappi or Elbow pasta. Shellbows are my FAVE! DeLallo Foods makes them, and they hold the cheese sauce so well.
  • Hand grated smoked gouda cheese.
  • Dry mustard powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper.
  • Cheez it crackers, for topping the mac and cheese.

Making the mac and cheese in a cast iron skillet

Besides boiling the pasta, this whole mac and cheese masterpiece comes together start to finish in the cast iron skillet!

  1. Start the mac and cheese by first making a simple roux with melted butter and flour.

2. Add the canned evaporated milk and softened cream cheese, along with the spices, and whisk well to make your cheese sauce.

3. Right before adding the cooked noodles to the pot, add half of the grated smoked gouda cheese to the pot with the heat off. We want it to melt, not break or overcook.

4. Once your glorious cheese sauce is ready, you’ll add the noodles and toss them well to coat.

Cast iron skillet mac and cheese

Preparing the Cheez it crust

To make the cheez it cracker crust, add the crackers to a food processor, and grind until they resemble coarse crumbs. You’ll layer these atop the smoked gouda layer right before baking.

cheez it and smoked gouda crust

Baking the mac and cheese

Once you have your mac and cheese layered and ready to go, you’ll bake it in the cast iron skillet for 30 minutes, until it’s golden, bubbly and delicious. If you want an extra crisp crust, bake it on the top rack of the oven.

Allow the mac and cheese to cool for about 15-20 minutes before serving.

Skillet Mac and Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Cheez it Crust

What to serve with the Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese

This cast iron skillet mac and cheese makes a great side dish for any BBQ, dinner or holiday. Here are a few of my favorites to serve along with it:

Cast iron skillet mac and cheese

Storing leftovers

This mac and cheese is great leftover, and can be warmed in the oven wrapped in foil, or briefly in the microwave. Stored in an airtight container, this mac and cheese will keep up to 4 days in the fridge. It can also be placed in ziplock freezer bags and frozen for up to 2 months. Just be sure to thaw before reheating for best results.

Looking for more mac and cheese recipes?

Why not try my Lobster Mac and Cheese with Brie or Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese with Caramelized Onion!

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Skillet Mac and Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Cheez it Crust

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Keyword: cast iron, macaroni and cheese, smoked gouda
Servings: 10


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 12 oz cans evaporated milk
  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened and cut into small cubes 
  • 1 lb shellbows, cavatappi or elbow pasta
  • 16 oz hand grated smoked gouda/ divided , (half for sauce, half for topping)
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground smoked paprika
  • 1 cup Cheez it crackers, ground into fine crumbs in processor 


  • 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Add cheez-its to the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until fine crumbs form. Set aside.
    3. Boil the pasta in salted water to al dente, drain and set aside. (Consult package directions for al dente).
    4. In a 10”-12” cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
    5. Add flour and whisk until well combined to make a roux.
    6. Cook roux 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
    7. Add 2 cans evaporated milk, dry mustard powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and cream cheese and whisk until well incorporated.
    8. Cook sauce over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened.
    9. Add half the smoked gouda cheese, turn off heat and stir to combine.
    10. Add cooked and drained noodles to the pan, and toss to combine with the cheese sauce.
    11. Top with remaining shredded smoked gouda and cheez-it crumbs, and bake for 30 minutes, until golden and bubbly.

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