Jack Daniels bacon bourbon mac and cheese combines all of the best comfort foods into a show stopping homemade mac and cheese recipe that everyone will love.
A smokey cheese sauce is filled with bacon and gouda, then macaroni noodles are added before it’s baked to perfection.
Serve bacon bourbon mac and cheese next to some chicken breasts and a caesar salad, or just eat a whole bowl. We won’t judge.
Why We Love It
Okay, picture this. Mac and cheese, but more comforting. The cheese sauce is made of bacon fat. There’s whiskey in it.
It’s honestly the perfect way to do mac properly, and you’re going to love this as much as we do!
Okay, now picture you showing up to a potluck or cookout with this recipe in hand. You’re welcome.
How To Make Bacon Bourbon Mac and Cheese
- Prep: bake the bacon on a baking sheet. Chop or crumble. Shred the cheese.
- Cheese sauce: Make a roux by mixing flour and bacon fat. Brown for about 2 minutes (this removes the starchy taste, and adds a sweet nuttiness to the cheese sauce). Whisk in the milk, but take your time. This is a heavy flour roux, so adding the cream too quickly will create lumps. Add the milk, bit by bit, until you’ve added it all. Add the cream next. Then, add the seasonings, and simmer until thickened. Turn off the heat, and stir in the shredded cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake: Stir in the macaroni noodles and bacon. Turn into a casserole dish. Top with additional cheese and bacon, and bake for 15-20 mins at 350°F.
Tips For A Perfect Mac and Cheese
- Go slow when adding the cream to the roux. Good things take time, and going too quick will result in a lumpy sauce. We spent about 3 minutes getting incorporating the cream.
- Don’t add the cheese until the sauce has been removed from the heat. If you add cheese over the heat, you risk the cheese separating. This gets lumpy, and the cheese will add oil to the sauce. Not delicious.
- You can edit the cheeses if you’d like. Gouda pairs perfectly with the bacon and bourbon, and cheddars are a mac and cheese classic. We have enjoyed this recipe with a little mozzarella, gruyere, and cream cheese too!
- For a spicy kick, add ¼ teaspoon of cayenne to the cheese sauce. It’s delicious.
- If you’re a fan of breadcrumb topping, mix 2 tablespoons of melted butter with ½ cup of bread crumbs, and add it during the baking process.
- Baking is optional, if you’d prefer to eat it right away, go for it! We love doing the double bake with mac and cheese.
- Go light on the whiskey. You’ll be surprised at how much you actually taste it. I originally used 1 tablespoon, but added a second tablespoon and it was very noticeable!
Storing and Reheating Mac and Cheese
Bacon bourbon mac and cheese stores really well.
Let it cool, and cover it with plastic wrap before storing in the fridge for up to 4 days.
When reheating, add 1 tablespoon of milk or heavy cream per cup of mac and cheese, and microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between.
The pasta will soak the cheese sauce up as it sits, so adding a little milk will help keep the sauce silky smooth while reheating.
Mac and cheese doesn’t freeze well, the sauce becomes grainy.
More Cheesy Favorites
- Ham and Cheese Croissant Bake
- Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
- Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Cheesy Broccoli and Rice
- Mexican Street Corn Dip
Bacon Bourbon Mac and Cheese
- 8 ounces macaroni noodles dry
- 6 slices bacon
- ⅓ cup flour
- 2 tablespoons bourbon Jack Daniel's Whiskey, or other
- 2 ½ cups milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon salt and pepper each, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional, to taste
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded, divided
- 1 ½ cups gouda cheese shredded
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cook macaroni noodles in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Set aside.
- In an oven safe skillet, fry bacon. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Reserve 3 tablespoons of bacon fat. Over medium heat, whisk in flour to create the roux. Brown for 1 minute.
- Slowly whisk in milk, ½ cup at a time. Once fully incorporated, add heavy cream. Simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened.
- Remove from heat. Add gouda, and 1 ½ cups cheddar cheese. Stir until melted. Taste, and add salt and pepper. Stir in bacon, add macaroni noodles. Top with remaining cheddar cheese.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, uncovered, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
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