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How is this recipe different from all the others
Most mac and cheese recipes require you to make a cheese sauce, which involves creating a roux, adding milk until it thickens and then adding cheese until it’s melted.
With this smoked mac and cheese recipe, the cheese sauce develops as it smokes, so you can skip all of that extra work. You just toss everything in a bowl and add it to the dish.
- Macaroni Noodles: The recipe calls for 2 cups of uncooked noodles. Once cooked, you’ll end up with 4 cups.
- Velveeta Cheese: Nothing melts quite as creamy as Velveeta, so I recommend using it for this recipe.
- Cream Cheese: A half a block is all you’ll need.
- Cheddar Cheese: You can buy pre-shredded cheese or shred it yourself. It gets mixed in with the noodles and sprinkled on top.
- Milk: Whole milk adds the best flavor, but any 1% and 2% work well, too.
- Seasoning: A blend of kosher salt, black pepper, granulated garlic and ground cumin make the perfect seasoning for this dish. It’s the same blend I use for grilled frozen burgers.
Substitutions: You can use any type of noodles for this recipe. Shells and ziti are great alternatives.
How to make smoked mac and cheese on a Ninja Grill
- STEP ONE: Boil the noodles according to the box directions. Drain and place in a large bowl. Then, combine the seasonings and mix them with the cooked noodles and 3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
- STEP TWO: Stir in the cubed Velveeta and cream cheese. It’s okay that you’ll still have some chunks. Spoon it into a 10-1/2 x 7″ baking dish and pour 1/2 cup of the milk all over the top.
- STEP THREE: If using a Woodfire Grill, only fill the smoke box 1/2 of the way full. Set the grill to Bake, push the Woodfire Flavor Technology button. Set the temperature to 250F degrees and the time to 1 hour. Once ready, add the dish of macaroni and smoke for 15 minutes.
- STEP FOUR: After 15 minutes, the noodles will start to brown. Open the lid and stir everything together to allow the cheeses to coat the noodles. Cook for another 15 minutes.
NINJA PRO TIP: It’s important to stir the noodles every 15 minutes, so that the noodles on top don’t get too crunchy.
- STEP FIVE: After 15 minutes, the noodles will be a little more brown. Stir again to combine.
- STEP SIX: Pour on the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and sprinkle on the remaining 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Increase the grill temperature to 400F degrees and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
How to Serve
Using a pair of pot holders, remove the smoked mac and cheese from the grill, and you’ve got yourself a side dish that everyone is going to want to dig into.
It’s great served with hamburgers, steak and chicken.
Just use a large spoon and scoop it onto your dinner plates.
This smoked mac and cheese cooked on a Ninja Grill stores really well. I like to portion it out into smaller air-tight serving containers.
Then, it’s ready to be reheated in the microwave when you want a quick afternoon snack.
It will store in the fridge for 3-5 days.
You can also freeze it for up to 6 months. If you decide to freeze it, I recommend allowing it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Frequently Asked Questions
Set your Ninja Grill to bake at 250F degrees.
Because you don’t have to make a mornay cheese sauce for this recipe, it’s important to use Velveeta as the base. I also use cream cheese for extra creaminess. The third cheese in the recipe is shredded cheddar. You’re welcome to substitute the cheddar cheese for gouda or pepper jack.
The Ninja Grill has limitations on how large of a baking dish it can hold, so I recommend sticking to these proportions.
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Smoked Mac and Cheese on a Ninja Grill
- 2 cups uncooked macaroni noodles
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
- 1/8 tsp ground cumin
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 4 ozs cream cheese, cubed
- 12 ozs Velveeta cheese, cubed
- 1 cup milk, divided
- Cook Noodles: Cook the noodles in a pot of boiling water according to the directions on the box. Drain.
- Blend: Place the cooked noodles in a large bowl, stir in the seasonings and 3/4 cup cheddar cheese. Add the Velveeta and cream cheese cubes and stir. Spoon into a 10-1/2 x 7-inch baking dish. Pour 1/2 cup of milk on top of the noodles.
- Heat Grill: Add 2 tablespoons of wood pellets to the smoke box. (see notes). turn the Ninja Woodfire Grill to bake, press the Woodfire Flavor Technology button, set the temperature to 250F degrees and the time to one hour. Press start.
- Smoke: Once the grill is ready, add the dish to the grill and cook for 15 minutes with the lid closed. Open and stir the noodles. Cook for 15 more minutes. Open and stir the noodles.
- Finish: Pour in the other 1/2 cup of milk and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese on top. Increase the grill temperature to 400F degrees and cook for 5-10 more minutes, until the cheese browns around the edges.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.