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Mustard Gouda and Cherrywood Smoked Cheddar Mac and Cheese Recipe

Our recipe for day 8 of the Aldi Cheese Advent Calendar is a Mustard Gouda and cherrywood smoked cheddar mac and cheese. Layered with bacon bits and Cilantro lime sauce from Hellmann’s, this recipe is a delicious blend of flavors.

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Using Cheese in Mac and Cheese

When you try new cheese I want you to pay attention to when the flavor starts to come out. Some cheeses take a few seconds to build but the flavor holds on throughout the end of the bite. These are what I call closer cheeses. Other types of cheese come out immediately but fade away quickly. These are opener cheeses. Well balanced mac and cheese recipes make use of both opener and closer cheeses so the cheesy flavor carries throughout the dish.

Mustard Gouda

Gouda is a bit of an anomaly. Younger aged Gouda, like you see in this advent calendar, are almost always opener cheeses. However, if the Gouda is aged longer it tends to cross the opener/closer line. That’s why it’s important to taste goudas before committing to a recipe.

Mustard helps enhance the cheesy flavor of mac and cheese. It’s a wonderful flavor enhancer that helps bring out the cheesiness, and the extra dash of mustard powder elevates it that much more.

Cherrywood Smoked Cheddar

Sartori is known for their cheddars. They’re easy to get your hands on and work beautifully in a mac and cheese recipe. Their cherrywood smoked cheddar is one of the more unique cheeses I’ve tried. It’s smoky, savory, cheesy, and slightly sweet. All characteristics that make it an interesting option for mac and cheese. While most cheddars are opener cheeses, this one tends to skew to the closer end of the spectrum and it’s a great way to finish out a bowl.

Wagon Wheel Pasta in Mustard Gouda and Cherrywood Smoked Cheddar Mac and Cheese

Pasta is one of the most important things to consider when developing a mac and cheese recipe. If your noodle shape is too long, your mac and cheese is too cumbersome to eat. On the other hand, if your pasta is too small you run the risk of your dish becoming a soupy mess. Beginner mac and cheese chefs will notice that small noodle shapes will more easily show defects in their sauce.

Wagon wheels sit in the beautiful happy spot between too large and too small. Plus, the spokes create perfect pockets to hang onto sauce. This means every bite will be as full of flavor as you can get.


The right toppings can take a good mac and cheese recipe to great. Toppings add extra dimensions in flavor, color, and texture and really elevate your mac and cheese into something special.

I layered this dish with bacon bits for a savory punch that also packs in some great pops of color. Bacon can elevate any mac and cheese into something great.

Sauces are an interesting thing to add to a plate of mac and cheese. While your pasta is already covered with a fantastic cheese sauce, adding a condiment sauce will help keep your dish interesting, adding new flavors to each bite. Today I used the cilantro lime sauce from Hellmann’s. It’s citrusy and packs a great cilantro flavor that really makes this mac and cheese something special.

Reheating Mustard Gouda and Cherrywood Smoked Cheddar Mac and Cheese

Reheating pasta tends to be a lesson in frivolity. However, roux based mac and cheese recipes like this one reheat fabulously. A minute or two in the microwave and you will have perfectly delicious, non-greasy mac and cheese. In fact, letting your ingredients meld together in the fridge yields an even better dish than the day before.

Add a Fork

Mustard Gouda and cherrywood smoked cheddar balance beautifully in a mac and cheese layered with crispy jalapeños and cilantro lime sauce for a dish packed with flavor and textures.

Mustard Gouda and Cherrywood Smoked Cheddar Mac and Cheese Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Entree, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings


  • 1 pound Wagon wheels or other medium sized pasta

For the Sauce

  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 3 tbsp Flour
  • 3 cups Whole milk
  • 4 oz Mustard Gouda
  • 4 oz Cherrywood Smoked Cheddar Sartori Brand
  • 1/2 tbsp Better than bullion Chicken flavor
  • 1 tsp Ground mustard


  • Crispy onions
  • Cilantro Lime Drizzle Sauce


  • Cook the pasta according to package directions in well salted water. If you think it’s salty enough, add more.

Prepare the Sauce

  • Pre heat your milk in the microwave for 45 seconds – just enough to take the chill out of it.
  • Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat and let it heat until it becomes foamy.
  • Mix in flour. Cook it for a minute while stirring constantly
  • Slowly add warmed milk to the butter mixture 1/4 cup at a time. Whisk it continually until combined. Stir in mustard powder and Better than Bullion
  • Once all of the milk is added, cook for a few minutes while whisking it. Do not let it boil. You will feel the sauce start to thicken. It’s ready for cheese when you rub a small amount between your fingers and it feels silky.
  • Remove from heat and stir in your cheese until it’s melted and mixed into the sauce.
  • Once the cheese is incorporated, use a cooked noodle to taste your sauce. If it doesn’t taste cheesy enough try adding a little more salt to bring out the flavor.
  • Combine the pasta and sauce.

Plate Your Mac and Cheese

  • Layer pasta with crispy jalapeños and a drizzle of cilantro lime sauce. Serve immediately.
Keyword cherrywood smoked cheddar, cilantro lime sauce, crispy jalapenos, mustard gouda, wagon wheels