Thursday, June 16, 2022

Jack Daniels Mac and Cheese + Video

Jack Daniels Mac and Cheese is the comfort food of your dreams! Tender pasta, peppered bacon, tons of cheese, and of course, Jack Daniels whiskey. Now you can drink your whiskey and eat it too!!

titled photo (and shown): Jack Daniels Smoky Mac and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese has to be the #1 comfort food. Not only that, it's a simple go-to dish. 

Plus, it's really easy to customize with extra ingredients. Have a little bit of leftover ham or Italian sausage in the fridge? Stir it into the cheese sauce for a boost of protein!

For the flavors of classic mac 'n cheese in a different form, make mac and cheese quesadillas. They're a fun twist for taco night!

Or, go bite-sized finger food  with bacon mac and cheese bombs!

overhead image: homemade cheese sauce cooking in sauce pan

Jack Daniels Mac and Cheese

Needless to say, I have a lot of unbelievable twists for the traditional macaroni and cheese recipe.

I am especially proud of this most recent creation - Jack Daniel's Smoky Mac and Cheese with Bacon.

Seriously, how can anything with bacon in it be a bad thing?! Plus, this grown up mac and cheese recipe makes the most sensational and scrumptious game day food!

serving dish of smoky mac and cheese

This meal is ready to eat in just 30 minutes, and I know you are going to love it! Dinner's ready! It's unlike any cheesy pasta you have ever eaten.

Cooking with Jack Daniels Whiskey

Jack Daniels whiskey cooks down to leave the perfect smoky, woody flavor to recipes and to me that means it pairs perfectly with bacon!!

After creating Jack Daniels barbecue saucepork chopspulled pork, and a surprising fudgy brownie, I knew I wanted to use it in the best comfort food ever.

close up of cheesy pasta with crispy bacon

Whiskey Mac and Cheese Ingredients and Substitutions

Oodles of ooey gooey cheese, 12 ounces of hickory smoked peppered bacon and a collection of spices that will wake up your taste buds and leave you completely satisfied makes this the best mac and cheese of your life.

Here are the primary ingredients in the dish. You can see a full ingredient list in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
  • Bacon- I use hickory smoked peppered bacon, but any variety will work. Obviously, one with a smoky flavor is what you want to look for.

  • Unsalted butter- If all you have on hand is salted butter, use it. But, don't add any extra salt to the dish. The bacon adds plenty of salt on its own.

  • Jack Daniels whiskey- If you're not a whiskey drinker but you have some beer on hand, that works too. It just doesn't have quite the kick that whiskey has. Or of course, any other brand of whiskey or bourbon works too.

  • Chicken broth (or stock)- In a pinch, go ahead and use vegetable stock

  • all-purpose flour- If you need a gluten free option, any brand of gluten free 1:1 all purpose flour will be fine.

  • Milk- I use whole milk, but half and half will make the mac and cheese even creamier. You could also use 2% milk as a substitute.

  • Extra-sharp cheddar cheese- For this recipe, we use white cheddar.

  • Smoked provolone cheese- Smoked cheese is definitely what you want to use to get the smoky flavor in the cheese sauce

  • Asiago cheese- Yep, three kinds of cheese go into this dish. Cheesy to the max!

  • Elbow macaroni- This is the classic noodle shape, but feel free to use any small pasta shape that you like. Small shell pasta is a great substitute, and our recipe for homemade cavatelli pasta works well too.

pieces of crispy bacon cooking in a pan

Watch the video in this post to see us make Jack Daniels mac and cheese from start to finish.

stirring crispy bacon pieces into cheese sauce

Storing and Freezing Mac and Cheese

  • Doubling the recipe: The recipe may be doubled. Simply use 2 times the ingredients and follow cooking directions. The sauce will thicken as it cools. If the sauce is too thick, add milk, 1/2 cup at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency.

  • Reheating instructions: Add leftover macaroni and cheese to a pot with milk. Heat until warmed through, adding 1/2 cup of milk at a time until desired consistency is reached.

  • Freezing instructions: Allow the dish to come to room temperature before freezing. Place in a resealable plastic bag or container. 

If using a container, press a small piece of plastic wrap over the top to avoid freezer burn. If frozen, will keep for up to 6 months.

To reheat, thaw pasta and follow reheating instructions.

Kitchen Tools You'll Need
  • 8 Quart Pot
  • 12" Skillet-
  • Cheese Grater- As much as I love buying shredded cheese because I'm lazy, fresh grated cheese melts down so much better and creates a smoother soup.


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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Yield: 4
Author: Donna Elick
Jack Daniel's Smoky Mac and Cheese

Jack Daniels Mac and Cheese + Video

Jack Daniels Mac and Cheese has peppered bacon, tons of cheese, plus Jack Daniels whiskey. This is the comfort food of your dreams!

Prep time: 5 Min  Cook time: 17 Min  Total time: 22 Min


  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + more for pasta water
  • 12 ounces hickory smoked peppered bacon, uncooked
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Jack Daniel's Whiskey
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon New Mexico chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili pepper paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar (white), shredded
  • 2 ounces smoked provolone cheese, shredded
  • 2 ounces Asiago cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces dry elbow pasta
  • croutons (garnish)


  1. Bring an 8 quart covered pot filled with water to a boil over high heat. Once it boils, add a handful of salt and pasta. Reduce heat to medium high and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, or to al dente (has a bite to it). Drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta cooks, warm a large 12” skillet over medium-high heat. Using clean kitchen shears, cut bacon into bite size pieces over the skillet and let them to fall into the pan. Stir occasionally as needed. Cook until crisp, about 8 minutes.
  3. While the bacon is cooking, shred cheeses and prepare remaining ingredients.
  4. Once bacon is cooked through, remove bacon to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings and discard the rest. Wipe the side of the skillet to avoid flame ups.
  5. Pour reserved bacon drippings back into the skillet over medium heat and add butter. When the butter melts, add flour and whisk to combine. Add spices, chili paste, Worcestershire, whiskey and chicken broth. Whisk to combine. Allow mixture to come to a bubble for 3 minutes, whisking occasionally to help pick up the bits on the bottom of the pan. Add milk. Whisk to combine. Bring back to a bubble and add cheeses. Stir until cheese is melted and smooth.
  6. Add pasta to sauce and stir to combine. Add bacon. Cook pasta in sauce for 5 minutes over medium heat until sauce thickens and the pasta has a chance to absorb some of the sauce.
  7. Sprinkle with croutons, if desired.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
  1. Recipe may be doubled. Simply use 2x the ingredients and follow cooking directions. Sauce will thicken as it cools. If sauce is too thick, add milk ½ cup at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.
  2. Reheat instructions: Add pasta to pot with milk. Heat until warmed through, adding ½ cup of milk at a time until desired constancy is reached.
  3. Freezing instructions: Allow pasta to come to room temperature. Place in resealable plastic bag or container. If using a container press a small piece of plastic wrap over top to avoid freezer burn. Will keep for up to 6 months. To reheat, that pasta and follow reheat instructions.
  4. Alcohol substitutions: You can substitute another liquid for the whiskey. Beer, bourbon or chicken broth would be best.

Post originally published February 2014, last updated December 2020

Disclosure: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your price will remain the same and The Slow Roasted Italian will automatically receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting us, it helps us keep creating new recipes.


  1. Loving everything about this dish! Definitely one I need to make asap. Thanks for helping us kick off our event!

  2. Absolutely everything about this recipe screams my name! LOVING the addition of whiskey...yum! Thank you so much for helping us kick off this event. It's so early in the morning and all I want to eat is mac and cheese...haha :)

  3. Jack Daniels + Bacon?!? Sign me up. This looks and sounds amazing!

  4. I adore cooking with alcohol ;-)
    I think you should be my new best friend :-) Seriously fabulous recipe!

    Happy Mac and Cheese Mania Day!

  5. A cup of whiskey in mac 'n cheese? That sounds like a dream come true...especially with the bacon.

  6. Mac n' Cheese and JD .... how could it get any better!?! Looks amazing - will definitely be trying soon!

  7. Now this is one amazing mac! Love the combo of JD and bacon!

  8. You are a total genius. This is absolutely divine.

  9. I always cook with JD....once in a while I even add it to the food

  10. Can't wait to step this comfort food recipe & enjoy on one of our cold Canada days.

    Gourmet Granny

  11. My mouth is watering, I must make this!!

  12. Not good we made this tonight doubling the recipe 2 cups of whiskey is just way to much we could not even eat it next time we will leave the whiskey out nasty

    1. I am sorry to hear this recipe did not turn out for you. I would love to have you try it again with 1 cup of whiskey. Let me know how it goes. We love it. We only use 1 cup for a double batch.

    2. Original recipe says 1/2 cup JD, so doubling it would only be 1 CUP not 2!

    3. This didn't work out for us as well. Needed a very large batch, usedan 32 Oz of pasta and 2 cups of whiskey. Everyone said the whisky was too much. Have it in the freezer to use in chili and goulash. WI'll try again with half as much alcohol.

    4. 2 cups of whiskey would definitely be too much..yep, probably why if you double it should have only been 1 cup.

  13. Wow these look sooo good!...Thanks for sharing this...


  14. the person that said they doubled the recipe and used two cups of whiskey should have read the recipe right it only calls for a half a cup in the recipe for 4 servings

    1. Yeah.. what a moron. And he put it in writing.

    2. Was your comment really necessary? Have you never made a mistake? This site is for recipes, not sarcasm.

    3. Yeah, the comment was necessary. What a moron.

    4. They said they used 32 oz of pasta - which is 4 times the recipe. Which is 2 cups of JD. Perhaps you were a little hasty in calling them the moron?

    5. If you are gonna add more Jack than what the recipe calls for... Boil it first cool it then add to sauce mix

  15. I can`t wait to try all of them

  16. Will definitely try this but will add some sweetcorn and maybe broccoli. And cover with cheese and put in the oven for 20 mins to get a nice crust on top. Can't wait!

    1. My thoughts exactly! I'm adding a little chopped spinach and garlic with cheese and bread crumbs on top in the oven for a few... it happens TONIGHT! What better way to spend a dark winter night in Alaska? Oh, I know... a side of steamed asparugus and the meal paired with a nice dark beer...yummy!

  17. I am taking this to a party- what size dish will the original recipe fit into? A 9x9, etc.
    Thank you!

  18. This sounds so good. I'm going to make this today and put it on my smoker for a little while. Can't wait to share the results.

  19. I'm going to make this today. I'm going to smoke it on my smoker. Can't wait to share the results.

  20. Want to try this, but will leave out the whiskey, as no one in my home likes alcoholic beverages.

    1. The alchol cooks out. You wont get drunk because you used whiskey to cook with. Its for the flavor. Leaving it out will defeat the whole purpose.

  21. Hi Donna
    Can you taste the whiskey in this recipe.

  22. sounds like an awesome compliment with barbecue

  23. sounds like an awesome compliment with barbecue

  24. I made it. It was alright. Needs to be cheesier

  25. Ok so the verdict is in..... Its alright. We both had two servings. It wasnt quite what I was expecting. The color was different then the video. Jaime doesnt think it has enough kick. For me it there was plenty of kick in the after taste. I was expecting a more Velveeta Shells and Cheese look and taste.

  26. Just when I thought Mac and Cheese could not get any better

  27. Made with gluten free macaroni or penne (I used quinoa based by Ancient Grains) and King Arthur's Gluten free flour blend - came out beautifully and I could eat it without getting sick! There you go for those that REALLY want Mac & Cheese but need to be G Free!

  28. This is such a tasty recipe idea. I am making it for my hubs this weekend. He's going to love it!

    1. Holli@TheSlowRoastedItalianMarch 12, 2018 at 7:19 AM

      That is awesome! Enjoy and let us know how it goes!

  29. Have everything to try to make this but can't find chili pepper paste in any of my local stores. Anyone know what I can substitute?

  30. Made a batch 4x the size but only doubled the whiskey, still too strong. Not sure if I will actually serve it at my party. Also, not nearly as cheesy as I thought it would be, more saucy and much darker than the pic. Oh well live and learn, but I may have wasted some expensive ingredients.

  31. I made a double batch with 1 cup of whiskey. It was way too strong. Next time I make, I'll use the 1/2 cup of whiskey and 1 and 1/2 cups chicken broth.

  32. Not a Whiskey fan but will substitute with beer.

  33. Going to definitely make this. However, curious if it is spicy. My lil Man not a fan of Spicy!

  34. Absolutely delicious! A favorite of my family!

  35. This is a 4 Star win in the Mac n Cheese department! I have made this 9 times and each time it is fantastic! My clients love it and at farmers market it sells out every time. I converted the quantity to accommodate 3 lbs of large elbow pasta which fits in a large chafing pan..

  36. This sounds Divine! What a great side dish to serve when the Super Bowl rolls around.
    I have never used the Chili Pepper Paste as we're not into much of the Hot & Spicy dishes so was wondering what you used or what would you suggest when it comes to the chili pepper paste?

  37. Bacon just makes everything better!! Loved the flavor it added and made it more of a meal.

    Phlanx's Marketing Specialist

  38. Do you need to cook the pasta separately before you put it in the broth?

    1. states that in the recipe.

  39. What is chili pepper paste? Is that the same as Siracha?

  40. Great recipe! I made it according to your recipe and the taste is great! Everyone in the family likes it, it makes me happy. Thank you

  41. I want to bring this camping, but would like to make it the day before and smoke it the next day. Will this work?

  42. Can this be done with a crockpot?

  43. love this one, thanks for sharing with us, will definitely gonna try this one.

  44. Thanks for sharing This Smoky Mac and Cheese , seems so delicious. Always eager to make something new . Thanks or sharing this one.

  45. Thanks for sharing this recipe , surely gonna try this one .

  46. Way too boozy!


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