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Smoked Mac n Cheese (Maccaronada com Requeijao)

smoked Brazilian mac n cheese with penne noodles

Smoked Pasta with Brazilian Cream Cheese

When it comes to comfort food, few dishes rival good, old-fashioned mac n cheese. Creamy, gooey, and flavorful, it is a perfect meal on its own, and a glorious accompaniment to churrasco. If you thought you couldn’t elevate  this staple dish, any further, prepare to be amazed:mac n cheese can be smoked right along with your favorite proteins. The smoke adds a whole new element to an already flavor-packed and decadent pasta dish. What’s more, it’s easy! Read on for a fabulous recipe for smoked mac n cheese. We have a feeling you won’t be going back to baked any time soon. 

Mac n Cheese in Brazil

Brazilians love cheese, so it’s no surprise that mac n cheese is nearly as popular there as it is here in the US. Of course, there are a few distinctly Brazilian ingredients that set the dish apart from its American cousin. The cheeses are a couple of national favorites you’ll find in nearly every dish that calls for dairy: mozzarella and requeijao. These milder cheeses are ideal when making a smoked mac n cheese, since the flavors won’t overpower that smoky element. 

Brazilian mac n cheese is also typically made with penne, not elbow macaroni. The grooves in penne allow the creamy sauce to fully coat each noodle, and the bigger size keeps the noodles a little more separated than in traditional mac n cheese. This is definitely more of a pasta than a casserole, although Brazilians don’t shy away from baked dishes either. 

Finally, our smoked Brazilian mac n cheese incorporates a little tomato goodness. Topped with parmesan cheese, the final product has an italian flare not dissimilar to baked ziti, but far creamier. 

Can You Freeze Smoked Mac n Cheese

Sure. Frozen smoked mac n cheese will keep for up to six weeks in your freezer. For best results, defrost or fully thaw the mixture before re-heating. This allows the sauce to melt evenly. You may need to add a little fresh cream to smooth out lumps that may have formed while freezing. 

Cheese Substitutes for Mac n Cheese

Requeijao is not commonly found in stores in the US. Luckily, you can easily make homemade Brazilian cream cheese. If this is a little more effort than you’d like, you can substitute American cream cheese. 

We are sticking with mozzarella cheese for our smoked mac n cheese. However, there are a few different cheeses that would be very well suited to a little smoke flavor: gouda, provolone, havarti, or, of course, cheddar. 

What Wood Chips for Smoked Mac n Cheese?

Mild wood chips are best for a good, but not overwhelming, smoke flavor. Try cherry, pecan, or applewood chips. 

Recipe for Smoked Mac n Cheese (Maccaroneda com Requeijao)


1 lb dried penne (16 oz)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream or whole milk
1 cup requeijão (Brazilian cream cheese)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 oz shredded or grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)


  1. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add in the penne and cook until al-dente. Strain and toss with a little olive oil. Reserve ¼ cup or so of the pasta water. 
  3. While the pasta cooks, heat a large, heat-safe skillet over medium heat (cast iron works well).
  4. Add in a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Saute the onion until translucent. Then add in the garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds, just until fragrant. 
  5. Add in tomato sauce and a splash of the reserved pasta water. Add a few twists of freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt (we used 1.5 tsp). Bring the mixture to a high simmer, then reduce to medium, cover and cook until it has thickened (around 5 minutes).
  6. Now, stir in the heavy cream. Heat the mixture to a boil, then remove from the heat.
  7. Add in your mozzarella cheese and cream cheese, stirring constantly off the heat until all the cheese is melted. 
  8. When the sauce has come together, pour in the penne noodles and stir until evenly coated. 
  9. Top the smoked mac n cheese with the shredded parmesan cheese.
  10. Transfer the pan to the smoker and “bake” for 45 minutes to one hour. Keep an eye on the mixture so it doesn’t dry out. 
  11. Top finished smoked mac n cheese with fresh parsley. Enjoy!

More Great Brazilian Recipes to Try:


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