Cast Iron Sausage Mac and Cheese is not your childhood mac and cheese. It's a flavorful smoked sausage casserole that will leave you asking for more.
If you've been looking for an adult mac and cheese recipe, this cast-iron mac and cheese is it! Loaded with tasty smoked sausage and SO much cheese, it's everything you loved about your childhood mac and cheese...made for grown-ups.
Though, disclaimer, children will also devour this with glee, making it an ideal mac and cheese for a crowd. After all, I've never met a child who doesn't love mac and cheese and I'm pretty sure most of us adults also secretly crave it!
Table of contents
- Smoked Macaroni and Cheese Ingredients
- How to Make Cast Iron Sausage Mac and Cheese
- What To Eat With Mac n Cheese
- Benefits of Cast Iron Pan
- Supplies Needed to Make Sausage Mac and Cheese
- How To Reseason Cast Iron Pan
- How To Get Rust Off Cast Iron Skillet with Vinegar
- How To Clean Black Residue Off Cast Iron Skillet
The sausage and cheese pair so well together, as the smoked flavor of the sausage infuses the cheese sauce! I'm not sure why mac n cheese with sausage is not a more popular recipe. It tastes great and if you're going to call mac and cheese a complete meal, this would be the way to do it.
Do you consider mac and cheese to be a meal? Typically I don't but I like to think of this as more of a smoked sausage dinner than "just" smoked macaroni and cheese...something about adding a meat to the mixture takes mac and cheese from side dish to acceptable complete meal!
That said, I serve this as a side dish as often as I do a meal. It's a particular hit when I bring it to potlucks. (One of the reasons I love cast iron is that it helps keep the food warm!)
This cast-iron skillet mac and cheese recipe calls for cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese, partially because that's what I had on hand and most people have easy access to it. Plus, it's a flavor combo I love.
However, if you want to take this smoked sausage mac and cheese up a notch, I highly recommend a cheddar gruyere mixture. Not only does it make this even more of an adult mac and cheese recipe, it adds an extra depth to the flavor.
Mac and cheese with gruyere and cheddar just sounds much more "adult" than mac and cheese with cheddar and Monterrey Jack, don't you think?
That said, if you don't have gruyere or don't want to splurge, don't worry! There's a reason I made this smoked sausage mac and cheese recipe without it.
Now, on to the recipe...
Smoked Macaroni and Cheese Ingredients
- Green Onion
- Jalapeno Pepper
- Heavy Cream
- Dijon Mustard
- Cheddar Cheese
- Monterey Jack Cheese
- Black Pepper
How to Make Cast Iron Sausage Mac and Cheese
Making this adult mac and cheese is surprisngly simple!
In your cast iron skillet, cook the kielbasa until it is browned and starts to cup. Drain the grease and set aside.
Bring 5 cups of water to a boil, generously seasoning with salt. Once boiling, cook the pasta according to box directions, for approximately 10-12 minutes.
At the same time, heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter, taking care that it doesn't burn.
Add the jalapeno, onion and garlic. Allow it to soften and become fragrant.
Add 2 tablespoons of flour to the veggies and mix to a thick paste. Cook for an additional minute.
A heavy cream, milk and dijon mustard to the veggies. Mix will and cook until you can drag a line across the pan and it doesn't fill back in immediately.
Turn off the heat.
Add the 2 cups of cheese, a little bit at a time, to the veggie and cream sauce. Sprinkle and mix and return, as if you dump in too much it will stay clumpy.
Drain the cooked pasta and then stir it into the cheese sauce.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Return the small cast iron skillet to heat and add in the Panko. Lightly salt and pepper them, stirring until they brown slightly.
Add the green onion and continue stirring.
When the panko is a light oak color, remove from the heat.
To serve, dish out the mac and cheese and top with the panko crumb topping.
What To Eat With Mac n Cheese
If you ask a child, they will likely tell you that you don't need anything to go with mac and cheese. It is a meal all on its own. But, we love a good Crock Pot Tomato Mac and Cheese, and our Creamy Skillet Mac and Cheese Hamburger Helper is amazing. Instant Pot Cheesesteak Pasta is another that we love.
The addition of sausage to this cast-iron mac and cheese is another way to jazz up a favorite recipe.
If you don't consider this a meal and are trying to figure out what to eat with mac and cheese, broccoli always pairs nicely, as does a crisp side salad.
With this recipe, I might be tempted to cook up some extra sausage and a side salad.
Benefits of Cast Iron Pan
There are so many benefits of using a cast iron pan that I have to wonder why I don't use them more often. There is definitely a reason why my mother and grandmother often cooked with these pans.
The benefits of a cast iron skillet include...
- Long life span
- Non-stick (without chemicals!)
- Safe for the oven AND stove
- Keep food hot for longer
- Adds a small amount of iron to your food
- Easy to clean
- They get better with time
Supplies Needed to Make Sausage Mac and Cheese
How To Reseason Cast Iron Pan
Before using a cast iron skillet for the first time (if you don't buy one that's already seasoned) and periodically throughout its life span, you need to season and reseason a cast iron pan.
The good thing is, if you're wondering how to reason a cast iron pan, it's super simple.
The first step to reseasoning a cast iron pan is to well, break all of the cast iron care rules and do a deep clean. First, wash it with cast iron soap. Then scrub with a cast iron scrubber. Finally wipe down with paper towels.
Once everything is scrubbed off, coat the entire pan with cast iron oil and place it in an oven pre-heated to 450 to 500F for an hour.
When it comes out, you'll have a perfectly seasoned (or reseasoned) cast iron pan.
How To Get Rust Off Cast Iron Skillet with Vinegar
To get rust off your cast iron skillet with vinegar, mix equal parts vinegar and water then either submerge the entire pan in the mixture or add it to the pan, depending on where the rust is.
Begin to check the progress after an hour as once the vinegar removes the rust, it can start to damage the cast iron skillet. Do not leave it for more than 8 hours.
You should remove the pan from the vinegar as soon as the rust flakes away.
How To Clean Black Residue Off Cast Iron Skillet
To remove black residue off your cast iron skillet, which is likely burnt food, and not remove the seasoning from the pan, pour some oil and salt on a paper towel to scrub the pan.
The salt scours away the residue, without affecting the seasoning of the pan.
For best results, use the same oil that you originally used to season the pan.