Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese

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With a perfect fusion of creamy homemade cheese sauce, filling pasta, and smoky bbq, this Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese is a dinner dream come true. The irresistibly mouthwatering combination of lusciously rich mac and cheese with pulled pork deliciousness is certain to have the whole family coming back for seconds (or thirds!). Now that I think about it, you may wanna make a double batch!

As the reigning mac and cheese queen (self-appointed), I am obsessed with trying out different types of this classic comfort food.

From the traditional soul-food staple to some more out-of-the-box variations like whiskey-infused mac and cheese and salty, smoky bacon mac and cheese, creamy cheese pasta is the ideal addition to any potluck, picnic, cookout, or holiday table, in my opinion.

a spoon scoops out pulled pork mac and cheese from a casserole dish

While I love the convenience of my delectable stovetop mac, this casserole-style BBQ mac and cheese is the recipe to bust out when you’re looking to impress. Best of all, if you already have your pulled pork ready to go, this amazingly appetizing dish can be on the table in under 30 minutes.

With a triple whammy of sharp cheddar, stretchy mozzarella, and smoked gouda, perfectly al dente pasta, sweet n’ tangy barbecue sauce, and tender shreds of slow-cooked pork, this right here is what my husband likes to call a “complete meal for your taste buds.”

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Measuring Cups & Spoons - While I’m definitely guilty of eyeballing while cooking, I’ve found the best way to get consistently lick-the-plate-tasty results is by actually measuring things. 

Whisk - For mixing the roux into a gorgeously smooth bechamel sauce.

Silicone Spatula - For getting every last morsel of cheesy deliciousness into your baking dish. 

Medium & Large Mixing Bowls - For tossing your leftover pulled pork with bbq sauce, and mixing your noodles with your magnificent mornay (that’s French for a seriously bomb cheese sauce).

Large Pot - For boiling your pasta. Using a large pot for boiling pasta is important because it allows the pasta enough room to cook evenly and prevents it from sticking together.

Dutch Oven, Cast Iron Skillet, or Casserole Dish - You just need something that is both oven-safe and large enough to hold your pork mac and cheese.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Full ingredients, measurements, and printable instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

ingredients for pulled pork mac n cheese

Cooked BBQ pulled pork - While I typically use my favorite leftover classic pulled pork, you’re welcome to give this creamy mac a Latin flair by swapping in carnitas

Your favorite barbecue sauce - We love Sweet Baby Ray’s, but feel free to swap in whatever you prefer!

Short-cut pasta - You don’t need to use macaroni or elbow pasta to make your homemade mac. Feel free to swap in any short shape like shells, penne, or rotini.

All-purpose flour - For making a roux to help thicken the sauce into spoon-coating perfection.

Butter - You can use either salted or unsalted butter here. 

Whole milk - This recipe for BBQ pork mac and cheese is not the time to try and save on calories. Go big or go home! In a pinch, you can dilute heavy cream to make whole milk by combining equal parts of heavy cream and water or chicken stock. Evaporated 2% milk will also work.

Granulated garlic & onion powder - For all the flavor of garlic and onions without any papery skins, tear-inducing fumes, or smelly fingers. 

Mustard powder - For adding a tangy flavor that compliments the richness of the cheese sauce while also helping to emulsify the mornay.

Red pepper flakes - For a hint of heat. Feel free to swap in cayenne powder or ground chipotle instead.

Sharp cheddar cheese - Either yellow or white cheddar will work! Sharp cheddar has that tangy 'cheese' vibe we really love in a good mac and cheese.

Mozzarella cheese - For that Instagrammable cheese-pull, there’s no better candidate.

Smoked gouda - For an added layer of smoky, creamy goodness. You’re also welcome to use regular gouda and add ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika or swap in smoked cheddar instead. 

How To Make Pulled Pork Mac 'n' Cheese 

pulled pork covered in barbecue sauce in a metal bowl

Step 1 | mix the pulled pork and bbq sauce together until well-coated while the pasta boils in a large pot.

roux being whisked in a dutch oven

Step 2 | make the roux by melting 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and whisking equal parts flour.

a nappé bechamel sauce in a pot

Step 3 | make the bechamel by slowly whisking in the milk. Will it look crazy at first? Yes. Will it smooth out? Also, yes. Trust the process. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

a pan with cheesy mornay sauce

Step 4 | make the mornay by whisking the grated cheese into the bechamel, stirring until the cheese melts. Remember to take the pot off the heat first!

a pan of mac and cheese with pulled pork being swirled into it

Step 5 | toss the cooked pasta and cheese sauce in a large mixing bowl until well-coated. Pour into a prepared baking dish and add half of the pulled pork in dollops, then use a spoon to swirl it through the pasta.

a pan of pulled pork mac before baking

Step 6 | Add the remaining pork and cheese on top of the mac and bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until warmed through and beginning to turn golden at the edges.

overhead view of casserole dish filled with mac and cheese with bbq pulled pork

Step 7 | Broil for an additional 2 minutes to ensure crispy bits of browned cheese and bbq pork. YUM.


As much as we love this BBQ pulled pork mac and cheese recipe just the way it’s written, you’re always welcome to put your own spin on things. Here are a few possible variations and adaptations to consider:

  • Go gluten-free by swapping in your favorite GF noodles and using your favorite cup-for-cup all-purpose GF flour mix.
  • Add bacon bits for an extra smoky, salty kick. 
  • Add diced jalapeños for extra heat.
  • Top with crushed potato chips or crunchy panko breadcrumbs for textural interest.
  • Drizzle with extra BBQ sauce for added sweet, smoky yumminess.
  • Mix in sautéed onions and garlic for a burst of allium sweetness and complexity.


  • Grate your own cheese. While pre-shredded cheese is a tempting time-saver, the shreds are coated in a starchy additive to keep them from melting back into a blob in the bag. That starch also helps prevent the cheese from melting as intended, leaving you with a less-than-silky cheese sauce.
  • Salt your pasta water. You only get one shot to season the actual noodles, so don’t miss out!
  • Avoid mushy pasta. I suggest cooking it for the minimum number of minutes suggested on the box. Remember, it will continue to cook in the oven.

Serving Suggestions

Pulled pork macaroni and cheese is a hearty and flavorful dish that is perfect for casual gatherings, potlucks, and family dinners. It's a great dish to serve during the cooler months, but it can also be enjoyed year-round. Try serving it at your next:

  • Game day or tailgating party: This dish is a crowd-pleaser and perfect for serving to a hungry group of sports fans.
  • Summer cookout: Homemade mac and cheese is a great addition to any barbecue menu, especially when it already has BBQ in it. 
  • Family gathering: This dish is comforting and satisfying, making it a great option for family dinners and get-togethers.
  • Potluck: BBQ pork mac and cheese is easy to transport and can be made in large quantities, making it a great choice for potluck dinners.
  • Cozy night in: If you're looking for a hug-in-a-bowl kind of meal on a chilly evening, this recipe is easily one of our favorite comfort foods.

Aside from being versatile in terms of when to serve it, the amazing flavor of this smoked pulled pork mac and cheese also pairs well with a wide variety of foods. Here are a few ideas of what to pair with it:

  • Serve with a side of garlic rolls or crusty bread to soak up the rest of the cheesy sauce.
  • Add a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt on top for a tangy contrast to the richness of the dish.
  • Serve with a side of coleslaw or a fresh green salad to balance out the richness of the mac and cheese.
  • Serve with cornbread or corn muffins to keep the situation Southern!
  • Top with sliced jalapeños or pickled red onions for a spicy and tangy twist.

Make-Ahead, Storage, & Reheating

As with most casseroles, this baked pork mac and cheese is perfect for meal prep. Feel free to assemble it through step 8, wrap tightly with foil, and refrigerate for up to 2-3 days. When you’re ready to serve it, bake according the recipe directions!

Any leftover BBQ mac n’ cheese can be stored in a clean, airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To reheat, warm it in an ovenproof dish at 300 degrees F for about 15 to 20 minutes, or zap it in the microwave in 30 second increments until heated through for a speedy single serving.


What are the best cheeses for baked mac and cheese?

When it comes to mac and cheese, the primary consideration should be meltability. These are some of my favorites:
Cheddar: Perhaps the most popular cheese for mac and cheese. It provides a sharp, tangy flavor that pairs well with pasta.
Gouda: Creamy and nutty with a slightly sweet flavor that adds richness.
Parmesan: Often used as a topping for baked mac and cheese and adds a salty, nutty flavor.
Monterey Jack: This cheese melts well and has a mild flavor that compliments the other cheeses in the dish. Try pepper jack for a spicy kick!
Havarti: Creamy and melty, making it a great choice for baked mac and cheese.
Gruyere: Nutty, slightly sweet, with a hint of funkiness.
Colby (or Colby Jack): Mild and creamy, making it a good choice for those who prefer a milder cheese flavor.
Brie: Creamy and indulgent, perfect for adding a touch of sophistication.

Is a roux necessary for macaroni and cheese? 

Using a roux can help to create a creamy, smooth texture in the cheese sauce and can help to prevent the sauce from becoming lumpy or grainy. However, some recipes use other thickening agents, such as cornstarch or arrowroot powder, or rely on the cheese itself to thicken the sauce.

If you prefer a lighter mac and cheese without a roux, you can make a simple cheese sauce by combining milk, cheese, and any other desired flavorings (such as garlic or mustard) and whisking them together over low heat until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.

Why does my baked mac n’ cheese come out dry?

There are several reasons why your baked mac and cheese may be turning out dry:

Overbaking. Mac and cheese can dry out if it's baked for too long. Follow the recommended baking time in your recipe and keep an eye on the dish to make sure it doesn't overcook.
Too much pasta/not enough sauce. If you add too much pasta to the dish or don't add enough sauce to the dish, it can become dry. 
Using low-fat ingredients. If you use low-fat cheese, milk, or other ingredients, the resulting mac and cheese may be drier than if you use full-fat ingredients.
Adding too much flour. Make sure you’re using the scoop & sweep method for measuring your flour so you don’t accidentally make the mornay too thick.

To avoid dry, grainy mac n’ cheese, make sure to follow the recipe closely, use enough sauce and cheese, and avoid overbaking the dish. You can also try covering the dish with foil during baking to trap in moisture and prevent the dish from drying out, then remove the foil just to broil it at the end. Alternatively, try my recipe for Southern baked mac and cheese which uses a different method!

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📖 Recipe

a spoon scoops out pulled pork mac and cheese from a casserole dish

Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese

Eden Westbrook
Bring this pulled pork mac and cheese to your next potluck or cookout! Rich and creamy mac and cheese with that summer superstar -pulled pork- make for a match made in heaven any time of the year! 
4.58 from 217 votes
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 24 minutes
Total Time 26 minutes
Course Summer
Cuisine Barbecue
Servings 8 servings
Calories 681 kcal


  • 2 cups leftover pulled pork
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 16 ounces short-cut pasta
  • 4 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese grated
  • 8 oz smoked gouda cheese grated
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese grated


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  • In a medium sized bowl, mix the barbecue sauce and pulled pork together until all of the pork is coated in sauce. Set aside.
  • Set a large pot of salted water to boil, then add the pasta. Cook to package directions for al dente.
  • While pasta is boiling, in a medium sized pot or dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter and stir in spices. Then whisk in flour to create a roux. Cook the mixture for one minute, then slowly add the milk to the roux, whisking vigorously (it will look crazy and seize up before it smooths out), until the milk is completely added and the mixture is smooth.
  • Allow your bechamel to cook for 4-5 minutes, whisking occasionally, until the sauce is thickened slightly, being able to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Take the bechamel sauce off the heat and add cheese by the handful, keeping ⅓ of the cheese for topping your dish. Mix well until all the cheese is melted. Taste and add the salt and pepper, if needed.
  • When the pasta is cooked to al dente, add it to a large mixing bowl and pour cheese sauce over it. Stir well to coat all the pasta in the cheese sauce, then put mixture into an oven safe 9x13 baking dish.
  • Add half the pulled pork to the baking dish, then use a spoon to mix and swirl the pulled pork into the mac and cheese. Top the casserole with the remaining pulled pork and sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top of the dish.
  • Bake the mac and cheese in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn the oven to a high broil and broil for 2 minutes to ensure browned, crispy bits of cheese and pork.
  • Let cool for about 5 minutes, then serve.


Make-Ahead, Storage, & Reheating

As with most casseroles, this baked pork mac and cheese is perfect for meal prep. Feel free to assemble it through step 8, wrap tightly with foil, and refrigerate for up to 2-3 days. When you’re ready to serve it, bake according the recipe directions!
Any leftover BBQ mac n’ cheese can be stored in a clean, airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To reheat, warm it in an ovenproof dish at 300 degrees F for about 15 to 20 minutes, or zap it in the microwave in 30 second increments until heated through for a speedy single serving.


Serving: 1gCalories: 681kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 35gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 20gPolyunsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 1616mgFiber: 2gSugar: 27g
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  1. What meat was used for the pulled pork?

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi Ilyssia,

      I used pork shoulder, it's often labeled 'pork butt' or 'Boston butt' in the store. Really easy to find and an affordable cut, especially in the winter time!

      xo, Eden

  2. Don Lehmann says:

    My wife said it is the best mac and cheese she has ever tasted. We make our own pulled pork and always have too much. This gives us a way to use the left over in a great and very tasty way.

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      That makes me so happy to hear! I'm glad y'all enjoyed it.

    2. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi Don,

      Perfect!! I appreciate you giving this recipe a try, I love to hear that it was a winner! xo, Eden

  3. I just made this dish tonight and it turned out so good!!! All three of my kids and my husband loved it as well. 5 star dish! Thank you so much for sharing.

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  5. Should I use smokey bbq sauce or sweet? So excited to be making this for Thanksgiving!! I want it to be perfect!!

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      You can use any flavor you want! I like a mix of sweet and smoky, with a hint of spicy, in my bbq sauce. Whatever bbq sauce is your favorite.

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  7. Chef Markus Mueller says:

    Adding pulled pork to the Mac & Cheese is a great idea! Kids and adults alike would love this. I m gonna make this as a take to work lunch next week!

  8. Oh man! I love mac and cheese and this looks so good! i'm always looking for a new recipe to try and I can't wait to try this!

  9. Catherine says:

    PUlled pork and mac n' cheese is a match made in heaven! I love it together...such a delicious and comforting meal!

  10. Oh wow, now this is my kind of Mac and cheese! Can't wait to give this recipe a try!

  11. Allison - Celebrating Sweets says:

    This meal looks so delicious! I'm saving this for the cold weather months when I'm craving comfort food. Yum!