Whiskey and bacon come together for a killer dinner in this Jack Daniel’s Bacon Mac and Cheese! Gooey & cheesy with sweet pops of candied bacon make this macaroni oh so crave-able!!
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If you’ve never mixed booze and bacon together, you are missing out my friends. It’s a like a happy dance of awesomeness in your mouth! And not just for the hipster hype of it all. Done right, whiskey and bacon are best friends. Jack Daniel’s Bacon Mac and Cheese is the perfect way to pop your boozy bacon cherry! It’s an easy mac and cheese recipe loaded with flavor.
The idea for this pasta dish came from one of my co-workers back when I was waiting tables, and it’s the perfect way to try your hand at cooking with booze. My friend had been out of town for a new store opening, and when he got home he told me how he was stuck up there, seeing all the recipe sneak peaks I was posting on Instagram. I was known for bringing in recipe leftovers to work for everyone to devour and he hated missing out on all the goodies. A girl’s got to do something with all those baked goods.
He told me about this bourbon bacon mac and cheese he had while gone AND that I needed to figure out. Challenge accepted! After some questioning, I found out the bourbon was more in the bacon than the pasta, but I can never leave things alone. So, I made Jack Daniel’s candied bacon, a Jack Daniel’s Cheese sauce, and bliss happened. The sweet, salty bursts of flavor from the bacon are simply wonderful, and the sauce is creamy and rich. The whole thing reheats really well too! Get cookin’ and treat yourself tonight!!
Disclaimer: Yes, I know Jack Daniel’s is a whiskey, not a bourbon. I used what I had on hand at the time. If you prefer, you can absolutely substitute your favorite whiskey or bourbon in this recipe.
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Jack Daniel's Bacon Mac and Cheese
Whiskey Candied Bacon:
- 10 slices bacon
- 1/2 cup Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey or whiskey of your choice
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Macaroni & Cheese:
- 1 pound macaroni pasta
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Jack Daniel's Tenessee Whiskey
- 2 cups milk
- 3 cups medium or sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 slices provolone cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.
In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup Jack Daniel's to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until reduced to 2 tablespoons. Remove from heat. On a plate, combine brown sugar and cayenne. Dip bacon into Jack Daniels and then press each side into brown sugar mixture to coat. Place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 7 minutes, then flip and bake for about 5 minutes. Watch the bacon so it doesn't burn!! (The sugar will run all over the pan, and the bacon with have a shiny lacquered look.)
Remove the bacon to a plate coated with non-stick cooking spray to cool completely. Chop bacon; set aside.
Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. Drain pasta; set aside.
While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour, and whisk to combine. (You will have a tight roux.) Add 1 tablespoon Jack Daniel's and whisk into roux.
Whisk in 1 cup milk until combined. Add remaining milk. Whisk frequently until sauce thickens and begins to bubble.
Add cheeses; whisk until cheeses melt and sauce is smooth. Add paprika and salt and pepper to taste.
Pour sauce over pasta, and add bacon. Stir until pasta is completely coated in sauce. Add more salt and pepper if desired.
Watch your bacon like a hawk! The sugar can go from awesome to burnt quickly if you're not paying attention.