Learn how to make smoked gouda cheese either indoors or outdoors.
Whether you’ve got a gas grill, a Traeger or Pit Boss pellet grill, a Masterbuilt electric smoker, or even a smoking gun inside your house, we show you how to prepare this delicious smoked cheese in a variety of creative ways!
I love cheese.
Unfortunately, my wallet has never been as happy as I am when I find a really good fancy one.
This is why I was overjoyed to discover just how criminally easy it is to make gourmet smoked gouda at home.
The best part is that you can start with the cheapest grocery store cheese and wind up with something that you’d swear came from a high end cheese shop.
Just follow my foolproof directions below.
What is Smoked Gouda?
First off, what is this stuff?
Smoked gouda, as weird as it sounds, is gouda cheese that has been smoked the same way you’d smoke meat or fish.
While most people naturally associate smoke with fire and heat, smoked cheeses like gouda are actually made through a process called cold smoking.
Cold smoking ensures that you get plenty of flavorful smoke over the product without losing your cheese through the grate of your grill.
Smoked gouda can be made using a few items that you probably already have and a few you can order online and have before the weekend.
You can make it on a gas or charcoal grill outside, or inside using an electric smoker.
Here’s a great video by Cowboy Kent Rollins to get you started going over the basics of smoking cheese:
How to Make Smoked Gouda Indoors
Ok, so while we usually focus on outdoor cooking recipes around here, I understand not everyone has a backyard where they can easily fire up a grill.
But pretty much every reader has a kitchen where they can do a little indoor magic.
Indoor smoking tools allow you to also smoke your cheese without having to leave comfort of your air conditioning in the summer, or brave the snow out to your grill in the winter.
There are a couple of great tools available that make it really easy:
Use a Smoking Gun
A smoking gun is an awesome little gadget designed for cold smoking smaller sized foods indoors with very little cleanup involved.
Start by putting your cheese in a food storage bag or a lidded container.
Then, add wood chips to the smoking chamber of your gun, insert the nozzle into the container and power it up.
Smoking this way should take between 30 and 60 seconds, but check the instructions of your specific gun and adjust accordingly.
This method is perfect for small quantities.
How to Smoke Gouda Cheese Outdoors
The other option is to take the entire operation outdoors and use your patio equipment to add smoke flavor to your favorite gouda.
I like to smoke cheese outdoors because it allows me to do a larger quantity at once.
You can also smoke multiple kinds of cheese at once to later sample and discover your favorite kind, or save for various recipes.
This usually works best on a cold morning or evening to help keep the temperature of your smoker low.
Do not attempt this on a sunny summer afternoon.
How to Make Smoked Gouda Cheese in an Electric Smoker
Electric smokers usually have included shelves so that you can smoke several items at once.
The automatic thermostat means that you can carefully select the temperature.
Even with the temperature dialed in as low as possible, I’m still always careful to keep cheeses, particularly soft cheeses like gouda, high and away from the heating element.
Run the smoker on the lowest possible temperature to create smoke and monitor the cheese closely while it is smoking.
Adding ice to the water bowl can also help keep temperatures in the safe zone.
You do not want your cheese getting over about 90 degrees. This is best to do in the shade on a cold day, so that the sun and outside temperatures do no affect your smoking temperature.
If you are looking for an easy to use smoker, especially for beginners, we are big fans of the Masterbuilt brand of electric smokers.
They are relatively affordable, have very few moving parts so not prone to breaking down, and are incredibly easy to use.
Cold Smoking Gouda on a Charcoal Grill or Smoker
Smoking on a charcoal grill or charcoal smoker is a little more complex, but still a lot of fun.
We even compared them head to head to figure out which is the best option for you.
But if you want to jump right to the chase, we like the Carpathen Smoke Tube the best, and it is super simple to light one end of the tube filled with wood pellets and throw it in the cold grill with your gouda cheese.
No need to worry about the cheese melting because you have no lit charcoal, no propane burners, no clumsy ice baths, just cold smokey flavor for up to 5 hours!
Make sure you use pellets like these affordable ones from Bear Mountain, not wood chips.
You’ll also need to light them with a butane lighter to get the truly ignited.
If you already have some wood chips handy and don’t feel the need to go buy a pellet tube and pellets, then using a smoker box is probably your best bet for making smoked gouda outdoors.
If you don’t have wood chips, we like any of these ones from Western BBQ for smoking gouda.
We don’t recommend ever placing wood chips directly on hot coals. And soaking them in water won’t help either, contrary to popular advice.
They will usually ignite and create an acrid flavor rather than smolder and smoke like they will in a smoker box.
Using an Ice Bath
To ensure that your cheese gets smoked without getting too hot, fill your smoker water pan, or an aluminum cake pan if working on a grill, with ice, then place a small cooking grate over the top.
Add about 6-12 lit briquets pushed up against the side of the bottom of the grill, and let them burn down to embers.
Place your wood chip filled smoker box or wood chunk on top of the burning coals.
Then, put your grill grate in on the highest level above the embers and put your ice and grate assembly on the opposite side of the embers with the cheese sitting above the ice.
The idea is to burn only enough coals to create smoke, while keeping the inside temperature low enough around the cheese so that it doesn’t melt.
Adjust your dampers to keep the wood smoking for one to three hours, depending on the intensity of the smoke flavor you want.
Monitor your cheese and add more ice to the water pan or cake pan as needed throughout the smoke.
Cold Smoking Gouda on a Gas Grill or Propane Smoker
You can cold smoke your gouda cheese on a gas grill using all the same methods describe above for charcoal.
Just instead of lighting charcoal to heat the smoker box you will light a single burner on the far side of the grill away form the cheese.
Put the cheese up on an ice bath, and, if you can fit it, up on the warming rack as far away from the lit burner as you can get it.
Even better, use a lit smoker tube as described above and you have not need to even light a burner!
Finishing Your Smoked Gouda Cheese
Whether you start with indoor smoking or outdoor, the next step is the hardest one:
You should now store your smoked gouda for anywhere from a few days (adequate) to a couple of weeks (so much better).
While you can technically eat your cheese immediately, I guarantee you are not going to like it.
Eat your cheese too soon and you’ll have acrid smoke flavor on the surface, and zero smoke flavor below.
First, wrap your smoked cheese in parchment paper so it can breathe. Leave it in the fridge for a couple of days.
Then, transfer your cheese to vacuum sealed bags or a well-sealed Ziploc bag.
As hard as it is to refrain from trying a sample, store it for a couple of weeks.
The reason to store it is that you want to give the smoke time to really permeate and “even out” in flavor through the cheese.
Best Uses for Smoked Gouda
Smoked gouda is great on its own on a cheese plate, on a cold sandwich like ham and cheese, or as the main component of the best grilled cheese you’ve ever eaten.
If you want to try it in recipes, substitute it for regular cheese in any one of these:
- Smoked gouda mac and cheese
- Smoked gouda grits
- Smoked gouda queso
- Smoked gouda mashed potatoes
- Smoked gouda dip
What Meats Pair Well with Smoked Gouda?
A milder smoked gouda goes great with stronger flavored meats like sausage.
You can use a smokier gouda with meats like chicken or turkey, since the flavors won’t compete with each other.
What Wine Pairs Well with Smoked Gouda?
Lighter, fruitier reds like Pinot Noir complement the rich flavor of smoked gouda well.
Get fancy. Serve your smoked gouda on a crisp fall day alongside a fruity red wine, some fresh bread, fruit, and an assortment of cured meats.
Can You Smoke Aged Gouda?
When you are selecting the best cheese to smoke, you are able to get away with purchasing much less expensive cheese than you would think.
You can create some incredibly rich and complex flavors using very basic, inexpensive cheeses.
If you do want to try smoking an aged gouda, keep the smoking time on the short side so that the flavor isn’t too overpowering.
How Long does Smoked Gouda Last?
Unfortunately, smoking your cheese is not going to prolong its shelf life.
Smoked cheeses last as long as fresh ones.
For a young gouda, that’s usually two to three weeks in the fridge.
However, you can get a couple of months out of a properly wrapped and stored aged gouda.
What Other Food Can I Smoke on a Grill or Smoker?
Looking for some more smoky inspiration?
So glad you asked.
Check out some of our other great recipes of smoked and grilled food to try out at your next outdoor BBQ!
- Honey Smoked Salmon
- Smoked Oysters in a Garlic White Wine Sauce
- Smoked Scallops with Lemon Butter Sauce
- Smoked Lobster Tails
- Honey Smoked Tilapia
- Smoked Prime Rib on a Traeger Pellet Grill
- Smoked Ribeye Roast
- Hot and Fast Smoked Beef Brisket
- Smoked Chuck Roast for Pulled Beef
- Smoked Corned Beef
- Smoked and Reverse Seared Ribeye Steaks
- Pellet Grilled Steak
- Perfect Grilled Hamburgers
- Smoked Leg of Lamb with Guinness Marinade
- Smoked Lamb Chops with a Balsamic Butter Sauce
- Smoked Rack of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary or Smoker
- Smoked and Pulled Lamb Shoulder with a Turkish Spice Rub
- Smoked Lamb Shanks
Smoked Pork, Turkey, and Chicken
- Smoked Fresh Ham with Dark Rum Citrus Glaze
- Smoked BBQ Pork Chops
- Spatchcocked Chicken on a Pellet Grill
- Smoked Turkey Breast with Cajun Butter Injection
- Spiral Sliced Smoked Hot Dogs
- Smoked Bratwurst with Beer Braised Onions
- Grilled Bratwurst
- Pellet Grill Turkey
Other Odds and Ends
Trash Can Turkey – OK, technically not made on a grill or smoker but one of the most fun ways there is to cook a Turkey…at over 700 degrees in only 2 hours!
You’ve got to check it out!
Easy Smoked Gouda Cheese
- Smoking Gun
- Smoking Box
- 2 lbs Gouda Cheese
- 1 Bag Wood Chips
- 1 Aluminum Tray of Ice Cubes
Using a Smoking Gun Indoors
- Put cheese in a food storage bag or container
- Add wood chips to the chamber of your smoking gun and then turn it on.
- Use the gun to fill the container with smoke and then close or put on the lid.
- Place the cheese in the refrigerator and let it absorb the smoke flavor.
- Do not serve for 1-2 weeks or else the exterior will taste acrid and overly smoky. Give the flavor time to permeate and mellow out in the cheese.
Using a Smoker Outdoors
- This is best done on a cool or cold day.
- Fill your wood tray or smoker box with your chosen smoking wood chips. Or if using charcoal, find one good wood chunk.
- Fire up your smoker and set it to smoke at its lowest possible temperature. For electric, choose a low temperature on the dial. For charcoal and gas, use only a couple coals or one burner on very low respectively.
- Place the cheese on top of an aluminum tray filled with ice cubes and covered in aluminum foil to help keep the temperature of the cheese down.
- Keep the cheese and foil pan as far away from the heat source as possible.
- Smoke your cheese for 20-45 minutes. Remove from smoker and place in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Do not serve for 1-2 weeks as the smoky flavor needs time to mellow.