This smoked Cheddar cheese recipe brings back memories of those crates from Hickory Farms that were shrink-wrapped and crammed full of small rounds of smoked cheese and sausage that. Although even as a kid, you knew the cheese could taste soooo much better. And you were right. This recipe for how to smoke cheese at home is your proof.–Renee Schettler Rossi

What To Do With Smoked Cheddar Cheese

As for what to do with your stash of smoked cheese, you can nosh on it at will, stack it on a cracker, post pictures of it on social media, melt it on a burger, slip it in a patty melt, or, if you’re the unselfish sort, you can gift it to loved ones—and not just at the holidays. 

A wire basket on a wood cutting board containing several types of cheese, including smoked cheddar cheese.

Smoked Cheddar Cheese

5 / 5 votes
This smoked Cheddar cheese recipe explains, step by step, how to smoke cheese at home into smoke-imbued exquisiteness. Hickory Farms, be worried.
David Leite
Servings16 servings
Calories114 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time3 hours 55 minutes
Total Time4 hours


  • Apple, alder, or cherry wood chunks or chips


  • 2 (8-ounce) blocks Cheddar cheese* (see * below)


  • Set up your smoker to maintain a temperature of less than 90°F (32°C). It’s imperative that the heat be no higher than 90°F (32°C) to prevent the cheese from melting.
  • To create cold smoke, place the cheese on the grate of your smoker. Set three lit charcoal briquettes flat in the charcoal pan or firebox of your smoker. Place a flat wood chunk on top of the charcoal to create smoke. Provide a little airflow and replace the charcoal and/or wood chunks as needed to keep the smoke going for the desired period of time.
  • Place the blocks of cheese directly on the grate and apply light smoke for about 4 hours.
  • Remove the cheese from the grate and place it in a resealable plastic bag. Store the smoked cheese in the refrigerator for 2 weeks before indulging to allow the smoke flavor to permeate the cheese and even mature slightly. (If you simply can't wait 2 weeks, no one's going to tattle on you. But just know that the smoke flavor will be more pronounced and even somewhat bitter or, dare we say, acrid. If you can resist temptation, a perceived virtue that we usually find to be highly overrated, you'll be rewarded with a more mellow smoke flavor.)


*What You Need To Know About How To Make Smoked Cheese Other Than Cheddar

This smoked Cheddar cheese recipe works just as well with Gouda, Muenster, Edam, mozzarella, Swiss, and pepper Jack.
Smoking Meat Cookbook

Adapted From

Smoking Meat

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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 114 kcalCarbohydrates: 1 gProtein: 7 gFat: 9 gSaturated Fat: 6 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gCholesterol: 30 mgSodium: 176 mgPotassium: 28 mgSugar: 1 gVitamin A: 284 IUCalcium: 204 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Jeff Phillips. Photo © 2012 Michelle Furbacher. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I’m so excited to have tested this. I love smoked cheese! And it’s so easy to make at home. First, if you don’t have a smoker but just a grill (gas or charcoal), you must buy an A-Maze-N-Pellet-Smoker from and talk to Todd. He’s a wealth of information.

Here were his suggestions:

1) Freeze the cheese for 2 hours before smoking, so that the cheese melts less quickly, allowing the smoke flavor to be better dispersed throughout the cheese.

2) Fill a milk carton with water and freeze it, wrap it in aluminum foil, and put it on the grate above the heat source, then place the A-Maze-N smoker next to the milk carton.

3) Place the grill grate above the lower grate and place the cheese off to the side of the smoke.

4) Don’t let the heat go above 85°F (29°C), as the cheese starts to melt a bit at 90°F (32°C). I used applewood sawdust, enough to cover 1 1/2 rows of the smoker, and lit it on one side. The directions that come with the smoker explain all this. It’s very easy.

I hung an analog meat thermometer in between the grates of the grill and closed the lid. It was only 70°F in Santa Monica, so the grill didn’t need to be shaded, but if you live where it’s really hot, you might want to put your grill in a shaded area or cover it with an outdoor umbrella. I used Gouda and goat cheese. The Gouda took about 5 hours (the recipe says 4 hours, but the smoke didn’t seem to be reaching the center of the cheese). I smoked the goat cheese for 1 hour. I tasted it right after smoking and the cheese was a little bitter.

The recipe says to refrigerate for 2 weeks to mellow out the smoke flavor. One week later, I tasted the Gouda and it was perfect. The goat cheese tastes amazing as well. This is so much fun! And now I can make my wild mushroom tartlets with applewood–smoked goat cheese and truffle oil. Great combo! Can’t wait to try more cheese and cold-smoked salmon and trout. Lots to do with this A-Maze-N smoker!

This smoked cheese was so much easier than I thought it would be, with what I’m hoping will be delicious results.

To start, I made 2 smoke pouches for the grill, one with apple chips and one with cherry chips. I had 4 blocks of marble, mozzarella, jalapeno, havarti and spiced gouda. I used a tin foil pan and several lumps of charcoal. The hardest part was getting the charcoal to light. Once that was going, I used a perforated broil pan to place half the cheese and put it on the far side of the grill. Then when the smoke was going, I closed the lid of the turned-off grill.

I waited the better part of an hour and a half before I checked and removed the cheese because the smoke pack was done and apparently so was the cheese. I think any longer it would have puddled and melted. I then put the other cheese and smoke pack to use.

I have kept a third of the cheese out to nibble while the rest matures for the 2 weeks. What I wound up with is a delicately smoked product (I’d call it cold-smoked) cheese that will be delicious with the full 2 weeks maturity.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I have used this recipe in my upright gas smoker with Kraft Cheddar which I smoked for 2 hours. The result was excellent. I have bought more cheese to try.

  2. This sounds delish, we tried some smoked goat cheese the other day, wish we had brought more of it!

    1. You’ll just have to make yourself some more, Britt! Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know. Looking forward to hearing how it goes!

  3. I have an A-Maze-N-Pellet-Smoker and a Big Green Egg, and have done mozzarella, domestic Asiago and a couple of bricks of 4-year old Vermont cheddar. A week to ten days has been about the right waiting time, and I think David is right about not needing to form a pellicle. The cheeses aren’t wet enough to need to become sticky. The Asiago was so good I had to hide it so I could have it all to myself. I’ll have to try a domestic Parm as it would kill me to fiddle with a Parmesano Reggiano.

    What I don’t get is the block of ice. Unless your outdoor temperature is well above 80ºF, you really shouldn’t need the ice block if you are using something like the A-Maze-N-Pellet-Smoker as it just doesn’t generate enough heat to melt the cheese. Perhaps if you smoker is really small, and you are using briquets you might need it, though I don’t see how the temp will rise much. Plus with the A-Maze-N-Pellet-Smoker, you can light it and use a covered Weber kettle or a gas grill on a cool day with no added fire. All you need is a decent draft to keep it going.

    I’ll have to go look at the directions to the Cameron. I wasn’t aware you could cold smoke in it or I’d have been doing it 10 years ago. Dang!

    Last weekend I cold smoked a full 15 lb. cured pork belly with the A-Maze-N-Pellet-Smoker, that’s now sliced and frozen, and am trying to figure out how to make a decent smoked tofu for the vegan in the household. Can you believe I have a vegan in MY house, when my nickname has been Baconella?

    1. Judy, your creations sound amazing! Regarding the block of ice, some cold smokers can get over 90 degrees; the USDA says any temp to 140 degree constitutes a cold smoke! I think it’s in the recipe to make sure people get the best result possible.