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You can’t beat the ease of this creamy and cheesy Smoked Sausage Pasta for a 30-minute dinner that the whole family will love. Made-from-scratch skillet mac and cheese is tossed with kielbasa and tender broccoli florets so that you get an entire meal in one pan. This kid-friendly dish is perfect for busy weeknights!

Close overhead shot of a blue bowl full of cheesy smoked sausage pasta with broccoli

Smoked Sausage Pasta Skillet

The idea for this recipe comes from my mom, who made a similar recipe with a box of store-bought mac and cheese and smoked sausage. The flavor profile reminds me of our favorite Smoked Sausage Pasta Bake, but this version comes together in about 30 minutes and doesn’t require any canned soups. It’s entirely made from scratch, and boy is it a treat! I used broccoli because I think that it’s a perfect companion for the skillet mac and cheese, but you can substitute with almost any other vegetables that your family enjoys. A can of drained diced tomatoes or some frozen peas would also be delicious! Take this idea and make it your own with your family’s preferred ingredients.

Square image of a smoked sausage pasta skillet with broccoli and cheese

Ingredients for Skillet Mac and Cheese with Sausage

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need to prepare the smoked sausage mac and cheese. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Elbow macaroni: feel free to substitute with other short pastas like rotini, penne, small shells or ditalini.
  • Broccoli florets: I use fresh broccoli here, but you can sub with frozen broccoli florets if that’s what’s available.
  • Olive oil: to sauté the sausage and onion.
  • Smoked sausage: kielbasa is my kids’ favorite, but andouille sausage or even hot dogs will also work!
  • Onion: for sweet, savory flavor.
  • Butter and flour: to make the roux that thickens the cheese sauce.
  • Half-and-half cream: creates a rich, creamy sauce for the skillet mac and cheese. You can substitute with whole milk or heavy cream — whatever you have on hand.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese and smoked gouda cheese: for a flavorful, cheesy sauce! Use blocks of cheese that you grate by hand, rather than packages of pre-shredded cheese.
  • Dry mustard: just a touch for more complex flavor in the sauce. You can omit this ingredient if you don’t have it in your pantry.
  • Parsley: a bright, fresh, finishing touch.
Ingredients for skillet mac and cheese with smoked sausage and broccoli

How to Make Easy Smoked Sausage Pasta

This smoked sausage pasta skillet comes together quickly, so have your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start cooking!

Browning kielbasa in a cast iron skillet
  1. Boil the pasta and broccoli; drain.
  2. Brown the sausage and onion in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Wipe out the skillet.
  3. Whisk together the sauce for the skillet mac and cheese.
  4. Add the cooked pasta, broccoli, sausage and onion to the sauce and toss to coat.
  5. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately!
Close overhead shot of a big cast iron smoked sausage pasta skillet.

What to Serve with Smoked Sausage and Pasta

This dish is basically a one-skillet meal since it includes pasta, meat and veggies. That said, if you’d like to round out the dinner with some additional sides, here are a few easy ideas:

We always like a bread basket on the side as well! Try pairing the smoked sausage pasta with buttermilk biscuits, cheese biscuits, honey cornbread, corn muffins, pumpkin bread or applesauce pumpkin muffins.

Horizontal image of a bowl of easy smoked sausage pasta with broccoli and biscuits on the side

Storage

  • This particular macaroni and cheese is best when served immediately, so I do not recommend preparing the dish in advance.
  • If you have leftovers, the mac and cheese will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Skillet mac and cheese does not freeze well, since the cream-based sauce has a tendency to “break” when thawed.

How to Reheat

Place the smoked sausage pasta in a saucepan or skillet. The pasta and sauce will dry out a bit as it sits, so it’s helpful to add a splash of milk or cream and a little bit of butter to the pan. Then warm over low heat, just until it reaches the desired temperature. Stir regularly and the sauce should become smooth again!

Overhead image of a bowl of smoked sausage and pasta with broccoli and cheese.

Recipe Variations

  • Substitute a different short pasta for the macaroni. Small shells, rotini or penne will all work well.
  • Cajun Smoked Sausage Pasta: add some Cajun or Creole seasoning to the cheese sauce and use andouille sausage instead of kielbasa.
  • If you don’t want to use smoked gouda, you can substitute with additional cheddar cheese or use a different melting cheese like Colby, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack or mozzarella.
  • For a lighter dish, you can substitute whole milk (or even 2% milk) for the half-and-half.
  • Swap out the broccoli and stir in frozen peas instead. A can of drained, diced tomatoes would also be a nice addition to the skillet.
  • Substitute frozen broccoli florets for the fresh broccoli if you prefer.
Close up side shot of a bowl of skillet mac and cheese with smoked sausage and broccoli

Tips for the Best Cheesy Smoked Sausage Pasta

  • To cut down on the prep time, I like to get the pasta boiling while I prepare the rest of the ingredients (such as grating the cheese and browning the sausage and onion). Then, as the pasta finishes cooking, you can whisk together the cheese sauce. This way the pasta isn’t sitting around getting cold while you prepare the sauce, and everything comes together quickly at the end.
  • Salt the water before boiling your pasta. This is your chance to season the pasta for a flavorful dish!
  • It’s important to use blocks of cheese that you grate by hand. Do not use pre-shredded cheese in a package, because those packaged shredded cheeses include a powdery coating with stabilizers that prevent the cheese from melting smoothly.
  • The recipe calls for sharp cheddar and smoked gouda, but you can use just about any good melting cheeses that you prefer. For instance, mild cheddar, gruyere, fontina, Colby, and Monterey Jack would all work well. You can even throw in some (gasp!) American cheese — good old Velveeta! — if that’s what your family enjoys.
Overhead image of an easy smoked sausage pasta skillet on a table

More Smoked Sausage Recipes to Try

Close overhead shot of a blue bowl full of cheesy smoked sausage pasta with broccoli

Cheesy Smoked Sausage Pasta with Broccoli

5 from 5 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 705 kcal
You can't beat the ease of this creamy and cheesy Smoked Sausage Pasta for a 30-minute dinner that the whole family will love!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 ½ cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 13 ounces smoked sausage (such as kielbasa), sliced into rounds
  • ½ cup finely-diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups half-and-half cream
  • 8 ounces (about 2 cups) sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 ounces (about 1 cup) smoked gouda cheese, grated
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  • Cook macaroni in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. During the final 3 minutes of cooking time, add the broccoli florets to the boiling water with the pasta. Drain and set aside.
  • While the pasta and broccoli are cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the sausage rounds and the diced onion. Cook, stirring regularly, until the sausage is browned and the onion is tender, about 5-7 minutes. Remove sausage and onions from the skillet and set aside on a plate. Wipe out the skillet.
  • Add butter to the skillet and cook, stirring, until the butter melts. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for one more minute. Gradually whisk in the half-and-half. Cook and stir until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low; add the cheddar, gouda, and dry mustard; stir until the cheeses melt. Add cooked macaroni, broccoli, sausage and onion back to the skillet; toss to combine. Garnish with parsley.

Notes

  • To cut down on the prep time, I like to get the pasta boiling while I prepare the rest of the ingredients (such as grating the cheese and browning the sausage and onion). Then, as the pasta finishes cooking, you can whisk together the cheese sauce. This way the pasta isn’t sitting around getting cold while you prepare the sauce, and everything comes together quickly at the end.
  • Salt the water before boiling your pasta. This is your chance to season the pasta for a flavorful dish!
  • It’s important to use blocks of cheese that you grate by hand. Do not use pre-shredded cheese in a package, because those packaged shredded cheeses include a powdery coating with stabilizers that prevent the cheese from melting smoothly.
  • The recipe calls for sharp cheddar cheese and smoked gouda, but you can use just about any good melting cheeses that you prefer. For instance, mild cheddar, gruyere, fontina, Colby, and Monterey Jack would all work well. You can even throw in some (gasp!) American cheese — good old Velveeta! — if that’s what your family enjoys.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the recipeCalories: 705kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 30gFat: 49gSaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 137mgSodium: 996mgPotassium: 459mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 958IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 499mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: skillet mac and cheese, smoked sausage pasta
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Oh, does this recipe look so good!!! Comfort food for sure! Will definitely be trying this soon and let you know how much we enjoyed it…. 🙂 Thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    We loved this recipe! My picky 4 year old actually asked for seconds and couldn’t stop telling us how good it was! Thanks for a great one!

    1. I’m so glad to hear that! The best compliment is when a picky child (or husband) loves a meal! 🙂

      It’s on our menu this week, too. Thanks for your note, Amanda!

  3. 5 stars
    Made this tonight since I had a bog bag of florets and wanted something new. Had everything already. Used Cajun sausage tho. This was really good! I’ll try it with smoked sausage next time. Definitely a keeper. I did use about 2 cups broccoli.

  4. 5 stars
    Yum! I had some pesto gouda to use up that I found at Costco and this worked great. Thanks for the tips about using different cheeses!

  5. 5 stars
    This was SO GOOD!! Reminded me a bit of broccoli and cheese soup (with sausage.) My kids, 5 and 8, cleared their plates without one complaint – amazing. I did use a Cajun style andouille sausage which I thought gave it some nice flavor. Will definitely be making again.

  6. Could you use fresh spinach in place of the broccoli. Have all of the ingredients but the broccoli. Where/when would you add the spinach?

    1. Absolutely! That would be a good substitute. The fresh spinach will wilt almost as soon as it hits the hot pan, so you can wait and stir it in at the very end —- at the same time that you stir in the cooked pasta and sausage. Hope you enjoy!