Ganja Granny’s Smoked Mac ‘n’ Cheese


 (Elise McDonough)

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Do yourself a favor and don’t fall for the lure of bright orange microwaved mac ‘n’ cheese ever again. That artificially flavored processed cheese product is a tool of your own oppression, foisted upon you by corporate overlords. Instead, take the time to slow down, and remember that making the best kind of mac ‘n’ cheese requires real cheese—at least two kinds—plus a layer of toasted breadcrumbs on top for texture. This recipe arrives directly from a real-life ganja granny in Rhode Island and combines the stoner chef’s love of authentic ingredients with an infusion of fine herb and four melted cheeses. 


For mac and cheese

  • 1/2 cup cold Simple Cannabutter (see below) plus 1 tablespoon melted
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound penne pasta, cooked
  • 1 cup shredded smoked mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded American or Swiss cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs

For simple cannabutter

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
  • 1/4 ounce cannabis buds, finely ground


Step 1:

  • Melt the butter on low heat in a saucepan. Add the ground buds, and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes, stirring frequently.

Step 2:

  • Strain the butter into a glass dish with a tight-fitting lid. Push the back of a spoon against the plant matter and smash it against the strainer to squeeze out every drop of butter available. When you’re done, discard the plant matter.

Step 3:

  • Use your cannabutter immediately, or refrigerate or freeze until it is time to use. You can easily scale this recipe up for larger batches of cannabutter. One pound of butter (4 sticks) can absorb 1 ounce of cannabis, but you may want to simmer for up to 60 minutes.


  • For medical patients, I would recommend using two ounces of cannabis for each pound of butter, effectively making a double-strength cannabutter.

Step 1:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Step 2:

  • In a large pot over medium heat, melt the cannabutter and regular butter together. Add the flour and whisk well for 3 to 5 minutes, while the mixture cooks.

Step 3:

  • Meanwhile, in a medium pot over high heat, bring the milk just to a boil.

Step 4:

  • Slowly add the heated milk to the butter-flour mixture, whisking to incorporate well. Add the salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper, and continue to cook until the mixture reaches a boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the cooked penne and cheeses, saving 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese for the topping.

Step 5:

  • Pour the penne mixture into a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Combine breadcrumbs with the remaining Parmesan and the 1 tablespoon melted cannabutter and sprinkle on top of the penne. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.