Caribbean macaroni pie is a comfort food staple in the West Indies. This cheesy baked pasta dish is delicious with stewed or barbecued chicken. This recipe is a bit sweet and very plain, making it a kid-friendly version of this classic dish. If you’re looking for a more traditional savoury macaroni pie, check out my Trinidad Macaroni Pie post.
As much as I enjoy a big bowl of creamy mac and cheese, it will never replace my love for Caribbean macaroni pie.
Cheesy and baked until golden, this hearty side dish is was a weekend dinner staple at my house all through my childhood. My mom always made our macaroni pie a bit sweeter than most people do. She also left out a lot of the traditional seasonings (onions, herbs, mustard etc.), probably because I was such a picky eater. After making it that way for so many years for me, and then for my brother, this sweet version eventually became our preferred recipe.
Every Caribbean household seems to have their own macaroni pie recipe, to be honest. Some people like theirs to be spicy, some people use a lot of herbs. It’s one of those recipes that you can easily customize to suit your own family.
As I mentioned earlier, if you’re looking for a classic savoury macaroni pie recipe, you’ll want to check out my Trinidad Macaroni Pie post. That recipe has savoury ingredients like onion, garlic, thyme, etc.
Regardless of how you flavour your macaroni pie, it will always be delicious with a saucy main course. We enjoy eating it with stewed or barbecued chicken, but I’ve heard that some people serve it with fish. I personally love eating it with stewed chicken, because I can use the pie to mop up all of that delicious sauce.
Macaroni pie might be a bit strange to you if you’ve never eaten it before – especially if you’re used to eating creamy macaroni and cheese. The texture is different, because the cheese isn’t melted into the sauce. For macaroni pie, you just shred the cheese and mix it into the cold egg and milk mixture before baking. This gives you chunks of cheese, instead of a creamy cheese sauce. Don’t let this deter you from trying the recipe though – it’s tasty!
There are many ways you can make this dish your own. You can try using a different type of cheese, top it with fresh herbs and breadcrumbs or play around with the seasonings. My aunt makes a delicious macaroni pie with powdered ginger in it! Once you make the dish a few times, you’ll figure out what flavours you enjoy best. Again, if you prefer a classic macaroni pie, like the one in the Naparima Girls’ cookbook, you’ll want to take a look at my Trinidad Macaroni Pie recipe instead of this one.
I love the combination of cheddar or marble cheese, white pepper and brown sugar, because those are the flavours that I grew up with. This is the mac and cheese of my childhood, and I’m not about to mess around with it.
Caribbean Macaroni Pie
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Boil macaroni in salted water approximately 8 minutes, or according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs until fluffy.
- Add milk, pepper, sugar and salt and stir until combined.
- Stir in 3 cups of cheese, and the cooked macaroni.
- Pour into a greased, 9x11 baking dish and top with reserved 1/2 cup of cheese.
- Bake until firm, 35-40 minutes.
- Allow pie to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Cold cheese is easier to shred than warm cheese
- In Trinidad, people use New Zealand cheddar cheese but you can use whatever you have available
- If the cheese on top begins to brown too quickly, cover it with tin foil for the remaining baking time.