Bajan Macaroni Pie Recipe (Mac and Cheese from Barbados)

This Bajan macaroni pie recipe is a delectable variation of mac and cheese from Barbados. It’s loaded with spices, topped with cheese and breadcrumbs, and baked in the oven till golden!

Bajan Macaroni Pie Recipe | Vegetarian Bajan Cuisine

Making macaroni pie from Barbados

Can you believe that one of most popular foods to eat in Barbados is this Bajan macaroni pie? In fact, many people consider it to be the unofficial national dish of the country.

To be honest, this is not exactly the kind of dish I expected to find in the Caribbean. Then again, given the proximity to the USA… It kind of makes sense that a version of typical American baked mac and cheese has found its way down.

I love a good mac and cheese (who doesn’t?), and I love variations of a classic dish. After the success I had with making Austrian Style Mac & Cheese, I was excited to give macaroni pie a go!

What is Bajan macaroni pie?

Bajan Macaroni Pie Recipe | Vegetarian Bajan Cuisine

Macaroni pie is essentially a Barbadian take on baked mac and cheese. It’s creamy on the inside, crunchy and golden on top, and spicy and cheese throughout.

So, what are the differences between baked mac and cheese and Bajan macaroni pie? Let me run through them.

Texture

Mac and cheese tends to include a creamy, liquid sauce, while this macaroni pie from Barbados is baked in the oven and comes out a lot firmer.

Flavour Profile

Unlike mac and cheese, which is a notoriously mild dish, Bajan macaroni pie has a bit more kick to it. Spices such as paprika and thyme are included in the mixture, and chilli peppers are also commonly added for extra heat.

Variation of Ingredients

Instead of normal milk, this Bajan macaroni pie recipe uses evaporated milk to produce a thick, creamy texture. Other ingredients that are often added include mustard and ketchup.

How to make Bajan Macaroni Pie

Bajan Macaroni Pie Recipe | Vegetarian Bajan Cuisine

First you’re going to want to preheat your oven to 175˚C (350˚F) and grease a large casserole dish. You will also need to cook the macaroni according to the directions on the packet. Once cooked, drain and place back in pot to cool.

Bajan Macaroni Pie Recipe | Vegetarian Bajan Cuisine

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter to pan. Add in diced onion and sauté until caramelised, around 7 minutes. Add in minced garlic, diced chilli, paprika, thyme and chilli powder and sauté for another minute. Pour mixture from frying pan over cooked macaroni and stir to combine.

Bajan Macaroni Pie Recipe | Vegetarian Bajan Cuisine

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add evaporated milk, mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Pour egg mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Stir in 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1 cup cheddar cheese. Tip the macaroni mixture into greased casserole tin. Top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs.

Bajan Macaroni Pie Recipe | Vegetarian Bajan Cuisine

Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes or until pie is firm. At the 25 minute mark, take off foil and allow to brown on top. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Ingredients notes for Barbados Macaroni Pie

Bajan Macaroni Pie Recipe | Vegetarian Bajan Cuisine

CHEESE– For this Bajan macaroni pie recipe, I used a mix of mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Mozzarella works well for its melty texture and cheddar is great for flavour. However, feel free to use a mix of whatever cheese you wish.

CHILLI- If you like spice, I’d recommend using fresh chilli such as a jalapeno as well as chilli powder. However, omit or reduce the amount of chilli if you are spice-sensitive.

EVAPORATED MILK- Evaporated milk is one of the key ingredients that differentiates bajan macaroni pie from regular baked mac and cheese. Its thick, creamy texture helps bind the pie together. You can use regular milk but the pie may not retain it’s form as well.

BREADCRUMBS– To add a delicious golden crust to the macaroni pie, I added a layer of breadcrumbs in with the final layer of cheese. This is optional but recommended.

Bajan Macaroni Pie Recipe | Vegetarian Bajan Cuisine

Serving suggestions for macaroni pie from Barbados

This Barbados mac and cheese works wonderfully as a stand-alone vegetarian meal. I like to serve it with a nice fresh salad to balance out the rich, creaminess of the dish. They would also make a great side dish to these vegan black bean cakes.

Bajan Macaroni Pie | Mac and Cheese from Barbados

Bajan Macaroni Pie Recipe

Yield: 4 as a main
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

This Bajan macaroni pie recipe is a delectable variation of mac and cheese from Barbados. It's loaded with spices, topped with cheese and breadcrumbs, and baked in the oven till golden!

Ingredients

  • 400g elbow macaroni
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups evaporated milk
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumb

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 175˚C (350˚F) and grease a large casserole dish.
  2. Cook macaroni according to the directions on the packet. Once cooked, drain and place back in pot to cool.
  3. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter to pan. Add in diced onion and sauté until caramelised, around 7 minutes. Add in minced garlic, diced chilli, paprika, thyme and chilli powder and sauté for another minute. Pour mixture from frying pan over cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
  4. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add evaporated milk, mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Pour egg mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Stir in 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1 cup cheddar cheese. Tip the macaroni mixture into greased casserole tin. Top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs.
  5. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes or until pie is firm. At the 25 minute mark, take off foil and allow to brown on top. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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A recipe for Bajan macaroni pie from Barbados
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