An easy Caribbean macaroni pie recipe

11.11.20 | Recipe by Renz

A cheesy and flavor-filled baked pasta dish is a classic macaroni pie. This is the Caribbean style of mac and cheese. Trinidad macaroni pie is perfect to be a part of your family's Sunday dinner.

Caribbean mac and cheese in an orange baking dish on a white counter top.

If you want to find a dish that is just loved by everyone across the board, this is it.

I don’t think I know one person who does not like our version of mac and cheese that we call macaroni pie. It’s just the most flavor-filled baked mac and cheese you can find. It is the most common side dish that is a part of our usual Sunday lunch. Along with some stewed chicken, stew peas, and rice of some form.

It is the cheesiest pie, with additional flavors that just take it over the top. It is the yummiest pie that you would ever taste.

It’s like the mature version of regular mac and cheese.


What is Trinidad Macaroni Pie?

Macaroni Pie is a popular dish not just in Trinidad and Tobago but across the Caribbean islands. Often served as a side dish or main course. It is a unique take on mac and cheese, with distinct differences from the classic American version.

The key ingredients for Caribbean Macaroni Pie include cooked macaroni, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, milk, and a combination of seasonings such as garlic, onion, and paprika.

The mixing process involves combining the macaroni with the cheese, eggs, milk, and seasonings in a large bowl. This creates a creamy and flavorful mixture that is then poured into a baking dish. The dish is then baked until firm, creating a golden crust on top.

Once baked, the Trinidad Macaroni Pie is cut into squares or circles for serving, making it easy to portion out for a crowd. The result is a decadent and savory dish that stands out from traditional mac and cheese.

What makes macaroni pie special

Macaroni pie is a beloved dish in Caribbean cuisine, known for its unique characteristics and firm texture. What sets it apart from traditional macaroni and cheese is its use of key ingredients such as macaroni, grated cheese, evaporated milk, eggs, and a blend of seasonings like onion, garlic, parsley, and mustard. The seasonings used give macaroni pie its distinct Caribbean flavor.

The cooking method involves boiling the macaroni until al dente, then mixing it with a creamy blend of cheese, milk, and eggs before baking until firm and golden. The result is a firmer texture compared to the creamier consistency of traditional mac and cheese. This highlights the unique characteristics of macaroni pie in Caribbean cuisine, offering a satisfying and hearty dish that is perfect for special occasions and family gatherings.

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make Caribbean macaroni pie.

See the full list of ingredients and the quantities listed below in the recipe card.

This recipe can vary from family to family. There are numerous add-ins people use to up the flavor as they feel like it.

Main ingredients

  • Pasta - I grew up using macaroni as the type of pasta to be used for pie, but over time we have started to incorporate elbow macaroni into the mix
  • Cheese - I like my pie with lots of cheese. There are no rules for the types of cheese to use. It can be one type or a mix of cheeses. I love using sharp cheddar cheese but see the notes below for my thoughts on other cheese types.

Additional Add-ins:

If you want to make it the ultimate macaroni pie, here are a few suggestions for add-ins to make this epic:

  • Seasonings: Dill, garlic powder, onion powder,
  • Herbs: Chive, pimento peppers, fresh thyme.
  • Vegetables: Onions, Grated carrots, pimento peppers,
  • Condiments: Ketchup, prepared mustard (dijon or yellow mustard), breadcrumbs
  • Soups: Cream of mushroom soup (use this instead of the milk).

How to make macaroni pie

Making this Caribbean version of baked macaroni and cheese is pretty easy.

Grease your baking dish and set aside.

Set your pasta to boil on a medium-high heat in a large pot of lightly salted water with a little oil. Follow the package directions on the box. Boil the pasta until al dente.

Start with beating your eggs in a bowl with the milk. Add in your seasonings: mustard, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, etc. All the things that would mix easily with milk. If you are using a lot of powdered elements like thyme, chive, dill, and garlic powder, then you can add those after you add the milk to the pasta. When the pasta is al dente, strain and put the pasta back into the pot and put on the stove on low heat.

Once the pasta is done, strain and discard the water used and place the pasta in a large dish. Pour the egg mixture over the cooked pasta and give it a good stir to combine it well. Add in all seasonings now if you have any left.

Now mix in your grated cheese (holding back about 1/2 cup to put on top).

Pour the macaroni mixture into your prepared baking dish. Then cover the pie with the remaining cheese or if you want to use breadcrumbs also, mix and sprinkle.

Cover with tin foil and bake for about 30 minutes in the preheated oven. It's best to place it on the middle rack. After that time, remove the foil and continue to bake until golden brown.

Macaroni pie before it's placed in the oven topped with cheese.

Remove from the oven and let it cool. If you try to cut it when it's too hot it will be difficult to slice with all the cheese.


There are several variations and substitutions for the traditional ingredients used in Caribbean macaroni pie. Instead of using the traditional elbow macaroni, you can try using penne, rigatoni, or any other tubular pasta for a different texture. For the cheese, you can substitute the usual cheddar with gouda, mozzarella, or a combination of cheeses to add a unique flavor to the dish.

In terms of seasonings, you can replace the traditional mustard and paprika with cayenne pepper for a spicier kick, or add some dried herbs for a more savory flavor.

These substitutions can have a significant impact on the overall flavor and texture of the macaroni pie. For example, using a different type of pasta can result in a firmer or chewier texture, while changing the cheese can alter the creaminess and tanginess of the dish.

Similarly, swapping out the traditional seasonings can lead to a completely different taste profile, adding a new depth of flavor to this classic Trinidadian dish. Overall, these variations and substitutions allow for a personalized and unique twist on the traditional macaroni pie.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you store macaroni pie?

Leftover macaroni pie can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-5 days in an airtight container. For longer storage, it can be kept in the freezer for up to 1-2 months. To properly store portions in the freezer, wrap individual servings in plastic wrap and then place them in a freezer-safe container or Ziploc bag to prevent freezer burn.

When reheating the pie from the fridge, simply place the desired portion in a microwave-safe dish and heat it in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until heated through. Alternatively, it can be reheated in the oven at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, covered with tin foil to prevent drying out.

If reheating from frozen, let the portion thaw in the fridge overnight. Then follow the same reheating instructions as above. This will ensure that the macaroni pie retains its texture and flavor when reheated.

Properly storing and reheating leftover macaroni pie will help maintain its quality and deliciousness for future enjoyment.

Baked macaroni pie, sliced and seeing the break down of the macaroni.

The best type of pasta to use

For macaroni pie is elbows or macaroni. The small, curved shape of elbows or traditional macaroni allows for the perfect combination of pasta, cheese, and other ingredients in every bite. The hollow center of the elbows also helps them hold onto the creamy sauce, making for a delectable and satisfying dish.

While elbows or macaroni are the preferred choices for macaroni pie, full-length macaroni can also be used for a slightly different texture. Additionally, any shape of pasta can be used for the macaroni pie if preferred, such as penne, rigatoni, or shells. However, the traditional and most recommended type of pasta for this classic dish remains elbows or macaroni due to their perfect size and shape for holding the cheesy goodness of the pie.

While any shape of pasta can be used for macaroni pie, the best type to use is elbows or macaroni. Their size, shape, and ability to hold onto the creamy sauce make them the ideal choice for creating a delicious and comforting macaroni pie.

The best cheese to use

If I were to make a delicious macaroni pie, I would prefer to use the following top 3 creamy, full-flavored cheese brands:

  1. Tillamook
  2. Cabot
  3. New Zealand

It's important to use block cheese instead of pre-shredded cheese because pre-shredded cheese often contains added anti-caking agents that can affect the texture and flavor of the cheese. Block cheese, on the other hand, allows for better control over the size of the cheese shreds and prevents the cheese from drying out.

Using the right cheese is crucial for the overall taste and texture of the macaroni pie. Creamy, full-flavored block cheese melts better and creates a smooth, creamy sauce for the pie. The richness and depth of flavor also elevate the dish, making it more satisfying and delicious. Additionally, block cheese ensures that there are no added ingredients or preservatives that can detract from the pure, natural taste of the cheese.

Sliced Caribbean macaroni pie in a dish with a slice on a plate and a whole roasted chicken.

What to eat with mac pie

Macaroni pie is a classic Caribbean favorite. It's the star of Sunday dinners. It can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a variety of complementary dishes. When served alongside stewed meat, the creamy texture of the macaroni pie perfectly complements the savory flavors of the meat.

For a flavorful combination, consider serving macaroni pie with some stew chicken alongside some lentils and fresh garden salad. Or also works great with some roasted orange ginger chicken, as the citrusy and spicy notes of these dishes balance out the richness of the macaroni pie.

Whether served as a standalone dish or as part of a larger meal, macaroni pie is a comforting and satisfying dish that can be enjoyed by all.

Here are some other Caribbean dishes with pasta:

Check out some great side dishes: