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The best macaroni cheese

The best macaroni cheese

Martha Collison's version is creamy and strong in cheese flavour, but not too intense. A salad on the side makes a great accompaniment.

4 out of 5 stars(8) Rate this recipe
  • Serves6
  • CourseMain meal
  • Prepare15 mins
  • Cook15 mins
  • Total time30 mins

Please note, we take every care to ensure the product, allergen and recipe information displayed is correct. However, should a product be unavailable, alternatives may be displayed and/or a substitution provided. If you have an allergy or intolerance, please always check the product label before use.


  • 350g De Cecco Chifferi Rigati, or similar pasta

For the cheese sauce

  • 75g butter
  • 60g plain flour
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp Cooks’ Ingredients Garlic Granules
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 170g can Essential Evaporated Milk
  • 150g Cheddar, grated
  • 150g Red Leicester, grated
  • 100g Gruyère, grated


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 ºC, gas mark 6. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a big pinch of salt. Add the pasta and cook for 1 minute less than pack instructions (it will continue to cook in the oven later). Drain and set aside.

  2. While the pasta cooks, make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Once melted, add the flour and stir until a thick paste forms. Cook the mixture for 1 minute, stirring constantly, to cook the flour out. Add the paprika, mustard powder, garlic granules and pepper, then stir again.

  3. Gradually add the milk, little by little, until the sauce is completely smooth. Once bubbling, stir in the evaporated milk and add ¾ of all the grated cheese. Mix well until the cheese has melted, then drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Tip into a large ovenproof dish and top with the remaining cheese.

  4. Bake for 10 minutes, then switch the oven to grill and cook for 5 minutes more, or until the cheese on top is bubbling and golden. Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving.

Cook’s tip

Evaporated milk adds a rich creaminess and sweetness that you’ll love. Make sure it’s evaporated rather than condensed milk.

Don’t use pre-grated cheese, which contains starch to stop the pieces sticking together, as this will affect the texture of your sauce. Use any pasta you have for this recipe.

I recommend something hollow, such as macaroni, penne or conchiglie, so the holes get filled with sauce.

For when you can’t wait. Serve the macaroni cheese straight out of the pan, adding all the cheese. Top each portion with a spoonful of soured cream, fresh green pesto with basil and 1-2 slices crispy fried pancetta.

Cook a 495g pack of Waitrose Slow Cooked Turkey Thigh with Turkey Gravy, according to pack instructions, then shred (use the pouch of gravy in another recipe). Fold through the macaroni cheese before transferring to the ovenproof dish. Dollop 6 tsp cranberry sauce over the top, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and 2 tbsp Cooks’ Ingredients Rosemary & Garlic Crust, before baking as per method.


Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe


3,026kJ/ 724kcals



Saturated Fat












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