Macaroni and cheese, a beloved culinary staple, has captured the hearts and palates of food enthusiasts worldwide. Its creamy texture, cheesy indulgence, and nostalgic familiarity make it a universal favorite, transcending cultural boundaries. However, in the vibrant Caribbean island of Jamaica, this iconic dish takes on a unique and tantalizing twist, infusing it with a burst of flavors that celebrate the region’s rich culinary heritage.

A Taste of Authenticity

Jamaican macaroni and cheese, often referred to as “macaroni pie,” is a treasured delicacy that has graced family gatherings, holidays, and Sunday dinners for generations. Unlike its conventional counterparts, this Caribbean rendition boasts a distinct character that sets it apart from the crowd. It’s a culinary journey that transports your taste buds to the sun-kissed shores of Jamaica, where every bite is a celebration of tradition and flavor.

A Melting Pot of Flavors

Jamaican Macaroni and Cheese RecipeThe secret to the irresistible allure of Jamaican macaroni and cheese lies in the harmonious blend of aromatic spices and bold ingredients that dance together in perfect synchronicity. From the fiery kick of Scotch bonnet peppers to the warmth of nutmeg and thyme, each element contributes to a symphony of flavors that tantalize the senses.

The Versatility of a Beloved Classic

Jamaican macaroni and cheese is a versatile masterpiece that can grace any occasion, from casual family gatherings to festive celebrations. Its sliceable, pie-like consistency makes it a perfect accompaniment to a variety of dishes, ensuring that every meal is a delightful adventure.

A Sidekick to Savory Delights

Jamaican Macaroni and Cheese RecipeImagine a succulent, slow-cooked oxtail stew, its rich gravy mingling with the creamy macaroni and cheese, creating a harmonious symphony of flavors. Or perhaps a tangy, spice-rubbed jerk chicken, its smoky aroma complementing the comforting embrace of the cheesy dish. Jamaican macaroni and cheese is a culinary chameleon, effortlessly adapting to the flavors it accompanies, elevating each bite to new heights of gastronomic bliss.

The Importance of Quality Ingredients

As with any culinary masterpiece, the quality of the ingredients plays a crucial role in the final outcome. Seek out the finest cheddar cheese, preferably a blend of mild and sharp varieties, to achieve the perfect balance of creaminess and tang. Opt for high-quality evaporated milk, which lends a richness and depth that cannot be replicated by any substitute.

The Art of Seasoning

Seasoning is the secret weapon that transforms ordinary macaroni and cheese into a Jamaican masterpiece. The judicious use of aromatic spices, such as nutmeg and thyme, infuses the dish with a warmth and complexity that captivates the senses. The Scotch bonnet pepper, a fiery Caribbean gem, adds a delightful kick that lingers pleasantly on the palate, leaving you craving more.

The Importance of Technique

Jamaican Macaroni and Cheese RecipeWhile the ingredients play a vital role, the technique employed in preparing Jamaican macaroni and cheese is equally crucial. From perfectly cooking the macaroni to ensure an al dente texture to gently folding in the cheese to prevent separation, each step is a carefully choreographed dance that ultimately determines the dish’s success.

The Recipe

At last, we unveil the culinary treasure that has captivated hearts and palates across generations: the authentic recipe for Jamaican macaroni and cheese. This cherished dish is a labor of love, a harmonious blend of aromatic spices, creamy indulgence, and a touch of fiery heat that ignites the senses.


  • 450 grams (1 lb) dried macaroni or another tube-shaped pasta
  • 2 tsp salt (for boiling the pasta)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small Scotch bonnet pepper, minced
  • 2 cans (354 ml each) evaporated milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and lightly grease a 9×16-inch baking tray. Set it aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and cook the pasta until it’s al dente (slightly undercooked by 1-2 minutes, ensuring a tender yet firm texture). Drain the macaroni and rinse it with cool water to halt the cooking process. Return the pasta to the same pot.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Sauté the chopped onion for 1-2 minutes, then add the minced garlic and Scotch bonnet pepper. Continue cooking for an additional minute, allowing the flavors to meld.
  4. Pour the aromatic onion mixture into the pot with the cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
  5. In a separate bowl or measuring jar, whisk together the evaporated milk, eggs, Dijon mustard, smoked paprika, nutmeg, salt, and black pepper until well-blended.
  6. Pour the milk mixture over the macaroni and stir until the pasta is thoroughly coated.
  7. Sprinkle in 3 cups of the grated cheese (reserving 1 cup for the topping), and gently fold it into the macaroni mixture until everything is evenly incorporated.
  8. Transfer the cheesy macaroni mixture to the prepared baking dish, spreading it evenly. Top with the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbling.
  10. If you find the macaroni pie browning too quickly, loosely cover it with foil during baking, and remove the foil for the last 10 minutes to allow the top to achieve a beautiful golden crust.
  11. Once baked to perfection, remove the Jamaican macaroni and cheese from the oven and let it cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Serving SuggestionsJamaican Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

  • Serve the Jamaican macaroni and cheese as a delightful side dish alongside slow-cooked oxtail stew, jerk chicken, or grilled fish.
  • For a heartier meal, pair it with a fresh garden salad or roasted vegetables.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped scallions or diced bell peppers for an added burst of color and flavor.

Storing and ReheatingJamaican Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

  • Leftover Jamaican macaroni and cheese can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To reheat, place individual portions in a microwave-safe dish and heat in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until heated through.
  • Alternatively, you can reheat larger portions in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the desired temperature is reached.

Ending WordsJamaican Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

So, gather your loved ones, embrace the spirit of community, and embark on a flavorful journey through the vibrant culinary landscape of Jamaica. Let this cherished dish be the centerpiece of your next gathering, a testament to the enduring legacy of a culture that has captured the hearts and palates of food enthusiasts worldwide.

For recommendations on some of the best times to visit Jamaica, you can check out our guide here.

If you’re traveling to Jamaica alone, ensure you take all the necessary measures to keep safe. Read about how you can stay safe while visiting Jamaica. If you decide to visit any resort, be sure to tag us in your photos and videos @resortcaribbean, and follow our socials: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube.



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