Trinidadian Macaroni Pie: A Caribbean Baked Macaroni & Cheese Thanksgiving Side Dish Idea {Recipe}

by Melanie Edwards on November 7, 2016 · 14 comments

in Recipes

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is coming up so soon, and if you’re anything like me, you’re probably starting to prepare by shopping for your Thanksgiving meal ingredients and planning your menu. The great thing is that these days stores have all you need for your Thanksgiving preparations ahead of time! I’m actually going to be sharing a Thanksgiving side dish recipe with you today that is probably not found in many traditional American homes on Thanksgiving. Trinidadian macaroni pie comes from the Caribbean island of Trinidad and is one of my husband’s favorite dishes.

Trinidadian Macaroni Pie Recipe

Macaroni pie from Trinidad is a dish I learned about after marrying my husband. It’s similar to a baked macaroni and cheese, but the creamy cheese sauce and variance in ingredients truly sets it apart from the baked macaroni and cheese you may be used to. After seeing my mother-in-law cook macaroni pie a few times and seeing how much my husband truly loves his Trinidadian macaroni pie, I was determined to learn how to make it. A few years ago, I succeeded in recreating his beloved Trinidadian macaroni pie recipe and he now asks for me to make macaroni pie occasionally, but definitely every Thanksgiving and on special occasions. I hope you enjoy this simple recipe for Trinidadian macaroni pie and come to love it as much as I have!

Trinidadian Macaroni Pie Recipe

Trinidadian Macaroni Pie Recipe Ingredients


  • 1 16 oz box of elbow macaroni pasta
  • salt
  • 2-3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • evaporated milk
  • chicken broth
  • pepper (white or black)
  • 1 lb grated cheese (We like to mix 8 oz each of cheddar and mozzarella cheese, but you can use just one type of cheese or combine whichever cheeses you prefer. You can also use store-bought pre-shredded cheese if you like.)


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Boil water in a large pot, adding salt and macaroni, once boiling.
  3. Cook macaroni to package directions (until al dente) and strain under running cold water. This will help stop the pasta from cooking further, so it won’t get too soft. Set macaroni aside.
  4. Grease a glass baking dish on sides and bottom with a little butter and set aside.
  5. In a medium saucepan, melt 2-3 Tbsp of butter on low heat. Add flour and mix until well-blended, but do not let it brown.
  6. Quickly add evaporated milk and chicken broth alternatively, stirring constantly, until a smooth sauce forms. The amount of each will depend on your taste and how much sauce you want to make.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste and some of the cheese, however much or little you like.
  8. Add about half of the cooked macaroni to your greased baking dish in an even layer.
  9. Pour half of your cheese sauce over the macaroni.
  10. Layer about half of your grated cheese on top.
  11. Repeat the layers of macaroni, then cheese sauce, and more grated cheese.
  12. Bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until golden-brown.

Trinidadian Macaroni Pie Recipe

My kids have truly embraced their father’s Trinidadian heritage in the form of macaroni pie. It helps that my oldest daughter is a super macaroni and cheese fan, so it wasn’t a far leap for her to enjoy macaroni pie from Trinidad. I must note that macaroni pie is not exclusive to Trinidad as it seems other Caribbean islands have their own versions of a baked macaroni and cheese, some calling it macaroni pie and others not. As with anything, recipes and ingredients vary, and even within Trinidadian households, you’ll find variations in the recipe. Some macaroni pie recipes include eggs, and the creaminess of the cheese sauce is left to the individual’s interpretation. In fact, since I don’t have exact measurements when cooking macaroni pie, each time I make it, the consistency of the sauce comes out different, making the macaroni pie creamier sometimes more than others. Either way, my family and particularly my husband, love their macaroni pie and I love that I’m able to bring a traditional Trinidadian food dish to our Thanksgiving meal.

Trinidadian Macaroni Pie Recipe

What Thanksgiving side dishes will you be serving this Thanksgiving?

All photos © Melanie Edwards/modernmami™

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1 Nicol November 25, 2013 at 6:15 pm

How much evaporated milk and chicken broth do you put? Excited to try this out, my dad is from Trinidad!

2 Melanie Edwards November 28, 2013 at 11:16 am

I honestly don’t know, Nicol! I wish I could tell you, but you really have to individually pour each out and judge how much of each you need and taste as you go to make a smooth sauce.

3 Sarah October 26, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Can you at least give us an estimate of how much? Because some of are us are inexperienced so I don’t know wether it need a tablespoon or 10 cups. Just an estimate would be fine and then I could gage it from there.

4 Melanie Edwards October 27, 2014 at 10:50 am

Sarah, it’s definitely not a Tbsp, more like a few cups of each. How much you add depends on how much sauce you want to make. Perhaps start with about 2-3 cups of one, then add the other. Keep alternating until you have enough for how much sauce you want to make and the taste is good.

5 TriniTerry December 21, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Compliments to the recipe owner. Every household in Trinidad has a special recipe and honestly I have never had a bad pie lol…I will try your recipe for Christmas!

Personally, sometimes I do the cheese sauce version…make a roux then add the cheese etc and pour it over the pasta..then other times I use one egg with milk, cheese etc. Some ppl add some use elbow macaroni, some use shells, perciatelli, some even add some ketchup, or some add peppers, or nutmeg….everyone has their special ingredient in the trini version.

The main thing to remember MILK & CHEESE….make it creamy….and most of all make the way your family loves it 🙂

6 Melanie Edwards October 27, 2014 at 10:47 am

Many thanks for the compliments! It’s great to hear all the varieties that are out there. 🙂

7 Paul August 10, 2016 at 1:33 pm

I am thinking to switch the evaporated milk for coconut milk, what do you think?

8 Melanie Edwards August 17, 2016 at 8:31 am

That might work out well and add another layer of flavor! If you try it, please do come back and let me know how it works out! 🙂

9 Edith Tapia November 7, 2016 at 4:54 pm

Mmm… ¡Amo los macarrones con queso! Nada como las fiestas de fin de año para recordar en la cocina nuestros platos tradicionales. ¡Que bueno que lograste aprenderte la receta que ama tu esposo! Y que juntos pueden tener el sabor de Trinidad en su mesa para el día de Gracias. 😀

10 Melanie Edwards November 12, 2016 at 1:09 am

Me encanta que podemos tener sabores tradicionales de nuestras dos islas!

11 Brittany November 8, 2016 at 6:38 am

Oh, my heavens…this looks SO good! It looks like a macaroni and cheese that actually tastes cheesy. Will definitely have to give this a try. After I pop a Lactaid. Hahaaaa!

12 Melanie Edwards November 12, 2016 at 1:11 am

Ha! It’s quite delicious and I am saddened that I myself can no longer enjoy it for myself. 🙁 Will have to look into this Lactaid thing…

13 Fifi November 8, 2016 at 7:24 am

I’m going to make it.

14 Melanie Edwards November 12, 2016 at 1:11 am


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