MasterChef Mac’n’Cheese


Mac’n’Cheese is a truly global comfort food, and now a regular staple of food trucks and festivals. This is one of those recipes that can be twisted and turned almost infinitely to suit your taste. This just happens to be my version, as it’s a variation of what I grew up on.

Serves: 4
Time: 30 minutes


    • 350g short macaroni
    • 8 rashers smoked streaky bacon (optional)
    • 60g butter
    • 60g plain flour
    • 800ml milk (I use semi-skimmed, but any will do)
    • a dash of Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 teaspoon English mustard
    • 350g extra-mature Cheddar cheese, grated
    • freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil and tip in the macaroni, stirring well to ensure it doesn’t clump. Boil until just tender but with plenty of bite, then drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, grill the bacon until crisp, if using. Chop it into snippets and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan set over a medium heat, then add the flour and stir thoroughly over the heat for a minute until you have a smooth roux. Reduce the heat to low and gradually add the milk, whisking constantly until you have dispersed the roux through the milk.

Turn the heat back up to medium and bring to a steady simmer, stirring all the time, until thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Taste a little on the end of a teaspoon – it shouldn’t taste floury at all; if it does, cook for another minute or so. Turn off the heat and stir through the Worcestershire sauce and mustard, and a generous grind of black pepper.

Sprinkle in about three-quarters of the cheese, stirring until it has melted, then add the cooked macaroni and bacon snippets, and stir to combine.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan. Spoon the macaroni into a baking dish and sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Bake in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes, until the top is golden and bubbling. Serve immediately.


Feel free to put your own twist on your Mac’n’Cheese using the following ideas for inspiration. Purists may complain, but this is your dinner, so add whatever takes your fancy.

    • Cubed mozzarella sprinkled on top adds a lovely stringy stretch once baked; grated Parmesan adds extra punch, or try smoked Cheddar or Stilton – whatever’s your favourite.
    • A handful of fresh breadcrumbs sprinkled over the cheese topping adds extra crunch.
    • A few tomato slices under the cheese topping add extra colour (and a few vitamins!).
    • Replace the bacon with crisp-fried chorizo or chopped cooked sausage, or a little leftover pulled pork or baked ham.
    • Add a handful of cooked vegies, such as peas, broccoli or cauliflower.
    • Give it an Italian twist with a dollop of pesto, or a handful of torn basil and a few chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

Recipe taken from MasterChef: Street Food of the World by Genevieve Taylor.

Do you have a favourite ‘twist’ to Mac’n’Cheese? Why not share it in the comments section below?

Also read: Cheese and Bacon Muffins

Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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