Macaroni cheese is a staple comfort dish and for good reason. We love its crispy golden exterior, breaking away to reveal piping hot macaroni baked in a velvety and gooey cheesy sauce.

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It is widely believed that macaroni cheese was popularised by former US president Thomas Jefferson, who encountered the dish in France and northern Italy in the late 1700s and, in turn, brought it to America. It wasn't however until the late 1930s, during The Great Depression, when boxed versions became available and started flying off shelves, providing families with a cheap dinner alternative.

Fast forward to the present day, and homemade macaroni cheese is considered a dinner staple in kitchens all over the world. To celebrate all things macaroni cheese we've listed our popular twists on the classic, meaning you can enjoy cheesy pasta perfection while experimenting with new and exciting flavour combinations.

See our recipe for a classic macaroni cheese, then discover our exciting twists below. You can also check out more of our comforting macaroni cheese recipes.

1. Fish pie mac ’n’ cheese

Baking dish of fish pie mac and cheese with a chunk missing in the top left corner

A cross between macaroni cheese and fish pie, this popular hybrid makes for a crowdpleasing and filling family dinner. The dish freezes well, so you can make ahead if you like for busy weeknights.

Get ahead in a busy week with our freezable recipes, including pies, curries, stews and soups.

2. Greek lamb & macaroni bake

Greek lamb & macaroni bake in a baking dish next to a stack of plates and cutlery

Combine moussaka with macaroni cheese and what do you get? You get this thrifty, Mediterranean-inspired pasta bake, baked until golden, bubbling and piping hot.

Try our classic moussaka recipe, or see more bubbling pasta bakes for hit dinners.

3. Macaroni cheese lasagne

Macaroni cheese lasagne

Combining two of our favourite comfort food dishes, this macaroni cheese lasagne hybrid is an instant crowdpleaser. Serving six-eight, it's a great way to feed the whole family, with any leftovers perfect for next day's lunch. And who knows, the family may prefer it to the classic!

Find more lasagne dishes with our collection of lasagne recipes, vegetarian lasagne recipes and healthy lasagne recipes.

4. Macaroni cheese with bacon

Macaroni cheese topped with bacon and pine nuts in a white baking dish

A real keeper of a recipe – you don't get more comforting than a cheesy macaroni bake finished with a crunchy layer of pine nuts and salty bacon pieces. Serve to family or friends with a crispy green salad, and there will be clean plates all round.

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Discover more bacon pasta recipes for hearty family dinners.

5. Cheeseboard macaroni cheese

Cheeseboard macaroni cheese in an oval shaped baking dish

Throw any leftover cheese lurking in the fridge into this super creamy macaroni cheese. We used Cheshire, cheddar and camembert, plus extra hard cheese for the topping.

Browse our collection of cheesy pasta recipes for more comforting weeknight dinners.

6. Green bean mac ’n’ cheese

Green bean mac ’n’ cheese

Boost your macaroni cheese while upping your veg intake by adding runner and green beans into the mix. Top with pumpkin seeds for added crunch and serve with a peppery rocket and watercress salad.

Discover more veg-packed bakes in our vegetarian pasta bake collection.

7. Truffled macaroni & smoked haddock bake

Truffled macaroni & smoked haddock bake in a baking dish

Round out this cheesy pasta classic with a moreish combination of smoked haddock and truffle. If you're hosting, you can assemble the night before and finish in the oven the next day.

See more winning fish suppers with our smoked haddock recipes and mixed fish recipes.

8. Southern-style mac ‘n’ cheese

Southern-style mac ‘n’ cheese in a gratin dish with a spoon digging into it

Take macaroni cheese to new heights by adding roasted sweet potato and pepping up with a pinch of cayenne. It also features American mustard and a generous grating of nutmeg.

Find more American-inspired dishes here, featuring our version of American sloppy joes.

9. Vegan mac and cheese

Baking dish of mac and cheese with a portion missing served on a plate to the left

Macaroni cheese gets a vegan makeover so everyone at the table can enjoy. The recipe is quick and easy to make, so it's a great midweek meal for the family.

Dive into more vegan pasta recipes, including our vegan carbonara and vegan bolognese.

10. Macaroni cheese with crunch crumb

Macaroni cheese with crunch crumb in an oval baking dish on a black backdrop

We've upped the ante by topping macaroni with a golden crunch crumb – simply drape over pancetta slices and scatter with the cheddar, bread cubes and spring onions. It's macaroni cheese, made even more comforting.

Achieve golden, bubbling pasta perfection with these top 20 pasta bake recipes and freezable pasta bakes.

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Enjoyed this? Discover more classic recipes with a twist…

10 twists on fish pie
10 twists on classic carbonara
10 twists on chocolate chip cookies
10 twists on cinnamon buns

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