Last Updated on May 30, 2021 by Bianka
Haitian Mac and Cheese is the tropical version of classic mac and cheese! It’s made with sauteed bell peppers and onions and it’s just as cheesy and comforting! Pop it in the oven for 20 minutes to get that delicious crispy golden crust on top and dig in! This delicious Haitian dish is perfect as a comforting dinner or as a fun Holiday side dish.
Haitian Mac and Cheese
Today I’m sharing with you this Haitian Mac and Cheese recipe! 🙂
This dish is also known as “Haitian Macaroni au Gratin” or “Haitian Macawoni au Gratin”.
It’s basically the tropical version of baked mac and cheese: it features sauteed onions, garlic, bell peppers, mayonnaise and it’s extra cheesy and creamy with a classic crispy golden crust on top!
I love this as a side during spring and summer because of the peppers but it works for pretty much any occasion where you might need a good pasta bake recipe! You can also double or triple this recipe for birthdays, parties, or the Holiday season!
Let’s get started!
Ingredients for Haitian Mac and Cheese
You’ll find the full recipe + ingredients in the recipe card down below but this is what you’ll need:
- Pasta. The authentic version of this dish uses rigatoni or penne pasta so I recommend using one of those to keep it traditional but of course, elbow macaroni, rotini, or other shapes will work too!
- Onions. Both sweet and red onion will work for this recipe, I personally like using red onion because it adds even more flavor to the dish!
- Garlic. Use fresh garlic for best flavor.
- Peppers. I recommend using a mix of red bell peppers: red + green or red + yellow. I used red and yellow for this recipe but it totally depends on what kind of peppers I can find at the store so feel free to use your favorite combo.
- Evaporated milk. This is a key ingredient in this recipe! I recommend using Nestle Carnation milk but you can also make your own evaporated milk at home (instructions in the recipe card down below). Please do not substitute this ingredient. And please do not confuse evaporated milk with condensed milk!
- Mayonnaise. Some people like to leave it out entirely but I personally think it adds even more flavor to this delicious dish so I like to add it 🙂 .
- Cheese. Use Gouda cheese for this recipe! Cheddar will work too if you can’t get your hands on Gouda cheese but I recommend sticking to Gouda if possible.
- Salt and pepper.
How to make Haitian Mac and Cheese
You’ll find the full recipe with step-by-step instructions in the recipe card down below but this is what to expect:
- Sautee the veggies. Do this first and then set them aside for later use!
- Cook the pasta. When it comes to pasta bakes, Haitians like to cook the pasta until soft while Italians like to cook it until al dente. Generally, Haitians want their pasta extra soft and that’s why they fully cook it before popping it in the oven. If you like your pasta with a bit more structure, definitely cook it until al dente.
- Combine the ingredients. This is what makes this recipe so effortlessly easy: just mix together the milk, mayo, cheese, pasta, and veggies and that’s a wrap! No need to prepare a sauce or anything fancy.
- Bake until golden on top and serve. I personally like to top this dish off with fresh oregano leaves and freshly cracked pepper!
1 tip for success
Shred your own cheese! I know, shredding cheese is annoying but there’s a reason behind it. Pre-shredded cheese is coated in starchy and possibly chemical substances to keep it from clumping up in the bag. Those substances will also prevent it from melting beautifully!
Can I make mac and cheese in advance?
No, sorry. This is one of those recipes that are best eaten as they’re made!
You want this pasta bake to be cheesy and gooey, making it in advance would result in a drier version.
How do you store mac and cheese?
Store any leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days
To reheat, simply add a dash of milk or cream to the pasta and heat it in the microwave or on the stovetop, stirring often, until hot.
HAPPY COOKING LOVES!! I hope you’ll love this delicious Haitian Macaroni au Gratin recipe as much as I do!
PS: Please leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating ⭐️ if you make it! Your comments make my day!! You can also tag me on Instagram @itsdamnspicy 🌈💘
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Haitian Mac and Cheese
- 8 oz (226 g) pasta penne or rigatoni
- 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp finely chopped onion
- 1/3 cup sliced red and yellow bell peppers red and green will work too
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- 6 oz (170 g) evaporated milk like Nestle Carnation or homemade* (see notes)
- 1/4 cup (57 g) mayonnaise room temperature
- 3/4 cups (85 g) shredded Gouda cheese plus more for topping, shred your own cheese for best results
- 1/4 cup (22 g) grated Parmesan cheese plus more for topping, shred your own cheese for best results
- Salt and pepper
- Saute the veggies. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once butter is sizzling, add the onions to the skillet and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the peppers and saute for 3-4 minutes or until tender. You can reduce the heat if the onions are cooking too fast. Finally, add the garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a baking dish with butter.
- Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package instructions. Cook until soft or al dente depending on your preference. The authentic version of this dish features fully cooked pasta but if you don't like soft pasta bakes, cook until al dente. Drain, return the pasta to the hot pot, and immediately move onto the next step.
- Assemble the pasta bake. In the same pot, add the prepared veggies, evaporated milk, mayonnaise, Gouda, and parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix until the cheese starts to melt then transfer the pasta to the baking dish. Top with extra shredded Gouda and parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the top is golden. You can also broil the dish for 2-3 minutes for a crispy golden brown top. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
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