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A red casserole dish filled to the brim with baked macaroni

6 Cheesy Baked Macaroni Styles Around the World

The combo of savory, salty, gooey cheese and pasta noodles creates nostalgia for people worldwide. Though the choice of pasta noodles, cheeses, and other ingredients vary depending on location, the basic dish: baked macaroni, is one of the most loved comfort food on the planet.

Here are some exciting versions of macaroni pasta dishes. Check out some of the eyebrow-raising variations on the list.


A plate of alpine macaroni garnished with bacon bits and served with a side of apple sauce

Älplermagronen or alpine macaroni is the Swiss version of mac and cheese. But that’s not all there is to this unique dish. Aside from the cubed potatoes, this baked macaroni and cheese dish is served over applesauce or on the side. Enjoy topped with crispy bacon and caramelized onions.

Tip: Gruyère and Emmentaler cheese are commonly used in recipes. You can swap them out for cheddar instead.

Macaroni Panggang

A slice of macaroni panggang next to an entire pan garnished with parsley

Macaroni panggang or makaroni schotel is an Indonesian casserole with Dutch roots. The secret is in the creamy bechamel sauce, which contains a hint of nutmeg. This addition lends a warm and nutty taste that helps elevate a baked macaroni dish. The Indonesian way of enjoying the dish is with a side of chili or sambal sauce. Sausage, corned beef, various meats, and cheddar are part of the ingredient list. Enhance the beefy flavor further by adding a Knorr Beef Cube bouillon.

Tip: Makaroni schotel is baked until set. To achieve a firm casserole, opt for small macaroni noodles.

Stuffed Pasta Shells

A pan of stuffed pasta shell noodles baked in red meat sauce

Stuffed pasta shells are a traditional part of Italian cuisine. Great for weekend brunch, these giant shells are filled with a combination of ricotta cheese and meat sauce. The pasta shells are covered with sauce and baked for at least 20 minutes. Aside from red, white sauce for baked mac also works great with the dish. Serve with grated parmesan or mozzarella.

Tip: Undercook shells by two minutes because the pasta will continue to cook when you bake the dish in the oven.

Cheesy Baked Mac

Baked macaroni with bechamel sauce in a glass baking dish, garnished with basil leaves

Baked mac contains the same ingredients as spaghetti with a few minor differences. Combine the tomato meat base, ground meat, bell peppers, onions, tomato sauce, and Knorr Beef Cube. Mix in the elbow macaroni. Assemble by layering the pasta and the bechamel sauce. It is topped with cheese and then baked. The result is an extra creamy baked pasta recipe.

Tip: Allow the pasta to set a little after it bakes before slicing. Doing this ensures cleaner slices.

Baked Ziti

A serving of baked ziti with basil leaves for garnish

Hefty doesn’t begin to describe baked ziti. A dish with a Neapolitan-style tomato base, ziti recipes have ingredients like sausages, ground meat, peppers, onions, and mushrooms. It is then topped with mozzarella cheese before it is baked in the oven. Other than ziti, rigatoni or penne can work as substitutes.

Tip: You can easily make the dish vegetarian by omitting animal proteins.


A thick slice of kugel topped with crushed graham crackers and cinnamon powder

A unique entry to the list is the kugel. Kugel is a custard dish made with eggs, cottage cheese, milk, raisins, sugar, cinnamon, and noodles. Unlike other baked macaroni recipes, this version is traditionally served during Jewish holidays. According to belief, eating this noodle pudding during the Jewish Sabbath brings spiritual blessings.

Tip: Kugel casserole can be made 2 days ahead of time. You can reheat it for 15 minutes before serving.

Eating a healthy diet is about maintaining a good balance and ensuring that your meals contain essential elements of the food pyramid. Baked macaroni casseroles are a good source of energy and protein. If you pick your ingredients right, you can level up the vitamins and nutrients in the pasta dish. More importantly, many recipes can be prepared with ease, even by busy moms.

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