Easy Scottish Macaroni Pie Recipe

by Phil Bolger
Scottish Macaroni Pie Recipe

The origins of the Scottish Macaroni pie are somewhat of a mystery, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a recipe that’s regarded as anything less than intrinsically Scottish. No one knows quite the when or where the Macaroni pie was invented, at best it seems to be a happy accident and what an accident it is! The why though is obvious, it’s cheesy and crumbly and delicious!

There are other versions of Macaroni pies made around the world, most notably in the Caribbean, but the Scottish Macaroni pie is different because it uses a pastry case, the same as a Scotch pie but without the lid.

Thankfully the mash-up of a Scotch pie case filled with tasty Macaroni cheese, best made with a strong Scottish cheddar, is one that can be found across the country in bakeries, supermarkets, corner shops and cafes. 

At one point even the high street bakery Greggs sold them before they were discontinued in 2015, much to the outrage of the people of Scotland! This led to a nation-wide petition for their return that was even signed by prominent politicians. Alas, it wasn’t to be. 

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Making your own Scottish Macaroni Pie

But what about making your own Macaroni pie then? We had a bit of a hunt around for some Scottish Macaroni pie recipes, and we didn’t have too much luck. Having found success with making our own traditional Scotch Pies however, we decided we could adapt that and make our own.

There’s something about a homemade Macaroni pie that just tastes better! You can make the macaroni filling to your own taste and add all sorts of variations if you want to as well.

The joy of a Macaroni pie, like the Scotch Pie, is that you can eat it on the go hot or cold and the filling doesn’t spill everywhere when you bite into it. It’s perfect with nearly any sauce and you can make your macaroni to taste. 

So we set about creating the perfect mac and cheese filling for our pies and even incorporated a variation or two for those looking for something a bit different. Hint: Haggis is involved. 

Scottish Macaroni Pie Recipe - Pie on plate with pie tins in background, and glasses of water

Things you’ll need to make this Scottish Macaroni Pie Recipe

  • Small tins or something to mould the cases (about 10cm width)
  • Rolling pin
  • Small pot/pan
  • Large bowl

We use these tins by Jamie Oliver to make our Scotch pies and they’re excellent, plus they’re really handy if you want to make small cakes or cheesecakes too! 

If you’re using jars/glasses to mould your pie cases instead then you may also need some baking paper and string to tie around them to help them hold their shape in the oven. 

Macaroni Scotch Pie Recipe with pie on plate and tins in background

Ingredients for Scottish Macaroni Pies

The recipe has two parts, the pastry and the filling. 

  • Hot Water Pastry
  • 250g plain flour (2 cups)
  • 100g lard (1/2 cup)
  • 120ml water (1/2 cup)

Lard is animal fat that may not be the nicest thing to cook with but it’s what is used for hot water pastry. 

If you’re looking for a vegetarian substitute then you could try a combination of vegetable shortening and butter. 

For a vegan scotch pie recipe, you’ll need to use just vegetable shortening. You might need to adjust the amount of flour, so keep extra on hand just in case the mixture feels too wet. We haven’t tried it this way yet but plan to do so!

Scotch macaroni Pie Recipe - Pies on tray and one cut on mat

Macaroni Filling

  • 250g macaroni (2 cups)
  • 55g butter (1/4 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour (23g)
  • 500ml milk (2 cups)
  • 200g grated cheese – ideally a Scottish mature cheddar (2 1/2 cups)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A little extra grated cheese for the top of the pies
  • 2 tsp mild or Dijon mustard – optional

The macaroni and cheese filling above is how we make ours, but of course, you’re welcome to make your own. The above recipe was enough to fill our 4 pie tins and have some leftover for our little one to eat for lunch. If you’re making macaroni and cheese from scratch then you might as well make extra! 

Scottish Macaroni Pie on cloth with pies in the background

How to make Scottish Macaroni Pies – Step by step method

The first part of the recipe is the same as our traditional Scotch pies.

Hot Water Pastry

First, you’ll need to make the hot water pastry so that it can set while you make the macaroni and cheese. We allowed ours to rest overnight which is a great option if you’re short on time or have a little one to manage! 

Lightly oil the pie tins or jam jars/glasses. You can also cover the jars/glasses in cling film to stop the pastry sticking.

Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle. 

Cut the lard into small cubes and add to a pot of hot but not boiling water. You don’t want it to boil so keep an eye on it and keep stirring. 

When the lard has melted pour the mixture into the flour well and mix together with a wooden spoon. Turn it out onto a well-floured surface and knead a little.

As the hot water pastry cools it becomes harder to manage so you need to work reasonably quickly, but it will also be quite hot to touch at first! You may need to add a little more flour to the mixture is a little sticky.

Divide the pastry into even balls, the amount of these depends on the size of the tins or jars/glasses you plan to use. We made four good-sized pies and had pastry to spare.

Pie Tins:

Roll each ball our to about 5mm depth and about 20cm width and put in the lightly oiled pie tins. Be sure to press right down into the corner. You can then run a knife along the top edge of the tin removing any excess pastry, this will give you a smooth edge to the top of the crust. 

We ended up having a little leftover pastry which we then put on the bottom of a jam jar for an extra small pie.

Glasses/Jars:

Roll out the pastry as above, but then put over the bottom of the greased/cling filmed jar or glass. Mould the pastry to fit the jar and then cut around for a smooth top to the pastry. 

Put all of the pastry in the fridge to harden. You only need around 30 minutes but can also leave them overnight if you want to. 

Macaroni and Cheese Filling

Next, you’ll need to make the macaroni and cheese. 

Put the macaroni in a large pot with water and boil for around 8-10 minutes until just cooked. Drain and set aside in the pot once it’s done.

Meanwhile, take another pot on the stove and melt the butter. Add in the flour and continue to stir the mixture until it starts to froth up. It takes around a minute. A whisk is easiest for this. 

Remove from the heat and slowly add in the milk while still stirring. Return to the heat and bring to the boil while continuously stirring so it doesn’t stick. 

The mixture should start to thicken, you can then turn down to simmer and add the cheese.  Keep stirring the whole time so it doesn’t go lumpy!

Pour over the sauce over the cooked macaroni in the pot and stir. You can now season with salt and pepper to taste and add mustard if you like for some extra flavour. Taste the mixture and adjust to suit you and your family!

Now you can take the pie casings out of the fridge. If they’re on jars/glasses you’ll need to work them off gently before the next step.

Fill the cases with the macaroni cheese. You can squish it down gently with a spoon so that it’s fairly compact. You don’t need to fill the cases right to the top but close to it. 

Once you’re happy with your filling sprinkle over a little grated cheese across the top of your pie. 

Tie baking paper and string around cases, not in tins, and then put them in the oven for approximately 30 minutes. They may need a little less or longer depending on the size. The pastry should be a nice golden brown colour and the cheese on the top just browning like a good cheese on toast! 

Variations on the Scottish Macaroni Pie

You can really do whatever you like to make these Scottish macaroni pies your own. 

Chilli

We love chilli mac and cheese, so have also made these pies with a little bit of added chilli spice. We sprinkled a good pinch chilli flakes into the mac and cheese mix during the cooking which provided the perfect amount of heat.

Bacon

Who doesn’t like a little bacon added to any dish?! We often add pre-cooked lardons, or crisply cooked bacon cubed, to the mac and cheese mix and even add some to the top with the sprinkle of cheese. Delicious! 

Haggis

Macaroni and cheese with haggis? Sounds a bit weird but it’s so good! You can use meat or vegetarian haggis. We added haggis to a couple of ours too. We used Macsween’s Original haggis, they’re an excellent family run business that makes fantastic haggis, they also do delicious veggie and gluten-free versions!

If you’re outside of the UK then you may need to use a vegetarian version.

We pre-cooked the haggis then packed around a centimetre in the bottom with a spoon before piling the macaroni and cheese on top. 

Haggis Scottish Macaroni Pie - Macaroni and cheese pie with haggis recipe

Tomato

Some people like tomato in or on top of their macaroni and cheese. If that’s you, then you can add it to the pie as well of course!

Do you eat a Macaroni Pie hot or cold?

A Scotch Pie is meant to be eaten either hot or cold, and a Macaroni Pie is no different. That’s why they’re so great! You can eat it straight out of the oven as a proper meal with sides, or pack it up for a hearty picnic lunch. 

Can I use instant macaroni and cheese?

Technically you could if you want, but we think the homemade macaroni is much better! Plus it means you can adjust the cheese you use (ideally Scottish for that extra Alba touch).

Scottish macaroni and cheese pie recipe
Yield: 4

Easy Scottish Macaroni Pies

Scottish Macaroni Pie Recipe

These delicious Scottish Macaroni Pies are loved throughout Scotland! Creamy macaroni and cheese fills a tasty pastry case, its easy to make and even easier to eat!

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

Hot Water Pastry

  • 120ml water (1/2 cup)
  • 100g lard (1/2 cup) 
  • 250g plain flour (2 cups) 

Macaroni Filling

  • 250g macaroni (2 cups)
  • 55g butter (1/4 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour (23g)
  • 500ml milk (2 cups)
  • 200g grated cheese - ideally a Scottish mature cheddar (2 1/2 cups)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A little extra grated cheese for the top of the pies
  • 2 tsp mild or Dijon mustard - optional

Instructions

Hot Water Pastry

  1. Lightly oil the pie tins or jam jars/glasses. You can also cover the jars/glasses in cling film to stop the pastry sticking.
  2. Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle. 
  3. Cut the lard into small cubes and add to a pot of hot but not boiling water. You don't want it to boil so keep an eye on it and keep stirring. 
  4. When the lard has melted pour the mixture into the flour well and mix together with a wooden spoon. Turn it out onto a well-floured surface and knead a little, adding extra flour if it's sticky. You'll need to work reasonably quickly as the pastry cools.
  5. Divide the pastry into even balls, the amount of these depends on the size of the tins or jars/glasses you plan to use. We made four good-sized pies and had pastry to spare.
  6. For pie tins, roll each ball our to about 5mm depth and about 20cm width and put in the pie tins. Run a knife along the top edge of the tin removing any excess pastry to give a straight edge to the top of the crust. 
  7. For glasses/jars, roll out the pastry as above, but then put over the bottom of the greased/cling filmed jar or glass. Mould the pastry to fit the jar and then cut around for a straight top to the pastry case.
  8. Put all of the pastry in the fridge to harden for about 30 minutes while you make the macaroni. You can leave it overnight if you want to.

Macaroni Filling

  1. Boil the macaroni for around 8-10 minutes in a large pot until just cooked. Drain and set aside.
  2. In another pot, melt the butter. Add in the flour and continue to stir or whisk the mixture until it starts to froth up, which should be around a minute.
  3. Remove from the heat and slowly add in the milk while still stirring.
  4. Return to the heat and bring to the boil while continuously stirring so it doesn't stick. 
  5. The mixture should start to thicken, you can then turn down to simmer and add the cheese. Continue to stir so it melts into the sauce.
  6. Pour the sauce over the cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add mustard if you like for some extra flavour.

Assembling the pies

  1. Take the pie casings out of the fridge. If they're on jars/glasses you'll need to work them off gently before the next step.
  2. If you're adding haggis or another variation you can put that in the pie case or mix with the macaroni first.
  3. Fill the cases with the macaroni cheese, not right to the top but almost. You can squish it down gently with a spoon so that it's fairly compact.
  4. Sprinkle a little grated cheese across the top of the pies.
  5. If you're not using tins, tie baking paper and string around cases and then put them in the oven for approximately 30-40 minutes. They may need a little less or longer depending on the size. The pastry should be a nice golden brown colour when they're ready.

Notes

The easiest way to make the pies is with small individual tins. You can use mini cheesecake/cake tins, or a large muffin tin if the sides are straight.

If you don't have or want to purchase these then you can use the bottom of large glasses, vases, bottles, or even tin cans (although these are slightly smaller) to shape the cases and let them harden and then tie them with baking paper and string while they're cooking to help them hold their shape.

There are lots of variations you can make to this recipe too! One of our favourites is to add a layer of haggis, around a centimetre, underneath the Macaroni cheese filling. Another is to add chilli to the Macaroni cheese too.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1073Total Fat: 65gSaturated Fat: 32gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 127mgSodium: 782mgCarbohydrates: 91gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 31g

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2 comments

Gary Thomson June 28, 2020 - 7:30 am

I have to try these. They look so yum.

Reply
Phil Bolger July 6, 2020 - 9:44 am

Thanks! They are really delicious… well we think so! Let us know if you make them 🙂

Reply

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