This Cheesy Baked Macaroni is made meatier and comes with that hint of sweetness that has become a Filipino pasta trademark! With a streamlined process that makes it a breeze to prepare, making it a perfect dish for get-togethers, picnics, and potlucks.
What is Filipino Baked Macaroni?
What makes it different from the all-time American favorite version is the addition of sliced hotdogs and the use of sweet-style Filipino spaghetti pasta. While keeping the traditional use of elbow macaroni and cheese sauce, Filipino baked mac is on the meaty side with added ground beef. A layer of cheese sauce is also added on top.
I have also streamlined the process to keep it simple and easy to make. By adding the uncooked macaroni directly to the pot and let it cook in the sauce instead of having to cook it separately. Less process, less utensils to clean and best of all it lets the pasta absorb all the flavors right from the start.
Macaroni Pasta in different ways
I have tried making different versions of this pasta dish, and each one is deliciously unique in its own way!
If you do not have an oven, you can skip the baking part and simply pour the cheese sauce on top of the cooked pasta. It'll be similar to my Classic Stovetop Mac and Cheese recipe, minus the spaghetti sauce and hotdogs. It's an all-time American classic version that is super cheesy and quick to make.
You might also want to try my Super Chili Mac and Cheese recipe. It replaces the hotdogs with kidney beans and uses cayenne pepper and paprika to give it that mildly spicy flavor!
Foxy Tips when making Baked Macaroni
- When making the cheese sauce, use low heat only. Do not let the Béchamel boil before adding the cheese or it will not be as smooth and creamy. Make sure to stir constantly to prevent lumps from forming or burning the bottom.
- Do not fully cook the pasta the first time. Remove from heat once it is almost al dente. Remember that it will cook further in the oven.
- If you like to have a more cheesy baked top, use a wider pan so you can spread it out more. Just make sure to check for doneness to prevent it from burning.
- Let the cheese sauce form a bit by allowing the dish to cool down for a few minutes before slicing and serving. This will ensure cleaner slices.
Making it Ahead
Though this recipe is easy enough to make, you can prepare it ahead of time especially when you need to serve it early the next day. You can cook the pasta in spaghetti sauce the day before and refrigerate it overnight. All you have to do the following day is to make the cheese sauce, place the pasta in a baking dish, pour the cheese sauce on top, and bake for 15 minutes.
I prefer making the cheese sauce the same day as serving for better consistency, but you are also welcome to cook it the day before, just place it on a separate sealed container and refrigerate.
Refrigerate. Place it in a tight-lidded container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can simply reheat it using your microwave or by popping it back in your oven for a few minutes.
Freezing. You can freeze baked macaroni to enjoy on a later date. Make sure to let it cool down completely first. Place in a freezer-safe container to avoid freezer burn. If you don't have one, just wrap it tightly using aluminum foil, then for good measure, seal it inside a ziplock bag. It will keep for at least 3 months.
What to serve with it
Make some as a side to your delicious mains like
Baked Macaroni- Filipino Style
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 4-5 pieces hotdogs cut into diagonal slices
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped finely
- 1 big red bell pepper
- 500 grams lean ground beef
- 500 grams elbow macaroni
- 4 cups spaghetti sauce sweet-style
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 ½ cups water adjust if needed
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoon flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cup processed cheese or quickmelt cheese grated
- In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add the flour and stir until well mixed. Gradually add milk while stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming.
- Once all the milk is added and sauce starts to thicken, add 1cup grated cheese. Stir again until it becomes smooth and no more lumps are visible. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat and stir-fry slices of hotdogs until cooked then remove from oil and set aside.
- Add butter to the remaining oil in the pot. Saute onion, garlic, and red bell pepper until onions are limp and aromatic. Add ground beef. Break the lumps with a wooden spoon and cook until no longer pink.
- Add the uncooked macaroni and mix. Cook for a minute or two.
- Pour in spaghetti sauce and season with salt and pepper. And cook for another minute or two, stirring frequently.
- Pour in the water and mix well. Cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes or until pasta is almost al dente. It will finish cooking in the oven. Season as needed and add the cooked hotdogs and mix.
- Transfer the content of the pot to a baking dish and pour the cheese sauce on top. Then top with remaining grated cheese.
- Bake on a preheated oven at 180°C for 15 minutes.