Get ready for an effortless spin on a beloved Egyptian classic with our Macarona Bechamel (مكرونة بشاميل) recipe! It’s the essence of traditional baked macaroni bechamel, all conveniently crafted in just one pot. Because you know we’re all about that one-pot pasta life! Fast, cozy, and the epitome of an easy dinner recipe, it’s sure to satisfy a hungry crowd.

macarona bechamel in a pot with ground beef being stirred with a spoon

What Is Macarona Bechamel? 

Macarona Bechamel is also known as macaroni bechamel or the Egyptian take on mac and cheese. For us it’s not just a simple dish; it’s a flavorful journey down memory lane. Since we grew up enjoying our mother’s version, this beloved recipe is like a culinary hug from our past.

Typically made with penne noodles and spiced meat, it’s defined by the warm spices and creamy bechamel sauce that’s poured on top. A type of pasta bake or casserole, it’s an irresistible comfort food that everyone loves! 

Is Bechamel Sauce the Same As Alfredo Sauce? 

Although similar in appearance, bechamel and alfredo are two entirely different sauces. Bechamel sauce is simple and includes only flour, milk, butter, and spices. Meanwhile, alfredo sauce requires heavy cream, butter, garlic, fresh parsley, and cheese. 

macarona bechamel on a plate topped with ground beef

Is Macaroni Bechamel the Same as Macarona Bechamel? 

While macaroni bechamel is a common nickname for this dish, let’s set the record straight: it’s not quite accurate. We believe it is commonly confused because the dish is similar to American mac and cheese. However, unlike the Western comfort food, a key ingredient in Macarona Bechamel is the penne pasta and a white sauce. Macaroni or elbow noodles are never used. 

close up image of béchamel pasta with ground beef

How to Make this Bechamel Recipe in One Pot

For the Bechamel Sauce

  1. Start by melting the butter in a large pot over medium heat. 
  2. Add the warm milk to the butter mixture, and stir until the sauce is thick and creamy. Add salt, pepper, cinnamon and cardamom. Mix until incorporated.
  3. Pour in the warm milk, whisking to combine. 
  4. Stir in the seasonings. 

For the Baked Pasta

  1. Cook the penne according to package instructions. 
  2. Brown the beef in a skillet. 
  3. Add the ingredients to the pot with the bechamel sauce. 
  4. Stir to combine. 
  5. Serve immediately. 

Flavor Variations

This recipe’s a breeze, but who says you can’t sprinkle some magic on it? Elevate the simplicity with a dash of creativity! There are oodles of easy tricks to crank up the flavor or add a tantalizing twist.

Swap out the meat. For a slightly different flavor replace the beef with ground turkey, lamb, or even bison. 

Add a different spice. We prefer the warm flavors of cinnamon and cardamom, but you could also include a dash of garlic powder for a more savory kick. If you like nutmeg, feel free to add a dash too!

Add cheese. Make this bechamel recipe even creamier with a sprinkling of cheese. Parmesan cheese is delicious in this recipe! 

Make it pretty. If you’re cooking for a crowd, top off your pasta with a dash of fresh parsley or thyme for a super fancy-looking dish. 

macarona bechamel in a pot with a spoon sticking out

How to Store Leftover Macarona 

We very rarely have any leftovers, but if you do, they can be stored well-covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. Then, when you’re ready to eat, just warm it in the microwave, on the stovetop, or in the oven! Feel free to add a splash of milk to loosen it up. 

Or, for longer-lasting pasta, keep it in the freezer! When kept in an airtight container, it will stay fresh for 4-6 months. Then, let it thaw in the fridge overnight, and reheat it the next day. 

Serving Suggestions

More Comforting Pasta Recipes

One Pot Macarona Bechamel in a white pot topped with white flowers for garnish

One Pot Macarona Bechamel (Egyptian Baked Pasta)

4.75 from 4 votes
Author: Food Dolls
Servings: 8 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Total: 17 minutes
A classic Egyptian comfort food made simple, One Pot Macarona Bechamel is rich, creamy, and perfect for a weeknight meal everyone will love!


  • 1 pound dry penne noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked ground beef
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups warm whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom


  • Cook the pasta noodles according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
    1 pound dry penne noodles
  • Warm a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the ground beef until no longer pink.
    1 1/2 cups cooked ground beef
  • Warm a saucepan or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Melt the butter. Once melted, add the flour, and whisk until combined and thick.
    1 stick of butter, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Add the warm milk to the butter mixture, and stir until the sauce is thick and creamy. Add salt, pepper, cinnamon and cardamom. Mix until incorporated.
    4 cups warm whole milk, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Add the cooked pasta and ground beef to the pot.
  • Stir until everything is well-coated.
  • Serve immediately.




Serving: 1serving | Calories: 417kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 521mg | Potassium: 477mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 202IU | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 175mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this recipe?Please leave a comment!

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Meet Alia & Radwa

Welcome to Food Dolls! We’re so glad you found us. We are Alia and Radwa, sisters who want to share simple and easy recipes with you. We hope you find recipes here that you enjoy making as much as we do! Learn more about us!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 4 stars
    As a busy mother to three beautiful, half- Egyptian children, I often find myself scrambling to cook food that is evenly slightly comparable to their favorite meals prepared by “Teta” 🙂
    Thanks to Food Dolls, they’re enjoying classic meals that only cost me half the time as traditional Egyptian recipes.

    You are both such an inspiration. Thank You!

    1. This made our day. Thank you so much for such a kind review, Haley! We’re so glad to have you here and hope you and your family continue to enjoy the recipes. 😊

      Alia & Radwa

  2. 5 stars
    This is one of my favorite meals!!

    I’ve tried adding a little tomatoe paste to the sauce to make it into a pink sauce and it was just perfection.

  3. 5 stars
    I liked the warm seasonings used for this recipe. I chose to use ground turkey and penne pasta made from chickpeas. It turned out great!

    1. Hi! We have not tried this recipe with anything other than dairy. You are welcome to try it with your favorite non-dairy milk but we don’t know how it will turn out!