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Macaroni cheese with brown butter leeks

Macaroni cheese with brown butter leeks - easy but absolutely gorgeous!


It’s macaroni cheese time! I haven’t posted a macaroni cheese recipe in forever, and since it’s my joint favourite food in the world (joint with pizza, obviously), I thought I should remedy that situation swiftish.

Before you start thinking that this is just any old macaroni cheese recipe, let me remind you of the title of this post (which you probably read all of seven seconds ago, keep up) – it’s got brown butter leeks. Butter, cooked until it goes all lovely and caramelised, with lovely soft and oniony sautéed leeks! Just this one simple addition takes the macaroni cheese from ‘yum’ to ‘hellooo there’.

Macaroni cheese with brown butter leeks - easy but absolutely gorgeous!

Rather than making a roux-based macaroni cheese, this time I went for the super lazy method, and just stirred some grated cheese (and of course that gorgeous brown butter) through the hot pasta. When it all melts together, it makes a lovely cheesy sauce. It’s not quite as thick and creamy as a roux-based sauce is, but this method definitely gets my vote for being quicker, easier, and causing less washing up – the sauciness is all created in the same pan you cooked the pasta in (and, let’s face it, less washing up counts for about ten votes).

Macaroni cheese with brown butter leeks - easy but absolutely gorgeous!

You probably know that I eat quite a lot of cheese, but do you know how much cheese the whole of the UK buys every second? Well, according to this infographic by Quandoo, nearly 20kg of cheese is bought in the UK every second! I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s cheese crazy…

Check out the infographic for information about all sorts of other food products, and see the totals stacking up in real-time – I can’t say I’m surprised by the number of tea bags that we buy! Do any of the totals surprise you?

Macaroni cheese with brown butter leeks - easy but absolutely gorgeous!

Macaroni cheese with brown butter leeks

Prep Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main meal
Author: Becca Heyes


  • 300 g pasta
  • 2 tbsp + 1tbsp butter
  • 1 large leek halved lengthwise then sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 100 g cheddar cheese grated


  • Boil the pasta until al dente.
  • Meanwhile, add 2tbsp of the butter to a frying pan, and cook over a medium heat until the it has completely melted, and you begin to see specks of brown appearing. Add the leeks and garlic, and season well.
  • Cook in the butter for around 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the leeks are soft and just beginning to caramelise.
  • When the pasta is ready, drain it and add the final tablespoon of butter, along with the cheese and leeks. Mix well and leave the pan over a very low heat for another minute or so until the cheese is fully melted.

Macaroni cheese with brown butter leeks - easy but absolutely gorgeous!Here’s another of my favourite macaroni cheese recipes – pesto macaroni cheese!

Pesto macaroni cheese

Double decker chickpea tacos
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Recipe Rating


Wednesday 13th of May 2015

This looks so delicious! Perfect for a quick and tasty dinner, and less washing up not having to make the whole roux! Yum!

Nicki Escudero

Monday 2nd of March 2015

Hi, Becca, thank you so much for expanding my palate! I have never cooked with leeks before absolutely loved this dish! Do you have any other recommendations for how to use leeks? Thanks, as always, for the fantastic recipes! Nicki

Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

Monday 2nd of March 2015

You've never cooked with leeks!!! :O they're one of my favourites!! You can see all my leek recipes here:

Basically you can use them however you'd use onions - but I like to use them more as the star of the show (like in this one!), rather than just as background. They're great sauteed up with garlic, but you can also cook them in the oven - slice them up, put them in a smallish baking dish with heaps of seasoning and a tablespoon or two of water (or veg stock is even better), cover with foil, and bake them until they're nice and soft. They're SO good! :)

Emily Leary

Monday 16th of February 2015

A lovely quick veggie meal - the sort of thing we have a bit tooo often if I'm honest, but I just love pasta with a hero veg and a little creaminess. Yum!

Betsy @ Desserts Required

Thursday 12th of February 2015

Less washing is ALWAYS a great thing in my book. I love the idea of using brown butter with pasta and can't wait to give this a try.

Cherished By Me

Tuesday 10th of February 2015

This is definitely a me dish, so quick and easy and yet I know it will taste absolutely's 8.30am a little early for Macaroni?

Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

Tuesday 10th of February 2015

It's never too early for cheesy pasta! ;)