Known locally as ‘makaronilaatikko,’ Finnish Macaroni Casserole is an excellent comfort food. Flavorful and creamy meat with pasta — baked to golden perfection. Yum!
If you’re a fan of Finnish ground beef-cabbage casserole and porkkanalaatikko (carrot casserole), you will definitely like makaronilaatikko.
What is makaronilaatikko?
As you might have noticed by now, ‘laatikko‘ means casserole in Finnish, so makaronilaatikko literally means macaroni casserole.
Creamy ground beef and macaroni, topped with cheesy goodness and baked to perfection. Hard to say no to that, right?
Oh! To enjoy makaronilaatikko like the locals, you must serve it with ketchup. Seriously.
Just give it a try! 🙂
IF YOU WANT MORE CLASSIC FINNISH RECIPES, YOU WILL LIKE THESE POSTS!
- Butter – you use this instead of oil for this macaroni dish.
- Onion – finely chopped yellow onion would be great.
- Ground beef – also known as ‘minced beef’ in some parts of the world.
- Pasta – elbow macaroni is typically used for making makaronilaatikko, but as you can see, I used a similar one — cavatappi macaroni.
- Eggs – three medium-sized eggs (63 to 73 grams per piece).
- Milk – full cream milk will be excellent for this macaroni casserole with ground beef recipe.
- Cream – double (also called heavy) cream.
- Cheddar – grated for topping your Finnish macaroni casserole
- Salt, pepper & nutmeg – for seasoning makaronilaatikko; you can just use your favorite brand.
Start making makaronilaatikko by melting the butter on a large pan over medium heat.
Add the chopped onion (photo 1).
Cook until it softens.
Add the ground beef (photo 2).
Cook until the beef turns brown, then season. Remove from the heat once it’s slightly cooked.
Prepare the macaroni as per the package instruction, then drain.
For the makaronilaatikko sauce: combine eggs, milk, cream, milk, salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg (photo 3).
Mix with a whisk.
Preheat your oven to 200°C (375°F).
Combine the ground beef with the drained macaroni (photo 4).
Mix and arrange evenly in a baking dish.
Pour the sauce into the macaroni and ground beef (photo 5).
Distribute the cheese on top of makaronilaatikko (photo 6).
Place your macaroni dish in the lower part of the oven for about thirty-five minutes or until the top turns golden.
Set aside to cool.
Serve your Finnish macaroni casserole with some ketchup on top — enjoy!
- Do not pour all the sauce into your makaronilaatikko — it should be a creamy macaroni dish, but not watery.
For reference, I usually leave about a quarter-cup of the sauce.
- Cook the macaroni a minute less than indicated in the package. It ensures that it will still be firm after cooking in the oven.
- After taking it out of the oven, let your Finnish macaroni casserole rest for at least 25 minutes — it allows the macaroni to absorb all the creamy sauce.
- Milk. If you don’t like cream, you can use two cups of milk instead. I know some locals prepare makaronilaatikko that way nowadays.
- Light cream. You can also replace heavy cream with a lighter one.
- Cheese. You can replace cheddar with other mature cheese or add another kind.
So how about it? Give this macaroni casserole recipe a try and discover why the Finns love it so much! 🙂
Finnish Macaroni Casserole Recipe
- Large Pan/Skillet
- Baking Dish (at least 2.2-qt.)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 500 grams ground beef (1 pound)
- 250 grams macaroni (9 ounces or about 3 & 1/2 cups)
- 3 medium eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup cream
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- salt, pepper & nutmeg, to season
- Melt the butter on a large pan over medium heat.
- When the butter is ready, add the onion and cook until it softens.
- Add the ground beef and cook until it turns brown (also add seasoning). Remove from the heat once it's slightly cooked.
- Prepare the macaroni as per the package instruction, then drain.
- Make the makaronilaatikko sauce by combining eggs, milk, cream, milk, salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg — mix with a whisk.
- Preheat your oven to 200°C (375°F).
- Combine the ground beef with the drained macaroni and arrange them evenly in a baking dish.
- Pour the sauce into the macaroni and ground beef, then distribute the cheese on top.
- Place your macaroni dish in the lower part of the oven for about 35 minutes or until the top turns golden.
- Set aside to cool.
- Serve your Finnish macaroni casserole with some ketchup on top — enjoy!
- Cook’s Tip #1: Remember not to pour all the sauce into your makaronilaatikko. It should be a creamy macaroni dish, but not watery. For reference, I generally leave about a 1/4-cup of the sauce.
- Cook’s Tip #2: Cook the macaroni a minute less than indicated in the package. It ensures that it will still be firm after baking.
- Cook’s Tip #3: Once it’s out of the oven, let your macaroni casserole rest for at least 25 minutes — it allows the macaroni to absorb all the creamy sauce.
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