Macaroni pies (gluten-free; dairy-free; vegan)

A plateful of pies. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Hello again. Before I moved to Scotland, I had never heard of a macaroni pie before. I soon learnt that, along with a whole range of other flavours, macaroni pies are familiar fayre in the hot cabinet of most Scottish baker’s shops as a popular takeaway treat. If you prefer to eat your pies at home, head for the chiller cabinet at the supermarket and you will find a wide selection of pastry pies to choose from. Traditionally made with a hot water crust pastry shell and filled with a thick, creamy macaroni and cheese sauce filling, the macaroni pie certainly makes a substantial and very tasty snack.

Macaroni pie up close. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

A few years ago, I wrote a pie book called Comfort Pie I made my own version of the macaroni pie as part of a collection of recipes influenced by pastry dishes from all over the world. Several years later, I thought it was about time I give my recipe a bit of an upgrade and I have developed a gluten-free and vegan version which I have to say is pretty tasty.

How do you like yours? With or without sauce? Images: Kathryn Hawkins

There are a few steps to the recipe, but it can be made in stages if you don’t have the time to get the pies made and baked on the same day. The pies are made in steel rings which I appreciate aren’t an everyday piece of kit but a great investment if you do like pie making. If you don’t have the rings, you could adapt the recipe to make smaller pies in muffin tins.

Steel baking rings. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

The recipe is broken into 3 different parts, and I have included a lot of pictures to help explain the different sections. I do hope you might give the recipe a try and, if you do, I hope enjoy them.

Makes: 4


  • 115g free-from macaroni

For the sauce:

  • 15g plant-based butter
  • 15g gluten-free plain flour
  • 200ml plant-based milk (I use oat milk)
  • 4tsp yeast flakes
  • ½ teasp onion salt

For the pastry:

  • 25g plant-based butter
  • 25g white vegetable fat (such as Trex)
  • 215g gluten-free plain flour

For the topping:

  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2tbsp free-from dry white breadcrumbs
  • ½ teasp onion salt
  • ½ smoked paprika
  • 20g plant-based butter

1.Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and cook the macaroni for 9-10 minutes – slightly under-cook the pasta so that it doesn’t go too mushy during baking later on. Drain well; leave aside.

Raw and cooked macaroni. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

2. Next make the sauce. Melt the plant butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Remove from the heat and blend in the plant milk. Return to the heat, and cook, stirring, until the mixture boils and thickens. Simmer for 1 minute, then turn off the heat and stir in the yeast flakes and onion salt.

3. Stir the cooked macaroni into the sauce. Transfer to a bowl and cover the surface with a layer of baking parchment – this helps prevent a skin forming. Leave to cool, then chill until required.

Macaroni pie filling. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

4. For the pastry, put the plant butter and vegetable fat in a saucepan and pour over 125ml water. Heat gently until melted, then bring to the boil and add the flour all in once go. Beat the mixture quickly, turn off the heat and continue to mix vigourously until a dough ball forms in the saucepan.

Making hot water crust (pie) pastry. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

5. Arrange 4 x 9cm diameter, 4cm deep steel pastry rings on a baking tray. Divide the pastry into 4 equal pieces. Work on one piece at a time, keep the other portions covered in foil. Roll out a piece of pastry to an approx. 16cm round and carefully transfer to a pastry ring.

6. Mould the pastry to fit inside the ring, then trim away any excess to neaten the top edge. Continue to make 3 more pastry cases in the same way. Leave to cool before filling. You can chill the pastry at this stage, ready to cook at a later time. Use this pastry when it is warm. As it cools it becomes dry and brittle and will be impossible to mould. You can warm the pastry carefully, by heating for a very few seconds in the microwave to make it more pliable.

Making the pie cases. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

7. When you are ready to cook the pies, preheat the oven to 200°C, 180°C fan oven, gas 6. Spoon macaroni filling into each pastry case to fill them to the top.

8. Arrange cherry tomato halves on on top of each. Mix the crumbs, paprika and onion salt together and sprinkle a little over each. Dot the tops with a little plant butter. Bake for 35 minutes until thoroughly hot, crispy and golden.

9. Stand for 10 minutes before removing from the pastry rings. Serve the pies hot or warm, sprinkled with chopped parsley. Accompany with sweet chilli sauce or tomato ketchup. Alternatively, leave the pies to cool completely on a wire rack, then chill until you are ready to reheat them the next day. They will also freeze very well.

Filling_and_topping_gluten-free_dairy-free_vegan_macaroni pies
Filling and baking the pies. Images: Kathryn Hawkins
Pies on a cooling rack. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

I’m feeling rather peckish after writing up this week’s post. I do love a good pie, and I think this hot water crust pastry is one of the most successful gluten-free pastries. Until next time, I hope you have a good few days until my next post. Thanks and best wishes 🙂

2 thoughts on “Macaroni pies (gluten-free; dairy-free; vegan)

  1. My daughter uses nutritional yeast for cheese flavor but I haven’t yet. Perfect timing: as I will be seeing her this weekend she can give me some so I can try this version of macaroni and cheese. I am also very interested in your pie crust recipe which starts out like choux pastry. It must taste very light. Lucky me, I have several days off coming up in June, so yes, you will hear from me again after I test it. Thank you so much for sharing. Have a good weekend, Kathryn!


    1. Hi there. Good to hear from you again. The yeast experiment was a first for me after a friend introduced me to it. It makes a very good substitute I think. The pastry does sound like a choux method, but because there is no egg, it makes a very firm, crisp crust, so please don’t be disappointed if you’re expecting something light and fluffy. Anyway, I hope you enjoy them. It’s been gloriously sunny here this week while I’ve been working, fingers crossed it stays that way for the weekend! Best wishes to you and your family 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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