Macarona Bechamel

5 from 26 votes

Macarona Bechamel is a baked comfort food favorite with layers of pasta, creamy bechamel & a Middle Eastern spiced ground beef tomato sauce.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Macarona Bechamel is a popular Middle Eastern dish similar to lasagna with layers of pasta, a seasoned tomato-based meat sauce, and a creamy white sauce called bechamel. It’s then topped with cheese and baked until golden brown and bubbly. Macarona Bechamel is a comfort food favorite in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East, perfect for a weeknight dinner for the family or a delicious dish to bring to a potluck!

Baked macarona bechamel with browned cheese with fresh herb garnish.
Want to save this recipe?
Just type your email below and I’ll send it to you. And as a bonus you’ll get delicious new recipes from me!

Macarona Bechamel has recently gone viral on TikTok because of the unique mash-up of two very different sauces. Although it may be a traditional recipe for some, it’s not for others, and the unexpected flavor fusion has proven incredibly tasty and irresistible. This recipe is inspired by the Egyptian variation of it.

Why you’ll love this easy macarona bechamel recipe

  • Warm and comforting pasta bake. This baked Macarona Bechamel is a wholesome, family-style meal that brings everyone to the table. It’s served in a large casserole dish for easy sharing and pairs well with a salad and bread.
  • Fun to make! If you love learning new recipes and spending time in the kitchen cooking up something tasty, then you will love this macarona bechamel! You’ll feel like a Michelin-star chef whipping up both sauces and combining everything together into a final baked pasta dish. Yum!
  • Built for a crowd or just a few. It’s easy to scale this recipe as needed depending on how many you’re feeding, by adjusting the amount of each ingredient accordingly. Either way, it’s a satisfying and delicious dish that everyone can enjoy, whether made for a big gathering or a cozy dinner at home.

Ingredients for making macarona bechamel

Don’t stress about the size of the ingredient list. Most of it is staples that I bet you already have on hand.

For the meat sauce:

  • Ground beef: I like to use lean ground beef to lessen the amount of grease, but any beef will work. I’d recommend soaking up any of the excess fat with paper towels dipped inside the pan before adding in the tomatoes.
  • Onion: Yellow onions are the best for sauces, but you can switch them out for white or sweet. Here’s a quick guide on choosing the best onions, depending on the recipe.
  • Spices: 7 spice is a delicious Middle Eastern blend of spices that adds depth to the meat sauce layer. You’ll also need thyme, salt, and pepper to taste.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is best.
  • Crushed tomatoes: Canned crushed tomatoes are perfect for tomato-based pasta sauces due to their thick, pulpy consistency and sweet flavor.

For the bechamel sauce

  • Butter: Butter is used to make the roux for your sauce and adds flavor.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour works well here. You want to cook the flour long enough to take the raw scent away.
  • Salt: Salt to bring out flavors.
  • Nutmeg: Slightly nutty, and a little goes a long way, so start with just a pinch and adjust to your liking.
  • Milk: I like to use whole milk. Any milk will do.
Ingredients for recipe: garlic cloves, flour, milk, onion, butter, ground beef, oil, spices, and crushed tomatoes.

How to make macarona bechamel

This pasta recipe uses two sauces, which you can make simultaneously in two pots on the stove if you multitask. Read over the steps to get a good idea of making everything so you’re already set up for success when you start!

Before beginning, preheat the oven, set up your pots, cook the pasta, and have the baking dish handy to add all the layers.

Make the bechamel sauce And MEAT SAUCE

  1. For the bechamel, begin by making a roux. Heat butter and whisk in the flour until fully incorporated and beginning to bubble. Then, slowly whisk in the milk.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer, whisking frequently, until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the salt and nutmeg.
  3. Add the pasta on top of the bechamel sauce and toss to combine.
  4. In the pot used to cook the pasta, heat the olive oil and then add the ground beef and onions season with 7 spice, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  5. Cook the ground beef and onions, breaking up the beef into smaller pieces with the back of a wooden spoon until browned.
  6. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and then stir in the crushed tomatoes.
6 image collage making 2 sauces: 1- whisking melted butter, flour, and milk, 2- sauce after smooth with nutmeg on top, 3- cooked pasta added on top of sauce, 4- ground beef mixture partially cooked, 5- ground beef and spices after cooking, 5- crushed tomatoes mixed in.

How to bake macarona bechamel

  1. Transfer the pasta with the bechamel sauce to a baking dish.
  2. Spread the meat sauce evenly over the sauced pasta.
  3. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake.
  4. Remove from the oven once the cheese is golden and bubbly.
4 image collage of recipe assembly in a baking dish: pasta tossed in bechamel, 2- meat mixture added on top, 3- cheese sprinkled on top, 4- after baking.

Tips for making the best macarona bechamel recipe

  1. Cook the pasta until just al dente. You still want your spaghetti noodles to have a little bite, so you want to make sure you are only cooking them until they just reach al dente since they will continue to cook while baking.
  2. Use the proper ratio of butter to flour for the roux. When creating your bechamel sauce, I always recommend a 1:1 ratio that will cook the flour evenly without any lumps. This recipe uses 4 tablespoons of each butter and flour.
  3. Cook the roux until bubbly. This takes about 3-5 minutes, but the goal is to make sure you can no longer smell raw flour. It should be thick, smooth, and bubbly before adding the milk.
  4. Simmer the meat sauce. The flavor develops more over time, so this is a good sauce to start with if you don’t want to make them at the same time. While it’s simmering, you can work on the other parts of the recipe.
  • Upgrade your bechamel to a mornay sauce. For a cheesier pasta dish, add gruyere and parmesan cheese to the white sauce before tossing it with the pasta.
  • Swap out the pasta. You can make this more of an Egyptian macarona bechamel using penne. Otherwise, you can use any pasta you like.
  • Add veggies to your red sauce. A simple sauce works, but you can make this recipe heartier with chopped zucchini, diced carrots, mushrooms, and spinach cooked into the spaghetti sauce.
  • Make it Vegetarian-friendly! Skip the beef and use a mixture of the veggies listed above, a can of chickpeas, or crumbled tofu.
  • Use a different ground meat. Another way to switch up the marinara sauce is cooking it with ground turkey, chicken, or lamb.

What to serve with your macarona bechamel pasta

Baking dish of macarona bechamel with a serving removed.

How to store & reheat macarona bechamel

Store leftovers of your pasta with bechamel and beefy tomato sauce in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave or cover and place in a preheated oven until heated through, about 15 minutes.

How long will macarona bechamel last in the fridge?

You can store leftovers for 3-4 days.

Can i freeze Macarona bechamel?

Yes, it freezes so well! Just cover the baking dish before baking and freeze for up to 4-6 months. You can bake it from frozen by adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time, or thaw the pasta dish in the refrigerator the night before.

Frequently asked questions

Can I make macarona bechamel ahead of time?

Yes! You can make the entire dish a few days before baking and store it covered in the fridge until ready. Then just pop it in the oven.

Can I use stock in the bechamel sauce?

Absolutely, and it’s a great and easy way to create a more flavorful sauce. You can halve the milk and replace it with chicken broth or stock.

How can I make this recipe similar to the Egyptian variation?

You’ll change how the dish is layered to adjust the recipe to resemble a traditional Egyptian macarona bechamel and swap the noodles with penne. Spread a tablespoon of bechamel on the bottom of the baking dish and add half of the pasta on top, followed by the meat sauce. Toss the remaining pasta and bechamel together and layer over the meat sauce. Top with cheese and bake!

Serving of macarona bechamel on a plate with fork on side and baking dish nearby.

Does this viral TikTok recipe have you craving its layers of creamy white and tomato beef pasta goodness? This unique yet delicious combination is worth a try! If you’re a lasagna fan and enjoy the Middle East flavors, you’ll appreciate every bite of this Macarona Bechamel dish.

More baked pasta recipes:

If you try this feel good Macarona Bechamel recipe or any other recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

order MY book

The Feel Good Foodie Cookbook is now available everywhere books are sold!

Macarona Bechamel

Macarona Bechamel is a baked comfort food favorite with layers of pasta, creamy bechamel & a Middle Eastern spiced ground beef tomato sauce.
5 from 26 votes
Servings 8 servings
Course Entree, Pastas
Calories 546
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Email This Recipe
Enter your email and I’ll send this directly to you. Plus you’ll get new recipes from me every week!

Ingredients
  

For the meat sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon 7 spice
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 25-ounce can crushed tomatoes

For the bechamel sauce

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 ½ cups milk

For assembly

  • 16 ounces spaghetti pasta
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until fully incorporated and lightly bubbles, then slowly whisk in the milk. Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer, whisking frequently, until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the salt and nutmeg.
  • Add the pasta on top of the bechamel sauce and toss to combine. Transfer the pasta with the sauce to a 9×13 baking dish.
  • In the pot used to cook the pasta, heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the ground beef and onions and season with 7 spice, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook the ground beef and onions, breaking up the beef into smaller pieces with the back of a wooden spoon until browned, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 more minute. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, then transfer the sauce on top of the pasta in the baking dish and spread it into an even layer.
  • Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese on top and bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is golden and bubbly, 25-30 minutes.

Notes

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or cover and place in a preheated oven until heated through, about 15 minutes.
To freeze, build the recipe in your baking dish, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to 4-6 months. Bake from frozen or thaw in the refrigerator overnight. 
Make it vegetarian by replacing the beef with mushrooms or other vegetables. 
You can use ground turkey or lamb instead of beef.
For an Egyptian style recipe, use penne.

Nutrition

Calories: 546kcal, Carbohydrates: 58g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 79mg, Sodium: 702mg, Potassium: 751mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 712IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 374mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Diet: Diabetic
Course: Entree, Pastas
5 from 26 votes (23 ratings without comment)

Rate and comment

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. Dana Halwani says:

    Perfect recipe but I add tomato paste to the meat mix and it tastes epic !!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Love that! Sounds so good!

  2. Charlie H. says:

    I just made this today for my wife and I and it is fantastic!
    I mean much much better than just good!
    Plus it smelled so good while cooking, it’s enough to drive ya wild while you wait!
    Thank you for the great recipe once again.

    1. Yumna says:

      love this!

  3. Aslana says:

    Very good!❤️

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Thank you so much!