Crab mac ‘n’ cheese bake

A seafood twist on a family favourite that's packed with sustainable shellfish. Serve with a lemony rocket salad

  • Prep:15 mins
    Cook:40 mins
  • Serves 8
  • More effort

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 623
  • fat 29g
  • saturates 17g
  • carbs 61g
  • sugars 8g
  • fibre 3g
  • protein 28g
  • salt 1.4g


  • 100g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 500g macaroni
  • 100g flour
  • 1l milk
  • 200g mature cheddar, grated
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce
  • 150g fresh, brown crabmeat
  • 150g white crabmeat
  • 100g crème fraîche
  • juice ½ lemon
  • ½ small pack dill, finely chopped


Shell alert

To check your crabmeat for pieces of shell, use a spoon and a metal bowl. Stir the meat - if you hear the sound of shell on steel, then you know there are bits to remove. 


If you can buy crab bones, make a stock and use this to replace the milk in the recipe, it will give added depth of flavour. When you heat the water to cook the macaroni, make sure you cover the pan with a lid. The water will heat up quicker, plus you'll save time and energy. 



  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and grease a medium baking dish. Cook the macaroni following pack instructions.

  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a thick-bottomed pan and add the flour to make a thick paste, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Add the milk, little by little, to the paste, mixing until smooth. Cook over a medium heat, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens.

  3. Remove from the heat, add 150g cheese and whisk until smooth. Mix in the mustard, ketchup and cayenne. Drain the macaroni and return to the pan. Stir the cheese sauce into the cooked pasta, fold in the brown crabmeat and season.

  4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 50g cheese on top and bake in the oven for 25-30 mins until heated through. Remove from the oven and stand for 10 mins.

  5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the crab topping with some seasoning. Serve a big spoonful on top of each portion of the bake, then scatter over the dressed rocket (see 'Goes well with'). If making ahead, cool completely and leave in the fridge overnight. The next day, cut into slabs and reheat (covered in foil) for 10 mins in the oven at 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Suggested recipes from this collection...