Macaroni cheese with peas recipe

(159 ratings)

Macaroni cheese with peas is a classic recipe, taken from a 1946 issue of Women's Weekly, with a few updates to it! It's a classic because it works!

Macaroni cheese with peas
Preparation Time10 mins
Cooking Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories668 Kcal33%
Fat44 g63%
Saturated Fat27 g135%

The classic unctuous cheesy pasta dish, livened up with emerald green peas and nuggets of crisp, salty bacon.

Macaroni cheese with peas is one of our go-to dinner dishes. It's always popular with the family and it's so nice and easy to make, it's popular with the chef as well. Rather than making a traditional white sauce to bake the pasta in, this easy version just uses a pot of crème fraîche to make the creamy sauce, enhanced with a hit of mustard and some lovely cheddar cheese. The original recipe here is from 1946 issue of Women's Weekly - though we've given it a few updates to keep it modern.

This recipe is part of our cheap family meals (opens in new tab) collection – under £1 a head


  • 175g (6oz) macaroni
  • 90g (3oz) frozen peas
  • 70g pack diced pancetta
  • 200ml tub crème fraîche
  • ½ tsp ready-made mustard, or a pinch of mustard powder
  • 90g (3oz) mature Cheddar, grated
  • Salt and ground black pepper




  1. Add the pasta to a pan of boiling, salted water and cook for 10 mins, adding the peas for the last couple of mins of cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, dry-fry the pancetta, or bacon, for about 5 mins until crispy.
  3. Drain the macaroni with the peas, return it to the pan and stir in the crème fraîche, mustard, pancetta, or bacon, grated cheese and seasoning. Warm through for a min. Serve with a green salad, and chutney, if you like.

Top tips for making macaroni cheese with peas

The original recipe here used scraps of leftover corned beef instead of pancetta. Corned beef was cheap and widely available, pancetta was probably almost unheard-of. If you want to go for a cheaper option you could use cooking bacon - the scrappy bits sold in packs in supermarkets. Once chopped and fried, it tastes just as lovely as regular bacon, and almost as nice as pancetta.

Jessica Dady
Senior Content Editor

Jessica Dady is Senior Content Editor at and has over 10 years of experience as a digital journalist, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the best food hampers to cookbooks, from the best cake stands to baking sets, Jessica has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to must-have food products. A passionate baker, she spends much of her time creating celebration cakes for friends and family - particularly for her two lucky children.