CalMac Ferries have shared their popular CalMac and cheese recipe, and it's an easy, comforting dish to make at home.

Many people who travel on the CalMac services will be familiar with their mac and cheese, which is served on-board along with other traditional favourites such as steak pie.

Since the CalMac ferry service reduced its timetable as a response to the pandemic, many people will be missing their on board meals – so here’s how to make one at home.

The ferry company posted on their social media, saying: “We have decided it’s a good time to open up our recipe book and share with you the recipe for one of our favourite dishes – the simple but very comforting CalMac and Cheese.”

The mac and cheese uses Mull of Kintyre cheddar to create a creamy sauce for the macaroni.

Posting on the CalMac website, the mac and cheese proved so popular that the team said: “Last year we served up an incredible 50,408 portions of this aboard our vessels. Here’s how you can recreate it at home, using one of chief cook’s easy-to-follow recipes.”

The recipe

Serves 4


400g macaroni

70g butter

50g plain flour

900ml milk

100g of Mull of Kintyre Cheddar – grated

2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese – grated

1 tablespoon of Isle of Arran mustard, or English Mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

An oven proof dish.


Preheat your oven to 180°C

Cook the macaroni as per the packaging instructions.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on a medium heat, stirring continuously.

Gradually add in the milk and keep stirring to ensure a smooth consistency.

Next, stir in the Mull of Kintyre Cheddar and Parmesan and allow to melt.

Keep a little back for the topping.

Add the Isle of Arran mustard and then remove from the heat.

Drain the macaroni once cooked, then add it to the sauce.

Place in an ovenproof dish and add some of the left-over grated cheese as a topping.

Cook for around 20-25 minutes.

Serve with a side salad of your choice.

Optional extra

For additional variety, you could add 150g of Stornoway Black Pudding – cooked and crumbled, which can be added to the sauce, prior to placing in the oven. This will create a delicious Mac’n’Black.

The ferries are running an essential service only at the moment due to the pandemic, and back in March and April had to turn away passengers trying to make unnecessary trips.

For more information and to view the recipe please visit the CalMac website.

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About The Author

Rosalind Erskine

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

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