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Smoky Sweet Potato, Bacon Mac and Cheese | My Little Larder

Smoky Sweet Potato and Bacon Mac and Cheese

This is your family’s new favourite mac and cheese! Smokey bacon, paprika and sweet potato take this mac and cheese to the next level.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Author My Little Larder


  • 500 g/1.1lb sweet potato or orange kumara
  • 250 g/9oz free range bacon chopped roughly 1cm/ 1/2in pieces
  • 450 g/1lb macaroni elbows or pasta shape of your choice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 60 g/2.1oz/ 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 plain all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups full fat milk
  • 300 g/11oz grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 190C/375F. Set aside a large baking dish or two smaller ones.
  2. Place a large pot of water with a lid on the stove to boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil peel the sweet potato (orange kumara) and cut into roughly 2.5cm/1in pieces.
  3. When the pot of water is boiling add a pinch of salt and the sweet potato. Cover and simmer for approximately 10 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft (test by inserting a sharp knife into the centre of a piece). Gently remove sweet potato from the water using a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl. Do not discard the water, you’ll use this to cook the pasta soon.
  4. Using a potato masher (or fork, or stick blender) mash the potato until it is a smooth puree. Set aside.
  5. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add bacon and saute until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel. Discard bacon fat.
  6. Return saucepan to a low heat and add butter. Once the butter is melted add the flour and stir to form what is called a roux. Cook the roux for 1-2 minutes to cook the flour.
  7. Take a whisk and while you’re whisking the roux slowly add 1 1/2 cups of milk. Continue whisking slowly until the sauce has thickened. Add remaining 1 cup of milk and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until sauce has thickened again.
  8. While the sauce is thickening return your pot of water to a boil and add about 1 Tbsp of salt. Add pasta and cook it for 1 minute less than the instructions on the side of the packet state. Drain and add to your baking dish/es.
  9. Once your white sauce has thickened add grated cheese and stir until melted and combined. Add mashed potato, paprika and sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
  10. Mix bacon and peas (if using) through pasta then stir though sauce.
  11. Sprinkle over panko bread crumbs then bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and breadcrumbs are turning golden. Remove from oven and serve immediately covered in hot sauce (or tomato ketchup if you’re a kid).