Persian Macaroni is a Persian style spaghetti cooked commonly by Iranians. It is a popular comfort dish for everyday cooking and is liked by many, especially the children.

What is Persian Macaroni?

Many original pasta recipes are commonly cooked in Iran. You can find pasta with Alfredo or Pesto sauce in almost every restaurant nowadays. But the traditional way that Iranians make a meal out of spaghetti is quite different. We call this meal Macaroni but it has less to do with the narrow tube-shaped kind of pasta that is Macaroni. It is the closest to bolognese spaghetti but with some changes. The basic difference is that unlike any Italian recipe, Persian Macaroni gets steamed, just like Persian rice, Chelo.

Iranians usually make Macaroni with spaghetti but it can also be made with any other shapes of pasta.

Although Persian Macaroni is a slow-cooked meal, it is usually made when one is in a hurry. Students make it at dormitories and it is one of the first meals anyone who has just started to cook tries making.

Iranians enjoy Macaroni with ketchup. Macaroni can also be served with salad, pickled vegetables or even yogurt as a side dish.

Persian Macaroni sauce

The sauce for Macaroni is usually made with beef as will be explained further. Mushrooms and bell peppers can also be added.

For vegetarians, Persian Macaroni can be prepared with soybean instead of beef.


One of the most common techniques in Persian cuisine is steaming. As a result, Tahdig (the crispy crust) is one of the inseparable things in Persian cooking. The most thrilling thing about Persian Macaroni is the Tahdig. It can be potato or Lavash bread, which is put on the bottom of the pot and gets fried while the meal is getting ready.

How to make Persian Macaroni?

First, you should make the sauce. To make the sauce saute the diced onions.

Sweating the onions for the sauce.

Add the grounded beef and let it cook for a while. Then add the desired seasonings. Remember that turmeric is a must in Persian cooking.

Adding seasoning to the sauce.

The next step is to add tomato paste and let the sauce bake.

Persian Macaroni's sauce

While the sauce is getting ready, boil some water and add the pasta. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until it gets Al-dente. Then sieve the pasta.

Pour some oil in a pot and put Lavash bread or sliced potatoes for Tahdig. Then add some of the pasta followed by a layer of sauce and repeat until the ingredients are finished.

Making Persian Macaroni. Putting the ingredients together.

Put on the lid and let the meal get steamed for 45 minutes.

Your Persian Macaroni is ready.

Persian Macaroni
You can serve Persian Macaroni with salad, pickled vegetables or even yogurt as a side dish.


The thing to remember is that you usually can’t find Persian Macaroni on the menu of a restaurant. Also if you are invited to an Iranian house for a meal don’t expect Macaroni, as it is not a formal dish to be served. But if your host welcomes you with Macaroni, be glad because it shows that they feel comfortable with you.

Bon appetit!

Persian Macaroni

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian
Servings: 4
Author: Atoosa Moaddab


  • 2 tbsp frying oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 500 gr beef grounded
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp Persian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 500 gr spaghetti or pasta of choice
  • 1 potato sliced for Tahdig


  • Heat the oil in a pan and sweat onions until they get golden.
  • Add the beef. Turn it around and then add the spices, turmeric, salt and pepper.
  • When the beef is browned add the tomato paste, mix to combine, bring mixture to a boil and then simmer on low for 30 minutes.
  • Pour oil in a pot and put potato or bread for Tahdig. If you use potato, fry one side and then turn over.
  • Put one layer of boiled spaghetti following a layer of the sauce, mix to combine and continue layer by layer until it's finished.
  • Use a medium heat for 10 minutes or until it starts steaming, then lower the heat and let it steam for 45 minutes.


  1. For vegetarian Persian Macaroni you can use soybeans instead of beef.
  2. sliced mushrooms or bell peppers can be added to the sauce.
  3. you can use sesame to cover the potato slices for the Tahdig.