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Buddy the Elf’s Spaghetti Pie

Raise your hand if you can quote at least half the lines from the movie Elf by heart. It might be a generational thing, I know.

Some gravitate toward the golden oldies like White Christmas or It’s a Wonderful Life, while others prefer the Eighties classics Scrooged or National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Buddy the Elf spaghetti pie
Photo: Casey Barber

In our house, though Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean and The Muppet Christmas Carol are must-see movies on December 24, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without Leon Redbone as a singing snowman and Zooey Deschanel’s terrible blond dye job.

(Seriously, why was that required? What’s wrong with brunettes?)

Elf is undisputably a Christmas movie, but my love of the film isn’t restricted to the holiday season. I can find a way to insert a quote or two into almost any situation.

Eating a burger? It’s always appropriate to tell your dining companion that they “smell like beef and cheese.” Walking across Fifth Avenue? Remind your husband that “the yellow ones don’t stop.”

Buddy the Elf spaghetti pie
Photo: Casey Barber

And any breakfast opportunity is a good time to mention an elf’s four main food groups: “candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.”

Speaking of those four food groups, this year, upon my eleventeenth viewing of the movie, I realized it would be possible to create a dish inspired by Buddy the Elf’s favorite meal: spaghetti with maple syrup.

Though most spaghetti pie recipes are decidedly savory in nature, I knew I could tweak this modern Italian-American comfort food into something that would not only be edible but actually craveable too.

Buddy the Elf spaghetti pie
Photo: Casey Barber

This Elf spaghetti pie ends up as a textural cross between a kugel and a strata, but without the stomach-overloaded feeling you often get from a dense noodle casserole.

With a custard base adapted from Bon Appetit‘s apple cider and maple cream tart, the sweet slices make an unexpected brunch side for Christmas morning.

Or, if you’re a spaghetti-for-breakfast kind of person, it’s also great straight from the fridge the next day. When you’re an elf, spaghetti pie is an anytime meal!

Buddy the Elf spaghetti pie
Buddy the Elf spaghetti pie, via goodfoodstories.com

Buddy the Elf's Spaghetti Pie

Yield: enough for 8 people or 1 hungry elf
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Buddy the Elf's spaghetti pie combines pasta with maple syrup for a surprisingly sweet dish. Eat with candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup!


  • 1 16-ounce box (1 pound) spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • baking spray


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain and reserve.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the maple syrup, cream, milk, eggs, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon until well blended. 
  4. Spritz a 9-inch pie pan with nonstick baking spray. 
  5. Add the spaghetti to the pie pan, twisting and gently pressing so it's evenly distributed.
  6. Pour the eggy custard base over the spaghetti.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the custard has set and the top of the pie is just starting to brown. 
  8. Let the pie rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
  9. Optional: top with candy, candy canes, candy corn, or more syrup, and serve alongside the world's best cup of coffee. (I'll stop quoting the movie now, I promise.)

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  1. Congratulations! World’s best cup of coffee!

    That is not only my favorite Christmas movie, but possibly my all-time favorite movie. I also find a way to work the four foods groups into any exchange that includes the word “candy.”

    This weekend I overheard someone saying, “Make work your favorite,” and burst out laughing. Great adaptation!

  2. We love Elf too! Our favorite line comes from the mailroom scene… ” sucky!”
    I’m putting a link to this post on the Mignardise Facebook page. Happy holidays Casey!

  3. What a cool idea. I love that movie. Here’s a thought (I know it’s not spaghetti) but wouldn’t spaetzle be great as the pasta? You have me thinking of adding maple syrup to my Christmas rice pudding too.

    1. MKES, I add maple syrup to my rice pudding all the time – and I bet spaetzle would be delicious, too. Maybe it’s edging closer to kugel that way, but is that really a bad thing?

  4. Thought you’d like to know that Elf’s director Jon Favreau just posted on Twitter about your recipe :)

    1. Ha! I just promised him a free pie the next time he’s in the area. Eating is believing, people.

  5. That’s how I found this page..Jon Favreau. Love him and this recipe sounds intriguing. I may have to try it.

  6. Also, I should’ve mentioned yesterday, when they sent out the press kit for this movie — before it came out and we knew about Buddy’s eating habits — they sent a box of spaghetti and a bottle of maple syrup. Made much more sense after watching it.

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