Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

There is nothing better than Pumpkin Mac and Cheese in the fall! This recipe is the ultimate comfort food, with a gooey, creamy cheese sauce and just the right amount of pumpkin. Plus, you can have this on the dinner table in less than 30 minutes!

If you love pasta as much as I do, check out some of my other easy pasta recipes like Homemade Chicken Alfredo and Spicy Pepper Jack Mac and Cheese!

Up close shot of mac and cheese in a white bowl with a spoon.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is so delicious and comforting and one of my kids favorite meals! It’s something they both seem to eat without complaint and gobble down! I am always looking for ways to make their favorite but with a healthier twist. My husband and I tried the green Mac and cheese (adding pureed spinach) and that wasn’t a hit. We even tried pureeing boiled cauliflower and adding that and they were not a fan. 🤦‍♀️

So this is where the pumpkin puree came in! It added antioxidants, vitamins and fiber and thanks to the added moisture and thickness from the pumpkin I was able to half my butter, milk, cheese and flour!

I know you are probably thinking that pumpkin and mac and cheese don’t go together, but pumpkin is naturally savory and pairs very nicely with cheese and pasta. The pumpkin lends a velvety soft texture to your sauce and is healthy! So, especially during pumpkin season, this pumpkin mac n cheese recipe is great to make for an easy, comforting dinner. Trust me this is going to be your new fall favorite!

Is this recipe healthy?

It is a lot lighter than my traditional macaroni and cheese recipe. I replaced half of the butter, milk, flour and cheese and replaced it all with 1 full cup of pumpkin puree! Just 1 cup of pumpkin puree is loaded with 7 grams of fiber and 7 x your daily required intake of vitamin A! This recipe is a great way to sneak in healthy ingredients to a comfort food! And best of all my toddler and one year old loved this and would have never guessed it had pumpkin in it!

Mac and cheese in a white pan with a wooden spoon.

What’s in Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

  • Rotini Pasta- Rotini pasta is great for this pasta dish because the curves will hold all of that creamy sauce!
  • Butter- I used unsalted butter here. If all you have is salted, cut back on the salt when seasoning.
  • Flour- Flour is added to thicken the sauce. Only 1/4 cup is needed.
  • Milk– This is the base of our cheesy, pumpkin sauce.
  • Pumpkin Puree– Make sure you buy canned pumpkin puree. The only ingredient should be pumpkin with no added sugar.
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese- It is best to get a block of cheddar cheese and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded cheddar cheese has additives that cause it to thicken up and clump when heated.
  • To season: Salt, Pepper & Nutmeg to taste.

How to Make Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

  • Cook the Pasta: Cook your rotini pasta according to the direction on the package until al dente. Rinse with cold water and set aside.

Rotini noodles being drained in a colander.

  • Make the Sauce: Melt butter in a medium sauce pan. Add in flour and whisk constantly for about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk. Add the pumpkin and all of the seasonings. Cook on medium heat while constantly whisking until thickened, about 4-5 minutes. Make sure to keep stirring so as to not burn the milk.

Mac and cheese sauce ingredients in a silver sauce pan.

  • Add cheese: Take the sauce off the heat and stir in the shredded cheddar cheese. Season to taste with more salt if needed.

Mac and cheese sauce in a silver pan with a spoon being dipped in the sauce.

  • Assemble: Add the cheese sauce to the pasta and stir to combine. Serve hot and enjoy!

Noodles in cheese sauce in a white pan with a wooden spoon.

Storage, Reheating and Freezing Instructions

  • To store leftovers, place in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • To freeze, place in an airtight container or a casserole dish and place in freezer for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat, place leftovers in the microwave until heated through. If going from freezing, thaw in the fridge overnight and then place the casserole dish in the oven at 350 F for about 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What type of noodles are best for pumpkin mac and cheese? Any of the classic mac and cheese noodles would work for this recipe. We like rotini but you can also try elbow, fusilli, cavatappi, small shells, or even bowtie!
  • Can this mac and cheese be baked? Many traditional mac and cheese recipes require baking at the end for a crunchy, breadcrumb topping. You can absolutely do that with this recipe as well, but it isn’t necessary. This pumpkin mac and cheese will be delicious as is. If you have the time, top it with some extra shredded cheese and panko breadcrumbs mixed with melted butter and let it bake for a delicious topping!
  • Can I use homemade pumpkin puree? Absolutely! Homemade pumpkin puree would be great to use in this recipe.

Mac and cheese in a white bowl being scooped by a silver spoon.

More Easy Pasta Recipes to Try

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

There is nothing better than Pumpkin Mac and Cheese in the fall! This recipe is the ultimate comfort food, with a gooey, creamy cheese sauce and just the right amount of pumpkin. Plus, you can have this on the dinner table in less than 30 minutes! 

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces rotini pasta
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Instructions

Images:
  • Boil pasta according to package instructions until al dente.
  • Meanwhile melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add in flour and whisk constantly for 2 minutes.
    Slowly whisk in milk. Add in the pumpkin and all of the seasonings. Cook on medium heat whisking continuously until slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes. Make sure to keep the milk moving to avoid burning.
  • Take off the heat and stir in shredded cheddar cheese. Season with more salt to taste if desired.
  • Add the cheese sauce to the macaroni and stir to coat.
    Serve immediately and enjoy!
Nutrition Facts
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 593 Calories from Fat 279
% Daily Value*
Fat 31g48%
Saturated Fat 17g106%
Trans Fat 0.3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 87mg29%
Sodium 601mg26%
Potassium 392mg11%
Carbohydrates 55g18%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 24g48%
Vitamin A 7290IU146%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 526mg53%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Fall, Mac and Cheese, Pumpkin

    Holiday Desserts

You NEED To Make!

BEFORE YOU GO! 

* I consent to receive emails from Chef Savvy

15