Easy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

How to make extra creamy pumpkin mac and cheese in under 1 hour. Pumpkin puree adds savoriness and creaminess to cheesy macaroni. The perfect fall dinner! Jump to the Easy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese Recipe or watch our quick recipe video showing you how to make it.

Watch How We Make It

How to Make Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Adding pumpkin puree to macaroni and cheese makes everything creamier and like velvet. Use homemade pumpkin puree or consider this recipe the perfect excuse for using up leftover canned pumpkin during the fall. We usually break out this recipe after making a batch of our pumpkin scones or pumpkin spice lattes.

Whenever fall hits, we’re on the lookout for every possible way to add pumpkin to our lives. We make pumpkin scones, cupcakes, pumpkin bread, and we even add it to our coffee. Our favorite savory way to use pumpkin is to stir it into a cheesy, velvety sauce and make pumpkin mac and cheese.

How to make extra creamy pumpkin mac and cheese in under 1 hour. See the recipe and quick recipe video now.

Just like our easy baked mac and cheese and this ultra creamy mac and cheese, this pumpkin spiked sauce is easy and made on the stove. To make it, melt butter in a large pan then whisk in flour until light brown and nutty. Pour in some milk and whisk until the sauce thickens.

Once you have a creamy sauce, it’s all about the seasonings. We add salt, pepper, nutmeg, mustard for a little zing, and of course, the pumpkin puree.

How to make extra creamy pumpkin mac and cheese in under 1 hour. See the recipe and quick recipe video now.

If you don’t have pumpkin on hand, but have other winter squashes, this recipe works beautifully with other varieties of squash. Try replacing the pumpkin puree with pureed butternut squash or other winter varieties.

For the cheese, we use extra sharp cheddar. It just tastes better that way. We also grate the cheese ourselves. After making many batches of mac and cheese, we’ve found that home-grated cheese melts more easily than the cheese sold pre-grated in bags.

When the cheese is melted, the sauce is ready for the pasta. For stovetop mac and cheese, you can just stop at this point, grab a bowl and dig in. Or for an extra cheesy crust, you can bake it. And that’s it, simple pumpkin mac and cheese! You’re going to love it.

Easy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese Recipe

More Easy Fall Pasta Recipes

  • Easy Vegetable Lasagna — This recipe has so many happy reviews, we can’t keep up. In the recipe, we use summer squash, but for a fall inspired dish, try substituting with roasted cubed winter squash or pumpkin.
  • Baked Spaghetti — Delicious at all times of the year, this baked spaghetti has a layer of creamy pesto in the middle.
  • Parmesan Lemon Baked Spaghetti Squash — Easy baked spaghetti squash with butter cooked chicken, parmesan, and fresh lemon. Healthy and delicious!
  • Easy Garlic Mushroom Pasta — Mushroom pasta with the most delicious garlic butter mushrooms. Thanks to our no-fail method for cooking mushrooms, this easy pasta comes together in under 30 minutes and tastes amazing!

Recipe updated, originally posted January 2012. Since posting this in 2012, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear and added a quick recipe video. Back in the day we were contributors for Betty Crocker. We shared this recipe with them. We loved it so much we had to share an adapted version with you. – Adam and Joanne

Easy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

Pumpkin puree makes a velvety, rich mac and cheese. Use pure pumpkin puree for this, not the can labeled “pumpkin pie mix” since that has spices added. Homemade pumpkin puree is an excellent option, as well. Or swap pumpkin for another squash such as butternut squash. If you are able, buy a block of cheese, and then coarsely grate it instead of buying pre-shredded cheese. In our experience, home-grated cheese melts better and becomes more creamy than grated cheese out of a bag.

Makes approximately 8 servings

You Will Need

1 pound pasta, such as farfalle, macaroni or shells

Salt, as needed

4 tablespoons (55 grams) unsalted butter

1/4 cup (30 grams) all-purpose flour

2 cups (470 ml) milk, whole or 2% are best

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon finely grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 cup (230 grams) pure pumpkin puree, see our homemade pumpkin puree recipe

8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 2 1/2 cups)

Directions

  • Prepare Sauce
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta as directed on package. (Usually between 7 and 10 minutes). Drain.

    Melt butter in a large, high-sided pan over medium heat. When the butter begins to bubble, add the flour. Cook, whisking constantly 2 to 3 minutes until the butter smells fragrant and nutty — the color of the butter-flour mixture will turn light brown.

    While whisking, slowly pour in the milk. Continue to cook, whisking constantly until the sauce bubbles and thickens. Season the sauce with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, pepper, nutmeg, and mustard. Add the pumpkin puree and three-quarters of the grated cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth. Taste the sauce for seasoning and adjust with more salt or pepper.

    • To Finish
    • Mix the cooked pasta into the sauce until well coated then spoon into the prepared baking dish, top with remaining cheese.

      Bake the macaroni and cheese, uncovered, until golden brown on top, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • If you have one, make the sauce in an oven safe Dutch oven. This way, there is no need to dirty a baking dish. Instead combine the pasta and sauce right in the Dutch oven and bake.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Calories 474 / Protein 19 g / Carbohydrate 57 g / Dietary Fiber 4 g / Total Sugars 5 g / Total Fat 19 g / Saturated Fat 11 g / Cholesterol 51 mg
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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29 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Jessica January 3, 2014, 12:58 pm

    Deeeelicious recipe! Made it today to warm up this snowday from Hercules and it was a HUGE hit!!!! Used skim milk and gluten-free pasta (gluten sensitivity here), baked for 15 min at 350 then turned the oven off and let it bake for another 5. The family loved it and there was not a single bite leftover. I will definitely make this again, thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Joanne January 7, 2014, 11:21 am

      So glad you and your family loved the mac and cheese — this is a family favorite for us, too!

      Reply
  • Marilyn May 30, 2013, 6:47 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight (used sharp cheddar) Beautiful color and I loved the taste. Surprisingly Creamy, but not heavy! So easy and fast! This is the third recipe from your site (found site via foodgawker.com) that I have tried this week! Excellent x Three

    Reply
    • Adam May 31, 2013, 8:22 am

      Hi Marilyn, So glad you found us 🙂 The pumpkin mac and cheese is a family favorite around here 🙂

      Reply
  • sarahlee December 31, 2012, 2:54 pm

    Absolutely love this recipe. I doubld the sauce though, extra creamy!!! I made it for Thanksgiving and am making it again now.

    Reply
  • andrea November 22, 2012, 9:23 am

    Great recipe! Thanks! I pinned this for Thanksgiving and am using it today! It is delicious! I think the family will love it!

    Reply
  • Arielle November 21, 2012, 6:58 am

    Hey, can I use Skim milk in this recipe? It looks quite delicious – I wouldn’t want to ruin it for Thanksgiving dinner 🙂

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Adam November 21, 2012, 9:59 am

      We usually use 2%, but skim will be fine. The cheese and pumpkin are rich enough.

      Reply
  • TINA November 15, 2012, 1:14 pm

    Instead of the Nutmeg I always add some Ginger to my Mac and Cheese…..yummmmy!

    Reply
  • Kim October 17, 2012, 11:34 am

    Delicious!

    Reply
  • Barbara October 14, 2012, 12:28 pm

    Very tasty. I used skim milk and it was still good. I used extra sharp cheddar cheese. Next time I would try the whole 2 cups of cheese in the mixture and then an additional half cup on top of casserole before baking. It could have been more cheesy tasting.

    Reply
    • Joanne October 18, 2012, 12:26 pm

      We’re always up for adding more cheese!

      Reply
  • Jen June 25, 2012, 12:25 am

    A great idea to use pumpkin- I will have to try it out soon. I know they say it is summer but I guess the weathere here is not cooperating LoL

    Reply
  • Thebluestbutterfly March 16, 2012, 3:38 am

    So we finally had and enjoyed the Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese. It was not overly greasy like some of the baked macaroni and cheeses get. Nothing to cough on like the little egg bits in some of the baked dishes. Creamy. A subtle, unusual taste and it smelled good. Husband said he would like to have salt and some onions in it.

    Reply
  • Nancy D. February 12, 2012, 5:50 pm

    I just made this dish today and it was a big hit. I love the flavors!

    Reply
  • j alexander January 30, 2012, 6:53 pm

    I found your pumpkin mac and cheese recipe on pinterest. Looks wonderful. You don’t have the milk measurement listed. Can you tell me how much milk should go in your recipe?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Joanne January 30, 2012, 8:06 pm

      fixed now! thanks for letting us know!
      -joanne

      Reply
  • L.. LaPalme January 30, 2012, 4:01 pm

    Sure cannot wait to make the pumpkin Mac and cheese. It sure looks and sounds good

    Reply
    • Joanne January 30, 2012, 4:41 pm

      Awesome! Hope you enjoy it!
      -Joanne

      Reply
  • Miri Leigh January 19, 2012, 6:00 pm

    Oh my gosh, this looks like it’s to-die for! How perfect for a cold winter day.

    Reply
  • Heather January 18, 2012, 8:40 am

    So delish!! I’m lucky to have you two as fam 😉

    Reply
    • Joanne January 18, 2012, 2:55 pm

      ditto!
      love, jo

      Reply

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