This easy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese recipe combines pasta with a homemade creamy pumpkin cheese sauce. This dish is a great way to add extra veggies to a comforting meal that both kids and adults will enjoy! It's perfect for fall and the holidays.
This is fall on a plate! For this easy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese, soft spiral macaroni is covered in a luscious creamy pumpkin cheese sauce with delicate spice from sage and nutmeg.
Best of all, it's on the table in just 20 minutes! A family-pleasing, budget-friendly weeknight dinner.
It's also a perfect mac and cheese for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table.
Pumpkin season is here which means it's time to break out my favorite pumpkin recipes that I love sharing with others.
As much as I love making a sweet dessert with pumpkin puree, I also enjoy savory dishes like this easy recipe for pumpkin mac and cheese.
For this recipe, you’ll make a simple pumpkin cheese sauce that’s thickened with a roux.
Pumpkin puree, milk, cheese, and spices get added for a creamy cheese sauce.
Once that’s finished you’ll toss it with your favorite pasta to make a dish that is comforting and satisfying.
Serve pumpkin mac and cheese with your favorite protein or serve it up as a snack on a cool fall day.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
It’s made with simple homemade ingredients you can find in any grocery store.
An added dose of vegetables makes a healthy twist on this classic comfort food dish.
Great to serve during the holidays or as part of a weeknight lunch or dinner.
You can customize your Pumpkin Mac and Cheese by using any pasta you enjoy.
You only need a few simple pantry ingredients for this dish!
- Macaroni - You can use any pasta you enjoy however elbow or spiral noodles help hold the sauce perfectly.
- Butter - Gives the pumpkin cheese sauce a rich buttery taste.
- Flour - Helps naturally thicken the cheese sauce.
- Milk - Thins out the cheese sauce making it easy to coat the pasta.
- Canned Pumpkin Puree - Adds fresh pumpkin flavor and natural orange color to the dish. The plain one, not the sweeter pumpkin pie puree!
- Shredded Cheese - Adds cheddar flavor and a smooth velvety texture to the sauce.
- Dijon Mustard - Balances the cheese sauce with a light acidic tanginess.
- Dried Sage - Adds a hint of fresh herb taste.
- Pumpkin Spice - Gives the cheese sauce a warming fall flavor.
- Salt & Pepper - Enhance and balance out all of the flavors in the dish.
Please see the recipe card below for quantities.
Wondering how to make this pumpkin mac and cheese recipe? It's easy! Just follow this step-by-step photo tutorial. Then, scroll down for the recipe card for the full ingredients list and recipe method.
Cook the pasta: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook your pasta as per the instructions on the back of the pasta you are using. Drain and set aside.
Make a roux: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook with the melted butter for 1 minute making sure to vigorously whisk.
Thicken the pumpkin cheese sauce: To the butter and flour mixture, whisk in milk little by little while continuing to stir.
Flavor the sauce: Once the milk becomes thick and creamy, add the pumpkin puree, cheese, mustard, sage, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Stir until the cheese is fully melted.
Combine the pasta and sauce: Add the cooked pasta to a bowl, then pour the finished cheese sauce on top. Toss to fully coat and serve while warm.
When choosing pasta for mac and cheese, the best kinds are the ones with swirls and twirls such as rotini, shells, or elbow macaroni. This helps the sauce stick to the pasta to get the right amount of sauce in every bite.
When whisking the milk into the sauce, make sure you do it slowly as the flour needs time to absorb the milk and thicken.
Make sure you purchase pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling as the filling contains spices and sugar that is used to make sweet pie desserts.
Try adding pumpkin pie spice for more seasonal flavor.
Add a bit of spicy flavor by sprinkling with red chili flake or a drizzle of Chili Garlic Oil.
Use zucchini noodles or butternut squash noodles and toss them in the cheese sauce for an extra dose of veggies.
You can skip the pasta and use the sauce to top nachos, burritos, or your favorite tacos.
Try it with different cheese, such as Monterey jack, Gruyere or white cheddar.
Storing: Any leftover pumpkin mac and cheese can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop in a saucepan over medium-low heat until warmed through.
Freezing: Cooled pumpkin mac and cheese can be stored in a freezer-safe bag with as much air removed as possible. Freeze flat for up to 4 months. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the fridge. Moisture may be absorbed while freezing, so it may need a splash of milk to help thicken up when reheating.
Yes! If you don’t want to use cheddar you can use pepper jack, Monterey jack, shredded gouda, or whichever cheese you enjoy.
This recipe does have a fresh pumpkin taste though it pairs well with the cheese sauce. If you don’t enjoy the nutmeg, simply omit it and add other herbs to make it more savory.
More pasta recipes
We hope you love this pumpkin mac and cheese recipe as much as we do! Be sure to also try these other tasty pasta recipes.
More Pumpkin Recipes
Use up the rest of your pumpkin with these tasty recipes!
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Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- 12 oz macaroni elbow or spiral (340g)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour plain flour
- 1 ½ cups milk (350ml)
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie mix (225g)
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (115g)
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- ¼ teaspoon pumpkin spice or ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper
- Boil the pasta according to package instructions. Drain.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking.
- Whisk in the milk, a little at a time, stirring until thick and creamy.
- Stir in the pumpkin, cheese, mustard, sage, nutmeg, salt and pepper, stirring until the cheese melts.
- Pour in the drained pasta and stir to coat.
- Serve and enjoy!
- When choosing pasta for mac and cheese, the best kinds are the ones with swirls and twirls such as rotini, shells, or elbow macaroni. This helps the sauce stick to the pasta to get the right amount of sauce in every bite.
- When whisking the milk into the sauce, make sure you do it slowly as the flour needs time to absorb the milk and thicken.
- Make sure you purchase pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling as the filling contains spices and sugar that is used to make sweet pie desserts.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.