5 from 1 vote

Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese is creamy, cheesy, and absolutely delicious. If you haven’t added pumpkin to your macaroni and cheese you are missing out on a fall favorite recipe!

Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese - Creamy, cheesy and absolutely delicious! If you haven't added pumpkin to your mac and cheese, you are missing out.


Many thanks to Heather from Food Lovin’ Family for sharing her pumpkin mac and cheese recipe with us. It’s the time of year for all things pumpkin, and Heather puts a delicious twist on traditional macaroni and cheese by adding pumpkin and sage to the mix. Mac and cheese with pumpkin is the perfect fall dish. It is exactly what you want in comfort food when you’re wrapped up in a warm blanket on a cool day.

When it comes to cooking with pumpkin, many people associate using it with sweet things like pies and the always popular pumpkin spice latte. Pumpkin, however, also makes a wonderful ingredient in savory dishes. Macaroni and cheese made with pumpkin can stand alone as the main course or be served as a side dish.

One of my favorite ways to use pumpkin in savory meals is with pasta. Pumpkin gives this macaroni and cheese dish an extra creamy sauce. It does not add a very strong pumpkin taste but just enough to keep your taste buds happy.

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    For this recipe, I am using two different kinds of cheese, Fontina, and sharp cheddar. Fontina is a mild, creamy cheese, and when paired with sharp cheddar is a home run. If possible try to shred your cheese for optimal freshness.

    To spice up the pumpkin mac and cheese I add some sage and a pinch of ground nutmeg, giving it some extra fall flavor.

    I used medium shells for the pasta because I love how the cheese gets all up in the shell. Though, elbow macaroni, cavatappi, and rigatoni would be great substitutes. This pumpkin macaroni and cheese is then topped off with a golden Panko bread crumb and Parmesan crust.

    You’ll also like this Pumpkin Soup.

    Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese - Creamy, cheesy and absolutely delicious! If you haven't added pumpkin to your mac and cheese, you are missing out.

    Why You’ll Love Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

    • The addition of pumpkin provides more nutrients for a healthy mac.
    • Pumpkin macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food!
    • It’s a more grown-up mac that the kids will love too.
    • This pumpkin pasta dish has a smooth, velvety sauce!
    • If you have any, the leftovers are amazing!
    • A delicious holiday side dish!

    Ingredients

    • Pasta – Medium shells, cavatappi, elbows, fusilli, and rigatoni are all good options because the little grooves hold the creamy sauce.
    • Fontina cheese – Has a mild, nutty flavor, and is a great melting cheese.
    • Sharp Cheddar cheese
    • Butter – I typically use unsalted butter so I can control the amount of sodium in a recipe.
    • All-purpose flour
    • Salt and black pepper
    • Heavy cream
    • Milk – I prefer whole milk because it makes a creamier sauce.
    • Pumpkin – Use pure pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling which has spices.
    • Dried sage
    • Nutmeg

    Topping

    • Panko bread crumbs – The crispy panko bread crumbs topping is a nice contrast to the creamy pumpkin mac.
    • Grated Parmesan
    • Butter
    Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese - Creamy, cheesy and absolutely delicious! If you haven't added pumpkin to your mac and cheese, you are missing out.

    How to Make Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

    This pumpkin macaroni and cheese is so simple to make! Here’s what you need to do:

    • Step One: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    • Step Two: Cook pasta shells according to package directions in a large pot of salted water. Drain cooked pasta and then return to pan.
    • Step Three: In a medium pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat and stir in flour.
    • Step Four: Gradually stir in cream, milk, salt, and pepper and cook until it starts to thicken and bubbles.
    • Step Five: Mix in pumpkin, sharp cheddar cheese, Fontina cheese, sage, and nutmeg.
    • Step Six: Pour over cooked shells and stir to coat.
    • Step Seven: Transfer to a 2 or 3 qt. casserole dish.
    • Step Eight: In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of melted butter, panko, and Parmesan. Sprinkle over top of the pasta.
    • Step Nine: Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
    Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese - Creamy, cheesy and absolutely delicious! If you haven't added pumpkin to your mac and cheese, you are missing out.

    Equipment Needed

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    What to Serve With Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

    Of course, when I think of fall recipes with pumpkin, my mind immediately goes to Thanksgiving dinner! Below are a few of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes:

    Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese - Creamy, cheesy and absolutely delicious! If you haven't added pumpkin to your mac and cheese, you are missing out.

    Recipe Tips and Tricks

    • Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until it is al dente. Don’t overcook the pasta or your noodles will be mushy be sure to drain the pasta well.
    • For a lighter sauce, you may use 2% or 1% milk.
    • It is worth a second mention to make sure you are using pure pumpkin puree, and not pumpkin pie filling which has added spices.
    • Shred your own cheese for best results. The pre-shredded cheese you buy from the store has a coating that helps prevent clumping in the bag, but it will prevent your cheese from melting as well.
    • If you can splurge and use fresh-grated whole nutmeg, I highly recommend it. I use mine a lot during the fall and winter months, but remember a pinch of nutmeg goes a long way.
    Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese - Creamy, cheesy and absolutely delicious! If you haven't added pumpkin to your mac and cheese, you are missing out.

    Variations and Substitutions

    • If you don’t need this to be a vegetarian dish, you could add some crumbled cooked bacon, diced ham, or pancetta.
    • Feel free to use all Cheddar cheese or a different cheese blend. I have made this with Gruyere cheese and it turned out just as delicious.
    • Anytime you are making a dish that has CHEESE in the title, it is worth the extra effort to use good cheeses.
    • Roasted vegetables would be a wonderful addition, and I particularly like the combination of Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and onion.

    Storage Instructions

    Leftover pumpkin macaroni and cheese will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.

    Can I use homemade pumpkin puree?

    Yes, you can use an equal measure of homemade pumpkin puree, though I like to keep it simple.

    Can I make this ahead?

    Yes, you can make pumpkin macaroni and cheese up to 3 days ahead. Keep it well covered or in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Wait to add the bread crumb topping just before you are ready to bake.

    Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese - Creamy, cheesy and absolutely delicious! If you haven't added pumpkin to your mac and cheese, you are missing out.

    More Mac and Cheese Recipes

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    5 from 1 vote

    Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese

    Created by Stacie Vaughan
    Servings 8
    Prep Time 20 minutes
    Cook Time 30 minutes
    Total Time 50 minutes
    Creamy, cheesy and absolutely delicious! If you haven’t added pumpkin to your mac and cheese, you are missing out.

    Ingredients
     
     

    • 1 box medium shells 16oz box
    • ½ cup shredded Fontina cheese
    • ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
    • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp ground black pepper
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 can pumpkin puree 15oz can
    • ½ tsp dried sage
    • ½ tsp nutmeg

    Topping

    • ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
    • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 2 tablespoons butter melted

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 350℉.
    • Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain and then return to pan.
    • In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat and stir in flour.
    • Gradually stir in cream, milk, salt and pepper and cook until it starts to thicken and bubbles.
    • Mix in pumpkin, sharp cheddar cheese, Fontina cheese, sage and nutmeg.
    • Pour over cooked shells and stir to coat.
    • Transfer to a 2 or 3 qt. baking dish.
    • In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons melted butter, panko and Parmesan. Sprinkle over macaroni and cheese.
    • Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1g | Calories: 348kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 516mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g

    The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

    Course Casseroles
    Cuisine American
    Keyword Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese

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    5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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    16 Comments

    1. kathy downey says:

      Wonderful presentation,i can’t wait to try this !

    2. Kim Tanti says:

      I am going to have to try this for sure. My daughter and I love pumpkin anything.

    3. Mmm, this sounds amazing! Thanks for linking up with Creative Spark! I chose your mac & cheese as one of my Feature Picks for this week. Hope you’ll link up with us again; the party starts at 6am EST tomorrow!

    4. Your Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese looks fabulous and thanks so much for sharing it with us this week at Full Plate Thursday. Have a great day and come back to see us real soon!
      Miz Helen

    5. Now this sounds interesting! Yum! Thanks for linking up to Merry Monday! Sharing on Twitter! Have a great week!
      Kim

    6. This sounds (and looks!) absolutely amazing – definitely will have to try this one this week!

    7. Good lord, this looks delicious! I totally want to make this for Thanksgiving this year (still trying to think up ways to wow the family). Thanks for sharing 🙂 Stopping in from SITS Sharefest — beautiful blog! XO

    8. Never tired of pumpkin, especially with sage and mac n cheese! Looks yum!

    9. I had never thought of pumpkin mac and cheese. I love this idea 🙂

    10. I like pumpkin and also macaroni but just not sure how this combination together would taste.

    11. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

      I’m afraid I’m not a fan of pumpkin and so far I’ve never eaten macaroni cheese either so this recipe isn’t for me 🙂

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