Amazing Pumpkin Mac and Cheese that is creamy, cheesy, and baked in the oven with a buttery bread crumble. This beautiful fall pasta dish will be ready in less than an hour and so easy. It’s an easy way to get some extra vegetables into a delicious, comforting dish.
PUMPKIN MAC AND CHEESE
What is it about mac and cheese that no one can ever resist? Soft pasta mixes with the gooey cheese sauce has the ability to melt all you worries away with just one bite.
This fall twist on the pasta is amazing and all you need is some pumpkin puree. You will add another layer of flavor and some health benefits of the pumpkin. Kids and adults will love every bite of it and you will know that you got the family to eat a vegetable.
Until October rolls around, I use canned pumpkin puree and it works perfectly well. Once fresh pumpkins become available, it’s easy to make some homemade pumpkin puree and keep it in the freezer to use any time. So both, canned and homemade pumpkin, work very well in this recipe.
When it comes to this mac and cheese, technically it can be eaten right after pasta is mixed with pumpkin cheese sauce. But, I highly recommend taking the extra step to bake it. Pasta gets incorporated with the ingredients much better and the whole dish is always smoother after baking. Buttery crunch on top adds awesome crunchy bite.
INGREDIENTS FOR PUMPKIN MAC AND CHEESE
Pumpkin Puree – you can use canned pumpkin puree or homemade pumpkin puree. Either way, it will be amazing. Just remember that homemade pumpkin puree can to be a little thinner than canned, so don’t worry if the sauce is just a little thinner.
Cheeses – for any mac and cheese, I recommend flavorful cheeses that carry a nice flavor punch. Think extra sharp cheddar cheese, some grated Gruyere, or even pepper Jack for a spicy kick. Make sure the cheeses you melt well, don’t use a lot of hard cheese like Parmesan. Parmesan and other hard cheeses can be used as a flavor addition but not as a main cheese.
Pasta – my family’s favorite pasta for mac and cheese is macaroni, of course, but you can choose to use other pasta like rotini, penne, and even ditalini for the little ones.
HOW TO MAKE PUMPKIN MAC AND CHEESE
Cook pasta al dente, drain and set it aside until cheese sauce is ready.
Preheat oven to 425° and lightly grease a 9×13 casserole dish.
While pasta is cooking, grate cheese and start making the cheese sauce. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat and whisk in flour. Once it’s combined, start pouring in milk while constantly whisking. Keep whisking until all incorporated.
Add cheeses and pumpkin puree and slowly stir everything in. Keep cooking and stirring until cheese is all melted and mixed into the sauce. Season cheese sauce with paprika, salt, and pepper and add pasta to the pot. Mix until pasta is completely incorporated and pour it all into the prepared casserole dish. Spread it all evenly in the dish.
In a small bowl, combine Panko crumbs, melted butter, and dried parsley. Mix it well and spread the crumble over the macaroni. Pop it in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.
WHAT CAN I ADD TO PUMPKIN MAC AND CHEESE
Add Vegetables – Broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, bell peppers, onions, can all be wonderful additions to this dish. Just make sure to par-cook the vegetables first so it doesn’t release a lot of moisture into the cheese sauce as it bakes. You can saute the vegetables for a few minutes or steam it. Add veggies to the cheese sauce with the pasta and mix it all together.
Add Bacon – bacon makes everything better and it’s true for this dish. To add bacon, cook it into the cheese sauce directly. Cook diced bacon in the pot first until it’s all browned and crispy. Sprinkle flour over it, mix it well, and pour in the milk. Add pumpkin puree and grated cheeses, cook, and stir slowly until cheese is melted and incorporated. Finish the mac and cheese as directed in the recipe.
SOME MORE RECIPES TO TRY
Bacon and Onion Pumpkin Risotto
Three Cheese Pumpkin Tortellini
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Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 oz Monterrey Jack cheese (or cheddar jack)
- 15 oz pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp paprika
- fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 cup Panko crumbs
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 2 tbsp butter melted
- Cook pasta al dente, drain, and set it aside until cheese sauce is ready.
- Preheat oven to 425° and lightly grease a 9×13 casserole dish.
- While pasta is cooking, grate cheese and start making the cheese sauce. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat and whisk in flour. Once it’s combined, start pouring in milk while constantly whisking. Keep whisking until all incorporated.
- Add cheeses and pumpkin puree and slowly stir everything in. Keep cooking and stirring until cheese is all melted and mixed into the sauce.
- Season cheese sauce with paprika, salt, and pepper and add pasta to the pot. Mix until pasta is completely incorporated and pour it all into the prepared casserole dish. Spread it all evenly in the dish.
- In a small bowl, combine Panko crumbs, melted butter, and dried parsley. Mix it well and spread the crumble over the macaroni.
- Pop it in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes.
Never made Mac and Cheese with pumpkin…. this seems to be perfect occasion. Thank you and enjoy your day 🙂
Thank you!! 🙂
Melissa Griffiths says
Perfect fall dish! My kids love mac n cheese so hopefully they’ll like it with pumpkin added.