This Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is the perfect fall comfort food to savor the season. Creamy pumpkin, two types of cheese, and a savory topping are baked together to create the ultimate side dish. Easy to make and bursting with flavor, you’ll love the unique spin on a classic recipe!
The holidays will be here before you know it, and soon enough we’ll be zapped into a winter wonderland full of decorations, presents, Christmas movies, cookies (oh, the cookies!), desserts, and endless lines at the malls and stores.
But for now, let’s focus on pumpkin and the calm before the storm, so to speak. I love the holidays, and Christmas is my absolute favorite, but I’m trying to savor what’s left of fall before Thanksgiving hits, and that brings me to pumpkin.
And hearty, warm, and cheesy comfort food. Filled with pumpkin, of course!
And let’s face it, even though I’ve been known to open the boxed kind, homemade always wins the taste test. It’s creamier, cheesier, and all-around better. Mmm mmm good!
If you like pumpkin and mac ‘n cheese, then you’ll adore this Pumpkin Mac and Cheese. The combination may seem strange to some, but to me, it’s a match made in heaven.
What Makes This Pumpkin Mac and Cheese So Good
- The seasoned breadcrumb topping that gives it a little bit of a savory crunch!
- It’s warm, creamy, and oh-so cheesy – the perfect comfort food!
- This pumpkin pasta is the perfect fall side dish – great for the Thanksgiving table or any chilly autumn evening!
Ingredients in Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Savory pumpkin, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, and a parmesan breadcrumb topping makes this dish out-of-this-world delicious. Comfort food at its finest, friends!
Here’s what you’ll need to make this creamy baked mac and cheese recipe:
- Elbow macaroni
- Unsalted butter
- All-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper
- Heavy cream
- Pumpkin puree
- Mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, and Parmesan cheese
- Fresh sage
- Olive oil
How to Make Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Once finished cooking, drain and return it to the pot, then set aside.
- In another pot, melt the butter. Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper, whisking thoroughly to combine.
- Gradually stir in cream and milk. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly.
- Remove from heat and stir in pumpkin, mozzarella, cheddar cheese, and sage.
- Pour the mixture over the cooked macaroni and toss to coat the pasta.
- Spread the macaroni evenly into a prepared baking dish. Set aside.
- To make the topping, combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and oil. Sprinkle evenly over the macaroni.
- Bake until topping is browned and mixture is bubbly.
How Long to Bake Mac and Cheese
This super creamy mac and cheese needs to bake at 350F for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the topping is browned and the mixture is bubbly.
How to Reheat Mac and Cheese
If you have leftovers of this cheesy baked mac and cheese, I recommend reheating it in the oven. Microwaving mac and cheese is never a good idea, as it usually results in dry, rubbery pasta.
Recipe Variations to Try
- Switch up the pasta shapes to try something different – bow tie, ziti, or rotini would all be fun options!
- Use a different type of cheese for a different flavor profile! Gruyere or Asagio would be good to try.
- If pumpkin isn’t your thing, use a different type of squash like butternut or kabocha.
Tips for Making Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese
- Be sure to get plain pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling, otherwise your mac and cheese will end up sweet!
- Make sure to stir the pasta every so often as it’s cooking, and especially as you pour it into the hot water. It will stick together and cook unevenly if it’s not stirred.
- Consistently stir the cream mixture as it’s cooking as it can tend to burn quickly if left unattended.
I’m planning on making this yummy pumpkin pasta for the holidays this year, and I guarantee it’s going to be a show stopper! Pumpkin and cheese…can it get any better?
If you’re looking for that last minute side dish for Thanksgiving or any other holiday, I guarantee this is sure to impress even the pickiest of eaters!
Looking for more easy side dish recipes? I’ve got you covered!
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Roasted Parmesan Herb Sweet Potatoes
- Baked Cheesy Cauliflower
- Parmesan Honey Roasted Carrots
- Mushroom Wild Rice Pilaf
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- 2 cups dry elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup milk , any kind (I used 2%)
- 1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a medium pot, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot. Set aside.
- In another medium pot, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually stir in cream and milk. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly.
- Remove from heat and stir in pumpkin, mozzarella, cheddar cheese and sage.
- Pour mixture over cooked macaroni and toss to coat. Spread macaroni evenly into prepared baking dish. Set aside.
- To make the topping, in a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and oil. Sprinkle evenly over macaroni.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until topping is browned and mixture is bubbly. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
- See my tips and tricks for making this Pumpkin Mac and Cheese above the recipe box.
- Slightly adapted from Better Homes & Gardens - Pumpkin magazine.