A delicious and creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese that’s perfect for fall and winter. The yummy cheese sauce is super creamy and gooey. Make it in under 30 minutes for a simple weeknight meal!

A bowl of pumpkin mac and cheese for a fork in the pasta.

We really love pumpkin season and one of our favorite fall recipes is this Pumpkin Mac and Cheese. It’s so creamy, rich and delicious with just the right amount of pumpkin goodness. This dish also comes together in under 30 minutes, which we’re huge fans of, so it makes a perfect weeknight dinner!

How to Make Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

This is the ultimate in cozy recipes. The pumpkin cheese sauce is super gooey and flavorful. It’s all about the sauce for this one! It’s pretty easy to make once you have all your ingredients organized.

Ingredients for Pumpkin Mac and Cheese all laid out on a kitchen counter.

Process

  1. Combine milk and pumpkin purée. Stir together.
  2. Bring a large pot water to boil and generously salt. Boil pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  1. Melt butter in a saucepan and add flour.
  2. Whisk together. Cook together and stir in thyme.
  1. Whisk pumpkin-milk mixture into flour mixture. Simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Remove from heat and stir cheese into pumpkin béchamel sauce until smooth.
  1. Add pasta to pumpkin cheese sauce.
  2. Fold together until fully incorporated.
  1. Top each serving with toasted panko and serve immediately.
A bowl of Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with a fork spearing some pasta.

Tools You Will Need

Best Types of Pasta to Use for Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Raw and dried fusilli pasta spread out on a surface.

We use fusilli for this pumpkin thyme mac and cheese because we love how the pasta holds onto the sauce so well. You can use another shaped pasta for this dish if you’re not a fan of fusilli or you don’t have it on hand.

Other great pasta shapes to use for this dish are standard elbow macaroni, cavatappi, small or medium shells, and bow tie.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese served into two bowls with a fork in one.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions

Make Ahead

The pasta can be boiled up to 5 days ahead of time. When ready to use, stir into hot cheese sauce and place over low heat until pasta warms through.

Freezing

While we think this dish is better when made fresh, you can freeze this dish for up to 3 months, in an airtight container. We recommend keeping the pasta and cheese sauce separate when freezing.

When ready to use, add frozen pasta to boiling water for 1 minute or until it has thawed and just heated through. Drain and set aside. Slightly thaw cheese sauce and pour into a saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. In a small bowl whisk 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 1/2 tablespoons milk. Once cheese sauce is simmering, whisk cornstarch slurring into sauce and continue to simmer until thickened. Season with salt and pepper and stir pasta into sauce.

Can This Pumpkin Mac and Cheese Be Baked?

Yes! Lightly grease a 8″x 8″ baking dish and add mac and cheese. Sprinkle top with more shredded cheese, thyme and breadcrumbs. Bake dish for 10 minutes at 400˚F, until cheese on top has melted and slightly browned.

Two bowls of Pumpkin Mac and Cheese, and one with a fork in some of the pasta.

Variations

  • You can add a couple small pinches of ground cinnamon, clove and nutmeg into the milk and pumpkin puree, if you want a ‘pumpkin spice’ flavor added to the mac and cheese.
  • As we mentioned earlier, almost any shaped pasta will work for this dish. Fusilli is our favorite because of how well the spirals hold onto the sauce.
  • We love the combination of pumpkin and thyme, but you can swap the thyme out for some minced sage, which is also delicious. Thinly sliced chives also work as a great alternative in this recipe!

We love this super creamy and cozy recipe for pumpkin mac and cheese. It’s also so simple to make too, which makes it a perfect weeknight meal or a quick and easy side dish to add to a larger meal.

A close up on a bowl of pumpkin mac and cheese.

More Delicious Pumpkin Recipes You Will Love

More Delicious Mac and Cheese Recipes You Will Love

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Close up on a bowl of pumpkin mac and cheese.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

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A delicious and creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese that’s perfect for fall and winter. The yummy cheese sauce is super creamy and gooey. Make it in under 30 minutes for a simple weeknight meal!

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cook Time: 17 mins

Total Time: 22 mins

Servings: 4

  INGREDIENTS  

  INSTRUCTIONS  

  • Stir together milk and pumpkin puree.

  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil add a generous amount of salt (2½ – 3 tablespoons) and then the pasta. Boil pasta for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta and set aside.

  • Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Sprinkle flour over melted butter and whisk together. Allow mixture to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in thyme.

  • Whisk pumpkin-milk mixture into flour mixture and continue to whisk until fully incorporated. Allow mixture to simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Remove from heat and stir cheese into the béchamel sauce, in small handfuls, and stir until cheese just melts before adding more cheese.

  • Reduce heat to low and gently stir pasta into the sauce, ½ cup at a time until all of the pasta has been added and is fully coasted in sauce. Adjust seasonings.

  • Serve Pumpkin Mac and Cheese into bowls and top with fresh thyme and toasted panko.

  NOTES  

  • Freeze Ahead: While we think this dish is better when made fresh, you can freeze this dish for up to 3 months, in an airtight container. We recommend keeping the pasta and cheese sauce separate when freezing.

    When ready to use, add frozen pasta to boiling water for 1 minute or until it has thawed and just heated through. Drain and set aside. Slightly thaw cheese sauce and pour into a saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. In a small bowl whisk 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 1/2 tablespoons milk. Once cheese sauce is simmering, whisk cornstarch slurring into sauce and continue to simmer until thickened. Season with salt and pepper and stir pasta into sauce.

 

  • To Make Toasted Panko: Pour panko into a small skillet and place over medium-low heat. Cook panko until lightly toasted, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning and evenly toast. 

Calories: 688kcal Carbohydrates: 85g Protein: 27g Fat: 27g Saturated Fat: 16g Cholesterol: 78mg Sodium: 396mg Potassium: 512mg Fiber: 5g Sugar: 10g Vitamin A: 10432IU Vitamin C: 7mg Calcium: 468mg Iron: 3mg

CUISINE: Amercian

KEYWORD: pumpkin mac and cheese, stovetop mac and cheese

COURSE: dinner, lunch, Main Course, Side Dish

DIET : Vegetarian

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