Best Ever Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

This pumpkin macaroni and cheese dish is delicious and a crowd pleaser. Warm, hearty, creamy and filling, its the perfect dish for the cooler nights of fall and winter. Plus it's freezer friendly too making it perfect for busy nights when you have to cook ahead. The whole family will love it! | CreativeHomeKeeper.com

During the hot summer, and while I participating in my Whole 30 Challenge last month, I tend to stay away from heavy and hearty meals. However once the temperature starts to change and becomes cooler, fall is the perfect time to bring out those heavy, freezer friendly meals that fill our bellies and bring comfort on cool evenings.

Macaroni and cheese has been a staple in our families for years and while I’ll admit to growing up on the blue box, I have since come to discover just how easy, not to mention much healthier and tastier, homemade macaroni and cheese is. Now in full honesty, homemade macaroni and cheese probably doesn’t  pass off as the most “healthiest” of dishes thanks to all the warm and oh-so-yummy gooey cheeses, but’s definitely better than the boxed variety where the “cheese” sauce or powdered substance has plenty of questionable ingredients in it.

Traditional macaroni and cheese is more of a side dish, not necessarily a meal but this Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese is a meal in itself, complete with pasta, cheese, pumpkin puree, plenty of seasonal spices and you can add shredded chicken or bacon if you wish for extra protein.

This is literally fall in a dish!

Another thing I love about Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese is that it’s a freezer friendly meal so I can double (or even triple) the batch and freeze for later. I love meals where I can cook once and eat twice (or three times!).

Warm, creamy and decadent, Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese will be a crowd please in your home as well.

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients Needed

This pumpkin macaroni and cheese dish is delicious and a crowd pleaser. Warm, hearty, creamy and filling, its the perfect dish for the cooler nights of fall and winter. Plus it's freezer friendly too making it perfect for busy nights when you have to cook ahead. The whole family will love it! | CreativeHomeKeeper.com

1 pound of small pasta

1/4 cup of unsalted butter- I always cook and bake with unsalted butter that way I can add my own salt and am aware of how much salt is being added to a dish

3 TBSP of flour- I use whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice OR 1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1 tsp cinnamon

2 1/2 cups whole milk- I always cook and bake with whole milk

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 cups of mild cheddar shredded cheese

1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese (divided)

1 tsp brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 TBSP olive oil

1 cup plain, whole wheat bread crumbs

Step One

This pumpkin macaroni and cheese dish is delicious and a crowd pleaser. Warm, hearty, creamy and filling, its the perfect dish for the cooler nights of fall and winter. Plus it's freezer friendly too making it perfect for busy nights when you have to cook ahead. The whole family will love it! | CreativeHomeKeeper.com

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water. Reserve 1 cup of water before draining. Return drained pasta back to the large pot with the reserved cooking water. Spray a large glass baking dish with spray and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

This pumpkin macaroni and cheese dish is delicious and a crowd pleaser. Warm, hearty, creamy and filling, its the perfect dish for the cooler nights of fall and winter. Plus it's freezer friendly too making it perfect for busy nights when you have to cook ahead. The whole family will love it! | CreativeHomeKeeper.com

I like to have all my ingredients ready to go right beside my sauce pan since making the cheese sauce takes special attention and moves quickly once the butter is melted. To make it even easier, I go ahead and measure out my milk and cheese and place in jars ready to be poured in. I also go ahead and measure out and mix together the flour and pumpkin pie spice. Now all I have to do is dump each ingredient in during the correct step below.

Step Two

This pumpkin macaroni and cheese dish is delicious and a crowd pleaser. Warm, hearty, creamy and filling, its the perfect dish for the cooler nights of fall and winter. Plus it's freezer friendly too making it perfect for busy nights when you have to cook ahead. The whole family will love it! | CreativeHomeKeeper.com

In a medium pot over medium heat, melt the butter. When the butter is melted, whisk in the flour and pumpkin spice blend until smooth. Let cook for about 1 minute.

This pumpkin macaroni and cheese dish is delicious and a crowd pleaser. Warm, hearty, creamy and filling, its the perfect dish for the cooler nights of fall and winter. Plus it's freezer friendly too making it perfect for busy nights when you have to cook ahead. The whole family will love it! | CreativeHomeKeeper.comStep Three

This pumpkin macaroni and cheese dish is delicious and a crowd pleaser. Warm, hearty, creamy and filling, its the perfect dish for the cooler nights of fall and winter. Plus it's freezer friendly too making it perfect for busy nights when you have to cook ahead. The whole family will love it! | CreativeHomeKeeper.com

Gently whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 5 minutes as the liquid begins to thicken.

Step Four

This pumpkin macaroni and cheese dish is delicious and a crowd pleaser. Warm, hearty, creamy and filling, its the perfect dish for the cooler nights of fall and winter. Plus it's freezer friendly too making it perfect for busy nights when you have to cook ahead. The whole family will love it! | CreativeHomeKeeper.com

Whisk in the pumpkin puree and stir in the cheddar cheese and 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese. Let the cheese melt and gently stir to incorporate. Add in the brown sugar, salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

This pumpkin macaroni and cheese dish is delicious and a crowd pleaser. Warm, hearty, creamy and filling, its the perfect dish for the cooler nights of fall and winter. Plus it's freezer friendly too making it perfect for busy nights when you have to cook ahead. The whole family will love it! | CreativeHomeKeeper.com

Step Five

This pumpkin macaroni and cheese dish is delicious and a crowd pleaser. Warm, hearty, creamy and filling, its the perfect dish for the cooler nights of fall and winter. Plus it's freezer friendly too making it perfect for busy nights when you have to cook ahead. The whole family will love it! | CreativeHomeKeeper.com

Pour the pumpkin cheese sauce over the cooked pasta in the large stockpot. Mix well so that the sauce and pasta are well incorporated. Pour the macaroni and cheese into the baking dish.

This pumpkin macaroni and cheese dish is delicious and a crowd pleaser. Warm, hearty, creamy and filling, its the perfect dish for the cooler nights of fall and winter. Plus it's freezer friendly too making it perfect for busy nights when you have to cook ahead. The whole family will love it! | CreativeHomeKeeper.com

Step Six

This pumpkin macaroni and cheese dish is delicious and a crowd pleaser. Warm, hearty, creamy and filling, its the perfect dish for the cooler nights of fall and winter. Plus it's freezer friendly too making it perfect for busy nights when you have to cook ahead. The whole family will love it! | CreativeHomeKeeper.com

In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and olive oil. Stir well to mix. Sprinkle the oiled bread crumbs on top of the macaroni and top with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.

This pumpkin macaroni and cheese dish is delicious and a crowd pleaser. Warm, hearty, creamy and filling, its the perfect dish for the cooler nights of fall and winter. Plus it's freezer friendly too making it perfect for busy nights when you have to cook ahead. The whole family will love it! | CreativeHomeKeeper.com

Step Seven

Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. If freezing, do not bake but cover with foil and mark the date before placing in the freezer. When ready to bake, allow the macaroni and cheese to thaw in the refrigerator for several hours before. baking.

This pumpkin macaroni and cheese dish is delicious and a crowd pleaser. Warm, hearty, creamy and filling, its the perfect dish for the cooler nights of fall and winter. Plus it's freezer friendly too making it perfect for busy nights when you have to cook ahead. The whole family will love it! | CreativeHomeKeeper.com

If you want, you can mix in some cooked shredded chicken or crumbled bacon when you are combining the pumpkin cheese sauce and pasta. It adds a little extra protein and makes them a complete, all-in-one dish. Or you can serve this as a side to your favorite main dish meat meal.

I usually serve Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese alongside pork chops, ham or roasted chicken. In fact last Christmas I made several pans of this to serve with our spiraled ham and let’s just say we didn’t have any leftovers at all!

As I make Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese this fall I will be doubling the recipe to allow myself to freeze a few pans as I stock my freezer in preparation for baby #3.

Best Ever Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe Type: Pasta
Author: Victoria @ Creative Home Keeper
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of small pasta
  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter
  • 3 TBSP of flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice OR 1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups of mild cheddar shredded cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese (divided)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 cup plain, whole wheat bread crumb
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water. Reserve 1 cup of water before draining. Return drained pasta back to the large pot with the reserved cooking water. Spray a large glass baking dish with spray and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium pot over medium heat, melt the butter. When the butter is melted, whisk in the flour and pumpkin spice blend until smooth. Let cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Gently whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 5 minutes as the liquid begins to thicken.
  4. Whisk in the pumpkin puree and stir in the cheddar cheese and 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese. Let the cheese melt and gently stir to incorporate. Add in the brown sugar, salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
  5. Pour the pumpkin cheese sauce over the cooked pasta in the large stockpot. Mix well so that the sauce and pasta are well incorporated. Pour the macaroni and cheese into the baking dish.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and olive oil. Stir well to mix. Sprinkle the oiled bread crumbs on top of the macaroni and top with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. .
  7. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. If freezing, do not bake but cover with foil and mark the date before placing in the freezer. When ready to bake, allow the macaroni and cheese to thaw in the refrigerator for several hours before. baking.

 Enjoy!

Best Ever Pumpkin Mac and Cheese: This pumpkin macaroni and cheese dish is delicious and a crowd pleaser. Warm, hearty, creamy and filling, its the perfect dish for the cooler nights of fall and winter. Plus it's freezer friendly too making it perfect for busy nights when you have to cook ahead. The whole family will love it! | CreativeHomeKeeper.com

What is your family’s favorite hearty fall meal? 

This pumpkin macaroni and cheese dish is delicious and a crowd pleaser. Warm, hearty, creamy and filling, its the perfect dish for the cooler nights of fall and winter. Plus it's freezer friendly too making it perfect for busy nights when you have to cook ahead. The whole family will love it! | CreativeHomeKeeper.com

This post is part of the 31 Days of Savoring Fall Series. Click here to see all the posts in the series.

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8 Comments

  1. This looks interesting! I love mac and cheese & I love pumpkin. There is no way one could go wrong with this! Haha. thanks for sharing!

  2. Pingback: 90 Pumpkin Recipes - Hilary Bernstein
  3. Yum… I’m doing a Mac N’ Cheese round up this post is a must 🙂

    1. Thanks Amanda. You are more than welcome to include this post, just remember to link back here 😉

  4. How strong is the pumpkin Flavor with or without the spices? I’m wondering if can sneak it in.

    1. I don’t personally think it is too strong of a flavor, it definitely has a mac and cheese taste and texture with a little something extra. It doesn’t taste like it is straight-up pumpkin.

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