Skip to Content

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

There is something about the sweet, creamy addition of pumpkin that pairs absolutely perfectly with cheesy, indulgent mac and cheese. This delicious pumpkin mac and cheese is rich without being too heavy and has a velvety smooth pumpkin and cheese sauce – with the option to bake it in the oven for a crispy, extra cheesy topping.

a white dish with pumpkin mac and cheese on top, topped with fresh basil

I made this recipe when I had a pumpkin left over after Halloween (and it miraculously hadn’t been scribbled all over by my toddler who loved pumpkin-painting this year!). In the UK, tinned pumpkin puree just doesn’t seem to be a thing that you can easily purchase in the shops – but if you’re in the US or somewhere where you can get pumpkin puree, then this recipe will be a lot easier to create!

If you can’t find pumpkins anywhere, butternut squash is a fantastic substitution that will also work great.

Want a vegan version? Have a look at my vegan pumpkin mac and cheese recipe instead! For more cheesy goodness, you’ll love this orzo mac and cheese or this cheesy baked orzo with veggie meatballs recipe.

Why You’ll Love This Pumpkin Mac and Cheese:

  • No roux: No fear of lumpy roux sauce with this recipe, as there isn’t one! We simply blend up roasted pumpkin and garlic with a splash of milk, then add the cheeses, spices, and some starchy pasta water for the sauce.
  • Creamy, velvety sauce: My favorite thing about this recipe is the super creamy, velvety sauce which tastes and looks so indulgent, and yet manages to feel relatively light on your tummy.
  • Packed with seasonings: We use a big mix of seasonings and spices for this recipe, giving what could be an otherwise mild mac and cheese recipe some BIG flavor.
  • Easy: Although roasting the pumpkin takes up the best part of a (hands-off) hour, this pumpkin mac and cheese is wonderfully easy to mix together.
pumpkin mac and cheese

What You’ll Need

Here is everything you’ll need – equipment and ingredients – to make this recipe. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the printable recipe card with the exact quantities and instructions.


To make this pumpkin mac and cheese, you’ll need:

  • A roasting tray (I used a ceramic roasting dish that I can tip the pumpkin cheese back into for the crispy cheese topping to finish in the oven)
  • A knife and chopping board 
  • A cheese grater (although you could just chop the cheeses into chunks)
  • A blender to blitz up the sauce – I use my NutriBullet almost every day
  • A saucepan for cooking your macaroni and mixing everything up


You’ll need the following ingredients. If you can’t find something, I’ve included some great ideas for adapting this recipe a little further down in this article.

  • Pumpkin
  • Garlic, a whole head
  • Milk
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Gouda
  • Macaroni (I used elbow macaroni)
  • Reserved pasta water
  • Olive oil
  • Seasonings: smoked paprika, oregano, rosemary, thyme, salt, black pepper, and nutmeg
pumpkin mac and cheese birds eye shot

How To Make Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

This recipe may take a little time due to the pumpkin roasting (you can skip this step if you have pumpkin puree, of course!), but it’s very easy to bring together. Let’s jump in.

Step 1: Roast your pumpkin and garlic

Cut your pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds (I use an ice cream scoop and it makes this job so much easier). Cut the top of your head of garlic, and place the pumpkin halves and garlic in a large baking dish.

Drizzle with olive oil and a little salt and pepper, and roast in a preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour (or until the pumpkin is soft). 

Step 2: Blitz the sauce

Once you’ve removed the pumpkin and garlic from the oven, allow it to cool for 10 minutes or so. Then, scoop the pumpkin out of its skin and squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves. Blend both up with your splash of milk into a smooth, creamy sauce.

Step 3: Mix your seasonings and grate the cheese

In a small bowl, combine all the seasonings so it’s easier to add everything at once. If you want a little spice, you could also add chili flakes or some cajun seasonings.

Also, grate your cheddar and gouda cheeses.

Step 4: Cook your pasta

While the pumpkin is cooling, start cooking your macaroni according to the package instructions. Reserve about half a cup (120ml) of the starchy pasta water before draining.

Step 5: Bring everything together

Return the drained pasta to the saucepan, and add the sauce, cheese, seasonings, and pasta water. On a low-medium heat, combine everything into a smooth, velvety sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings or cheese according to your preferences.

Step 6: Cheesy topping

Pour the pumpkin mac and cheese back into your (clean) roasting dish, and grate a little more cheese over it. Pop back in the oven for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden and crispy on top!

Serving Suggestions

This is a delicious and filling main meal, served alongside a light green salad.

However, you could also serve it as a side with roasted vegetables and crispy tofu for a more well-rounded meal.


Your pumpkin mac and cheese will last in the refrigerator for around 4-5 days. You could either cover the roasting dish with foil or cling film and store it in the fridge, or you could transfer any leftover pumpkin mac and cheese to an airtight container.

Variations and Adaptation Ideas

If you can’t source a certain ingredient, don’t like the look of something, or are just hoping to get creative, here are a few things you could do to change up this recipe:

  • Swap out the pumpkin for butternut squash – it will taste almost identical (i.e. delicious!)
  • Add mozzarella and cream cheese for a super indulgent and creamy mac and cheese
  • Add pepperjack cheese for a spicier alternative, or sprinkle some jalapenos within the sauce
  • If you eat meat, add cooked chicken or beef crumbles. If you’re vegetarian like me, you could add nutritional yeast to the sauce and pair this mac and cheese with crunchy tofu nuggets.
  • Add chilli flakes or chilli powder/cajun powder for an extra kick of spice.
  • Add breadcrumbs to the cheese before baking the pumpkin mac and cheese for a super crunchy topping


How long does the pumpkin take to cook?

My pumpkin took about 50 minutes to roast completely. If you have a large pumpkin, account for a little longer. You can stick a knife in the pumpkin flesh to see whether it needs more time.

Can I add the seasonings straight to the sauce before blending?

Yes, absolutely. You could add the seasonings and the cheese to the sauce before blending if you wanted to.

Can I make this recipe vegan?

I actually have a vegan pumpkin mac and cheese recipe already on this website! Make sure you check that out for a dairy-free version of this recipe.

pumpkin mac and cheese

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Yield: 4-5 portions
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

A beautifully cheesy, velvety pumpkin mac and cheese recipe that uses a whole roasted pumpkin (but can be subbed for pumpkin puree). Two types of cheese add to this delicious, seasonal dish.


  • 1 pumpkin
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 150ml milk
  • 80g cheddar cheese
  • 80g gouda
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 0.5 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 120ml starchy pasta water
  • 300g elbow macaroni


  1. Preheat your oven to 200C
  2. Cut your pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds (I recommend using an ice cream scoop). Cut the top of your head of garlic, and add the pumpkin and garlic to a roasting tray.
  3. Drizzle the pumpkin and garlic with the olive oil and a little salt and pepper, then roast for 45 minutes - 1 hour (or until your pumpkin is soft all the way through).
  4. Set the pumpkin and garlic aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, start cooking the pasta according to the package instructions.
  6. Grate the cheddar cheese and gouda cheese.
  7. Combine all the seasonings/spices together in a small bowl.
  8. Scoop the cooled pumpkin flesh out of the skins and add to a blender with the milk. Squeeze out the roasted garlic and add as many cloves of garlic to the blender as you like (I like a lot of garlic, so use most of the head of garlic! You may prefer less).
  9. Blend the pumpkin, milk, and garlic into a smooth and creamy sauce.
  10. Drain your cooked pasta, reserving some of the pasta sauce, and then add the pasta back to your saucepan.
  11. Tip in the sauce, cheeses, seasonings, and pasta water and on a low-medium heat combine everything until the macaroni is coated in a smooth, glossy sauce.
  12. You can serve now, or pour the mac and cheese back into your roasting dish and top with more cheese before roasting for another 15 minutes for a cheesy, crispy topping.


Your pumpkin mac and cheese will last in the refrigerator for around 4-5 days. You could either cover the roasting dish with foil or cling film and store it in the fridge, or you could transfer any leftover pumpkin mac and cheese to an airtight container.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Skip to Recipe