I don’t know about you guys, but we’ve had a pretty long week over here. Busy and good, but the type of week that leaves you feeling like a zombie by Friday. So hey, fellow zombies. Happy Friday. I think we could all deserve a big ol’ bowl of healthyish pumpkin mac and cheese, don’t you?
This pumpkin mac and cheese is easy, creamy, delicious and pretty much tastes like what wrapping yourself up in a cozy blanket by a roaring fire feels.
You feel me?
How to make the best pumpkin mac and cheese:
Believe me when I tell you that this pumpkin mac and cheese is knock your fuzzy socks off good. Like erm merrrr gawdddd good. This easy mac and cheese is made with gruyere, cheddar, a full cup of pumpkin puree and just a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon to form the most beautiful flavor profile we’ve made at home in awhile. It’s sharp and nutty, but also creamy and sort of sweet in a the best way.
Don’t believe me? Just make it for yourself! It’s surprisingly easy and comes together in under 20 minutes, making it absolutely perfect for a weeknight dinner or a cozy late night snack!
Just follow a few tips and soon you’ll be eating the best pumpkin mac and cheese you’ve ever had!
Use good cheese: This goes without saying for mac and CHEESE, but just get the good stuff. It is so worth it.
Make sure your pasta is al dente! Your pasta will continue to cook in the cheese sauce, so make sure to not overcook it before adding it to the cheesy pumpkin sauce.
Don’t forget the nutmeg: The nutmeg is the secret ingredient in this recipe. The slightest hint of it warms the whole dish up and makes this mac and cheese taste truly gourmet!
The best part? It’s actually lightened up! Thanks to that creamy pumpkin puree, you can take out some of the butter and cream that you would use in a traditional mac and cheese!
Top this with some grated parmesan and a pinch of black pepper, get under your fluffiest blanket and snuggle up.
Happy weekend and happy pumpkin mac and cheese making, to you!
In a large pot over high heat, boil enough water to cook the entire box of pasta. Add in pasta and cook the pasta until just barely al dente, about 6 minutes (or 2 minutes less than whatever the box recommends). It will be undercooked; you’re doing it right. Drain and set aside while you make your cheese sauce.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Once melted, sprinkle in the flour, then stir to combine with the butter. Allow to cook for 1 minute, then add in the milk. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, grate the cheddar and gruyere cheese. Once the sauce has thickened, stir in cheese. Add the salt, pumpkin, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Add the cooked pasta, mixing it fully into the sauce. It will seem like there is a lot of cheese sauce, but it will thicken up in the next step.
Turn the stove to medium low heat, and cook, stirring constantly, for 5-7 minutes. You’re looking for the pasta to slightly sop up some of the cheese sauce, and for the entire sauce to get thick. You will know it’s done when you stir and the sauce sticks to the pasta, so you are able to see the bottom of the pan.
Remove from heat and serve immediately. Garnish with black pepper, grated parmesan cheese, and chopped thyme!
Keywords: easy, healthyish, healthy, the best, quick and easy, stovetop
*Any kind will do! For a thicker, creamier sauce use whole milk, or for a lighter, healthier version use 1% or skim!
Leave a comment and rate this recipe!
Hey! Can this be made ahead?
Hi Jackie! Yes–you can either make as directed and then heat it back up, or you can make the sauce and then heat it up and make the pasta when you’re ready to serve!
I was curious to try this as I love all things pumpkin. I used pasta that was made out of lentils as it was lower carbs and calories and I believe it’s healthier. Next time I’m going to use spaghetti squash cut up. I’d never heard of gruyere cheese before but did find it at the local grocery store. It was quite pricey so I’ll try substituting with equal parts of fontina & parmesan. Gruyere has an interesting history though.
This recipe is a keeper in my book!
This was amazing! I subbed two other cheeses for the gruyere (cru and gallet) and followed the recipe otherwise. Highly recommend for a dinner treat or even holiday side dish.
Forgot to rate this with my last comment! 🙂 Will definitely be making this again.
So happy to hear you enjoyed this!
I had no expectations for this, except to keep an open mind. This will now be a staple of fall! It was so, so good. I may experiment next time and add smoked gouda cheese in place of 1/2 the gruyere. SO good.