Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

The healthier twist on mac and cheese! This Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is made with lots of good-for-you stuff and ready in just 30 minutes!

overhead of butternut squash mac and cheese with crispy topping


 

It’s SO cozy. It’s SO creamy. And it’s SO delicious.

I don’t know about you, but I am ready for fall and everything delicious that comes with homemade comfort foods!

Butternut Mac and Cheese Recipe

Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? This recipe is easy to follow, creamy and delicious, and will be on the table in under 30 minutes.

This homemade mac and cheese is TO DIE FOR…and did I mention, healthy…well, healthier!

corner shot of baked mac and cheese

Prep those aprons ladies (and gents), it’s time to celebrate the comings of autumn with a warm serving of the best comfort food around!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Ingredients

  • butternut squash, cubed
  • cinnamon
  • paprika
  • cayenne pepper
  • garlic clove
  • cavatappi pasta
  • panko bread crumbs
  • flour
  • whole milk
  • nutmeg
  • gruyere cheese
  • white cheddar cheese

The full list of ingredients and measurements for this recipe can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page!

How to Make Mac and Cheese

Start by roasting the butternut squash. Preheat the oven to 400F. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon, paprika, and cayenne pepper.

baking sheet with roast butternut squash

Sprinkle the seasoning over the butternut squash and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until the squash is easy to poke with a fork.

Add the butternut squash to a food processor with garlic and blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as you go.

squash puree in a food processor

Next cook the pasta. Boil a tall pot of water and cook the pasta according to box instructions, until al dente.

Then toast the panko. In a large non-stick skillet with olive oil, toast the panko bread crumbs until golden brown.

Finally make the cheese sauce. Using the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and milk, stirring until it begins to thicken. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in nutmeg, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.

tray of healthier mac and cheese

Mix in the squash puree, stirring until fully combined. Gradually add both cheeses, stirring well to combine until cheese is completely melted.

Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Mix in half the panko and sprinkle the rest on top with fresh chopped chives.

bowl with butternut squash mac and cheese

Protein and Veggies to Add

I am a BIG fan of fancy mac and cheese. You can definitely add:

spoon with butternut squash mac and cheese

If you want to dress the recipe up, but you aren’t looking for a meat or fish, add:

  • cooked broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • mushrooms
  • or anything else that’s calling your name!

Variations

If Gruyere is not your flavor you can definitely change up the cheese! Feel free to experiment with what you like best. Parmesan is always a winning cheese. I also recommend smoked gouda as a substitution!

I know a lot of folks follow a gluten free diet. So to make this Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese recipe gluten free, just swap out your pasta with a certified gluten free pasta and use almond flour instead of all purpose flour.

butternut squash mac and cheese for pinterest

More creamy homemade mac and cheese recipes:

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Sriracha Gouda Mac and Cheese

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creamy mac and cheese for pinterest
tray of butternut squash mac and cheese

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

4.86 from 14 votes
The healthier twist on mac and cheese! This Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is made with lots of good-for-you stuff and ready in just 30 minutes!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

Butternut Squash

Panko Topping

Cheese Sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon, 1 tablespoon paprika, and 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper. Sprinkle the seasoning over the butternut squash and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until the squash is easy to poke with a fork.
    roast butternut squash
  • Add the butternut squash to a food processor with 1 clove of garlic and blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as you go.
    pureed butternut squash
  • In a large non-stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and olive oil on medium heat. Add panko and stir to combine. Arrange panko in an even layer in the skillet and let it toast for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a plate or small bowl and set aside.
  • Using the same pan you used for the toasted panko, melt remaining 6 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and milk, stirring until it begins to thicken.
  • Reduce the heat to low and whisk in nutmeg, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Mix in the squash puree, stirring until fully combined. Gradually add both cheeses, stirring well to combine until cheese is completely melted.
  • Add pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Mix in half the panko and sprinkle the rest on top with fresh chopped chives.
    tray of butternut squash mac and cheese
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings!

Notes

Add more milk if you need to thin out the cream sauce.
If you don’t have chives, you can also garnish with fresh parsley, oregano or crispy sage leaves.
If your prefer a saucier mac and cheese, reduce the pasta to 1 pound. For a pasta-ier pasta, keep it at 2 pounds. 

Nutrition

Calories: 864 kcal, Carbohydrates: 104 g, Protein: 33 g, Fat: 35 g, Saturated Fat: 20 g, Cholesterol: 93 mg, Sodium: 338 mg, Potassium: 624 mg, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 8 g, Vitamin A: 7647 IU, Vitamin C: 13 mg, Calcium: 599 mg, Iron: 3 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 864
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: butternut squash mac and cheese, healthier mac and cheese
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
healthier mac and cheese with crispy topping
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.86 from 14 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




Questions and Reviews

  1. I think the pasta should be 1 pound not 2. When I first looked at the recipe I questioned that. I only added 1 pound and it was fine and creamy.

    1. 5 stars
      Thanks for the feedback, Colleen. Some people like a little more dry and others more creamy- we will add a note. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    The recipe sounds easy to make. This is the one our teenage son will start making while learning how to cook. And it will make a rewarding meal at the end: tasty and delicious. 🙂