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!
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!
What's In This Article
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!
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
- cayenne pepper
- garlic clove
- cavatappi pasta
- panko bread crumbs
- whole milk
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Protein and Veggies to Add
I am a BIG fan of fancy mac and cheese. You can definitely add:
If you want to dress the recipe up, but you aren’t looking for a meat or fish, add:
- cooked broccoli
- or anything else that’s calling your name!
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.
More creamy homemade mac and cheese recipes:
- Baked Lobster Mac and Cheese
- Slow Cooker Bacon Jalapeno Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Roast Garlic Mac n Cheese
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound butternut squash , cubed into 2 inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter , divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1.5 cups gruyere cheese , shredded
- 2 cups white cheddar , shredded
- salt and pepper , to taste
- 2 pounds cavatappi pasta , cooked al dente according to package directions, drained
- 3 tablespoons chives , chopped
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings!
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.
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.
Thanks for the feedback, Colleen. Some people like a little more dry and others more creamy- we will add a note. 🙂
Love the use of butternut squash here, sounds like the perfect addition to mac and cheese!
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. 🙂
We love adding butternut squash to mac and cheese. So creamy and hearty.
Such a tasty meal! So healthy and full of flavour and perfect for the family.
Such a delicious meal! So healthy and full of flavour and perfect for the family.
oh my goodness, this is amazing!! So rich & creamy! We love the added crunch on top.