Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

I’m all about pumpkins in the fall! I love how they look, how they taste, and how kids adore them around Halloween! 


We are growing pumpkins in our yard, and I’m hoping they’ll be ready by late October. It’s really fun to use fresh pumpkin when you can, but finding the time to lug one home, cut it, cook it, and puree it, well, all that just might not fit easily into your day.  Fortunately, canned pumpkin is great, because it’s made from pumpkins at the peak of their season.

This Macaroni and Cheese is divine, and so perfect as we approach fall.  The pumpkin adds nutrients and — served with something green — it’s part of an ideal dinner!

Don’t let the number of ingredients deter you — this pumpkin-pie-like, creamy, cheesy, pasta is definitely worth the effort!


1/2 pound (2 3/4 cups) dry elbow macaroni


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Pepper to taste



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup bread crumbs    
  • 1 cup Swiss cheese


Serves 8 to 10

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and butter an approximately 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Cook the macaroni in a large pot of boiling, salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Reserve one cup of the cooking water and drain the macaroni in a colander. Then put the macaroni back into the pot with the reserved liquid and set aside.

To make the sauce, heat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt the butter and gently whisk in the flour and spices until smooth. Then whisk in the milk, bring it to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Whisk in the pumpkin and fold in the cheeses.  After the cheeses melt, add the sugar, salt and season to taste with the pepper. Remove the sauce from the heat, fold it into the macaroni, and pour everything into the prepared baking dish.

To make the topping, combine the olive oil, breadcrumbs, and cheeses in a small mixing bowl.  Sprinkle this evenly over the macaroni.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown.  If it’s not browning by the end of the cooking time, place under the broiler for about 30 seconds.  

An additional note:

If your kids aren’t adverse to seeing green in their mac and cheese, add a tablespoon of finely chopped, fresh sage leaves to the sauce before baking. Pumpkin and sage are a lovely flavor combination!