This is the Creamiest Pumpkin Mac and Cheese in existence! The secret to the creaminess is evaporated milk – it's perfect for the holidays.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Mini pasta shells – Shell pasta is my favourite, but other good options include elbow macaroni, farfalle (bow tie) or rotini (corkscrew).
- Butter – to ensure that the cheese sauce isn't too salty, it's best to use unsalted butter. If what you have on hand is salted, cut the rest of the salt in the ingredient list in half or just salt to taste.
- Evaporated milk – If you don't have any on hand, you can make your own by reducing regular milk over medium-low heat until some of the water evaporates and the milk thickens slightly. Or, you can use a combination of whole milk with half & half.
- Pumpkin puree – make sure to use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. You could also leave out the pumpkin for regular mac and cheese.
- Mozzarella – any good melting cheese such as Swiss, provolone or cream cheese will work.
- Cheddar cheese – any semi-soft or soft cheese that melts well can be used.
- Salt & pepper – to taste.
- Mustard powder – Dijon mustard is also good or you can leave this out altogether.
- Chives – leave these off altogether if you don’t have any on hand.
How to make pumpkin mac and cheese
- Cook the pasta.
- Stir in the butter.
- Add in evaporated milk and pumpkin puree.
- Mix in the cheese.
- Add in the seasonings and stir well.
- Serve and enjoy!
Adding more veggies
Just before serving, feel free to stir in any cooked vegetable of your choice to make this pumpkin mac and cheese a bit healthier. It’s a great way to sneak some veggies into this yummy dish! Here are some suggestions:
- Black beans
You can also choose to mix in some protein such as cooked chicken, chopped ham or ground beef.
Frequently Asked Questions
Adding pumpkin to your mac and cheese gives it a delicious fall flavour that’s a tad sweet and super creamy. It’s so tasty and a great way to add some more veggies and nutrients to your meal.
Any melting cheese will work for mac and cheese! Mozzarella, Swiss, provolone, cheddar and cream cheese are all great options.
With a few changes, you can easily make this mac and cheese vegan. Use your favourite plant-based butter, any non-dairy milk and vegan cheese or nutritional yeast. Easy-peasy!
Storing and reheating
If you want to keep any leftovers or make a batch to serve later in the week, place it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
Before reheating, the pasta sauce may appear very thick but don't worry – it will loosen up as it becomes warm. If you feel that it's still too thick, feel free to stir in a little water, milk or broth to thin it. I typically reheat individual portions in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, sprinkling a little bit of water over top so it doesn’t dry out and then stirring halfway through.
Freezing this recipe
This meal can be frozen for up to 3 months. Just be sure to keep it in an airtight container and allow it to cool to room temperature before placing it into the freezer.
The night before you want to serve it, transfer the container to your refrigerator so it can thaw overnight then reheat as normal.
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More mac and cheese recipes
- White Cheddar Truffle Mac and Cheese
- Low Carb Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning this pasta into leftovers.
- You can buy pumpkin puree online.
Creamiest Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb mini pasta shells
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 (354mL) can evaporated milk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin pie filling
- 1 cup mozzarella or Swiss cheese grated
- 3/4 cup cheddar cheese grated
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- 1 pinch mustard powder (optional)
- Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water over high heat for 7-9 minutes or according to package directions.
- When pasta is done, drain and add back to pot. Reduce heat to medium, then add butter to pasta, stirring until melted.
- Add evaporated milk and pumpkin puree, stirring well. Add in cheeses, salt & pepper and mustard powder stirring well to combine.
- Remove from heat, then serve & enjoy!