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Pumpkin Spice Mac and Cheese

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overhead shot of Pumpkin Spice Mac and Cheese in a baking dish with a spoon grabbing a piece
Capturing the best of fall flavors, this recipe for pumpkin spice mac and cheese is sure to please all of your senses.
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Table of Contents
  1. Pumpkin Spice Mac And Cheese Ingredients
  2. Substitutions And Additions
  3. How To Make This Pumpkin Spice Mac And Cheese Recipe
  4. How To Serve
  5. Storing This Pumpkin Mac And Cheese
  6. Why We Love This Recipe
  7. Frequently Asked Questions
  8. More Recipes You’ll Love
  9. JUMP TO RECIPE

This pumpkin spice mac and cheese is something special. The dish is oh-so-savory, with the perfect blend of autumn spices and a creamy sauce that has just the right amount of pumpkin flavor, making it the perfect complement to the cheesy pasta. 

a close up shot of a bowl full of pumpkin spice mac and cheese with a fork grabbing a piece

Pumpkin Spice Mac And Cheese Ingredients

Pumpkin Spice Mac and Cheese raw ingredients that are labeled
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The pumpkin spice mac and cheese is a combination of savory and seasonal flavors.

It combines creamy pumpkin puree and sharp cheddar cheese to create a rich, gooey mac and cheese with a hint of earthy sweetness.

The addition of pumpkin pie spice adds a warm touch, making this dish a delightful twist on a classic comfort food favorite.

You’ll need:

  • 1 pound of small elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • ¼ cup of salted butter
  • 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
  • 2½ cups of whole milk
  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 16 ounces of medium cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

PRO TIP:

It’s best to grate your own cheese rather than use the pre-grated version in the bag. That’s because it usually has a preservative on it, which means it doesn’t melt quite as well.

Substitutions And Additions

SEASONING: You can add additional herbs and seasoning, such as chopped fresh sage, mixed in or sprinkled as a garnish over the top.

CHEESE: Other cheese variations that would work well with these flavors include fontina or Gruyere.

PASTA: You can use classic elbow pasta, or if you like something a little thicker and more substantial, swap it for corkscrew pasta, known as cavatappi or cellentani. 

PUMPKIN PUREE: While this recipe calls for pumpkin puree, you can also try butternut squash puree or sweet potato puree as alternatives.

These alternatives offer similar creamy textures and a touch of natural sweetness.

TOPPINGS: Customize your mac and cheese with a variety of toppings like breadcrumbs, crushed crackers, or even a sprinkle of grated Parmesan for a crunchy texture contrast.

Toasted pumpkin seeds can add a seasonal and flavorful touch.

EXTRAS: Try crispy bacon bits, sautéed spinach, caramelized onions, or roasted garlic to elevate the flavor profile.

These additions can introduce new dimensions to your pumpkin spice mac and cheese, making it uniquely yours.

How To Make This Pumpkin Spice Mac And Cheese Recipe

Let’s walk through the step-by-step instructions for creating this fun twist on a favorite dish.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

For quicker prep, you can mix together the macaroni and cheese sauce in one big pot and then spread it into the casserole dish and top with cheese, rather than layering the ingredients.

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 350°F.

STEP TWO: Cook the dry macaroni noodles until al dente in a large pot of salted, boiling water according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.

STEP THREE: Melt butter in a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat.

STEP FOUR: Add the flour and pumpkin pie spice.

Stir and cook with a rubber spatula for one to two minutes until the mixture is bubbly and beginning to brown slightly.

flour and pumpkin pie spice cooked in a pan

STEP FIVE: Adding just a little at a time, slowly whisk in the milk and simmer until the mixture begins to thicken.

milk added to the flour mixture and whisked in a pan

STEP SIX: Whisk in the pumpkin puree.

pumpkin puree whisked in a bowl

STEP SEVEN: Add half of the grated cheese to the sauce mixture (a quarter cup at a time), whisking between each addition until the cheese is melted and smooth.

cheese whisked in a bowl with pumpkin puree mixture

STEP EIGHT: Remove the sauce from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

STEP NINE: In a greased 9×13 glass baking dish, sprinkle a handful of the remaining cheese across the bottom.

STEP TEN: Layer half of the macaroni, half of the sauce, and half of the remaining cheese, and then repeat with a final layer of macaroni, sauce, and cheese.

macaroni, sauce, and cheese layered in a baking dish

STEP ELEVEN: Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the mac and cheese is beginning to brown on the top and is bubbly.

PRO TIP:

Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your mac and cheese at the lower end of the recommended baking time.

Pumpkin Spice Mac and Cheese baked in a baking dish

STEP TWELVE: Serve immediately.

How To Serve

This creamy mac would be the highlight of your autumn menu.

Add a homemade Caesar salad and fresh buttery garlic bread on the side to complete your meal.

Serve your mac and cheese alongside a juicy roast chicken or turkey. The creamy and mildly spiced mac and cheese complements the savory flavors of the meat,

Keep the pumpkin theme going by adding a creamy pumpkin delight for dessert.

For another spin on mac and cheese, try our buffalo chicken mac and cheese or million dollar mac and cheese. They both offer something a little different yet just as cozy and comforting as the original.

Storing This Pumpkin Mac And Cheese

Here’s how to store, make ahead, and reheat this delightful dish to ensure it remains as enjoyable as when it first came out of the oven.

MAKE AHEAD: After assembling the dish, but before baking it, tightly cover it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Refrigerate it for up to 24 hours before baking.

When you’re ready to enjoy, simply remove it from the fridge, and allow it to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Bake it following the original instructions. This way, you can have freshly baked mac and cheese whenever you desire.

IN THE FRIDGE: Store pumpkin mac in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

IN THE FREEZER: Store leftover macaroni and cheese in the freezer for up to a month in an airtight container.

REHEATING:

  1. OVEN: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the mac and cheese in an oven-safe dish, cover it with foil to prevent drying, and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until heated through.
  2. MICROWAVE: For a quick individual serving, you can use the microwave. Place a portion in a microwave-safe dish, cover it with a microwave-safe lid, and reheat in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until it’s heated.
overhead shot of Pumpkin Spice Mac and Cheese in a baking dish with a spoon grabbing a piece

Why We Love This Recipe

SEASONAL TWIST: This recipe combines the beloved comfort of mac and cheese with the warm and cozy flavors of pumpkin spice.

CREAMY AND COMFORTING: The creamy pumpkin puree and cheese sauce make this mac and cheese exceptionally rich and indulgent.

MAKE-AHEAD OPTION: The flexibility of making this dish ahead of time simplifies meal planning. You can assemble it in advance, pop it in the oven when needed, and enjoy freshly baked mac and cheese with minimal effort.

Pumpkin spice season calls for a fun new twist on a classic. The pumpkin gives this pumpkin spice mac and cheese dish a slight sweetness and richness, while the spices add a touch of warmth and earthy tones of flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze this macaroni and cheese?

This easy mac and cheese recipe can be frozen for up to one month in an airtight container. 

Why did my cheese not melt properly?

If you are using pre-shredded cheese, it comes coated with a preservative. It is best for this recipe to shred your own cheese.

Can I use a different type of pasta for this recipe?

Any small bite-size pasta would be delicious in this mac and cheese recipe.

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overhead shot of Pumpkin Spice Mac and Cheese in a baking dish with a spoon grabbing a piece

Pumpkin Spice Mac and Cheese

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Capturing the best of fall flavors, this recipe for pumpkin spice mac and cheese is sure to please all of your senses.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound small elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • ¼ cup salted butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • cups whole milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 16 ounces medium cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Cook macaroni in a large pot of salted, boiling water according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Melt butter in a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the flour and pumpkin pie spice. Stir and cook with a rubber spatula for 1 to 2 minutes until the mixture is bubbly and beginning to brown slightly.
  • Adding just a little at a time, slowly whisk in the milk and simmer until the mixture begins to thicken.
  • Whisk in the pumpkin puree.
  • Add half of the grated cheese to the sauce mixture (¼ cup at a time), whisking between each addition until the cheese is melted and smooth.
  • Remove the sauce from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • In a greased 9×13 glass baking dish, sprinkle a handful of the remaining cheese across the bottom.
  • Layer ½ of the macaroni, ½ of the sauce, and half of the remaining cheese, and then repeat with a final layer of macaroni, sauce, and cheese.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until mac and cheese is beginning to brown on the top and is bubbly.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

  • It’s best to grate your own cheese rather than use the pre-grated version in the bag. That’s because it usually has a preservative on it, which means it doesn’t melt quite as well.
  • For quicker prep, you can mix together the macaroni and cheese sauce in one big pot and then spread it into the casserole dish and top with cheese, rather than layering the ingredients.
  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your mac and cheese at the lower end of the recommended baking time.

Nutrition

Calories: 550kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 452mg | Potassium: 350mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 5636IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 529mg | Iron: 3mg
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Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

This recipe was developed, tested, cooked and photographed by the Spaceships Kitchen. From our dinner table to yours, we hope you think it's out of this world!

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