Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is super creamy and delicious. Squash adds a beautiful color, rich earthy flavor, and lots of extra nutrients.

Looking for a cozy, comforting meal that’s perfect for chilly evenings? I’ve got just the thing.

Here’s how you can whip up this delightful dinner that serves 8.

For this Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese recipe, you’ll need a variety of ingredients, some room for creativity with variations and substitutions, and a few kitchen tools to bring it all together. Let’s dive into what makes this dish so special and how you can make it with ease.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Ingredients

Gathering the right ingredients is the first step to making this comforting dish. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need and why each ingredient is important.

  • Penne or Elbow Macaroni: The base of our dish, these shapes hold sauce well.
  • Butter: For sautéing and adding richness to the sauce.
  • Onion: Adds depth and sweetness to the flavor profile.
  • Garlic: A hint of garlic brings a punch of flavor.
  • Flour: Thickens the sauce, giving it body.
  • Milk: The liquid base for our creamy cheese sauce.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Adds a sharp, tangy flavor that’s classic for mac and cheese.
  • Gruyère (optional): Introduces a nutty flavor if used alongside cheddar.
  • Butternut Squash: Offers a sweet, nutty taste and creamy texture.
  • Nutmeg: A pinch enhances the sweetness of the squash.
  • Pepper and Salt: For seasoning and enhancing all the flavors.
  • Fresh Breadcrumbs: Adds crunch and texture to the topping.
  • Parsley: Brings a fresh, herbaceous note to the breadcrumb topping.
  • Lemon Zest (optional): Adds a bright, citrusy aroma to the dish.

Variations and Substitutions

This recipe is versatile, allowing you to tweak it to your liking or dietary needs.

  • Gluten-Free Pasta: Easily make this dish gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free pasta.
  • Dairy-Free Alternatives: Swap out dairy milk for almond, soy, or oat milk and use dairy-free cheese options.
  • Add-Ins: Feel free to mix in cooked bacon, broccoli, or spinach for extra flavor and texture.
  • Spice It Up: A dash of cayenne pepper or smoked paprika can add a warm, smoky flavor.

Grab these Tools

A few essential tools will help you prepare this dish smoothly and efficiently.

  • Large Pot: For boiling the pasta to al dente perfection.
  • Saucepan: A medium to large saucepan is needed for making the cheese sauce.
  • Whisk: Essential for stirring the sauce smoothly and preventing lumps.
  • Baking Dish: A 2-quart dish is perfect for assembling and baking the mac and cheese.
  • Mixing Bowl: For combining the breadcrumb topping ingredients.

With these ingredients, variations, and tools, you’re all set to create a delicious Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese that’ll impress anyone at the dinner table.

How to Make Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese: An Easy Guide

Creating Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is a delightful way to bring comfort and nutrition to your dinner table. Follow these steps for a dish that’s sure to impress.

Preparing the Ingredients

  • Cook the Pasta: Boil in salted water until just al dente, then drain.
  • Sauté the Vegetables: Melt butter in a saucepan, then cook onion until soft. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Make the Roux: Stir in flour and cook for a minute, then gradually whisk in milk until smooth.

Creating the Cheese Sauce

  • Thicken the Sauce: Bring the milk mixture to a boil, then simmer until it thickens slightly.
  • Add the Cheese: Whisk in the shredded cheese until melted and smooth.
  • Incorporate the Squash: Stir in the butternut squash puree, seasoning with nutmeg, pepper, and salt.

Assembling and Baking

  • Combine: Mix the cooked pasta with the cheese sauce, ensuring each piece is well coated.
  • Prepare the Topping: Mix breadcrumbs, parsley, lemon zest, and melted butter in a bowl.
  • Bake: Transfer the pasta to a baking dish, sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture, and bake until golden.

Make Ahead and Storage

This Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese is not only delicious but also perfect for planning ahead. Here’s how to keep it fresh:

  • Make Ahead: Assemble the dish without baking and store it covered in the fridge for up to 2 days. Bake when ready to serve.
  • Refrigerate Leftovers: Cool down leftovers before transferring them to an airtight container. They’ll last in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: Freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
  • Reheating: Warm in the oven at 350°F until heated through, or microwave, stirring occasionally to ensure even heating.

With these tips, your Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese will be a hit any day of the week, offering both convenience and comfort.

Butternut squash totally disappears into creamy mac and cheese sauce. I think I could have even doubled the amount I used. It adds a nice orange colour, too – nice, since homemade mac and cheese can often look a bit anemic.

I used strong aged cheddar, and it was delicious. I am sure gruyere mixed in there would be incredible.

I jazzed up the topping a bit with lemon zest and fresh parsley, and it really made the dish sing. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if you feel like filling your freezer!

Don’t Miss These Mac and Cheese Favs:

Other Creamy Pasta Favorites:

Butternut squash mac and cheese.

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 8
Keyword butternut squash mac and cheese, Butternut squash macaroni and cheese


  • ¾ lb penne or elbow macaroni
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ½ medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • 2 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese or a combination of cheddar and gruyere
  • 1 cup cooked pureed butternut squash (see cooking note above), from 1/2 medium squash
  • tsp nutmeg
  • tsp pepper
  • salt to taste

For topping

  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 tsp lemon zest optional
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese


  • Preheat oven to 375 ºF.
  • Cook pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente (for elbow macaroni, that’s about 7 minutes, for penne, more like 10). Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, a bit at a time.
  • Bring sauce to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to low and cook until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
  • Add shredded cheese, whisking until smooth. Whisk in butternut squash puree, nutmeg, pepper, and salt to taste. Add pasta to the sauce and stir to evenly coat. Transfer pasta to a buttered 2 quart (2 litre) baking dish.
  • In a medium bowl, combine all topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly over pasta. Transfer dish to oven and bake until topping is golden and sauce is bubbling at edges, about 20 minutes.


Calories: 548kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 23gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 647mgPotassium: 336mgFiber: 2gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 903IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 441mgIron: 2mg
Keyword butternut squash mac and cheese, Butternut squash macaroni and cheese

Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Cheeku Bhasin
Cheeku Bhasin
11 years ago

A wonderful post and pictures. I have posted a link to it on my own recipe for spiced carrot and ginger soup. Do take a look when you have a chance. I have also recently published a cookbook on healthy Indian food.
Best wishes,

Cheeku Bhasin

Unhip Squirrel
12 years ago

Love the look of your soup and your manicure Jenn! Carrots and ginger are such a winning combination.

Jessie Deans
5 years ago

I love your wit and humor. I love your photographs and recipes. You always choose exactly what i like to try seasonally. having said that, and i will always follow you, i thought i’d take this opportunity to say “i think dark nail polish does the professionalism of your photographs an injustice.”

Cheeku Bhasin
Cheeku Bhasin
11 years ago

A wonderful post and pictures. I have posted a link to it on my own recipe for spiced carrot and ginger soup. Do take a look when you have a chance. I have also recently published a cookbook on healthy Indian food.
Best wishes,

Cheeku Bhasin

Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
11 years ago

Mmmm…I love carrots and ginger together…and with a little yogurt? Yum!

11 years ago

super easy, and impressed my dinner guests!

Join the Foodess Tribe

Be the first to get new recipes and science-based cooking and baking tips straight to your inbox for free

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x