One Pot Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Embrace the flavors of fall with a delicious One Pot Stove-Top Pumpkin Mac and Cheese, a simple and delightful twist on a classic comfort food. In just 30 minutes, you can create a wholesome and mouthwatering dish using autumnal ingredients such as canned pumpkin and a mix of cheddar and gouda cheese. This savory recipe will not only warm you up during the colder months but also provide essential nutrients like potassium and iron.

The beauty of this dish lies in its simplicity – only one pot is required, making clean-up a breeze. The addition of pumpkin imparts a subtle sweetness that pairs harmoniously with brown butter, garlic, thyme, and sage. Following a busy day, you can quickly whip up this gluten-free mac and cheese for a comforting and satisfying meal that is sure to be enjoyed by both kids and adults alike.

One Pot Stove-Top Pumpkin Mac and Cheese


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter and combine it with garlic, thyme, and sage. Let the butter brown around the garlic for 3-5 minutes. After browning, set the sage leaves aside.
  2. Add the pasta to the pot and mix it with the browned butter. Pour in 4 cups of water and bring everything to a boil over high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. There’s no need to drain the water.
  3. Stir in milk, cream cheese, and pumpkin, continuing to cook until the cream cheese melts and the pasta reaches an al dente texture, about 4-5 more minutes.
  4. Remove the garlic cloves and set them aside. Add cheddar and Gouda cheeses, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, and nutmeg. Stir the mixture until it becomes smooth and creamy. Remove from heat.
  5. Optionally, chop or mash the set-aside garlic cloves and mix them into the pasta. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper. If the sauce is too thick, add ¼ cup of milk or water to achieve the desired consistency.
  6. Split the pumpkin mac and cheese into separate bowls, and sprinkle black pepper, reserved sage leaves, and grated nutmeg on top.

Frequently Asked Questions

What goes into pumpkin mac and cheese?

The main ingredients in pumpkin mac and cheese are pasta, pumpkin puree, milk, cheese, butter, and spices such as nutmeg, sage, and salt and pepper. You can customize the dish by adding your favorite herbs and spices.

Can you suggest any healthy one-pot mac and cheese recipes?

Yes, there are plenty of healthy one-pot mac and cheese recipes. Some options include using whole wheat pasta, adding vegetables like spinach or kale, and incorporating high-protein ingredients like chicken or beans.

What stovetop variations can I try for one-pot mac and cheese?

For stovetop one-pot mac and cheese variations, you can experiment with different types of pasta, cheeses, and add-ins. Some ideas are using a combination of cheddar and Gruyère cheese or adding veggies like broccoli or cauliflower.

How do I make a one-pot broccoli and pumpkin mac and cheese?

To make a one-pot broccoli and pumpkin mac and cheese, start by cooking your pasta, then add pumpkin puree, milk, and broccoli florets to the pot. Stir in grated cheese, butter, and preferred spices. You’ll have a creamy and delicious dish with the added nutrients from broccoli.

Which cheese works best in pumpkin mac and cheese?

A combination of cheddar and mozzarella cheese is recommended for pumpkin mac and cheese. The cheddar adds flavor while the mozzarella provides a creamy texture. You can also try other cheeses like Gouda or fontina for a unique taste.

Are there vegan alternatives for pumpkin mac and cheese?

Yes, vegan alternatives for pumpkin mac and cheese are available. You can use vegan pasta, dairy-free milk, and plant-based cheese substitutes. Also, consider nutritional yeast for an added cheesy flavor.

One Pot Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

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5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 388 kcal


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Cook the macaroni according to the package instructions, until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Gradually whisk in the milk, pumpkin puree, garlic powder, onion powder, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens.
  • Add the cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese to the sauce and stir until melted.
  • Add the cooked macaroni to the sauce and stir until well coated.
  • Pour the mac and cheese into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the panko breadcrumbs and olive oil. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top of the mac and cheese.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the mac and cheese is hot and bubbly.
  • Serve hot and enjoy your delicious pumpkin mac and cheese!


Calories: 388kcal
Keyword Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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