Pumpkin Sage Macaroni & Cheese

The perfect, comforting dinner to enjoy during the Autumn season. Rich and creamy baked pumpkin sage mac and cheese.

No matter the season, it can be a challenge to find something everyone will like. This baked pumpkin sage mac and cheese is one of those simple recipes that my two kids love, but that is also gourmet enough for me and my husband to really enjoy. This is one we all enjoy together! The combination between the cheese sauce, pumpkin and just the right spice combination makes it perfect as a weeknight dinner when you don’t want something really warm and cozy, but don’t want anything too complicated!

 

Table of Contents

Ingredients in pumpkin sage Mac and cheese – and possible substitutions

Disclaimer: this recipe has only been tested as written, if you make any substitutions- I’d love to know how it turned out!

  • Macaroni noodles – any short noodle should work fine here. Go gluten free if need be!
  • Grated cheese – you can absolutely add any cheese that melts that you love.
  • Flour – if you are gluten free, only use 1:1 gluten free flour as a substitution. 
  • Cream – milk at any fat percentage works fine here! You can also use non dairy milk, just do not use oat milk (it doesn’t work well when a recipe needs to be heated)
  • Butter – ghee is an appropriate substitution here.
  • Pumpkin Puree – go ahead and try butternut squash puree if you fancy!
  • Herbs and spices – all of the herbs and spices are optional. Obviously sage spice makes it “pumpkin sage” Mac and cheese. And nutmeg is a common ingredient in Mac and cheese, I do recommend leaving nutmeg in for the best taste. Fennel is totally optional, but trust me on this one – it’s so good and is very balanced in this recipe.
  • Bread crumbs – store bought or homemade breadcrumbs is fine! 

How to make pumpkin sage Mac and cheese

The very first step is preheat your oven to 375. Then, you need to cook your pasta in a large pot. Boil your water with your salt. Cook your pasta according to the instructions on the box. Keep is slightly al dente as it will continue to cook in the oven when you bake it. Strain it and set aside while you make your pumpkin sage cheese sauce.

Start making your cheese sauce by melting half of your butter in a large pot (the one you made your pasta in is perfect – less dishes and it’s the perfect size) on low heat. Add in your cream and flour, mix well until it’s smooth and creamy. Add in your spices and mix until they are well incorporated. Take off of the heat.

overhead shot of sauce to make pumpkin cheese sauce for Pumpkin sage Mac and cheese

Next you’ll add in your cheese, and mix continuously while the cheese melts. Once your cheese is completely melted, add in your entire can of pumpkin puree. 

overhead shot of pumpkin cheese sauce for pumpkin sage Mac and cheese - cheese melting in sauce

Go ahead and give your sauce a taste and marvel, so easy!

overhead shot of cheese melted in sauce for pumpkin sage Mac and cheese

Now it’s time to add your pasta into your pot and combine with your cheese sauce. 

overhead shot of pumpkin sage Mac and cheese macaroon

Now you can transfer your cheesy delicious macaroni into a large casserole dish. And make your bread crumb topping.

Make your breadcrumb topping by placing your bread crumbs in a microwave safe bowl and adding in the remaining half of your butter. Microwave on medium for 30 seconds to allow the butter to melt. Mix well, and then crumble topping all over the top of your mac and cheese.

overhead shot of bread crumbs with melted butter for pumpkin sage Mac and cheese

Now we’re ready to bake! If you want to garnish your pumpkin sage Mac and cheese with some fresh sage, bake for 25 minutes – remove from oven, add some fresh sage on top, and brush with melted butter. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.

If you prefer to omit the sage, just bake for 35 minutes. Sauce should be bubbling and looking oh so yummy!

Frequently asked questions:

Can I make this dish ahead of time?

Yes. You can make the pasta or the pumpkin cheese sauce up to three days in advance. When you’re ready to enjoy, heat the macaroni in the cheese sauce on low and then transfer to your baking dish and finish the recipe, as directed in the recipe card.

Can I skip baking this dish and make it stove top macaroni ?

Yes! This dish is absolutely delicious that way, and will save you a few steps and time. Simply serve and enjoy after you’ve combined the macaroni in the cheese sauce.

Can this dish be frozen?

You can make the cheese sauce ahead of time and freeze it for 3 months. Thaw completely before reheating. Reheat on low. We recommend making the pasta fresh.

The recipe

overhead close up shot of pumpkin sage Mac and cheese, with fork in the macaroni, and melting cheese

Baked pumpkin sage mac and cheese

5 from 12 votes
The perfect, comforting dinner to enjoy during the Autumn season. Rich and creamy baked pumpkin sage mac and cheese.
Print Recipe
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:35 minutes
Total Time:45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs 500 grams macaroni noodles
  • 1 stick of butter 100 grams divided in two
  • 2 cups cream 16 fl oz
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon crushed dried sage
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 6 cups grated cheese I use 4 cups gruyere and 2 cups extra sharp cheddar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)
  • Cook your pasta accoding to pasta box instructions, usually 6-8 minutes). Boil water in a large pot, add your salt. Cook pasta until it is slightly al dente as it will continue to cook in cheese sauce the oven when you bake it. Strain it and set aside while you make your pumpkin sage cheese sauce.

    Melt half of your butter in a large pot (reuse the one you made your pasta in - less dishes and it's the perfect size) on low heat. Add in your cream and flour, mix well until it's smooth and creamy. Add in your spices and mix until they are well incorporated. Take off of the heat.
  • Add in your cheese, and mix continuously while the cheese melts. Once your cheese is completely melted, add in your pumpkin puree. 
  • Add your pasta into your pot to combine with your cheese sauce. 
  • Transfer your cheesy macaroni into a large 3 quart casserole dish.
  • Make your bread crumb topping: place your bread crumbs in a microwave safe bowl and adding in the remaining half of your butter. Microwave on medium for 30 seconds to allow the butter to melt. Mix well, and then crumble topping all over the top of your Mac and cheese.
  • If you want to garnish your pumpkin sage Mac and cheese with some fresh sage, bake for 25 minutes - remove from oven, add some fresh sage on top, and brush with melted butter. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.

    If you prefer to omit the sage, just bake for 35 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 388kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 29g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g
Keyword: baked Mac and cheese, baked pumpkin Mac and cheese, cozy autumn dinners, fall meals, pumpkin sage pasta, thanksgiving sides
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 388kcal
Author: strawberrybuckley

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