Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is a comfort food favorite with an infusion of sweet, buttery squash! Pasta is drenched in a creamy and delicious butternut cheese sauce and topped with bacon crumbles.
If you love mac and cheese, get ready for your mouth to water! Decadent Butternut Mac and Cheese is a great recipe to make for your family this fall and into the holiday season!
Cook this mac and cheese for a cozy family meal or serve it as a scrumptious side dish for a holiday gathering. Either way, you’ll see everyone reaching for seconds!
Also, I fed this to my in-laws without telling them what it was. They thought it was just bacon mac and cheese, they went nuts for it. They were shocked when I told them it was actually made with squash! So this is definitely a great recipe for picky eaters!
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese Ingredients
The creamy butternut cheese sauce is a flavorful combination of bacon, butter, vegetable broth, whole milk, heavy cream, shredded mild cheddar cheese, grated parmesan cheese, tender-cooked butternut squash, and spices.
It’s all blended together with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy.
The sauce then coats cooked pasta, and the finishing touch is crispy chopped bacon!
How To Make Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook macaroni until al dente. Drain when done and reserve a 1/2 cup of pasta water.
Meanwhile, cook up the bacon in a large skillet, then transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and leaving the drippings in the pan.
2. Add the butter and sage to the bacon grease and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove the sage and set aside.
3. Add in the garlic paste and cook for 1 minute, then add in the flour and cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly.
4. Add the cubed butternut squash, broth, milk, heavy cream, and spices to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a simmer.
Reduce heat and cover the pan leaving the cover slightly ajar and cooking for 12 minutes until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally.
5. Transfer the mixture to the vacated pasta pot and use an immersion blender to blend the mixture into a smooth sauce. You can also transfer the mixture to a regular blender if that’s what you have.
6. Add the cheeses and stir until fully melted.
7. Add the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Then add in the chopped bacon and serve.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What’s the healthiest macaroni and cheese?
It depends on your definition of “healthy”! For instance, this recipe isn’t considered low fat or low-cal. However, it’s loaded with butternut squash, so it has more nutrients than your typical mac n cheese.
Can you freeze this dish?
Yes! Place it in a freezer-safe casserole dish and cover with foil. When you’re ready to eat, thaw it in the fridge and bake in the oven until warm. You can also just freeze the sauce in a freezer bag after cooling.
What can you serve it with?
Can you make it vegetarian?
Yes, just leave out the bacon and use additional butter or olive oil in place of the bacon grease.
Substitutions & Variations:
- Add sharp cheese: This recipe calls for mild cheddar, but feel free to use sharp cheddar cheese (or even extra sharp) if you prefer.
- Seasonings: You can adjust seasonings to taste, particularly the salt and pepper.
- Swap the pasta: Use any kind of pasta you want. I recommend sticking to short pastas like macaroni, shells, or fusilli.
More Delicious Squash Recipes:
- Butternut Squash Soup with Sausage and Kale – A warm and satiating meal for the winter!
- Butternut Squash Noodles with Sage Cream Sauce – Cut the carbs by using squash instead of pasta noodles.
- Roasted Winter Squash with Brown Butter and Sage – This infusion of flavors is perfect for fall.
- Roasted Delicata Squash – An easy side dish seasoned with cinnamon and brown sugar.
- Spaghetti Squash – Here’s the best way to prepare this delicious, healthy substitute for traditional spaghetti!
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Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb mezzi rigatoni pasta or other short pasta
- 4 strips bacon plus grease from cooking
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 8 sage leaves
- 2 tablespoons garlic paste
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose-flour
- 1 lb cubed butternut squash
- 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
- ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt more to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper more to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
- Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until fully cooked, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and leave the bacon grease in the pan.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the butter and sage leaves to the pan with the bacon grease and cook for 2 minutes.
- Discard the sage leaves and add in the garlic paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously so you don't burn the garlic.
- Add in the flour and cook for 1 minute until the mixture has thickened, stirring frequently.
- Add in the butternut squash, chicken broth, milk, heavy cream, mustard powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper and cook until the mixture reaches a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the skillet and continue to cook for 10 to 12 minutes until the butternut squash is tender, stirring occasionally.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the mixture right in the pan OR you can very carefully transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Once blended, add in the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and stir until melted, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked and drained pasta and the butternut cheese sauce into a large pot and stir to combine.
- Chop the bacon into small pieces and stir into the pasta and serve immediately.
- To make this dish vegetarian, use vegetable broth and omit the bacon. Increase the butter to 4 tablespoons to make up for the loss of the bacon grease.
- Half and half may be used in place of the milk and heavy cream.
- Sage can be added back in after cooking if desired.
- Use reserved pasta water to loosen up the sauce if desired.
- To Freeze: Place the mixture in a freezer-safe casserole dish and cover tightly with foil. When you’re ready to eat, thaw it in the fridge and bake in the oven until warm. You can also just freeze the sauce in a freezer bag after cooling.
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven.