Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

5 from 2 votes

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This Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is a creamy, melty, salty delicious Fall version of macaroni and cheese. Made with lots of bacon and topped with ruffles chips for good measure, you too will want to make this year round.

If you’re looking for a show stopping dinner that takes 30 minutes to make and only in 1 pot, then this recipe for Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is for YOU. Very simple ingredients go into this and it tastes amazing. Anything that involves cheese and/or bacon has my vote. Always.

Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese

*Heavenly* Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

This new Fall version of Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is RIDICULOUS. Straight from the heavens and filled to the brim with melty, cheesy, bacony goodness that YOU get to shovel into your mouth. Topped with more bacon and crunchy ruffles chips, you will fall head over heels in love with this new addiction.

I could go on and on, but I’m tired {surprise surprise}, so I’ll get to it.

Love Pumpkin? Try these family favorites: Fail-Proof Pumpkin Pie, Bakery-Style Pumpkin Muffins, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread, Sweet Pumpkin Dip.

stirring cheese into sauce

Main Ingredients Needed

Nothing too crazy or out of the ordinary needed for this pumpkin mac and cheese recipe. Measurements in full are listed in the recipe card below!

  • short cut pasta– I love using rotini because it holds the sauce well in those curly ridges but anything you have will work just fine.
  • bacon– because bacon makes everything better. Yes you can omit, but whyyyy?
  • onion + garlic– used for lots of flavor!
  • pumpkin– added to our cheese sauce to make it extra special!
  • thyme + cinnamon + nutmeg– a weird and wonderful combo!
  • jarred alfredo sauce– I love the trader joe’s brand, but any store bought version will work.
  • cheddar + fontina cheese– I love these two paired together for mac and cheese. The cheddar brings great flavor and the fontina melts beautifully.

A Note about Cheese

If you’re making a homemade macaroni and cheese, you are typically using a big variety of cheeses and melting them into a homemade bechamel (white) sauce. For this recipe, I only call for two kinds of grated cheese: sharp cheddar for flavor and fontina for that silky, melty, ooey-gooeyness. Because I am using pumpkin in this sauce AND homemade alfredo sauce (which has cream and parmesan cheese already) I didn’t feel it was necessary to add anymore cheese.

Trust me when I say this is a great balance between that savory pumpkin flavor and the really yummy cheesiness you want in a mac and cheese.

Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese Sauce

Here’s how to make Pumpkin Mac and Cheese:

Like I mentioned above, this is a super simple 30 minute meal. If you can cook bacon and boil water, you can totally make this recipe! For exact measurements and instructions, be sure to scroll down to my printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Start by boiling some salted water and cook your pasta. While that is cooking away, chop up some garlic, bacon and onions.
  2. Once your pasta is al dente, drain and set aside.
  3. Place that hot pot back onto the heat, spray with a little non-stick {if desired} and render out the bacon until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
  4. Sauté the onions and garlic in the bacon grease.
  5. Stir in pumpkin and spices.
  6. Then add in the jar of alfredo sauce and milk.
  7. Gently stir in all your grated cheeses. After a minute or two, the cheeses should be melty and fabulous.
  8. Stir in the cooked pasta and half the bacon. Now stand back, take a big whiff and behold your work of art.
  9. Spoon this out into some bowls, top with some broken ruffles chips and the rest of the bacon and serve immediately. That’s it!

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese in pot

What should I serve with Pumpkin Mac and Cheese?

Well, since this is a pretty rich and heavy dinner, I like pairing it with something on the lighter side. Here are some of my favorites:

Fork full of Pumpkin mac and cheese

So delicious and super easy that this will instantly become a classic at your house this Fall! Give it a whirl today and send me a thank you card tomorrow.

Have a great day, friends!

5 from 2 votes

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese {with Bacon!!}

This Pumpkin Mac and cheese takes only 30 minutes and one pot to make and tastes amazing! Also, comes with lots of bacon! Swoon!
servings 6 servings
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 lb short cut pasta such as rotini
  • 8 slices bacon sliced
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 large clove garlic minced
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 15 oz prepared Alfredo Sauce 1 jar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 pound grated fontina cheese
  • 1/3 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • plain ruffles chips for garnish, optional

Instructions

  • Bring large pot of water to boil. Salt the water and cook pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
    Cooked pasta in colander
  • Place hot pot back on heat and cook bacon until browned and crispy {or cook how you like it}. Remove bacon from pot and drain onto paper towels.
    cooked bacon on paper towel
  • In the bacon grease, sauté onions and garlic until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in pumpkin, spices and alfredo sauce. Pour milk into dirty alfredo sauce jar, replace lid, shake and pour into pot. Stir until combined.
    pumpkin mac and cheese sauce
  • Sprinkle in cheeses and stir slowly to melt.
    stirring cheese into sauce
  • Stir in cooked pasta and half the cooked bacon.
    Pumpkin Mac and Cheese in pot
  • Spoon into dishes and top with remaining bacon and crumble chips over top and serve immediately.
    Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese

Nutrition

Calories: 814kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 1148mg | Potassium: 420mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2304IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 450mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bacon, pumpkin macaroni cheese
Polaroid photo of granola bars

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55 Responses
  1. Jenny @ BAKE

    I LOVE mac a cheese! and I love this seasonal version! why play farmville when you can be reading delicious posts like this!

  2. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel

    Pumpkin, cheese, chips, and bacon? I’ll gladly show up at your house wearing my cleaning clothes for a big bowl of this. In fact, have a spare room? I’ll clean all day everyday for this!

  3. Amy

    This looks amazing! I never would have thought to pair pumpkin, mac and cheese with bacon together but it looks like a match made in heaven! I would love to come to your house! ha you have the best recipes.

  4. Laura

    This looks splendiferous. And if I don’t even call it macaroni and cheese, I bet my kids will never even think to compare it to that stuff in the box lol!

  5. Corina Duarte

    This was so amazingly good!!!!!! I love your recipes and it was so easy like I didn’t even have to cook it just stir :)!

  6. Heather Nix

    Oh My Goodness Lauren! This looks so yummy!! Your recipes always wanna make me break my health kicks! I will definitely have to make this one on a cheat day!!

  7. Adria

    I made this the other day and was super excited for it! I was actually kind of disappointed, the flavor was odd. It just didn’t sit right with me or my room mate. Sad 🙁

    1. Lauren

      No, because you need the extra grease to cook the onions and garlic. OR, if you don’t mind the taste of turkey bacon, just use a few tablespoons of butter to cook the onions and garlic. It won’t taste the same, but it could work.

  8. Jen

    This literally combines my three favorite things in the world. Pumpkin, Bacon, and Mac and Cheese. Oh yeah chips aren’t bad either 🙂

  9. Heidi

    Made this last night. Both my husband and I liked it. My 13 year old said it was good but there were too many flavors…lol cheese, bacon, cinnamon, salt etc. Great comfort food for a fall Sunday night of football and baseball!

      1. Rachel

        Thanks! I ended up making it with mozarella and it was yummy. I actually found the fontina, but it was a bit on the pricy side. my hubby liked it, too. I didn’t tell him it had pumpkin it because he probably wouldn’t have even tried it. =)

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  11. Laurel

    I just stumbled onto your website and I am in love! Your recipes are simple, and creative. And your photos are wonderful and helpful. I hope you are making some money by doing this because you should never stop. (unless you really really want to, of course)

  12. Kellie

    I don’t like pumpkin…so could I swap out the pumpkin for maybe cream of mushroom soup? If not then what would you suggest? Other than the pumpkin this sounds yummy!!!

  13. Meredith

    Hi! I know I’m about a year late, but I just made this tonight and wanted to tell you it’s amazing! I couldn’t find grated fontina at Walmart so I subbed in mozzarella. Other changes I made: I left out the cinnamon, used light alfredo sauce, and topped it with kettle-cooked salt and pepper chips. Even my husband, who claimed before I made it that he would hate it, really loved it. I found him stealthily eating it out of the pot on the stove. Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Lauren

      Do you not like jarred alfredo, or alfredo itself all together? Homemade alfredo is always an option, or Trader Joes carries a great version that doesn’t have anything funky in it.

      1. Sue

        Can you taste the pumpkin, I’m not a fan of it. What could I use in place of it? I know some people like sweet potatoes, but not me! Any suggestions so I can try this? I know you posted this in 2012, and now we’re in October 2020, I hope you get
        this. I am replying on your re-post of this recipe. Congrats on Porter, he has the most beautiful eyes! I can’t remember if it was Blake or Eddie that had those gorgeous eyes as a baby. I know you’ve recently moved back to Oregon, I have a nephew and 2 great-nephews in Portland. I love the Columbia River Gorge, such a beautiful drive!

    2. Jessica B.

      We don’t like Alfredo, either, but my mac ‘n’ cheese calls for a roux with butter, flour, and milk, and then a few pieces of American cheese to make a creamy cheese sauce. (Normally we don’t eat that, either, but it gives it the consistency it needs.) It would require a separate pan, but should give you very similar results. I am hoping to try it with this recipe and see what we think. Good luck!

  14. Kristen Rowe

    I just made this and it was absolutely as delicious as I envisioned it to be from your photos! I ended up adding peas (just to get another veggie in) and I thought it went quite well together. Thanks for the recipe! I really enjoy reading your blog (and occasionally trying some of your recipes).

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  18. Emily

    This sounds yummy. I think I would probably make a white sauce and add the pumpkin bacon and cheese to that instead of using sauce out of a jar. I can’t stand the taste of jarred alfredo sauces.

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