Butternut squash mac and cheese is like classic mac and cheese, but with a fall twist.  It’s a delicious way to get extra veggies into your meals!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese in gratin dish

I’m serving you the one of the ultimate comfort foods today with an extra sneaky ingredient.  

It’s not sneaky to you because you’ve seen the title of this post and know there’s butternut squash here, but it’s sneaky to those that you choose not to tell for a variety of reasons.

Reason #1 — picky eaters

Reason #2 — some may view veggies in mac and cheese as “ruining” it

Reason #3 — some people think they don’t like butternut squash

That third reason is just plain crazy talk, because there’s nobody out there who doesn’t like butternut squash is there?

I don’t understand anybody not liking butternut squash — maybe they just think they don’t.  It’s sweet and velvety, and can make every dish better.  

I love it in my butternut squash soup, butternut squash cornbread, and of course it’s amazing roasted.

And now I love it even more in this butternut mac and cheese recipe!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese in gratin dish

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • This Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is creamy, slightly sweet and has plenty of fall flair. 
  • It’s made with whole wheat macaroni to amp up the health factor even more.
  • You can enjoy this dish as a side dish or as an entree. Your choice!

Recipe ingredients

I typically make my mac and cheese on the lighter side, because I don’t have a tolerance for really rich food. However, you’re welcome to use full-fat ingredients and make this recipe as rich as you’d like!

Ingredient notes

  • Butternut squash puree. You can make your own or buy it at the store.
  • Elbow macaroni. I used whole wheat elbow pasta in this dish for added nutrition and fiber, but you can certainly use your favorite pasta.
  • Milk. I used skim milk because that’s what I had, which left room for plenty of full fat shredded cheddar.
  • Cheddar cheese. To me, the cheese makes more of a difference so I always use the real deal. Low-fat cheese just isn’t the same!
Fork full of butternut mac and cheese, held above a gratin dish.

How to make this recipe

This is an easy baked mac and cheese recipe that’s creamy on the inside and slightly crisp on top.

  1. Cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions, then drain.
  2. While the pasta cooks, heat the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Once melted, sprinkle in the flour and whisk constantly until it’s golden brown and bubbly.
  3. Remove from heat and add about 1/3 of the milk in a slow steady stream while whisking constantly.
  4. Whisk in the remaining milk until smooth, and place back over medium heat. Whisk the mixture constantly to prevent burning, and cook until thickened and boiling.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese and butternut squash puree. Add salt and pepper to taste, then add the pasta and stir until combined.
  6. Place in a greased 8×8″ casserole dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
  7. Bake until bubbly and golden brown.

FAQ’s

How to make butternut squash puree

If you decide to make your own squash puree, simply buy a small butternut squash, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast it cut side down in a 400 degree F oven until tender, about 30-45 minutes. Remove the peel, and puree the flesh.

This can all be done in advance, which is the best part!

Can this recipe be prepared in advance?

Yes, you can make the squash puree days in advance. You may also assemble the mac and cheese completely up to 24 hours before you plan on baking and serving it.

Can pumpkin puree be substituted?

Yes, I think that would work just as well. However, pumpkin puree doesn’t taste as sweet as butternut squash puree.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese in gratin dish

What to serve with this recipe

Make a batch of this butternut mac and cheese to enjoy alongside your favorite fall recipes.

Recipe notes

  • I roasted my own butternut squash for this recipe and pureed it, but you can also use canned butternut squash, which I’ve found at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.
  • Make sure to buy a block of cheese and grate it yourself. That will give the cheese sauce the best texture.
  • If the top of the butternut squash mac and cheese browns too quickly in the oven, cover with foil greased with cooking spray to prevent sticking.

More butternut squash recipes:

If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you!  Leave a comment and rating below, or tag me @flavorthemoments on Instagram!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese in gratin dish

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Butternut squash mac and cheese is like classic mac and cheese, but with a fall twist.  It's a delicious way to get extra veggies into your meals!
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Ingredients

Butternut squash puree:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small butternut squash or use 1 package cubed butternut squash, or canned puree*

Mac and cheese:

  • 8 ounces whole wheat elbow macaroni or your favorite pasta
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk I used low fat
  • 2 cups grated mild cheddar cheese* divided
  • 1/2 cup butternut squash puree (may also use canned puree)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

Instructions 

Roast the butternut squash:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Cut the top and bottom off of the butternut squash, then stand the squash upright on a cutting board. Cut in half from the top down, then scoop out the seeds.  Brush with the olive oil, some salt and pepper, and place cut side down on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Roast for 30-45 minutes or until tender.
  • When cool enough to handle, remove the peel from the squash and place the flesh in the bowl of a food processor, pureeing in two batches if necessary. Process until smooth and set aside.

Prepare the mac and cheese:

  • Cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions, then drain.
  • While the pasta cooks, heat the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Once melted, sprinkle in the flour and whisk constantly until it’s golden brown and bubbly and smells like shortbread, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add about 1/3 of the milk in a slow steady stream while whisking constantly until the mixture resembles a smooth paste. Whisk in the remaining milk until smooth, and place back over medium heat. Whisk the mixture constantly to prevent burning, and cook until thickened and boiling, about 5-10 minutes longer.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the 1 1/2 cups of cheese and butternut squash puree. Add salt and pepper to taste, then add the pasta and stir until combined.
  • Place in a greased 8×8″ casserole dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
  • Bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. If the top browns too quickly, cover with foil greased with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • I’ve found canned butternut squash puree at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s stores.
  • I used mild cheddar cheese because that’s what I had on hand, but fontina, gruyere, white cheddar and many other cheeses would also work well in this recipe.
  • If baking in gratin dishes as shown in the photos here, baking time is only 15 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Nutrition

Calories: 549kcal, Carbohydrates: 65g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 57mg, Sodium: 494mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 3g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Did you try this recipe?Be sure to tag @flavorthemoments with the hashtag #flavorthemoments on Instagram so I can see what you made!

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