Gimme Some Oven

Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese

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I thought it was only appropriate to kick off October with another pumpkin recipe! But instead of sweets, this time it’s pumpkin-meets-savory-comfort-food with this Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese!

I was going back and forth today, though, about whether to just make the macaroni plain on the stovetop or bake it up with some extra breadcrumbs. So I turned to my favorite research lab – Instagram. And you all are awesome! Within minutes, I had a long list of your heartfelt convictions about mac and cheese. Breadcrumbs or no breadcrumbs. Baked or stovetop.

While I admittedly tend towards being a mac and cheese purist, and like it just served straight from the stovetop, the overwhelming majority of responses voted to have this baked with breadcrumbs. So your wish is my command! And to be honest, I think you may be onto something here. This recipe turned out to be absolutely delicious! Loved the creamy, smoky cheddar pumpkin sauce. And then once it was baked to bubbly perfection, those toasted breadcrumbs definitely did give it an extra comfort-food-y kick. So good!

(Although for you purists, I should note that you could easily serve this recipe as stovetop macaroni. I did a little taste-test before popping this in the oven, and pretty much had to will myself to let the dish disappear into the oven for another half hour!)

However you make it, I’m pretty sure you’re going to love this one. Enjoy!!

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Smoky Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x


Delicious pumpkin macaroni and cheese that you can serve right from the stovetop, or baked with crispy breadcrumbs!


  • 2 (12-ounce) cans 2% evaporated milk
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 lb. dry pasta (I used large elbow macaroni)
  • 16 oz. shredded cheese of your choice (I used a combination of various aged cheddar cheeses)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used Panko for extra crunch)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, and then return the pasta back to the pot.
  3. Meanwhile (while the pasta is cooking), in a separate bowl, whisk together the evaporated milk, pumpkin puree, eggs, smoked paprika, salt, pepper and cayenne until combined. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, pour the evaporated milk mixture into the pot with the pasta and stir until combined. Continue cooking over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for about 3-4 minutes, or until the sauce comes to a simmer and thickens.
  4. Remove pan from heat and stir in about 12 oz. of the shredded cheese and the Parmesan until melted and evenly-distributed.
  5. **If you would like to bake the macaroni and cheese with breadcrumbs, continue onto these final steps. Or you can serve the macaroni as-is at this point from the stovetop.**
  6. Pour about half of the pasta into the prepared baking pan. Then sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese. Pour the remainder of the pasta to make a second layer, then sprinkle with the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the breadcrumbs are toasted. Remove and serve immediately.

Ali’s Tip: This would also be awesome baked and/or sprinkled with roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)!

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37 comments on “Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese”

  1. Yum yum yum! I LOVE a good pumpkin puree recipe, and this looks delish.

  2. That seriously does sound and look awesome! I’m so glad I got to spend time with you. You are wonderful!

  3. the smoky flavor paired with the pumpkin – holy moly! I can only imagine how divine your kitchen smelled! One bite would have me sold, I love smoked cheesy mac and cheese and well, pumpkin is my soulmate. Saving this recipe for a chilly fall weekend Ali!!

  4. Totally divine! I love the sound of this!!

  5. This looks wonderful! I love the crunchy topping!

  6. You’re on the ball! I saw something similar the other day while searching. Looks fantastic.

  7. i love the combination of pumpkin within this mac and cheese! so glad you went with the breadcrumbs :) :) this sounds so good and looks creamy and delicious! the smokiness is making me weak in the knees – i’m obsessed with smokey flavors!

  8. I’ve never had any savory pumpkin dishes. I just never got it. To make pumpkin good, in my odd little head, you need sugar and lots of cinnamon. And savory dishes don’t have that. But cheese?! Hmm. Maybe this is worth trying after all. And then you threw in some paprika and cayenne and now I have some thinking to do. :)

  9. I cannot even believe how great this looks. I am so excited to make this! I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  10. I’ve used butternut squash in macaroni and cheese but I have to try your pumpkin version! Love the smoked paprika – that’s a must for me! :)

  11. This looks fantastic! I’ve been seeing pumpkin mac n cheese recipes pop up for the last few weeks, I have to try one out!

  12. I am obsessed with all things pumpkin…and cheese…and anything smoky. This recipe is made for me! Bookmarking it for later use.

  13. I have tried many times to convince my family that pumpkin can be used in savory dishes. They ignore me. I’m make savory pumpkin dishes anyway. This will absolutely be added to the repertoire! Looks fabulous!

  14. This is on my list of recipes to give a second chance- last time, there wasn’t enough flavor. Something tells me I wasn’t using good enough cheese- or spices. This looks delicious, though.

  15. You’ve seriously combined 2 of the greatest things in the world to 1 fabulous dish. You’re a genius, Ali!

  16. Another great way to use pumpkin! I’ve been seeing your mini cheesecakes with the pumpkin pie piped on top on Pinterest and getting hungry every time too …you know your pumpkin :)

  17. Oh this sound really really delicious, I think baked with breadcrumbs would win my heart too!

  18. What a great way to use pumpkin! Love this!

  19. That’s too funny. I just made this the other night!

  20. Yum! I’ve mad a pumpkin mac and cheese before, but this one looks even better :)

  21. Love the idea of adding pumpkin to the mac & cheese!!

  22. What did you JUST do?! I want some. Seriously.

  23. Yum, add some apple chicken sausage and chardonnay and I will be set!

  24. This mac and cheese recipe looks absolutely perfect! And, I can just imagine how the pumpkin and smoked paprika add some great flavors to the dish. I’m definitely bookmarking this one to try very soon!

  25. Holy crap! I am seriously making this for dinner tomorrow! Gorgeous!

  26. Hi Ali!

    I made this last night and it was AMAZING……so creamy and delicious, and I think baking it is the way to go. I halved it, and plan on making it again in a few days, except I want to try it with goat cheese instead of cheddar. I have a feeling that will go quite well with the pumpkin…….of course, I’ve yet to find anything that’s not made better by goat cheese:)

  27. Ali you are after my heart. This looks out of this world amazing! I can’t wait to give it a try. Going to pin it so I can come back for your recipe. Thanks for sharing:)

  28. I absolutely love pumpkin and love the idea of putting it in mac and cheese!! I don’t eat dairy, which is okay because I can replace cheese with almond cheese… but any ideas on an evaporated milk substitute?

  29. OMG! This is so delish. My son loves mac n’ cheese and not the stuff from the box, the good comfort classic dish. He not only LOVES this version but had asked for seconds and left overs for his cold lunch for school today. It’s very creamy and soul warming. Very good, good job.

  30. Mine is in the oven right now. Smells great!

  31. what are the eggs in this recipe for?

  32. Love the idea of adding pumpkin to the macaroni!!

  33. Just so you know…I did a fall recipe round-up and included these. Delicious. (

  34. Very customizable!

    I added:
    – 1.5 cups of sliced leek, sautéed in 2 tbsp butter
    – 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
    – 1.5 tsp. garlic powder
    – 1/2 cup more panko, combining all breadcrumbs with 2 tbsp. Melted butter

    I subbed:
    – 8 oz. Smoked Gouda for half of the cheese
    – Applewood smoked salt for plain salt

    Was a hit at a Halloween gathering and my family has preemptively requested it for Thanksgiving! Rich, satisfying, homey.