Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Dinner  |  Published Apr 16, 2020  |  Updated Sep 14, 2020  |  By Tawnie

butternut squash mac and cheese in a white bowl

I’ve been on this mac & cheese kick lately and I don’t know why!

Well, there are the obviously reasons: 1. Cheese. 2. Pasta 3. More cheese.

I love prepackaged mac and cheese espeically for busy days but when you have time to make it from scratch it’s fun!

The other week I made Zucchini & Avocado Mac & Cheese and now just as excited to share this one with you.

Ingredients you will need for Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese:

ingredients needed to make butternut squash mac and cheese
  • Butternut squash: You can use frozen (20 oz. partially thawed) or 1 fresh butternut squash, cubed.
  • It’s easier to buy the frozen or pre-cut fresh butternut squash instead of having to cut it up and cook your own squash; plus you aren’t missing out on nutrition and are saving a ton of time! Win-win!
  • Pasta: You don’t always have to use a macaroni noodle. Use really any noodle you have in your pantry but elbow noodles, rotini and shells are always fun! Use whole wheat, gluten free, lentil pasta, chickpea pasta etc.
  • Pasta Water: Important! Be sure to reserve 3 cups of the pasta water instead of draining it all. The starchy pasta water helps to make the sauce nice and creamy.
  • Cheese: sharp cheddar cheese is best, in my opinion! (not the pre-shredded stuff).
  • Flour: 3 tablespoons is all you need. You can use a whole wheat flour or all-purpose.
  • Butter: Also need 3 tablespoons of butter. The butter and flour are used to make the roux.
  • Salt and pepper: Add salt and pepper and adjust to your preference. Start with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper and season from there. May taste bland if you don’t add enough salt so be sure to season as desired.
  • Milk or heavy cream: Optional to add 1/3 cup for extra creaminess.
mac and cheese in a white bowl made with butternut squash

How to make Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

  1. Make the pasta according to package directions: IMPORTANT: Drain pasta but reserve 3 cups pasta water.
  2. Next make the roux: In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter and then whisk in flour until combined, about 20 seconds. (Be sure not to let it burn).
  3. Then, slowly whisk in 1 1/2 cups of the reserved pasta water, whisking thoroughly. Add about 1/3 cup of water at a time. It should look a thinner than an Alfredo sauce at this point.
  4. Add in cubed butternut squash followed by the remaining pasta water. Blend this mixture until smooth. (I recommend using an immersion blender to get it “cheesy” and smooth if you have one). MUST BLEND. This step cannot be skipped.
  5. Add in shredded cheese and stir until melted. Taste and add in salt and pepper to your liking. (Heavy pinch of salt recommended!) Stir in the milk or heavy cream if using for extra creaminess.
  6. Stir in cooked noodles until noodles are coated. Top with parmesan cheese and enjoy!
mac and cheese in a large pot made with butternut squash

Can you make this mac and cheese recipe gluten free?

Yes. Use gluten free noodles and gluten free flour when making the roux! There are many varieties of both flours and pasta on the market these days.

How can I get my kid to eat more veggies?

I like to sneak veggies in to dishes. Now, not every Dietitian will agree with me on this – but I figure hey, more nutrients the better and getting your child adapted to different flavors is a win in my book!

Totally kid friendly and a recipe everyone can enjoy.

mac and cheese in a white bowl made with butternut squash

Do you like stovetop mac or baked mac?

butternut squash mac and cheese in a white bowl
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Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Now you can enjoy mac & cheese with VEGGIES in it…who knew?! The butternut squash adds a subtle flavor and tons of nutrition. Don’t worry, it’s plenty cheesy too!
5 from 5 reviews
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 333kcal

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. whole-grain macaroni noodles (or whatever noodle you prefer!) uncooked
  • 3 cups pasta water
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, unsalted
  • 3 Tbsp. whole-wheat flour (or All-Purpose flour)
  • 2 (10 oz.) bags frozen butternut squash, slightly thawed*
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
  • 1/3 cup milk or heavy cream (optional for more creaminess)

Instructions

  • Cook noodles according to package directions. IMPORTANT: Drain pasta but reserve 3-4 cups pasta water.
  • First make the roux: In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour until combined, about 15-20 seconds. (Be sure not to let it burn). Then, slowly whisk in 1 1/2 cups of the reserved pasta water, whisking thoroughly. It should look thinner than an Alfredo sauce at this point.
  • Add in cubed butternut squash and then add in the remaining pasta water.
  • Using an immersion blender (or blender of choice), blend mixture until smooth. Must blend; this step cannot be skipped.
  • Add in shredded cheese and stir until melted. Taste and add in salt and pepper to taste (I add about 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. (Heavy pinch of salt recommended!) May taste bland if you don't add enough salt so be sure to season as desired.
  • Stir in cooked noodles until noodles are coated. Top with parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Video

Notes

 
 
  • You can also buy washed, pre-cut fresh butternut squash in the store. Use a 20 oz. container. You will need to boil the butternut squash cubes if using fresh or pre-cut in boiling water until tender. If using frozen, thaw butternut squash on the counter prior to adding into the pot.
  • *Blend up the butternut squash all the way for a smooth mac & cheese, or leave some of the cubes whole for more texture. I personally like it smooth but have enjoyed it both ways!
  • I recommend using an immersion blender to get it “cheesy” and smooth if you have one but if not, blend mixture in a blender or use a potato masher to mash up the butternut squash. It will not be as creamy if you don’t blend it though!
  • Mac and cheese may taste bland if not enough salt is added. Taste and adjust as desired.
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Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 333kcal | Carbohydrates: 50.7g | Protein: 13.6g
 

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Biana
1 year ago

I love how you have a veggie in the mac and cheese, and it is still creamy and delicious! Will definitely be making it.

Nart at Cooking with Nart
1 year ago

Tried this and it was so creamy and delicious. Thanks for such a great recipe!

1 year ago

This mac and cheese tastes amazing and I love how it sneaks in some butternut squash!

Annissa
1 year ago

I love this twist on macaroni and cheese! Butternut squash adds some good nutrition to the traditional version. I really love the video steps. Makes it so easy to understand how to make it.

2 years ago

This was soooo good, my husband didn’t even know there was butternut squash in there! Loved by the whole family 🙂

3 years ago

One of Sam’s favorite foods is mac n cheese so adding the butternut squash to it was great to add some extra veggies into his belly!

3 years ago

Excellent way to sneak veggies in those “picky” eaters

3 years ago

I’m with you on sneaking veggies in, especially when they taste this good!

The butternut squash added a sweet taste and creamy texture to this mac & cheese. So good!

3 years ago

I finally got around to making butternut squash mac and cheese and I dont think I will ever used box mac n cheese again! This recipe was so good!

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