Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

November 3, 2011



I’ve been thinking about this recipe for at least 3 years now. Seriously. In the past 3 years, it has not left me alone. I’ve been carrying it around in my head to the point that it’s entered my dreams and I’m pretty sure I even saw it sitting next to me on the T one morning. It’s totally stalkerish like that. Or maybe it’s me who’s been doing the stalking. In that case, excuse me. I’ve wanted to make pumpkin mac and cheese for years now, but it’s one of those recipes that’s always been pushed aside for something else. I know pumpkin mac and cheese has been done by so many people already and I didn’t really want to follow anyone else’s recipe. I wanted to make it my own and, of course, I wanted to add in some fun touches.

Like pumpkin beer. Obviously. When I first set out to make the mac and cheese, I immediately knew I wanted to add in a splash or two of pumpkin beer. I also knew I wanted the dish to be a bit on the healthier side (at least as far as mac and cheese goes!). Which, I know, is not me at all. But seeing that pumpkin is healthy and creamy-tasting, I figured I could make it work. I also enlisted the help of my good friend Greek yogurt. And then I fried some sage. Er, I know I didn’t have to fry it. But I did. Just let me be me! Thank you 🙂

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese (serves about 6-8):
Print this recipe!

  • 13.25 oz. whole wheat penne (I’m sure 16 oz. works, too. Lots of whole wheat comes in 13.25 oz. boxes)
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 C chopped onion (1 medium onion)
  • 3 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 C non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 C pumpkin beer
  • 1/2 C gouda (or any cheese you want)
  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • 8-10 sage leaves
  • 1/2 C panko (or regular breadcrumbs if you prefer)

(pre-heat oven to 350 degrees)


Of course, you’ll want to start by boiling the water for your pasta and getting the pasta cooking. I used whole wheat pasta, but you can definitely use regular if you prefer. Cook it until it’s just al dente. When the pasta is cooked, drain and return to pot.


While your water is boiling, add the butter to a large saucepan over medium heat. When it’s melted, cook the onion and garlic for about 3 minutes.


Now add the pumpkin into the pot, along with the Greek yogurt. Stir until smooth and let cook for about 2 minutes.


Turn the heat down to medium-low and add in the pumpkin beer; stir until smooth. Now add in the 1/2 C gouda and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper.


I used this Hoppin’ Frog Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale. It was definitely a bit more on the sweet side, but I think it added a nice little depth to the dish.


Add the pasta to the pumpkin mixture and stir well to combine.


Add a T of olive oil to a small frying pan over medium heat. Add sage leaves to pan and fry for about 30 seconds on each side. Repeat for all the sage leaves (and add more oil if you need to) and then move sage to a cutting board to chop finely.


Now, spoon the pumpkin and pasta mixture into ramekins or a 13×9 baking dish (or some combination of the two). I used a combination because I had been looking for an excuse to use my Le Creuset cocottes. I filled four cocottes and used a small Le Creuset baking dish for the rest.

Sprinkle fried sage, remaining 1/2 C of cheese, and panko over the top. You can sprinkle a little parmesan on top, too, if you want.


Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until the top is browned how you like it.


Pretty quick and simple, right? But there it is; the most perfectly creamy pumpkin mac and cheese that actually doesn’t involve any cream or milk… And really doesn’t have too much cheese in it either. Which just means you can eat more of it. I’m not talking just one of those little cocottes.

I’m talking the whole big dish of it.


Or you could just eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, like I did. I may have even eaten some cold. And it was just as delicious.


I love gouda cheese, but next time I make this (and yes, there will be a next time!), I might go for something a little bit more sharp. Just for the extra kick to balance out the mellowness of the pumpkin.


Oh, and I know I said you don’t have to fry the sage. But you kind of do. Because it’s pretty awesome. And I mean, don’t you want a little green in your m & c?


I have to admit, I was feeling a bit guilty that i haven’t been experimenting with pumpkin too much this season. But not only is that guilt gone, but I think I’m back on my game. Pumpkin season is only around for a few months each year, so I may as well take advantage of it.


Now finally, this recipe can leave me alone for a bit. That time I was in the airport bathroom and it tapped me on the shoulder was a little creepy. I’m just saying. Fine, I’ll stop stalking it, too. I’m leaving it here on the safety of my blog and that’s where it will stay until I choose to welcome it to my kitchen again.

Now I just need to get those chocolate croissants to leave me alone. I swear they watch me when I’m sleeping.

Do you have a recipe you’ve been thinking about forever?


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35 Responses to "Pumpkin Mac and Cheese"

  1. em says:

    so many things i love about this dish…pumpkin and macaroni and cheese AND pumpkin beer. seriously, sues…this is amazing!

  2. This looks delish and even more so in those adorable little pots.

  3. love that there is beer in here. and PUMPKIN beer, no less!

  4. Erica says:

    Yummmm. Ive made bn squash mac and cheese and loved it- i bet this tastes similar! The sage is a fun touch. Ive been wanting to make a knotted bread forever

  5. This looks like the most delightful thing you’ve ever created, which is saying VOLUMES. Can’t wait not to be living on a ship so I can cook all these delicious fall creations!

  6. First of all, that recipe sounds amazing! Secondly, where did you get those gorgeous ramekins?? What brand are they? I LOVE them!!

  7. Simply Life says:

    I definitly have those meals that won’t leave my mind- glad you made this!

  8. Michelle says:

    Love this! I have been slow getting into pumpkin this season too but a glass of pumpkin eggnog last night might have me back on track!

  9. Justine says:

    this looks unreal!!! i can’t wait to try it!

  10. Oh my gosh, this looks so unbelievably good. I can taste it through the screen!

  11. brandi says:

    Well, I think I need this tonight for dinner.

  12. So dinner for tonight just got planned – love this dish and the fact you used Gouda!

  13. Daisy says:

    yum!! I made pumpkin mac n cheese recently too! but the recipe I followed was MUCH more fattening – I used goat cheese, sharp cheddar, gouda, and whole milk! yikes.

  14. Ann says:

    This recipe makes me want those Le Creuset coquettes!!

  15. Kelly says:

    Yum. I’ve seen so many versions floating around and it is quite fun to see how everyone gives the dish their own unique spin. I’ve heard of beer called for in fondue before but this is the first time I’ve seen it in mac and cheese. Definitely a fun addition (especially if you get to finish the bottle! I also can imagine it did add so much depth to the dish.

  16. Bet this was awesome! I made a similar dish a few weeks ago and it continues to plague my mind!

  17. I have never heard or even thought of pumpkin mac and cheese! So glad you finally made it. Love the touch with the pumpkin beer and gouda is one of my absolute favorite cheeses. Going to bookmark this recipe!

  18. this sounds fantastic! i just can’t stop thinking about making pretzel rolls. amazing!

  19. Susan says:

    Now it will be stalking me 🙂 This sounds great, Sues!

  20. Sharon says:

    This looks incredible but your photography is even more amazing…Great job Susie!

  21. Spike says:

    Looks like the perfect fall dinner! especially if you have some more pumpkin beer to drink

  22. Cheryl A. says:

    Those look great. I love that they don’t have cream too. I do love those adorable little pots too!!!


  23. Lesa says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I made it as a side dish to go along with pulled pork sandwiches. I used gouda and extra sharp cheddar and the pumpkin beer I used had a bit more spice making the dish have a unique flavor. All in all it was a great fall dish! Thanks for sharing!

  24. Ashley says:

    I love this post! The fact that the recipe was stalking you…or you it…was awesome! And I’m excited to make it soon. I have a serious pumpkin obsession too, except I periodically go crazy with pumpkin throughout the year, thanks to my stockpiling of pumpkin puree. I also have a huge stack of recipes I want to try….several from you guys!

  25. Pauline says:

    Great recipe. I made it on Saturday and it was a hit. Your photography is beautiful!

  26. Now I have another way to enjoy a pumpkin beer. Not that I need another reason, but so glad I do. I hope I don’t polish off the rest while I bake these tasty treats. Love it!

  27. Golly, Bill! This looks delishulous.

    Going in my Favorites!

  28. Angela says:

    Holy shnitzel, this was awesomesauce. We made this for dinner tonight and it was beyond delightful! Excellent accompaniment to a Thursday-night football game as well. Can we feature this on our blog (of course, attributing the recipe/idea to you)?! LOVE IT!

  29. I have so many recipes I’ve been thinking about but haven’t had the time to make, it’s ridiculous!!
    LOVE mac and cheese.. have not met one yet I did not like..mmmmmmmm!!!!!!

  30. Danielle says:

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. It’s a combination of all my favorite things including pumpkin beer. Yum!

  31. This looks so delicious! Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods.

  32. Lauren says:

    Wowie!!!!!!! I am SO trying this. My boyfriend will love. Bonus that there is less calories from milk/cream.cheese.
    Adorable little croquettes in your photo display! Yummy all around.


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