Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
Let’s learn how to make butternut squash mac and cheese – the perfect recipe to add to any cozy fall menu! It’s creamy, cheesy, and nutty but all flavors are balanced out so well. With subtle notes of sage and thyme paired with the rich brown butter flavor, you’re left with mac and cheese so good you won’t be able to put your fork down. The best part is it only takes 30 minutes to make!
HOW TO MAKE BUTTERNUT SQUASH MAC & CHEESE
There are three basic parts to making butternut squash mac and cheese from scratch!
1. The first step is to start by maxing a roux. If you’re not familiar with a roux, it’s flour and fat cooked together typically in equal parts to thicken sauces. To a sauce pan or pot over medium heat, add the butter and once melted, whisk in the flour. Whisk for 1 to 2 minutes until bubbly and golden.
2. The second step is to add the dairy and whisk until it thickens. Then we’ll add the butternut squash puree and spices and whisk together until smooth and creamy. Here are all the spices we’ll be using:
- Dry mustard powder, cayenne powder, black pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, nutmeg, thyme, and sage
Once it starts to bubble and thicken, drop the heat to low or turn off the heat entirely and add the cheese. This recipe uses 3 cheeses – sharp cheddar, gouda, and parmesan. Mix until all the cheese is melted. Taste and adjust anything to your taste.
3. The third part is to cook your pasta in salted water according to package directions and then toss it into sauce. I like to cook it on the side as I make the sauce so it’s all ready at the same time. All that’s left to do is serve warm and enjoy!
TIPS FOR MAKING THE PERFECT MAC & CHEESE
- Make sure to grate your cheese at home rather than buying the packs of pre-shredded cheese. Pre-grated cheese contains preservatives to prevent the cheese from clumping which is not ideal when you want them to melt together into a creamy smooth sauce.
- If you want the sauce to be thinner, add more half and half. If you want the sauce to be thicker and more cheesier, add more cheese. Then just serve warm with some more Parmesan and a sprinkle of black pepper on top.
- Add veggies to the mix to make it more nutritious and filling.
- To add protein, mix in some chopped grilled chicken.
- You can also use salted butter but just tweak the salt as needed!
IF You Have Leftovers
So if you do have any leftovers, I find the best way to reheat it is add a bit (just a small splash) of half and half to the mac and cheese and mix it up. This will prevent it from drying out too much and then reheat it in the microwave covered!
WATCH How to Make It On Youtube!
If you want to see how to make it step-by-step, follow along on Youtube here.
If you tried this recipe and loved it, drop by down below and let me know how you liked it with a rating and comment! Feel free to also leave a question there about this recipe and I’ll get right back to it.
OTHER RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
- 16 ounces mezze rigatoni pasta or any shape of choice
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3 cups half and half
- 1 15 ounce can butternut squash puree
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or use 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic for more flavor)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt add more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg more to taste
- 1 tablespoon sage finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- dash of cayenne powder
- 2 1/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese grated
- 3/4 cup gouda grated
- 1/4 cup parmesan grated
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
- While the pasta cooks, heat a saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add the butter. Allow the butter to melt and brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Then whisk in the flour and cook 1 to 2 minutes until it just starts to bubble and turns a golden color. Make sure to whisk constantly to avoid clumping.
- Gradually pour in the half and half while whisking until smooth. Continue cooking and whisking until the sauce thickens up like a bechamel. Then add the butternut squash puree, dry mustard powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, sage, thyme, nutmeg, onion powder, and cayenne powder. Whisk together.
- Reduce the heat to low or turn off the heat entirely and add all the cheeses. Whisk together until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is completely smooth. Taste and adjust anything to your liking.
- Once the pasta is done cooking, drain it and toss it into the sauce. Mix together and serve warm!