One-Pot Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

PREP TIME: 5 minutes

COOK TIME: 25 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes


October 2020

This easy macaroni and cheese recipe makes enough to feed a very hungry family. If you can’t finish it all in one sitting, the leftovers also reheat beautifully. The pumpkin adds texture and extra nutrients to the sauce, but its flavor is undetectable in the finished dish.


  • 1 pound penne (or another hollow pasta, like elbow or cavatappi)
  • 1 12-ounce bag of frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons of salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Large pot
  • Colander
  • Cutting board
  • Chef’s knife
  • Measuring spoons
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large serving bowl


1. Cook the pasta and peas.

Cook the penne in a large pot according to the package directions. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the frozen peas. Drain in a colander, but do not rinse.

2. Prepare the sauce.

Wipe the large pot dry (no need to wash it) and return it to medium heat. Add the butter and let it melt. Add the thyme and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the milk and stock, and bring to a light simmer. Turn the heat to low and add the pumpkin puree, stirring constantly until the sauce is smooth and just starting to bubble. (It’s important that your heat is low and you keep stirring so that the sauce doesn’t burn on the bottom.) Add the cheese one cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting the cheese melt thoroughly between each addition.

3. Toss the pasta.

Add the pasta and peas to the sauce and stir until everything is evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper if you want.

4. Serve.

Serve the finished macaroni and cheese in bowls.

Kids Can!

  • Add pasta to the pot.
  • Measure milk and stock.
  • Add liquid, pumpkin and cheese to the pot.
  • Stir pasta sauce.
  • Stir the sauce, pasta and peas.

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