If your family loves creamy, cheesy pasta and you’re looking for a simple way to up their veggie intake—because aren’t we always?!—this super simple 5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese needs to be on your menu asap!
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
The beauty of this recipe is that the squash adds that classic orange color and nutrients, but the kids just get the cheesy pasta flavor and texture that they love. And the method is so simple since everything cooks in the same pot, so it’s a perfect option for a busy weeknight.
TIP: Pick up a bag of precut butternut squash and you literally just need to fill a pot with water to get this recipe started!
Ingredients in Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
To make this recipe you’ll need:
- peeled and cubed butternut squash
- milk (I use whole)
- grated yellow or white cheddar cheese
TIP: Learn more about how to cut butternut squash here or use precut diced squash from the store.
How to Make Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Step-by-Step
Here’s a look at how to make this easy dinner. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the squash until tender. Transfer to a blender using a slotted spoon.
- Cook the pasta in the same pot of water.
- Blend the cheese sauce with the squash, cheese, and milk.
- Stir the sauce into the pasta and serve.
TIP: You can make this more or less saucy, so start with only some of the sauce and see what your kids think!
What kind of pasta works best in this healthy mac and cheese?
You can make this with any pasta shape that your family prefers—elbows would be a great choice if your kids are used to the classic boxed variety—and you can add in broccoli or peas if you want to up the veggie intake even more. This recipe is easy to scale up too to make it with a full pound of pasta. (Just double it!)
TIP: To make this gluten-free, try the Barilla gluten-free pasta—though I recommend cooking it for 1-2 minutes less than the box says for the best texture…it can start to fall apart if you cook it for the full time!
Butternut Mac and Cheese with Canned Squash
If you have a can of butternut squash, you can sub that in and skip the step where you’d otherwise need to cook the squash. Simply add it to the blender and blend it up.
What else can I use the cheese sauce for?
The simple butternut squash cheese sauce is also a wonderful topping for Roasted Broccoli, green beans, asparagus, or any other veggie that your kids might need a little extra encouragement to gobble up!
Tips for Making the Best Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Use the type of pasta your family prefers, whether whole wheat, gluten-free, bean-based, or traditional.
- Try serving the cheese sauce as a dipping sauce for other cooked veggies.
- You can use canned butternut squash puree if desired.
- Use orange cheese for the most vivid orange color.
- Stir in frozen peas (which will thaw in the warm pasta) to add an easy veggie.
- Try with sweet potato or another favorite winter squash.
- Trade in cauliflower for the squash to make Cauliflower Mac and Cheese.
- Serve any leftovers in an airtight container and heat for 30-60 seconds in the microwave to warm.
- My kids like this with a little less sauce than the recipe makes, though I prefer it saucy. You can stir in as much or as little as you like and store the leftover sauce in an airtight container to use on another day.
- Double the recipe to make more!
I’d love to know how your family enjoys this recipe, so please comment below to share! The more I hear from you, the better I can continue to make my content so thank you in advance!
Use your family’s favorite shape and type of pasta in this recipe. (We like elbows or mini shells!)
- 1 cup peeled and cubed butternut squash
- 1/3 cup milk
- 3/4 cup grated yellow or white cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 8 ounces pasta
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the squash and cook for about 10 minutes or until soft when poked with a fork.Use a large slotted spoon to transfer the squash to a blender, draining off all of the liquid.
- Add the milk, cheese, and butter, and puree until completely smooth.Meanwhile, bring the water back to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot. Stir in the cheese sauce, season to taste with salt, and serve! Variations:
- To make this for 6-8 people, simply double all the amounts using a full pound of pasta. You can also add more cheese if you’d like.
Serve any leftovers in an airtight container and heat for 30-60 seconds in the microwave to warm
Use the type of pasta your family prefers, whether whole wheat, gluten-free, bean-based, or traditional.
Try serving the cheese sauce as a dipping sauce for other cooked veggies.
You can use canned butternut squash puree if desired.
Use orange cheese for the most vivid orange color.
Stir in frozen peas (which will thaw in the warm pasta) to add an easy veggie.
Try with sweet potato or another favorite winter squash.
Trade in cauliflower for the squash to make Cauliflower Mac and Cheese.
Double the recipe to make a larger batch.