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Pumpkin mac and cheese baked in a sheet pan.

Sheet Pan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

  • Author: Laura Bolton - Fork Knife Swoon
  • Prep Time: 25
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Savory, Dinner
  • Method: Saute, Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This cozy, sheet pan pumpkin mac and cheese is easy Fall comfort food that the whole family will love. Curly pasta in a creamy, cheesy, pumpkin sauce is layered in a sheet pan and topped with plenty more cheese and buttery breadcrumbs that become perfectly crisp in the oven. Vegetarian and gluten-free friendly.


  • 1/2 lb (8 oz) macaroni pasta (such as cavatappi)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
  • 1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 23 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 375℉. Butter a (9×13) quarter sheet pan. Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously and add your pasta. Cook al dente, according to package directions, about 7 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the panko and stir to combine. Cook for a few minutes, stirring often, until lightly golden. Remove from the heat, and set aside.
  4. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat with the rest of the olive oil. Add the garlic, and cook for a minute or two until until fragrant and softened.
  5. Whisk in the pumpkin, followed by the milk and cream until smooth and creamy.
  6. Whisk in 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, until melted and creamy. Season well with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. When the pasta is ready, reserve about 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water, then drain the noodles.
  8. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the pasta to the pumpkin cheese sauce. Stir to combine. Add some of the pasta water to thin the sauce, as needed.
  9. Layer the pasta onto your prepared sheet pan and top with the remaining cheese and the toasted panko.
  10. Bake uncovered for 10-12 minutes until the top is golden, melted, and the cheese is bubbling up around the edges. Pop under the broiler for a minute or two to add even more color to the cheese if you want.
  11. Remove from the oven and serve warm with a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves and a dusting of Parmesan. Enjoy!!


  • Make it gluten-free: simply swap out for your favorite gluten-free pasta. We love the Jovial brown rice based pastas.
  • You may not need the pasta water if your sauce is creamy enough, as is. Start with a tablespoon or so at a time and stir until the sauce is creamy and will easily coat the pasta.
  • You can use store-bought canned pumpkin puree, or roast your own. Butternut squash puree is another great option.
  • If you don’t have access to fresh garlic, you can substitute 1/2 tsp garlic powder.

Keywords: sheet pan pumpkin mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, butternut squash, homemade, panko