Sheet Pan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese


Macaroni and Cheese is always a favorite dish to serve for weeknight suppers, whether you serve it as the main course paired with a tossed salad or as a side (because down South macaroni and cheese is a vegetable, right?). For this butternut squash mac and cheese recipe, we used precooked microwaveable pasta, a popular convenience food product that cuts your prep work during mealtime. We also added the autumnal flavors of butternut squash. If you can't find canned butternut squash puree at the supermarket, use canned pumpkin puree instead. Make sure that it's pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling, which contains sugar and spices. For the creamiest, thickest cheese sauce, use whole milk instead of skim milk, and shred your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese contains preservatives which keep the shreds from clumping together in the bag, but that also means they don't melt as well when cooking.

Sheet Pan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
Cook Time:
10 mins
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups whole milk, warmed

  • 12 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)

  • 1 cup canned butternut squash or pumpkin (from 1 [15-oz.] can)

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 3 (8.5-oz.) pkg. precooked microwaveable pasta (such as Barilla Ready Pasta)

  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Coat a 15- x 10-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, and set aside. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium; whisk in flour until smooth, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in warm milk until smooth, and bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. Cook, whisking often, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in cheese, squash, pepper, and ½ teaspoon of the salt until smooth.

  2. Remove pan from heat, and stir in pasta until fully coated. Spoon pasta mixture into prepared baking sheet in even layer. Bake in preheated oven until bubbly, about 8 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, stir together breadcrumbs, olive oil, rosemary, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Remove pasta mixture from oven, and increase oven temperature to broil. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture evenly over pasta mixture, and broil on center oven rack in preheated oven until bubbly and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Garnish with rosemary.

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