butternut squash mac ‘n cheese with buttery bacon breadcrumbs

butternut squash mac and cheese

I’ve been making butternut squash mac and cheese for eons. Back when I taught cooking classes for kids, I used to make it on an almost weekly basis. It was a great way to get the kids sold on it and the parents always loved it, too. It’s still one of my most requested recipes from around the neighborhood.

My friend Anetra from Channel 9 News asked if I’d “come on the show and make something with butternut squash, and also maybe a healthier mac and cheese recipe, too?” I told her I had just the thing and agreed to come on and make it for their viewers. And since tomorrow morning is the show, I thought I should share it with you guys first! {scroll to the end for the video!}

There are two ways you can do this: lots of gooey cheese, whole milk & heavy cream plus the buttery bacon breadcrumbs. Or, for a healthy version, you can skip the bacon breadcrumbs, use whole wheat pasta and use low-fat milk in place of whole milk & cream. Heck, you can even make it as a “regular” mac n’ cheese by omitting the squash altogether. Any way you choose to make it, I promise that it will be delicious!

Here’s the recipe as I typically make it, but do feel free to sub some of the ingredients as you like. It makes for a great main or side dish as well as a great make-ahead weeknight meal, too.

butternut squash recipe

More squash recipes:

We had a great time yesterday over at Channel 9! My segment was cut at the last minute to a very fast two minutes so there’s not much actual cooking going on – but we adapted and it was a ton of fun anyway!



  1. says

    That sounds SO good! I’m not a very good cook, but I think I could manage to do this… do you think you could use 100% pure canned pumpkin instead of the squash? I’m a vegetarian, but I wonder if I could use fake bacon bits in the breadcrumb topping?

    • says

      I think you could definitely give it a try – sounds delicious! You could try bacon bits for the topping or just skip the bacon altogether (I think I’d lean toward skipping it but it depends on how much you like bacon bits). Let me know if you make it!

  2. says

    I just realized I stopped getting RSS feed emails from you. How did I miss all of these wonderful posts? This mac and cheese looks totally decadent, especially the breadcrumbs. Sorry we just missed each other in NYC!

  3. says

    I am not sure about making this as a side dish in my house. This delicious mac ‘n cheese of yours for sure will become one of the main dishes. My goodness, with bacon. . . a tray of this will disappear. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving to you and your family, Kristy!

    • says

      I usually make it as a main dish for us, if only because we’re a family of four (two of which are small kids) and a tray of this will last us a few days. It’s great with a salad on the side.

      I hope you and your family have the best Thanksgiving ever, Ray! You’re definitely someone that I’m thankful for. xoxo

  4. Smitten Foodie says

    Oh my this looks delicious! Love love love butternut squash….and bacon should never be optional:)

    Take care

  5. says

    I don’t do a lot of pasta unless it’s BATHED in cheese, and this fits the bill for sure!! I love the addition of bacon! I have a chipotle mac n cheese to test out, and I’m salivating as I think of it. Chipotle would also be killer in your version, too. YUM!

  6. Nicole says

    I like this recipe but don’t know if it can really be considered “healthier” just because it has squash in it. Sadly I don’t think full cream or bacon are very “healthy”! I made it omitting the bacon, using skim milk and lite olive oil margarine instead of butter. Delicious and somewhat healthy!

    • says

      Nicole, that’s why I say that you can make it without the bacon and/or breadcrumbs. It’s still mac ‘n cheese but adding some nutrients from the squash does make it a healthi”er” version, definitely not healthy though!


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