Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon

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As you well know, when fall arrives I’m pretty much obsessed with all things pumpkin. From actually eating and drinking pumpkin-flavored treats to scattering them around my house and yard (pumpkins, not pumpkin-flavored things), I literally can’t get enough.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon

When it comes to being in the kitchen, I often find myself baking. I can’t really explain it, but I’ve just always been drawn to baking more than cooking. This is probably apparent since most of the recipes I share here on IBC are baked goods (and appetizers – I do like my appetizers.)

So, I’m challenging myself to try a few more savory dishes. Since it’s fall and I’m going for savory, I figured a Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon would be the perfect compromise.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon

I know throwing pumpkin into the mix may seem a bit odd. However, it pairs well with the cheese and bacon. And, in all honestly, you can’t really taste it. I mean, you know it’s there so it makes it seem like this mac and cheese was created just for fall. It gives it this extra layer of cozy flavor. I like it!

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon

For this recipe I’m using two different types of cheese. If you have been following my blog for a while, you might remember that last year I worked with Cracker Barrel cheese to create some posts here on IBC. I’m no longer working with them, but I always find myself going back to their cheese. It’s good stuff, people. Also, when cheese is such an important ingredient in a dish, I like to shred it fresh. In addition to the cheddar, I’m using this Dubliner cheese from Kerrygold. I recently sampled this cheese, and it’s now a favorite of mine. I suspected that it would go beautifully in this mac and cheese – and did it ever!

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon

I also should point out that I bake my bacon. I line a sheet pan with aluminum foil, toss in a cooling rack and line the bacon up. It takes about 30 minutes in a 350 degree F oven. This is how I always cooked bacon when I ran my B&B. I like this method because the bacon cooks evenly, a lot of the grease drains away, and the bacon looks picture perfect when done.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon

With the cheese and the bacon ready and my pasta cooked, I prepared everything in this beautiful pumpkin cocotte from Staub. They actually sent it to me to try, and I was mega excited. This thing is gorgeous. I think it’s the nicest piece of cookware I own. Anyway, if I didn’t have to cook my pasta separately, this could all have been done in a single pan. Love that.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon

If you can believe it, this was my first time cooking mac and cheese from scratch. Oddly enough, I loved every second of it. The recipe came together quickly and easily.

The resulting dish is lovely and delicious. The cheese. The bacon. And pumpkiny undertones. Heavenly. Talk about a great meal or side for a cool fall night.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon

As always, you can find the recipe below. And, if you have a minute, please let me know what you think about incorporating a few more savory recipes into the IBC archives.

Happy Cooking!

More Pasta Recipes You May Enjoy:

I hope you’ll try this Pumpkin Mac and Cheese recipe. If you do, please leave a comment and a 5-star rating below. 

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Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon

A delicious combination of ingredients, this Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon will become you new favorite fall side dish.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bacon, mac and cheese, pumpkin
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 610kcal


  • 1 pound pasta (I used cavatappi.)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups freshly shredded cheese I used a combination of sharp cheddar cheese and Dubliner.
  • 8 strips thick cut bacon cooked
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs


  • Begin by cooking your pasta according to the package directions. I like mine al dente. Strain the water from the cooked pasta and set the pasta aside.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a medium or large oven-safe Dutch oven, add a thin layer of olive oil (or bacon grease). Then add your onions and sauté they until they start to golden. Ttoss in your garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Next, melt your butter with the onion and garlic. When melted, slowly whisk in the flour. Continue cooking and whisking for a minute.
  • Slowly mix the milk into the mixture until smooth. Continue to cook the mixture while stirring frequently until it bubbles and thickens. At this point, reduce the heat to low.
  • Stir in the onion powder, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and pumpkin puree until smooth. Then add your shredded cheese. (I like to reserve a handful of cheese to top off the dish.) Whisk the cheese cause until melted and smooth.
  • Remove from heat, add your cooked pasta, and stir. Then, add your bacon and stir.
  • Sprinkle the panko crumbs over top. Then top with the reserved (or extra) cheese.
  • Cover with a lid and bake for about 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.


Calories: 610kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 724mg | Potassium: 425mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 5295IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 320mg | Iron: 2mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. My mouth is watering!!! I can’t wait to fix this for Thanksgiving! I’ve been looking for a delicious recipe to add to my grandmother’s traditional Thanksgiving feast, and this one will definitely be a keeper! Thanks so much for sharing! xoxo

  2. Michael, this was fantastic! My husband and I made it for dinner last night as we’re both mac-and-cheese fanatics, and I’d been decorating for Halloween all weekend so I wanted something pumpkiny 🙂 I do love Dubliner but used Cabot Alpine Cheddar (and the Cracker Barrel cheddar) because I had it around. I also don’t eat meat, so we made some mushroom bacon (crispy-fried maple-marinated mushrooms doused in Bacon Salt, which oddly, is vegetarian!). It was comforting and delicious, and I can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch today. Thanks for sharing!

    P.S. About to build your picture ledges for my freshly painted bedroom this week…wish me luck! 🙂

  3. My husband (who has noooo idea how to cook) made this tonight and it was FANTASTIC. We omitted the onions for more onion powder (I hate onions) and used smoked gouda cheese instead of Dubliner (because I have never heard of dubliner before in my life). I would definitely make this again!

    1. Oh! Your twists sound fantastic! I’m glad you made it your own. And you need to get your hands on some of the Dubliner cheese. It’s SOOOO good!

      Thanks for stopping back to share your success with the recipe. 🙂

      xo Michael

  4. Welp, I know what’s going on my Thanksgiving table! This looks totally heavenly. Like, I could just dive headfirst into a big bowl right now. Also, how cute is that pumpkin cocotte?!

  5. Looks good. Who can resist a comfort food like mac-n-cheese. Adding delicious bacon. Oh my goodness. Touch of pumpkin. Yum. Always in search of good recipes. The simpler, the better. Love the pumpkin cookware. Beautiful.

  6. This looks amazing. I love pumpkin and bacon together. (They’re good in risotto too!) You always have great appetizers and sweets recipes, but if you want to add some savory recipes too, I’m all for it!

  7. Gosh Michael – everything you are making (in the kitchen and in your home!) lately just looks so amazing and I find myself pinning your posts time and time again. Love your photography and staging…all the details are top notch and I come here everyday excited to soak in all the beautiful eye candy! Am I dork that I just LOVE that you made this dish in that adorable pumpkin crock? Super awesome touch 🙂

  8. Oh my gosh!!!!!!! I can hardly wait to try this. I just love mac & cheese and have never perfected it to what I dream it should be. I think the pumpkin would add such a good deep flavor to it and looking forward to trying it. Thanks so much.

  9. Looks delicious! Love that pumpkin pot, too! Hope we can see some more of your crafty/DIY/decorating projects soon! Also, I always wonder what the area to live in is like- have you ever done a post about the sights and sounds of your town/area?

  10. Holy smokes this sounds (and looks) DEEEELICIOUS! I make something similar with roasted Butternut Squash, but I prefer pumpkin so I am definitely going to try this. Keep the recipes coming, Michael! I’m loving the fall foods.

  11. I am not a huge pasta fan but this looks delicious! My kids like mac & cheese so I think I will try it for them. But, let’s talk about that Staub pot! OMG, I love those things. It looks awesome. I would love it if you added more savory dishes. I always end up baking in the kitchen but, you know, the family needs to be fed every night too and I am always looking for inspiration.

  12. This looks fabulous! I’ve been following the Paleo diet for the last year but this recipe makes me want to fall off that wagon!! I’ll have to at least make it for my boys…and I’ll probably have to “sample” it to make sure it’s okay!! 🙂 I’m sure any other savory recipe you post will be great. You definitely have a gift of mixing (mixing flavors, mixing colors, mixing textures, etc) in all the things you do (cooking, baking, decorating).