Baked Pumpkin Mac n Cheese with Bacon

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This rich and creamy macaroni and cheese is made with a cheese and pumpkin sauce, then topped off with a buttery breadcrumb mixture and plenty of crispy bacon.

This post has been sponsored by San Giorgio®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Now that fall is here, I’ve been looking for easy dinner ideas that incorporate my favorite fall flavors like apples, pumpkin, or cinnamon. I need something that is quick and easy or that I can make the night before and pop into the oven after work.

That’s why I love this Baked Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon. It uses San Giorgio® Elbow Macaroni, which cooks quickly and my preschooler loves.

I’m so glad I can find it at my local Martin’s because they have super fun carts there that my son is happy to ride in, which makes shopping there so much easier! It’s in the pasta aisle on the top shelf.

Another great thing about this recipe is that you can make it and bake it all in one day or you can make it, put it in a baking dish, and then refrigerate it overnight and simply take it out and bake it the next day. That makes it so nice whenever we have a super busy night after school and work.

A cutting board with a Martin's bag underneath, a bag of San Giorgio pasta on top, a cup of milk, a bowl of cheddar cheese, a bulb of garlic, a bowl of cream cheese, and a bowl of pumpkin.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. San Giorgio® Elbow Macaroni
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 3/4 c. chicken broth
  • 15 oz. pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 c. breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat on the stove. Add the San Giorgio® Elbow Macaroni and cook for 6 minutes or until al dente. Drain then pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  2. While the macaroni is cooking, place the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until the bacon has browned. Remove from the skillet and transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
  3. Remove all but one tablespoon of bacon grease from the skillet. Add the garlic to the skillet with the bacon grease and saute over medium heat for 1 minute.
  4. Add the flour to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  5. Slowly add the milk and chicken broth, whisking to incorporate into the flour. Cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the pumpkin, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and mix until combined. Heat for 2 minutes.
  7. Reduce heat to low and add in the cheddar cheese and cream cheese. Mix until the cheeses have melted and are incorporated into the milk mixture. This should take 2-4 minutes.
  8. Pour the cheese mixture over top of the elbow noodles in the baking dish and mix well to combine.
  9. In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and butter. Mix well then sprinkle over top of the macaroni and cheese.
  10. At this point, you can cover with foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking.
  11. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the macaroni and cheese for 15 minutes if you just made it or for 20-25 minutes if it was refrigerated.
  12. Remove from oven and top with the crumbled bacon.
  13. Enjoy!

A skillet with pumpkin cheese sauce in it and a pumpkin sitting behind the skillet.

For me, the benefit of using San Giorgio® Elbow Macaroni is that I only need it to cook for 6 minutes so it’s ready right before the pumpkin sauce is ready, so my hands on time for this recipe is around 20 minutes. While it still needs to bake in the oven, that makes for an easy weeknight meal in my book.

The smell of the mac and cheese baking was amazing. It smelled of cheese, pumpkin, and breadcrumbs. Even my preschooler ran into the kitchen and asked to look and see what was in the oven.

A close up view of pumpkin macaroni and cheese with bacon and chives on top.

Do I have to add the breadcrumb topping?

No! If you’d rather go without, it’s totally fine. I’ve made it both ways and have enjoyed both. The breadcrumbs on top just add a bit of texture and flavor, but the macaroni and cheese is still tasty without it.

I don’t eat meat. Can I substitute the bacon for something else?

You don’t even have to include the bacon. It’s simply an additional flavor and texture that adds to the dish, but it’s great without it. Since you won’t have the bacon grease, just add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan to sauté the garlic at the beginning of the recipe.

Can I make a double batch and freeze some of it?

Yes! Make the noodles and sauce according to the directions. Do not put the breadcrumbs on top of it. You can do this right before you bake it. Place it in a foil container that can go in the freezer and oven, then cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place foil over top of it. When you are ready to bake, remove the foil and plastic wrap. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over top and continue baking for 20-25 minutes or until the macaroni and cheese is baked through.

I pulled this dish out of the oven and my mouth started watering even before I put the bacon on top. The bread crumbs were golden brown, and the entire dish looked cheesy and hot.

I sprinkled the bacon over the top and stuck a serving spoon in the baking dish so that my family could serve themselves. This macaroni and cheese is a good-looking dish and could even be served at the holidays. It’s made for mac magic.

A plate of Pumpkin Mac N cheese with bacon and two forks on the plate, a box of macaroni noodles, and a serving dish of the macaroni and cheese with a spoon in it.

More Pumpkin Recipes:

We loved the flavor of this macaroni and cheese. The pumpkin makes it even creamier and adds a subtle pumpkin flavor to the cheddar cheese sauce. The breadcrumb mixture on top is rich and buttery. Crispy bacon adds a bit of crunch and a delicious flavor that pulls the whole dish together.

A Martin's reuseable bag and a box of San Giorgio Macaroni noodles.

So what are you waiting for? Run to Martin’s and get all the ingredients you need to make this amazing Baked Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Bacon tonight!

A serving bowl of Pumpkin Mac n Cheese with bacon on top and a spoon stuck in it and a pumpkin behind the bowl.

Baked Pumpkin Mac n Cheese with Bacon

Yield: serves 8-10
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 36 minutes
Total Time: 51 minutes

Rich and creamy macaroni and cheese is made with a sauce of two cheeses and pumpkin then topped off with a buttery breadcrumb mixture and plenty of crispy bacon.

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. San Giorgio® Elbow Macaroni
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 3/4 c. chicken broth
  • 15 oz. pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 c. breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

Instructions

    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat on the stove. 
    2. Add the San Giorgio® Elbow Macaroni and cook for 6 minutes or until al dente. Drain the pasta then pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish.
    3. While the macaroni is cooking place the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until the bacon has browned on both sides.  Remove from the skillet and transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
    4. Remove all but one tablespoon of bacon grease from the skillet.   Add the garlic to the skillet with the bacon grease and saute over medium heat for 1 minute.
    5. Add the flour to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly until the flour begins to brown, for 1 minute.
    6. Slowly add the milk and chicken broth, whisking until incorporated into the flour. Cook for 2 minutes.
    7. Add the pumpkin, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and mix until combined.  Heat for 2 minutes or until thickened.
    8. Reduce heat to low and add in the cheddar cheese and cream cheese.  Mix until the cheeses have melted and are incorporated into the milk mixture.  This should take 2-4 minutes.
    9. Pour the cheese mixture over top of the elbow noodles in the baking dish and mix well to combine.
    10. In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and butter.  Mix until well combined. Sprinkle over top of the macaroni and cheese.
    11. At this point you can cover with foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking.
    12. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.   Bake the
      macaroni and cheese for 15-20 minutes if you just made it or for 20-25 minutes if it was refrigerated.
    13. Remove from oven and top with the crumbled bacon.

Notes

A Hezzi-D Original recipes

A serving bowl of Pumpkin Mac n Cheese with bacon on top and a spoon stuck in it and a pumpkin behind the bowl.

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