BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

Ultimate Brown Butter-Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

  • Prep Time 0:15
  • Cook Time 0:30
  • Estimated Cost $12

Brown Butter-Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is probably my best-known recipe, thanks to its rich texture (despite the comparatively-minimal amount of cheese called for) and unique pumpkin flavor. It makes for a great side dish or vegetarian main year-round, but on Thanksgiving, I like to make it a little extra-decadently. I add sweet caramelized onions, extra cheese, use half-and-half instead of milk and give the whole thing a crunchy breadcrumb topping. Every year it’s a unanimous favorite at my Thanksgiving table—I hope this year you’ll share it at yours.


  • 8 oz. elbow macaroni, penne, shells or other small pasta shape $1 for 14 oz.
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter plus more for the pan $1 for a stick
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped $0.50 for a whole onion
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour Pantry
  • 3/4 cup whole milk or half-and-half $1 for a pint
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened canned pumpkin $1.50 for a 15-oz. can
  • 1 cup plus 4 tbsp shredded aged white cheddar cheese $3.50 for 8 oz.
  • dash nutmeg $1.50 for 1 oz.
  • salt and pepper to taste Pantry
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs $2 for 8 oz.

Recipe Serves 6-8


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter an 11"x13" baking pan or 4 ramekins/oven-proof bowls
  2. Cook macaroni in salted boiling water according to package directions.
  3. While macaroni cooks, melt the butter in a medium pot over low heat. 
  4. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, to allow the onions to caramelize. 
  5. Turn heat up to medium and cook, just until butter begins to brown. 
  6. Add the flour and whisk until you have a very sticky dough. 
  7. Continue whisking the butter-onion-flour mixture for 1 minute.
  8. Slowly whisk in the milk or half-and-half a little at a time, to form a thick sauce.
  9. Continue whisking as you add the pumpkin and the cup of the white cheddar. You should have a very creamy orange sauce. 
  10. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  11. Drain the pasta and return it to its pot. Use a rubber spatula to scrape all of the sauce over the pasta and stir to coat the pasta evenly.
  12. Scrape the sauced pasta into the prepared pan(s) and top with the reserved cheddar and the breadcrumbs.
  13. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the cheese is very bubbly and the breadcrumbs are lightly browned. Serve hot.

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What They're Saying

Alyssa, on Nov 22, 08:55 PM, wrote:

How much can I make ahead of time on Wednesday night?

Gabi, on Nov 23, 08:49 AM, wrote:

You can cook the sauce and pasta in advance, but keep them separate until you’re ready to bake. Happy Thanksgiving!

Amateur Cook, on Dec 9, 11:48 PM, wrote:

Yep I could eat that. And will!

Lisa, on Mar 23, 08:03 AM, wrote:

I like ALL of your recipes! When does your book come out and will it have all of these in it? (Just went to purchase on Amazon, but it says pre-order) please email me!

Kathryn "momsy", on Feb 6, 05:32 PM, wrote:

This recipe was so good we could not stop eating it! We are doing a gluten free diet right now so I wondered if cooking with noodles that are gluten free would work and it did! I did not have cheddar cheese on hand so we used a different cheese which was fine. I used coconut milk instead of regular milk and it was delicious. Gabi’s recipe is so fool-proof that using substitutes will work. One day when we are using the ingredients called for in the original recipe I am sure we will be even more enchanted with it!! Thank you Gabi!

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