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An overhead shot of a serving of butternut squash mac and cheese in a white shallow bowl atop a striped cloth on an off-white surface. A second plate of mac and cheese, a small dish of grated parmesan and a small bowl of pepper sit alongside it.

Lazy Girl Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (Easy 25-Minute Dinner)

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  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Pasta, Main Dishes
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


There’s nothing not to love about butternut squash mac and cheese…except, perhaps, all the prep work required for made-from-scratch versions. That’s exactly why I am so giddy about this Easy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese!

This lazy girl-approved recipe couldn’t be easier to make thanks to one store-bought shortcut: creamy butternut squash soup!

Just heat up your favorite butternut squash soup then melt in a punchy trio of cheeses to create the easiest butternut squash cheese sauce. Toss with al dente pasta and dinner’s ready in 25 minutes, tops! ♡ Happy cooking!


  • 16 ounces cavatappi or short pasta of choice
  • one 16-ounce jar Zoup! Good, Really Good® Butternut Squash Soup
  • heaping 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • heaping 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • heaping ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 ounces freshly shredded mozzarella or melty neutral cheese of choice (approx. 1 ½ cups, see Recipe Notes)
  • 6 ounces freshly shredded sharp cheddar or melty punchy cheese of choice (approx. 1 ½ cups, see Recipe Notes)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper, to season


  1. Boil the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, generously season the water with salt. Add the cavatappi (or pasta of choice) and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, to al dente. (Al dente cooking time is typically noted on package directions.) Once the pasta reaches al dente, drain the pasta – but do not rinse – and set aside. (Learn more! How to Cook Pasta Perfectly Every Single Time!)An overhead shot of cooked cavateppi pasta in a colander over a cast iron cocotte on an off-white surface.
  2. Heat the butternut squash soup: Meanwhile, as the pasta boils, transfer the butternut squash soup to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the soup is warmed through and bubbling. Whisk in the Dijon mustard, garlic powder, and ground nutmeg. Season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ground black pepper. Reduce heat to low.An overhead shot of a woman's hand whisking a saucepan of soup and dried spices on an off-white surface.
  3. Prep the butternut squash cheese sauce: Just as the pasta reaches al dente, melt the cheese into the butternut sauce. Working one handful at a time, add the cheese to the warm butternut squash mixture. Stir to combine well. Once melted completely, repeat with another handful of cheese. Continue until all of the cheese is added and melted; the butternut squash cheese sauce will be deliciously thick and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired and remove from the heat – at this point the pasta should be ready.An overhead shot of cheese sauce in a white saucepan atop an off-white surface. A large spoon rests in the pan.
  4. Finish and serve butternut squash mac and cheese: Add the al dente pasta to the butternut squash cheese sauce, tossing to combine well. Portion the butternut squash mac and cheese into individual bowls, topping with grated additional grated parmesan cheese or crispy fried sage leaves as desired. Serve immediately. Enjoy!An overhead shot of butternut squash mac and cheese topped with breadcrumbs in a white saucepan atop an off-white surface. A striped cloth and small bowls of parmesan and pepper sit alongside the pan.


Serving suggestions: On its own, this easy butternut squash mac and cheese is a fantastic cozy main dish to enjoy all fall and winter long. You can also easily add a protein to make it a little heartier. Serve with roasted chicken sausage, Crispy Parmesan Crusted Chicken or Juicy Chicken Meatballs – delicious! For a next-level spread, serve alongside roasted vegetables or your favorite hearty salad – we’re obsessed with this 15-Minute Lemon Kale Salad.

Jess’ Tips and Tricks:

  • Best pasta to use: While mac and cheese is traditionally prepared with elbows, I’m particularly fond of the way the creamy sauce gets trapped in a twirly spiral pasta like cavatappi to make every bite a little more creamy, flavorful, & crave-worthy. Similarly, this butternut squash mac and cheese works beautifully with fusilli, rotini, radiatore, or even shells.
  • Cheese tips:
    • Best cheese to use: For maximum flavor and meltability, it’s always best to use a blend of cheeses when preparing a cheese sauce for mac and cheese. For this butternut squash mac and cheese I like to use equal parts of a really melty, neutral cheese and a punchier flavor-forward cheese – suggestions below!
      • melty neutral cheeses: low-moisture mozzarella, gouda, edam, havarti, muenster, comté, etc.
      • punchy, flavor-forward cheeses: sharp cheddar, smoked gouda, gruyere, fontina, etc.
    • Freshly shredded: It’s also important to grate the cheeses yourself instead of buying bagged, pre-shredded cheese. Store-bought shredded cheeses are often coated in anti-caking agents to prevent them from clumping in the bag – unfortunately, it also prevents them from melting down into a silky-smooth cheese sauce.
    • For an obnoxiously cheesy butternut squash mac and cheese, increase the shredded cheeses to 8 ounces each or 1 pound total.
  • Recipe variations: This easy butternut squash mac and cheese recipe is naturally meatless. To ensure it’s vegetarian, be sure to use your favorite rennet-free parmesan cheese.

Storage and Reheating: Leftover butternut squash mac and cheese will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for 2-3 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding an extra splash of water or cooking stock to loosen up the butternut squash cheese sauce as needed, until warmed through.