Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese with Caramelized Onions, Bacon, and Apple

by Erin

Every recipe I come across with butternut squash gets bookmarked. Even though I have shared more pumpkin recipes than butternut squash, it is the squash which wins my heart this season. What held me back from using it more thus far was that it required more effort than opening a can of pumpkin (aka lazy). But then I saw that this recipe called for canned butternut squash, who knew that existed!? Actually, I am still convinced that it doesn’t because I could not find it. However, it was located in the freezer section and I would prefer to use frozen over canned anyway.

There are so many other flavors mixing alongside the butternut squash in this recipe. Most of them made sense, but the apple wasn’t something I would immediately think of when pondering upon the anatomy of macaroni and cheese. Upon the first bite, I was a little skeptical still, but the more I ate the more I grew to love it. And then it was all gone and I needed to help myself to seconds. Technically this should serve four, but it was more like two servings in my house. Sometimes gluttony wins, and it’s a good thing this meal is secretly healthy (which my last mac and cheese I shared definitely was not).


Serves 4


1 Tbsp butter

1/2 cup thinly sliced onion

8 oz. whole grain elbow macaroni (half of a 16 oz. box)

1 cup canned butternut squash, pureed

1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp evaporated milk

1 oz. reduced fat cream cheese

1 tsp salt

1 whole medium crispy apple, chopped or grated

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

4 Tbsp crumbled bacon (about 2 slices)


  1. Heat butter in a skillet over low heat. When melted, add onions and let them caramelize for at least 30 minutes for the best flavor. Keep heat on low/low-medium.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Then drain it and return to the pan over low heat. Add butternut squash, chicken broth, evaporated milk, and cream cheese. When everything is combined, add in salt and mix to combine.
  3. Add onions and apples to the pasta. Stir to combine and add a tablespoon more of broth or milk if needed.
  4. Just before serving, mix in the cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Serve! Top each serving with 1 tablespoon bacon.

(NOTE: Because there’s very little butter, it can “dry out” quickly, especially once off the heat. Add a tablespoon of water, milk, or broth to get it back to its original creaminess.)

Source: Adapted slightly from Pinch of Yum.

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[…] Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with Caramelized Onion, Bacon, and Apple […]

Audra@The-Baker-Chick October 28, 2011 - 5:23 pm

Oh Wow does this look good. My mouth is WATERING. What a great flavor combo!

Tracey October 26, 2011 - 9:36 pm

Butternut squash is my very favorite fall/winter veggie too, but I rarely do much with it besides roasting or pureeing. Love this idea, the combination of flavors sounds amazing!

Cassie (Bake Your Day) October 26, 2011 - 9:15 pm

What a great recipe…I love butternut squash, always love new ideas and who doesn’t love mac and cheese?! I haven’t seen canned puree though, I’ll have to keep a lookout for that!

Valentina @ The Baking Fairy October 26, 2011 - 8:33 pm

Yuuu-uu-uum! This looks so good. I’m surprised it’s healthified! But glad, as I am a total health nut. As for not being able to find canned butternut squash… I have seen it at Target! They had a fancy organic brand that had canned pumpkin, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes all next to each other. Hope that helps :)

spiffycookie October 26, 2011 - 8:39 pm

I looked there! I saw the pumpkin that you speak of but nothing else :-( Thanks for the heads up though, maybe a different Target.

Lauren October 26, 2011 - 7:34 pm

Yum yum and yum. This sounds divine!

Sandy October 26, 2011 - 7:28 pm

I love apple with butternut squash! Tart, green, Granny Smith’s especially.
But, if the truth be told… you had me at bacon.

spiffycookie October 26, 2011 - 7:31 pm

I actually used a honey crisp. But I thought about doing a tart green one.

Kelly October 26, 2011 - 6:51 pm

Wow this looks absolutely delicious, my boyfriend would devour this! :)

Yudith @ Blissfully Delicious October 26, 2011 - 6:20 pm

Oh yum! The bacon and caramelized onions put it over the top for me, looks great Erin!

betty October 26, 2011 - 4:52 pm

please stop! it looks really good I think I might lick the screen

Biana @ Simple and Tasty Recipes October 26, 2011 - 4:47 pm

Mac and cheese looks great and so creamy! Love the addition of butternut squash. The topping looks great too.

natalie (the sweets life) October 26, 2011 - 3:08 pm

yum! I made a mac and cheese w/ bnut squash last year but i love the apple and bacon in this version! delish!

Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts October 26, 2011 - 2:56 pm

Caramelized onion and bacon, YES!!! This looks amazing!

Lauren at Keep It Sweet October 26, 2011 - 2:01 pm

I would love a big batch of this after a long day at work!

spiffycookie October 26, 2011 - 2:05 pm

That’s exactly what I did :-)

Natalie@DeconstructingTheHome October 26, 2011 - 1:46 pm

This sounds delicious! I love the combination of ingredients. I am going to have to give this a try.

alex October 26, 2011 - 1:24 pm

my friend just made a butternut squash mac and cheese and it was great! I love your additions!

Melanie @ Melanie Cooks October 26, 2011 - 1:07 pm

That’s a super mac-n-cheese! When I think of mac-n-cheese, the packaged stuff comes to mind (with the yellow powder). Well, yours is really gourmet!

Liz @ Southern Charm October 26, 2011 - 11:43 am

I’m trying to learn to like butternut squash. This recipe will help! I can hide it in there! haha. Hiding foods is how I first got in to most veggies and now I can’t get enough. Hoping this works again.

This looks SO GOOD, Erin!

Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum October 26, 2011 - 9:20 am

MMmmm! Yours looks so tasty. I actually have this on my menu for dinner tonight (again)!

spiffycookie October 26, 2011 - 11:22 am

Thanks for the great recipe!

Kathryn October 26, 2011 - 8:37 am

Ooh I saw this on Pinch of Yum and have been meaning to make it sense – it looks fantastic!

spiffycookie October 26, 2011 - 8:38 am

It is! You need to make it.


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