This super creamy, easy and delicious crock-pot pumpkin mac & cheese belongs on every Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving table!
This post is sponsored by Crock-Pot. 
Who else loves a good crock-pot dish? I know I do. Especially this time of year. Once Fall hits I’m all about the easy slow-cooked comfort meals. I’ve been using my 7 QT Crock-Pot Cook & Carry Easy Clean Slow Cooke r from Target to throw together some delicious fall and holiday recipes. This pumpkin mac & cheese is definitely a new favorite.
This crock-pot pumpkin mac & cheese just screams Fall flavors. I’m actually way more into savory pumpkin recipes than sweet ones! Don’t get me wrong – the sweet ones are also amazing. But, the savory lover in me is all about recipes like this mac & cheese!
The best part about this recipe (other than the amazing taste) is how easy it is! The crock-pot  makes it so simple. As we’re approaching the holiday season, we have so much on our plate! Having an easy throw together recipe just makes things a little bit less chaotic. If you’re hosting a holiday or party, crock-pot recipes can be a real life saver.
I’ll also be sharing some pressure-cooker recipes this holiday season. I love using both my slow-cooker  and pressure-cooker. But, for mac and cheese I prefer having it slow-cooked on low heat. You just have to gently stir it up a few times while it’s cooking so the cheese stays melty and creamy.
I used shell pasta which I highly recommend. If not, try to use any sturdy pasta that will hold up. Elbows are another great option. For the cheese, you must use sharp cheddar from a block! The better the quality, the better it’ll melt! Pre-shredded bagged cheese does not melt well at all! I’ve learned that the hard way.
This recipe is definitely very rich and indulgent compared to most my recipes. It’s not dairy-free AT ALL, gluten-free or lightened up. But, this is the time of year to indulge and not worry so much about “healthier” foods. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my lightened up options. I plan on sharing a lot of those for the holiday’s too! However, I like having a balance of both this time of year. I know a lot of people like a blend of both and sometimes you just want the real thing.Print 
1 lb. shell pasta
1/4 cup salted butter, cubed
15 oz. pumpkin puree
2 tsp dijon
2 cups whole milk*
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided*
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp powdered sage, optional
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chopped sage or chives for topping, optional
Cook pasta shells until they’re al dente. (I did about 1.5 – 2 minutes under recommended cook time on the package)
Drain pasta and rinse with cold water and add to the crock-pot.
Add cubed butter and mix to coat the pasta.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, dijon, milk, 2 cups of the shredded cheddar, cream cheese, pumpkin pie spice, powdered sage, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Pour over pasta/butter and mix to combine.
Cover and cook on low for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Gently stirring it occasionally as it cooks (about every 30 minutes)
With 15 minutes of remaining cook-time, top with remaining 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Cover until cheese is melted.
When done cooking top with chopped sage or chives if using or turn the crock-pot to the “keep warm” function until ready to serve.
* I tried this recipe with unsweetened cashew milk and whole milk gives it a better texture. However, if you don’t like using dairy milk – unsweetened & unflavored cashew or almond milk is the next best option.
* Please use a block of sharp cheddar cheese and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded bagged cheese tends to not melt well. You could also use a blend of gouda/sharp cheddar