Pretzel Crusted Mac and Cheese

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Get your bowls ready! You’ll want a big one for this rich, creamy butternut squash macaroni and cheese topped with a pretzel crust.

Pretzel Crusted Macaroni and Cheese | @HealthyDelish

Fact: all macaroni and cheese should be topped with crushed pretzels. I mean, seriously, bread crumbs are so 2013.

The inspiration for this mac and cheese came from a trip to the Culinary Institute of America that I took last fall. On one of our breaks, Brandy and I  went to the Apple Pie Bakery to grab an iced tea and catch up a little when we saw the sign advertising the daily specials. It contained five of the most magical words I’ve ever seen. Macaroni and cheese stuffed pretzel. Unfortunately, they were sold out (gee, I can’t imagine why?), but I haven’t been able to get the idea our of my head.

Here’s the thing though: as much as I want to eat  a macaroni and cheese stuffed pretzel, I really don’t feel like making one. Instead, I decided to take a more classic approach and use crushed pretzels in place of breadcrumbs on my favorite butternut mac and cheese.

For more amazing macaroni and cheese recipes, be sure to check out Mac and Cheese Mania over on Nutmeg Nanny and Rachel Cooks. They’re also giving away some really awesome prizes from their sponsors, Door to Door Organics and OXO, so you definitely won’t want to miss it!

Pretzel Crusted Macaroni and Cheese | @HealthyDelish

Pretzel Crusted Mac and Cheese 1

Pretzel Crusted Butternut Mac and Cheese

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 348kcal


  • 1 butternut squash peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons Gold Medal® all purpose flour
  • 2 cups reduced fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 box 13 ounces high-fiber elbow shaped pasta
  • ¾ cup shredded Asiago cheese

cracked black pepper

  • 2 ounces pretzels crushed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil


  • Heat oven the 425ºF.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the squash and cook until very soft, about 10 minutes.
  • While the squash cooks, melt the butter in a large pan. Whisk in the flour and cook 1 minute, or until golden brown. Whisk in the milk, ensuring there are no lumps. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly. Whisk in the mustard powder and cayenne pepper; remove from heat.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked squash into the cream sauce, leaving the water behind. Mash the squash into the sauce to create a smooth mixture.
  • Add the pasta to the water you used to cook the squash. Cook until al dente (cooking time with vary depending on the brand of pasta used; follow the guidelines on the box.)
  • Stir 1 cup of the pasta cooking water into the cream sauce. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Stir in the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer the mac and cheese to a 9x6 inch baking pan. In a small bowl, mix the pretzel crumbs and olive oil. Spread over the macaroni and cheese.
  • Bake 15 minutes.
Nutrition Facts
Pretzel Crusted Butternut Mac and Cheese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 348 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Fiber 4.4g18%
Protein 12g24%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @HealthyDelish or tag #HealthyDelish!






Hi, I'm Lauren!

I'm a certified plant-based cook and enthusiastic omnivore who loves looking for creative ways to make weeknight meals more nutritious. I'm the author of Heathy Eating One Pot Cookbook and Healthy Meal Prep Slow Cooker Cookbook. I also blog at The Busy Foodie. Read more...


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35 thoughts on “Pretzel Crusted Mac and Cheese”

  1. Adore the crunch pretzels adds to recipes…but on mac and cheese??WOW! This is a great spin on mac and cheese, Lauren!

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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