This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Those final moments of the day—the ones just before we fall asleep, when our minds are most free to wander—have a strange, unique power to make even ridiculous thoughts seem utterly logical, if not staggeringly brilliant. Last night, my final thoughts were how best to describe this creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce (yes, I think about these things before bed), and I was struck with the epic revelation that this recipe is an ideal metaphor for growing up.

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta. Comes together in MINUTES. Easy, healthy, and absolutely delicious! If you like fettuccini Alfredo, you will LOVE this pasta recipe. @wellplated

If you’ve ever fallen asleep crafting the perfect speech to finally give your boss a piece of your mind, only to wake up the next morning to realize that a) it wasn’t as clever as you thought, and b) it would likely get you fired anyway, you know the sensation. At 11:45 p.m., this easy pumpkin pasta sauce was the culinary representation of coming of age and finding one’s place in the world.

Fast forward 6.5 hours. It’s 6:15 a.m., and I’m on my back porch writing this post. Maybe I need another cup of coffee, but growing up still feels like an acceptable metaphor for pumpkin pasta sauce. Is it as staggeringly brilliant as it seemed to my half-asleep brain last night? No. Could it be a reasonably accurate way to explain to you why you should make this pumpkin pasta sauce recipe? Let’s find out.

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce. If you like Alfredo, you will LOVE this recipe, and it’s so much better for you! Easy, healthy, and DELICIOUS. @wellplated

When I was younger, fettuccini Alfredo was my pasta dish of choice. Whether I ordered it from a menu or poured the Alfredo from a jar at home, I could not get enough of its richness, its carby noodle-ness, and its unapologetic levels of heavy cream, cheese, and butter.

Then, in college and shortly thereafter, Alfredo sauce lost its luster. I dabbled in marinara, learned to make fresh pesto, and by the time I’d swiped my fork through a big plate of penne a la vodka, there was no going back. My old pasta sauce standby seemed excessive and gloppy. It no longer stood up to the bolder flavors and more nuanced textures of its pasta cousins.

Then, a few weeks ago while flipping through an old cookbook, I stumbled across a recipe for fettuccini Alfredo. It filled me with the sort of nostalgia and appreciation that another (arguably more sane) individual might reserve for his childhood teddy bear. It was time for Alfredo to find its place on my plate again.

Fettuccini with Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce. Easy and DELICIOUS! Tastes just like Alfredo but is healthy and a great way to sneak in an extra serving of veggies. @wellplated

About This Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

Pumpkin pasta sauce might seem like an odd interpretation of fettuccini Alfredo, but the two are more similar than you think. Like the Alfredo I once loved, pumpkin pasta sauce is delightfully creamy, comforting, and a joy to twirl around your fork (this Pumpkin Soup Recipe is equally as cozy and comforting).

Unlike fettuccini Alfredo, however, this healthy pumpkin pasta sauce is diet-friendly and won’t leave you in a complete stupor afterwards (even though it’s near impossible to stop eating Pumpkin Mac and Cheese). It’s a quality that did not factor into my teenage dietary decision making (of which there was precious little), but as an adult who seeks a balanced lifestyle, it’s one that I prize.

Pumpkin is the key ingredient that gives the pasta sauce Alfredo’s signature, rich texture without the excess calories, and it’s loaded with vitamins and nutrients too. The sauce’s pumpkin flavor is subtle, so if you have any picky eaters who loathe to eat their vegetables, this healthy pumpkin pasta sauce is an excellent way to sneak an extra serving onto the plate (I also snuck it into this Pumpkin Chili).

If you desire a stronger “pumpkin” taste, feel free to up the spices, as they are what makes the pumpkin flavor in the sauce most pronounced. (If you love pumpkin flavor, check out my list of healthy pumpkin recipes.)

I DO insist that you keep the fresh sage. Its savory, earthy flavor adds depth to the pumpkin pasta sauce and brings it to life. Think of the sage as the final somethin’ somethin’ that makes this pumpkin pasta sauce taste all grown up.

How to Store and Reheat

  • To Store. Place leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Reheat leftovers gently in the microwave with a splash of milk to keep them from drying out.

If you like pumpkin you will LOVE this Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce. Tastes like Alfredo, but is healthy and easier to make!

More Delicious Pasta Recipes

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

4.83 from 68 votes
Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce. Made with pumpkin, cream cheese, and sage, this easy recipe tastes similar to Alfredo but is healthy and ready in 20 minutes!

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Servings: 2 to 3 servings (see notes)


  • 8 ounces whole wheat fettuccini or any other long, thin noodle, such as linguine or spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups nonfat milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
  • 3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese cut into chunks and at room temperature (do not use fat free)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese for serving


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, drain pasta, and set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot and sizzling, add the flour, then whisk constantly until it turns a golden color and smells nutty. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the milk a few splashes at a time, whisking constantly to smooth any clumps. Increase the heat to medium high, then let cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce bubbles and thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the pumpkin, cream cheese, half of the chopped sage leaves, salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne. Continue whisking until the cream cheese melts and you have a smooth, rich sauce. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as desired.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the pan and gently toss to combine. Thin the pasta with a bit of the reserved pasta water as needed if it seems too thick or sticky. Serve immediately, topped with Parmesan and the remaining sage.


  • This recipes serves 2 generously or 3 with smaller portions. To make this a heartier dish (and extend the servings to 4), try adding sautéed greens such as spinach or kale, shredded or chopped cooked chicken, or sautéed chicken or turkey sausage.
  • I have not tried doubling the recipe but don't see why it wouldn't work—just make sure you use a large enough pan.
  • Reheat leftovers gently in the microwave with a splash of milk to keep them from drying out.


Serving: 1(of 3)Calories: 483kcalCarbohydrates: 68gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 38mgFiber: 11g

Join today and start saving your favorite recipes

Create an account to easily save your favorite recipes and access FREE meal plans.

Sign Me Up

Did you try this recipe?

I want to see!

Follow @wellplated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

Share this Article


You May Also Like

Free Email Series
Sign Up for FREE Weekly Meal Plans
Each includes a grocery list, budget, and 5 healthy dinners, helping you save time, save money, and live better!

Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

Learn more about Erin

Leave a Comment

Did you make this recipe?

Don't forget to leave a review!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


Leave a comment

    1. Thank YOU for this kind note! I have never tried this recipe with almond milk, but I think that would work fine. I hope that you love it!

  1. I don’t know that I could get my husband to eat this, but to me it sounds delicious.  It’s amazing what a little cream cheese will do to add richness to a dish.  Definitely a better choice than Alfredo.  And I can tell that this sauce would not be the same without the sage.

  2. We had this for dinner last weekend–SO GOOD! We had it with wheat noodles and roasted broccoli on the side. Fabulous recipe, as always Erin :)

    1. I am SO happy to hear that Erica!! And I served it the same way. Thanks for trying the recipe and leaving this lovely review!

  3. OMG I’m in love. I’ve used pumpkin in mac n’ cheese before, but I love the elegance this dish brings with the creamy sauce. I will definitely be giving this one a try, perhaps with some turkey bacon and sautéed spinach/mushrooms? Thanks for the recipe and inspiration!! :)

    – MAK

  4. This looks fantastic and I would love to make it as is, but need to adapt it to dairy free. I’m used to finding substitutes for butter and milk, but interested in your thoughts in substitutes for the cream cheese! That’s the one that still stumps me :) thanks!

    1. Hi Erin! To be honest, I’ve never tried a non-dairy version of this recipe. I do know that non-dairy cream cheese substitutes are available (a Google search will suggest brands), but I’m not sure how well they’d melt into the sauce.  You could certainly experiment, but I’m afraid I can’t give you a concrete answer, since I haven’t tried the recipe this way. I wish I could!

  5. Hi Erin! I just subscribed to your blog a week or so ago, and it was because of this recipe. I made it last night for my meat and potatoes eating boyfriend, and we were both blown away! This stuff is sooooo good! I’m looking forward to making many more of your recipes in the future. :)

  6. I made this sauce with zoodles (zucchini “noodles”) and it was amazing! Only change I made was to add about 1/3 C grated Parmesan cheese to the sauce in addition to being sprinkled on top. Delicious, tastes like fall. Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Hi Loren! The remaining sage gets sprinkled on top of the finished pasta in step 3. I’m so happy to hear you loved the recipe! Thanks for taking the time to leave this review!

  7. I made this after seeing a can of pumpkin purée in the pantry and thought pumpkin would be perfect in a creamy savory pasta. After finding this in a quick google search, I started cooking! I added ground turkey and some apple gouda chicken sausage and then added a nice sprinkle of dried cranberries on top! The cranberries where what really completed this dish, perfect balance of savory and sweet, a great dish for the fall (even though I made this in a Texas summer)5 stars

    1. That sounds delicious, Conor! I’m glad you found this recipe! Thanks so much for giving it a try and sharing how it turned out.

  8. This pumpkin alfredo is amazing! It’s a mystery to me how, even warmed up the next day, can still have such a great smooth texture. Our family LOVES making this for dinner. It’s our favorite go-to! We throw Cajun chicken in it and call it dinner ??5 stars

    1. Anna, I’m so glad to hear the recipe is a new family favorite! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave this lovely review. :)

  9. So disappointing, absolutely has no taste whatsoever.  I appreciate lower fat options but not tasteless options.  Any suggestions on how to salvage it?  I hate to throw it away. 

    1. Hi Michele, I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste. As you can see from the other reviews, many other readers have tried it and enjoyed it! I’d recommend bumping up the garlic, sage, and spices in the recipe and tasting as you add if you aren’t finding the flavor is strong enough.

    1. WOOHOO Kristi! I’m happy to hear this recipe was a winner with your family, and I appreciate your taking the time to report back!

  10. Hi Erin! I just tried this recipe and LOVED it! I was wondering about maybe adding maybe 1/2 cup of parmesean into the sauce to bump up the cheesy flavor a little bit. Do you think that would blend well with the other spices?4 stars

    1. Holli, I am so happy you loved it! I think you can definitely add Parm. I’d suggest starting with 1/4 cup, and if you really love it, you can always add more to taste. Thanks for taking time to leave this lovely review!

  11. So good! The seasonings are well-balanced and enhance the pumpkin without overpowering the pasta. I used regular penne instead of whole wheat linguini, and Neufchâtel instead of regular cream cheese. Also cooked up some chicken in the pan before starting the sauce, to add in later. Thanks for another great recipe!5 stars

    1. Mildred, I’ve never tried freezing this particular sauce so I can’t be 100% certain. I think that would be OK though! Freeze it in an airtight container, let it thaw in the fridge, and then reheat it very very gently. I hope you enjoy!

  12. I made this tonight to use up a little leftover pumpkin I had on hand. It was amazing!! I ate it with a side of roasted yellow squash with parmesan cheese. Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

    1. Hooray! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Emily. Thanks so much for taking the time to review the recipe too!

    1. Hi Alix, I haven’t tried it with sweet potato puree, so I can’t say for sure that would work, but if you do decide to experiment I’d love to hear how it goes.

  13. Would this work with light sour cream instead of cream cheese? Really trying to make it as healthy as I can here. Thanks.

    1. Hi Marion, I haven’t tried it with light sour cream, but you can definitely experiment—the sauce probably won’t be as thick. If you give it a try, I’d love to know how it goes.

  14. This was great; albeit just a bit bland hence the 4-star review… but that may just be my palate. It was super fast and easy to make, which means I will likely be making it again, and my husband liked it, despite some skepticism about pumpkin in pasta sauce :-). We added roasted mushrooms, and I think it would also be really good with toasted walnuts or hazelnuts and/or chicken.4 stars

    1. Molly, thanks so much for taking the time to try the recipe and leave this review! I think your additions and suggestions sound delicious too!

  15. I made this tonight using chickpea penne and it was delicious! I added a side of roasted brussels sprouts and it was the perfect fall meal! Thank you!5 stars

  16. I made this tonight with pumpkin-shell shaped pasta and it was amazing! I make pumpkin pasta inspired recipes every fall and my husband said this was the best one yet. I did omit the cinnamon, which I think helped keep the savory over sweet perception. I doubled the recipe and it came out great, thank you! 5 stars

  17. Delicious! My vegetarian daughter, who likes pretty much nothing, liked it too. I used full-fat cream cheese and milk and cut back the amounts. I added Italian seasoning, lots of pepper, and mixed some of the parm into the sauce. I have made similar recipes that were tasteless and I thought this one had a lot of flavor.5 stars

  18. This was a hit with my family! Thank you for this! I doubled and it worked out well. Also mixed in the parm, roasted mushrooms, and roasted shredded Brussels sprouts. I think a bit of pancetta would be great in this 4 stars

  19. I just made this today! It was a fun treat, and pretty easy, too! I ended up mixing in and melting about 1/4 cup shredded asiago cheese at the end, and it tastes great!5 stars

  20. Loved this recipe.  I keto’d it up a bit though by replacing the fat free milk with heavy cream and replaced the all-purpose flour with coconut flour.  For the “pasta” I used oat fibre shirataki fettuccine noodles – it was delicious!  Thanks for the recipe.5 stars

  21. My go-to comfort-food pasta dish for cold evenings.

    Follow the instructions to the letter, and it comes out perfect every time!5 stars

    1. Hi Kirsten! This recipe actually calls for 1 cup of pumpkin puree, so the 15 ounce can will leave you with the least amount of leftovers. I hope this helps!

  22. I’m so glad I found your site!  I can’t wait to try this recipe!  The others who made suggestions made me excited to try all their ideas, as well.  
    I’m a73-year-old widow, with several health issues, who needs healthier ways to cook!  You inspired my mind to greater ideas!  
    Thank you, Erin

  23. Hi I’m in Australia and canned pumpkin purée is not readily available. Can I roast fresh pumpkin ad purée that once cooked instead ?

    1. Hi Jenni! As long as it’s the same amount (and smooth like the canned version), it should work fine. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  24. So delicious! I added some hot Italian sausage to mine and sprinkled Parmesan and chili flakes on top. Would definitely make again!5 stars

  25. This recipe looks interesting and tasty. How would it work if I simply added the pumpkin and cottage cheese (I don’t like cream cheese) with the spices, milk & flour to cooked gluten-free pasta? I know I’ll add a vegetable or two (I can always use more). I’m seeking the easiest method. For me, that’s my microwave because of physical disabilities. Thank you.5 stars

    1. Hi Barb! Since I’ve only tested the recipe as written, I can’t advise on these changes. You would need to cook the flour before it’s added to the pasta too. I know this wasn’t the answer you were hoping for, but I want to make sure it turns out perfectly for you!

  26. Delicious! We made it with whole milk and full fat cream cheese. We also used some pumpkin purée that we made. And then we ate it with homemade pasta! Very good.5 stars

  27. Absolutely delicious. We really enjoyed this recipe. I had left over sauce as son would not have sauce on his pasta. So hope it re heats ok. Could the sauce be frozen?5 stars

    1. I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Helen! I’ve never tried freezing this particular sauce so I can’t be 100% certain. I think that would be OK though! Freeze it in an airtight container, let it thaw in the fridge, and then reheat it very very gently.

      1. Thank you Erin we re heated from the fridge and had with meat balls and pasta. Was good with the added meatballs also.5 stars

  28. This is DANGEROUS! Hats off to Erin for creating this recipe. We had very little in our pantry, and so I was searching for something we could make with what we had. Came across this recipe and I’ll be saving it forever. We replaced the milk with coconut milk (full fat), and the only cream cheese we had was veggie cream cheese. Honestly, I’d keep it this way! It’s almost like a macaroni and cheese. This is an excellent fall dinner, it’s flavorful, and I highly recommend! Easy and quick to make, as well. I should note that I never leave comments on recipes, but this one truly deserves praise. Erin saved our Saturday night. Thank you!5 stars

  29. OH MY, YES! I made it exactly as written (except 2% milk as that’s what I had on hand). It is the most decadent and luxurious sauce ever! I thinned it out quite a bit with pasta water, and ended up with enough for 2 servings (with pasta + sausage + kale), and nearly 2 cups of the beautiful delicious sauce leftover. I’m going to try freezing it. Will DEFINITELY make again ! ( I’d accidentally bought a giant can of pumpkin for Thanksgiving and am now viewing this as a *happy accident* since it led me to this recipe to try to use it ! Great use of extra sage as well! :)5 stars

    1. Hi Fay! I haven’t tried this recipe with dried sage myself, but I think using about 1/3 of the amount should be good. You may want to add a little at a time and taste it as you go. I hope this helps!

    1. Hi Ash! The sauce gets a slight tang and creaminess from the cream cheese, but I don’t think it’s overpowering. I hope you enjoy the recipe if you try it!

  30. Hi Erin! I LOVE this recipe and make it all the time! It’s such a fun way to revamp pasta and have something other than red sauce while still being healthy. I recently rediscovered a love for cottage cheese, and I was curious as to your thoughts on whipping it till smooth and using it instead of cream cheese in the sauce. My initial thought was that it might not be thick enough, but wanted to see what the expert thought :)5 stars

    1. I’m so happy that you’ve enjoyed the recipe, Annie! Since I’ve only tested the recipe as written, I can’t say for certain how it would turn out. I do think the sauce wouldn’t be as thick. If you decide to play around with it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  31. Hi Erin!! Tried this recipe today, came out really well! Loved the creamy sauce. I made it with wheat spaghetti and added some onions too. Was very delicious. Thank you so much for this recipe :)5 stars

  32. Thanks for the recipe! Is there a need to use non-fat milk? I only have whole milk, can I use that instead? :)

    1. Hi Eunice, great question. You can use which every milk you prefer, I just prefer to use non-fat milk. Hope that helps! Let me know if you make it!

  33. Made this one it’s an amazing dish I even add my own little spin on it by roasting the pumpkin with some roast onions I found it made it that little bit more of a Smokey flavour to it5 stars

  34. This is a great recipe. I have a lot of homemade pumpkin puree from a pumpkin I roasted so I’ve been wanting to try creative ways to use it up. I didn’t have any milk so I substituted with 1 cup of chicken stock and 1 cup of heavy cream. I love how versatile this recipe is. Once you get to the garlic step you could change things to traditional herbs and spices if you wanted a different flavor. I followed the rest of the recipe excluding the sage. I think I’ll be trying this recipe again with all the listed ingredients to see how much of a flavor difference it makes.5 stars

  35. I had to make a few alterations to fit what I had on hand………no fresh milk so I used a can of condensed milk. Since it is only 12 ounces, I was expecting to have to add 4 oz chicken broth , so I stirred in a rounded tsp. of chicken broth base ( Better Than Bouillon) to the roux and after adding the milk & pumpkin I found I didn’t need the extra fluid before adding the little bit of cream cheese. Oh my goodness, what FLAVOR! I could have eaten the sauce plain………….but instead of fettuccine, I layered the sauce with Costco Butternut squash ravioli with a layer of browned mild Italian sausage in the middle. Your sauce MADE it!!! Couldn’t be better and I have tried other richer versions that can’t hold a candle to yours. So so GOOD!5 stars

  36. I LOVE this recipe! I tried it tonight – the only modifications I made were: I used 1 cup of half and half and 1 cup of 2% instead of the 2 cups of nonfat milk. I also did not include cream cheese, and it still ended up rich and creamy! I didn’t have whole fresh sage leaves, so I used ground sage – same amount (1 tblespoon).5 stars

  37. I used my own pumpkin puree that I made from a discounted pumpkin. This made the recipe even more special. Although I used elbow noodles for a pumpkin mac n “cheese,” it was still so delicious and comforting. To keep it plant based and more filling, I added a packet of Lightlife Smart Ground crumbles. Another reason I love this recipe is that it reheats well. I’m a food prepper and love finding recipes that last a few days in the fridge (or freezer).

    I’ll be making it again!5 stars

  38. I cooked some onions and set them aside before making the roux and it was excellent. I ended up making too much sauce so I should’ve made more pasta. Overall I recommend for a cozy and creamy meal for pumpkin lovers.5 stars

  39. I added a bit of basil as my powdered sage didn’t cut it. I will try to find fresh sage next time. This will definitely be a staple my husband and I really enjoyed it. It was super delicious! Thank you so much!5 stars

  40. Thanks for this recipe! I upped the spices like I saw you recommended somewhere. I also added 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar! Served with chicken and sautéed kale and it was a wonderful dinner!4 stars

  41. will make this but was wondering about substituting silken tofu for the cream cheese. have you tried doing this substitution? thank, jean allen

    1. Hi Jean, no I’m sorry I haven’t tried this substitute so I wouldn’t know for sure if it works. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

  42. Hi, I can’t wait to make this! I am wondering if dried sage would be substitutable for the fresh sage? And would you know the measurement?5 stars

  43. This came out delish and great!

    Before we started we sautéed beef strips, onion, scallions, pepper, head of broccoli, and green beans and then followed the recipe and added all the aforementioned items in at the end (heated up) with the pasta: incredible – everyone loved it!5 stars

  44. I personally thought the sauce was bland, which surprised me because the amount of spices. This tasted like milk gravy to me, and the pumpkin tasted very muted. If I were to make it again I would use less milk and more pumpkin. My husband enjoyed it though, so maybe my taste buds are blown out.2 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear that it wasn’t to your taste Holly. The recipe has worked well for myself (and others) but I know how frustrating it can be to try a new recipe and not have it work out, so I really wish you would’ve enjoyed it!

      1. I used this sauce on lobster ravioli from Costco and it was the absolute perfect companion! So good, so easy, and it felt very gourmet and special! Served with a salad of arugula with a little lemon juice and olive oil it was the perfect, quick supper after a busy day. I added a little extra cinnamon (2 more pinches) because I like the sweetness it imparts. Yum!5 stars

    2. To be fair Holly, 4 cups of milk seems like a lot. I think I’m going to be cutting it down to 2 cups since 2 cups of milk plus 2 cups of pumpkin puree seems like plenty of sauce to cover a pound of pasta.

  45. I LOVE this pumpkin sauce!! I was worried about the cinnamon and nutmeg, but it was just enough to give it a really interesting flavor without making it overpowering. Added sautéed kale and did it over premade sausage ravioli and it was a perfect weekday dinner!5 stars

  46. I started off intending to follow the recipe exactly, but somehow got off the beaten path while grabbing ingredients ;)
    Ended up using bacon grease instead of butter; chicken broth (homemade) instead of milk; cumin & curry powder instead of sage, nutmeg & cinnamon; added diced canned tomatoes; omitted the parm. Yummy!5 stars