A dreamy one pot stovetop mac and cheese with a delicious roasted garlic and sweet potato sauce. This healthier sweet potato mac and cheese has a luxurious texture thanks to the creamy roasted garlic and pureed baked sweet potato. It’s easy to make in just one pot, with no roux, for the perfect weeknight family dinner.
Yes, it’s true. This sweet potato mac & cheese recipe is not far off the Butternut & Goat Cheese Mac & Cheese recipe I juuuust posted.
I am addicted to root vegetable mac and cheese mash ups!
This mac and cheese recipe is a little easier to make than the other, because there is no roux. I stand by my butternut sweet potato recipe, because a roux based cheese sauce is a beautiful thing: thick, stodgy and oh so comforting.
But one pot mac and cheese is delicious in it’s own way. It’s a little bit lighter and silkier. I love to make mac and cheese both ways. Don’t make me choose!
Why you should try sweet potato mac & cheese
Adding pureed sweet potato to mac and cheese gives the sauce a little bit of sweetness, and stops it from feeling so rich. It’s a little too easy to scarf a whole bowl of this down!
And with all that sweet potato, there is less space for cheese so it creates a more healthy and balanced meal overall, with lots of roasted garlic to boost the umami factor.
Like, three heads of roasted garlic. Not sorry.
Whaaaat. How much roasted garlic?
Yeah, three heads, guys.
But here’s the thing with that.
My heads of garlic aren’t huge. See the photos. If yours are bigger, use less.
I may overcook my garlic. I get it full on caramelized, so it oozes out of the skins and is super sweet. The cloves are not whole anymore and they have no abrasive garlicky-ness left in them whatsoever, it’s just sweet, sticky jammy goodness.
If you just get your garlic softened, and it still has discernible cloves in their clove-y shape, then yeah there’s probably a little more of the classic garlic flavor left in there and you will want less.
Bottom line? I’ve made this recipe a few times using three heads of garlic and it’s always been an extremely subtle flavor. But if you aren’t sure, go ahead and roast all three, but don’t add them all if it starts to feel weird. Just put some in the fridge for another day.
Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese for Kids
This is perfect for babies, toddlers and kids! It’s not exactly a hidden veggie situation, because you can totally taste the sweet potato in the sauce, but if your little ones like sweet potato it’s a nice and simple one bowl meal to serve them.
You could add some peas as a side dish.
How to make macaroni and cheese in one pot
There’s a full printable recipe card coming, but here’s a little photo demo to show you the basic idea.
- You cook the pasta in milk. As the pasta cooks, some starches integrate with the milk to thicken it up. You need to get your pasta to milk ratio right, because you are not going to drain the milk – it’s going to be the base for your cheese sauce.
- You add some cheese and stir over a low heat until it melts into the dish and a beautiful cheese sauce forms around the pasta.
- You could leave it at that for a simple simple mac and cheese. But for this recipe, you will pimp your mac and cheese with the roasted garlic and pureed sweet potato!
Some tips & variations for making this sweet potato mac and cheese
To start with, we will bake the sweet potatoes and roast the garlic in the oven at the same time. This is all inactive time, but it means you need to start cooking with an hour and 15 minutes to go before dinner time.
To cut this down, you could pre bake your sweet potato and roasted garlic the day before. Then when it comes time to make this, it’s only going to be 15-20 minutes.
If you own an Instant Pot or another electric pressure cooker, you could bake your sweet potato AND roast your garlic in there to cut down on time too.
You don’t need to fully puree the sweet potato and roasted garlic – mashing it will be fine and you may prefer the texture that way.
This is a fairly mild, sweet and kid pleasing mac and cheese. But if you want to give the flavor a boost, try using some gruyere or feta to make it more umami and adult tasting. A drizzle of truffle oil would also be extremely welcome. (Also, if you want a more adult mac and cheese recipe I must refer you to my Blue Brie Mac & Cheese.)
Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese with Roasted Garlic
- 1 large sweet potato
- 3 small heads of garlic, if your heads are large, just use 2
- 4 cups (375 g) pasta shells
- 4 cups (950 ml) whole milk
- 2 cups (150 g) grated cheddar cheese
- First, bake your sweet potato and roasted garlic in the oven. For the sweet potato: stab it a few times with a knife and then wrap in foil. Place directly onto the oven shelf. For the roasted garlic: Slice the top off the head to expose each clove at the end. Lightly brush those exposed tips with oil, wrap with foil and place directly on the oven shelf. They will need about 45-60 minutes at 180C / 360F. You want the potato soft all the way through, and the roasted garlic browned and caramelized so that it just kinda oozes out of the skin.
- Once cooled, mash or puree the cooked sweet potato and squeeze your roasted garlic out of the skins and into the sweet potato mixture.
- Warm the milk in a saucepan until just bubbling. Add the pasta and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until it’s cooked. Stir regularly throughout. If the milk is almost gone before the pasta is cooked, add a little bit more.
- Do not drain the pasta when cooked! Just add the cheese in to the pan and stir. It will mix with the starchy thickened milk to form a cheese sauce.
- Finally, add the mashed or pureed sweet potato / roasted garlic mix.
- Season as desired before serving.
This looks incredible, and your three bulbs of roasted garlic doesn’t scare me! I love a veggie-loaded comfort food when I can get one, so this is definitely going on the menu!
This was delicious! I added fresh spinach at the end and everyone (including my 3-year-old) devoured it. Will definitely make again!
Can I use oat milk instead of whole milk? My son has a milk allergy.
I’ve never tried this but I don’t see why not! It may absorb differently into the pasta so just keep an eye on liquid levels, you may need more or less milk than the recipe states.