Looking for an easy weeknight meal that the whole family will love, that can be made in 20 minutes, in one pot, is packed with flavor, and has an added veggie? Then this Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese will be your new go-to meal of choice! Great for babiestoddlerskids, and adults!

Graphic for post – sweet potato Mac and cheese, kid friendly, 20 minutes, one pot. Image is of colorful kids plates and bowls, the bowls are filled with a creamy soup potato mac & cheese with green peas in it.

Medically reviewed and co-written by Jamie Johnson, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and Lauren Braaten, Pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT).

Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

This kid-friendly sweet potato mac and cheese is a fun and healthy spin on traditional mac and cheese with the addition of nutrient-rich sweet potatoes.

This mac and cheese is loaded with vitamins A, C, and E, potassium, and fiber, thanks to the savory, cheesy sauce made with sweet potatoes.

It’s an easy weeknight meal that comes together in 20 minutes, stores well for leftovers, and is even freezer friendly! You’ll wonder how on earth you made it through your childhood without this twist on a classic comfort food.

Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese Video

Watch this video to see how easy it is to make this yummy family meal!

With dozens of dinner recipes for kids to choose from, like my crazy good Chicken Parmesan MeatballsThe Best Kid-Friendly Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese and Healthy Chicken Nuggets with Green Bean “Fries,” there are zero reasons to be in a dinner food slump. If you need kid smoothiebreakfast or lunch ideas, I have those too, plus plenty of healthy popsicle recipes to choose from as well.

Need Even More Dinner Ideas? I’ve got your family covered with amazing family-friendly dinner recipes in my best-selling cookbook, Little Foodie: Baby Food Recipes for Babies and Toddlers with Taste. 

A dark blue kids plate on top of a light blue kids plate with a fun blue napkin, the bowl is full of sweet potato macaroni and cheese with peas.

Reasons to Love this Healthy Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

  • A great meal for baby-led weaning, toddlers, kids and even adults
  • A delicious twist on a childhood classic using sweet potatoes
  • One pot meal
  • Comes together in 20 minutes
  • Hidden veggie
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easily adaptable depending on what ingredients you have
  • Perfect for leftovers
  • Freezer friendly
Spread of ingredients for sweet potato mac & cheese labeled with their names against a white background on top of a blue napkin.

Ingredients

Make sure to read the recipe card below for full ingredients and instructions!

  • Pasta: traditional mac and cheese types that are smaller in size work well here, such as rotini, elbow, penne or farfalle. Feel free to sub chickpea, lentil, or your favorite gluten-free variety!
  • Sweet Potatoes: you can use fresh, canned or frozen
  • Cheddar Cheese: shredding your own works best, but if you’re crunched for time you can also use pre-shredded.
  • Milk: whole milk is great for added creaminess, but 2% or any plain/regular flavored plant-based milk works well too.
  • Butter: adds to the creamy texture, can also use any plant-based butter.
  • Spices: garlic powder, onion powder and salt.

Sweet Potato Benefits

Those vibrant orange sweet potatoes are packed with health benefits!

  • A great source of fiber, which can prevent and resolve constipation
  • They contain a lot of beta-carotene, which converts into vitamin A for eye health
  • Contains vitamin C and E to help strengthen immunity
  • A high source of potassium to help maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure, fluid balance and muscle function

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta, and cook. In the last 2 minutes of cooking – add peas. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, microwave sweet potato and then add to a blender with spices and milk and puree until smooth.
  3. In the same pot, over medium-low heat, add the butter and let melt. Add in sweet potato puree and stir.
  4. Add in the cheese and stir until melted.
  5. Add in the pasta and stir until well-coated. If the sauce is too thick, add in some extra milk, a few tablespoons at a time.
  6. Serve and enjoy!
Fun colored kids plates and bowls full of shell pasta made into sweet potato macaroni and cheese with peas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze this sweet potato mac and cheese?

Yes, just know that the texture might be slightly different when you reheat it. You will likely need to add a little more milk and/or butter when you reheat it. If you do plan to make a double batch to freeze, you may want to cook the pasta very al-dente so it isn’t too soggy when you reheat it.

What kind of pasta is best for mac and cheese?

Smaller bite-sized types, like rotini, elbow, penne, or farfalle, work well for getting evenly coated with all that yummy, cheesy sauce. These types are also easy to cut up, making it a great choice if you are serving it baby-led weaning style. You can even sub chickpea, lentil, or your favorite gluten-free pasta.

Is there something I can substitute for the sweet potato?

You can substitute fresh, frozen or canned butternut squash or pumpkin. You may need to use slightly more or less of these substitutions, depending on the cooking method used.

Can I make this sweet potato mac and cheese dairy free?

Yes. You can use a plant-based milk, vegan butter such as Earth Balance, and vegan cheese, such as Violife, Miyoko’s, Kite Hill, or Daiya. While you won’t get the exact same taste using vegan cheese, it can be very similar.

Variations

You can make this sweet potato mac and cheese as is or try adding some of these fun variations…

  • Peas
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Cooked chicken
  • Bacon
  • Shelled Edamame
  • A handful of mozzarella, parmesan, gruyère, fontina, smoked gouda, or pepper jack cheese
  • A couple of tablespoons of cream cheese
  • Top with green onions or crispy panko breadcrumbs

Look for More Mac & Cheese recipes? Then let me help you out – this Easy Broccoli Mac & Cheese, the best kid-friendly Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, or this insanely easy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipes are going to be your new best friends!

A dark blue kids plate on top of a light blue kids plate with a fun blue napkin, the bowl is full of sweet potato macaroni and cheese with peas.

Recipe Tips

  • Shredding your own cheese is preferred, as it melts better than pre-shredded.
  • Feel free to use sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese for a stronger cheese flavor more similar to traditional mac and cheese or go with a mild cheddar for a softer flavor.
  • To make meal prep even quicker, you can go with canned sweet potato puree. Mix it right into the cooked pasta, along with the spices and milk.
  • For older toddlers and kids, set out a few different topping choices that they can sprinkle over their bowl, such as bacon crumbles, everything bagel seasoning, panko breadcrumbs, or grated parmesan cheese.  
  • To serve to babies under one, you can spoon a portion of the cooked pasta into your baby’s bowl and then top it with a small amount of the sweet potato cheese sauce or the sweet potato sauce before you add in the cheese.
Blue kids plate and bowl with a blue spoon filled with sweet potato mac & cheese.

Get the recipe: Creamy Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

5 stars (1 rating)
This kid-friendly Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese is made in 20 minutes, in one pot, is packed with flavor and has an added veggie!

Ingredients 

  • 16 oz pasta
  • 1 cup sweet potato (roughly 2 small sweet potatoes), see notes below
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 oz or 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta, and cook according to the directions on the box. If adding peas (optional), when you have 2 minutes left on your timer, add in the peas. Drain pasta and peas.
  • Meanwhile, poke a sweet potato with a fork and microwave for 5-7 minutes. Let cool slightly and then remove the sweet potato skin, adding the sweet potato to a blender. Add in the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and milk and puree for 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
    A small blender with puréed sweet potatoes, spices and milk for the macaroni and cheese.
  • In the same pot, over medium-low heat, add the butter and let melt. Add in sweet potato puree and stir.
    Silver sauce pan with sweet potato purée in butter.
  • Add in the cheese and stir until melted.
    Silver sauce pan with sweet potato purée, butter and cheddar cheese.
  • Add in the pasta and stir until well-coated. If the sauce is too thick, add in some extra milk a few tablespoons at a time.
    A silver sauce pan with sweet potato mac & cheese with peas in it
  • Serve and enjoy!
    A dark blue kids plate on top of a light blue kids plate with a fun blue napkin, the bowl is full of sweet potato macaroni and cheese with peas.

Notes

Age: can be served to 6+ months, but read tips above.
Notes on Sweet Potato: you can also use frozen sweet potato that is steamed in it’s bag or over boiling water, cubed fresh sweet potato that you boil in the pasta water for 8-10 minutes before adding in the pasta, roasted sweet potatoes, canned sweet potato puree (without any other ingredients), or a plain sweet potato baby puree.
Storage: store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Can also be frozen for up to 2 months. When reheating add in more milk and stir until the cheese is smooth. 
Serving: 1g, Calories: 287kcal, Carbohydrates: 38.6g, Protein: 11.6g, Fat: 9.6g, Saturated Fat: 5.4g, Cholesterol: 66mg, Sodium: 148mg, Potassium: 269mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3.3g, Calcium: 149mg, Iron: 3mg

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