Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese Review

Front of Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese box

Table of Contents

Introduction

After a not so long wait, I got my hands on Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese! Trader Joe’s says this mac & cheese is made by the same supplier who make their Joe’s Diner Mac & Cheese.

As shown on the package design, this seasonal item is only available during the fall/autumn season. What we want to find out is: is it worth the wait? Find out now in this review.

If you’re new here, feel free to check out my other food reviews!

Summary: Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Verdict: Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese is easily one of the best mac & cheeses offered in their stores. If a restaurant served me this, I would’ve never guessed it was a Trader Joe’s product. 

The delicate yet amazing mezzi rigatoni pasta was a great substitution for elbow macaroni. Combined with the rich, flavorful béchamel sauce, this mac & cheese is simply on a league of its own. If this wasn’t a seasonal product, it would definitely be sold out at all times!

My Rating
5/5

Price

Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese costs $2.99. It’s also the same price as their dinerhatch chile, and pepperoni pizza versions. How does it compare? We’ll find out. The box seems thicker than the others. I really like the design of this mac & cheese box as it really captures the essence of Fall/Autumn through its leaves and color usage.

Cooking Method #1: Microwave

There are two ways to cook this mac & cheese as with the others. The first being through microwave (1200 watt):

  1. Remove package from box.

  2. Puncture holes with fork in plastic film.

  3. Microwave on high for 5 to 6 minutes.

  4. Let stand for 1 minute.

  5. Remove film, stir and serve.

Heat from frozen.

Microwave cook times may vary depending on oven wattage. 

If you don’t have a 1200 watt microwave, check out this microwave calculator!

Cooking Method #2: Conventional Oven

The second method involves using the oven:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. Remove package from box and remove film from package.

  3. Place on a baking sheet.

  4. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 12 minutes.

  5. Gently stir and continue baking for another 12 to 15 minutes longer.

  6. Let stand for 1 minute.

  7. Stir and serve.

Heat from frozen.

Cooking times may vary depending on oven.

Caution: Product may be hot!

Impressions & Taste

You already know we’re gonna be cooking this in the oven! Although the cooking time is longer than the others, it’s not a big deal. Does the image above look unappetizing? If so, I apologize for the burnt little pieces as it was cooked in the toaster oven. If you’re still here, let’s get to the moment we’ve been waiting for… the taste test!

The traditional elbow macaroni has been replaced by mezzi rigatoni pasta in this mac and cheese. This may or may not scare you away but don’t turn your back just yet! Let me tell you, this short, thick pasta goes amazingly well with the fancy sauce. Its nice and chewy texture is accompanied with a melt in your mouth feeling will bring pure joy to your mouth.

As for the sauce, it’s made with three cheeses (Gouda, Cheddar, & Parmesan), a béchemel sauce, butternut squash pureé, and spices (nutmeg & sage). I’m not sure why I expected butternut squash to be sweet but this sauce is far from it. In fact, the flavors made me feel like I was in an Italian restaurant eating pasta with homemade pasta sauce. Combined with the delicate pasta, this can easily be passed off as a gourmet Italian dish. The best part is: no powdery cheese!!!

Verdict and Rating

Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese is easily one of the best mac & cheeses offered in their stores. If an Italian restaurant served me this, I would’ve never guessed it was a Trader Joe’s product. 

The delicate yet amazing mezzi rigatoni pasta was a great substitution for elbow macaroni. Combined with the rich, flavorful béchamel sauce, this mac & cheese is simply on a league of its own. If this wasn’t a seasonal product, it would definitely be sold out at all times!

My Rating
5/5

Nutrition Facts

A serving size (1 cup [170g]) is 250 calories.The whole container consists of 2 servings and has 510 calories. This is the second lowest with only the reduced guilt mac & cheese beating it out.

Ingredients

Ingredients: Mezzi Rigatoni Pasta (Semolina Durum Wheat Flour, Water, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Butternut Squash, Béchamel Sauce (Milk [Milk, Skim Milk, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3], Unbleached Enriched Flour [Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid], Butter [Cream, Salt], White Pepper), Gouda Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Microbial Enzyme, Beta-carotene [Color], Cellulose Powder), Cheddar Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Microbial Enzyme, Annatto [Color], Cellulose Powder), Parmesan Cheese (Pasteurized Park Skim Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Microbial Enzyme, Cellulose Powder), Salt, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Mustard (Distilled Vinegar, Water, Mustard Seed, Sea Salt, Spices, Turmeric), Nutmeg, Sage, Black Pepper, Thyme, Cayenne Pepper.

Contains: Milk, Wheat

Hope you enjoyed my Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese review!

Follow me on Pinterest for the latest updates!

Share This Review
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit

Related Reviews

Affiliate Disclosure

My reviews can contain affiliate links. This means I can get commissions for purchases made through links posted in reviews.

Additionally, I am an Amazon Associate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

For more information read my affiliate disclosure.

Categories
Recent Posts

From Pinterest?

Your usage of this site is tracked and shared with third parties for online behavioral advertising. You can opt-out of this through your Pinterest personalization settings or through AdChoice.