This Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese is cheesy, creamy, and will be a huge hit with the entire family. With minimal ingredients and a short cooking time, this amazing recipe is one to try ASAP!
Why This Crock Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe Works
What I love most about this best crock pot mac and cheese recipe is there not being a need for a flour and butter roux to make the cheese sauce. Instead, I use two types of cheese and cream cheese to thicken the sauce. This also saves prep time.
This crockpot macaroni and cheese recipe also works because it’s easy to make and take to a pot luck, add to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, or turn into a casserole crockpot meal. You will love this recipe that is made with freshly shredded cheese and not Velveeta cheese or cheddar cheese soup. You can compare this recipe to your favorite baked mac recipe.
- Dried elbow noodles: Cook the dry pasta in the first step on the stove top prior to adding them to the slow cooker; you’ll want to cook these al dente, for they will continue to cook in the slow cooker.
- Cream cheese: Using this type of cheese helps make the creamy texture.
- Sharp cheddar cheese: It’s better to use block cheese and not processed slices or the pre shredded cheese as these will not melt as well and can leave the mac and cheese grainy.
- White sharp cheddar: Similar to the sharp cheddar cheese, I like to use a combination of white and yellow cheese; some say white cheddar tastes the same as yellow, but I don’t think so!
- Milk: Milk is one of the main ingredients used in any traditional mac and cheese recipe as it mends well with the cheese and helps it stick great to the macaroni noodles. It’s ok to use milk in the slow cooker instead of evaporated milk since this does not have a very long cooking time.
- Salt and black pepper: That’s all the seasoning you need! Let the flavors of the cheese shine through.
Step One – Cook the uncooked pasta to al dente according to the package directions on the stove top.
Step Two -Spray the slow cooker with nonstick spray. Pour the cooked pasta into the crock pot along with the softened cream cheese (cubed) with the two freshly shredded cheeses and seasonings.
Step Three – Pour in the milk.
Step Four – Gently stir everything together until well combined. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 hours. (Stir occasionally.)
Step Five – When cooking time is up, add more shredded cheese on top.
Step Six – Place the lid back on and let it melt (shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes). Serve immediately and enjoy!
What to serve with this
Crockpot mac and cheese and an amazing dish that can be served as-is or with other dishes to create a full-course meal. Here are a few meal ideas to pair with it:
- Slow Cooker Turkey and Gravy
- Slow Cooker Whole Beer Chicken
- Slow Cooker Cube Steak
- Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Ribs
Yes! The slow cooker does not get hot enough, or fast enough to cook uncooked macaroni properly. You will be left with a chalky mess if you do not boil the noodles ahead of time.
In addition to sharp cheddar, you can use extra sharp cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, American cheese, gruyere cheese, white cheddar, or smoked gouda. Find these at the deli counter at your local grocery store or in the cheese department.
Pepperjack cheese will add a little kick and you can also season it with cayenne pepper.
Sure. You can use the pasta of your choice. This recipe traditionally calls for elbow pasta.
Put any leftover macaroni and cheese in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stovetop over medium to medium-low heat. You may want to add a bit more milk to keep it from sticking.
If you prefer but keep in mind that heavy cream is heavy.
Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
- nonstick cooking spray
- 2 cups dried elbow noodles, large or small (see instructions on how to prepare)
- 8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheese (optional)
- Cook pasta according to package directions on the stove top and not any longer. Get other ingredients ready while pasta cooks
- Spray the slow cooker with nonstick spray or rub down with oil or butter. Drain the pasta immediately after done cooking and add to the slow cooker add remaining ingredients and stir.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 hours. Stir the pasta twice during this cooking time, once at the hour mark and then and the 1.5 hour mark. Be gentle when you stir.
- When the cooking time is up add more cheese on top, add the lid and let melt for 5-10 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
How to Video:
- Different types of cheese are fine to use in this recipe! Use what you like best. I prefer to use cheese that I grate by hand not pre-shredded for a very creamy sauce.
- You can use the pasta of your choice, though my favorites are penne pasta or cavatappi pasta (curly noodles).
- This meal is best cooked fresh, I don’t recommend freezing this recipe.
Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.