Mac and cheese is made right in your slow cooker for an ultra creamy and totally satisfying pasta dish. No boiling required! It's an easy side dish recipe to make for holidays, family gatherings, potlucks and BBQs.
Who doesn't love a warm, comforting bowl of macaroni and cheese? This recipe for macaroni and cheese has tender pasta drenched in a silky, creamy cheese sauce that makes you smile when you take the first bite.
Just like our slow cooker calico beans or slow cooker turkey breast, making mac and cheese in the slow cooker frees up valuable oven and stovetop space during the holidays and allows it to stay warm until you're ready to eat!
What you need
- Dry Pasta: Use your favorite shape of pasta. We like using good old-fashioned elbow macaroni!
- Cheddar Cheese: Do not use pre-shredded cheese as it contains a coating to keep the shreds from sticking together in the bag. This coating will cause the sauce to seize up and prevent it from being smooth.
- American Deli Cheese: Sold in blocks in the deli section of the grocery store.
- Half and Half
- Dijon mustard
- Seasonings: Salt, pepper, onion powder and paprika.
See recipe card for quantities.
Here are a few things you can do to alter this slow cooker mac and cheese recipe if needed.
- Gluten Free: Use a gluten free pasta such as brown rice pasta, chickpea pasta or lentil pasta. Cooking times will vary so stir the pasta every 30 minutes, checking to see if it is cooked throughly after an hour, to prevent over-cooking.
- American Deli Cheese: If you can not find this cheese in the deli section, use American cheese slices.
- Half and Half: The half and half can be substituted with 1 ½ cup milk and 1 ½ cups heavy cream.
- Dijon Mustard: Regular yellow mustard can be used instead of dijon mustard. 1 teaspoon of mustard powder can be used in place of prepared mustard.
We use a 6 quart slow cooker (affiliate link) to make this recipe but it will fit in a 5 or 7 quart slow cooker as well.
How to make it
Place the all of the ingredients into your slow cooker and stir to combine. Place the cover on and turn the slow cooker onto the LOW setting. Stir every 30 minutes to make sure the pasta isn't sticking together and to distribute the ingredients evenly. Check for doneness at 1 ½ hours, cooking longer if needed.
If the sauce seems too thick, stir in a little bit of milk or half and half until you get the consistency you want and allow it to heat through.
Serve right away or turn the slow cooker to the WARM setting. If left to cool, the cheeses will solidify and you'll have to reheat it before serving.
TIP: Pasta tends to stick together once it becomes hydrated. By stirring it every 30 minutes during the cooking process, the ingredients will get evenly distributed and help the pasta from clumping together.
How to store it
Store the leftover mac and cheese covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, place the mac and cheese in a baking dish and cover loosely with foil. Bake in the oven at 350°F until heated through, about 25 minutes. Mac and cheese can be reheated in a microwave but it will not have the same creamy consistency.
More easy comfort food recipes
- Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Cheesy Garlic Bread
- Scalloped Potatoes
- Green Chili Corn Casserole
Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
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- 1 lb. elbow pasta
- 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 oz. American deli cheese
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 cups half and half
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- Place the ingredients into the slow cooker and cook on LOW, stirring every 30 minutes.
- Check at 1 ½ hours for doneness and cook longer if necessary. If the sauce is too thick, add a couple of tablespoons of milk to help loosen it. Stir and serve.
- To Store: Keep leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat: Bake at 350°F until heated through in a baking dish.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes.Baking Conversion Chart
This recipe is from Little Spoon Farm. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images or republish this recipe without prior permission. Thank you.