This creamy crock pot mac and cheese recipe is made right in your slow cooker, with no boiling of noodles required.
Just toss everything in the pot for a delicious dish everyone will love!
It's an easy slow cooker recipe to make for holidays, family gatherings, potlucks and BBQs.
This recipe for creamy crockpot mac n cheese couldn't be easier to make. The result is tender pasta drenched in a silky cream sauce that's super cheesy.
It's one of the creamiest mac and cheese recipes you'll find. A delicious recipe cheese lovers can't get enough of. Every time I've made this recipe it always gets 5 stars!
Even better, there's no need to pre-cook the elbow macaroni noodles. Just toss the ingredients into the crock pot and give it a stir every 30 minutes. It's easy!
Holiday must-have side dish
We all love a good baked mac and cheese, but, when it comes to getting everything on the table during the holidays, slow cookers can be one of our best friends in the kitchen!
This crockpot mac and cheese recipe makes 8 servings which is perfect for a large crowd as a side dish or as a main dish for a family.
Once the pasta is cooked, just keep it in the pot on the warm setting. This will allow it to stay at a creamy cheesy consistency until you're ready to serve!
Ingredients you will need:
This crockpot mac and cheese recipe is made without Velveeta cheese or evaporated milk.
Instead, it uses two types of cheese that when melted with the other ingredients, turn into the perfect, cream sauce.
- Uncooked Pasta - uncooked elbow macaroni noodles are our favorite, but any shaped pasta noodle can be used.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese - buy the cheese in blocks and shred it yourself. There's a coating on grated cheese that keeps it from sticking together in the packaging. This coating will effect the creaminess of of the cheese sauce.
- American Deli Cheese - sold in the deli counter of the grocery store. Because this cheese melts so easily, you can just cut into squares instead of grating it.
- Half and Half
- Dijon mustard
- Seasonings - onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper.
Ways to modify this recipe if needed:
- Gluten Free Macaroni noodles - gluten free pasta such as brown rice pasta, chickpea pasta or lentil pasta. Cooking times vary with different types of pasta.
- American Deli Cheese - use American cheese slices if you can not find this cheese in the deli section.
- Dijon Mustard - regular yellow mustard OR 1 teaspoon of dry mustard can be used in place of dijon mustard.
How to make creamy crock pot mac and cheese
- Grate the cheddar cheese and cut the American cheese and butter into 1" cubes.
- Place the all of the ingredients, including the uncooked pasta, into your crock pot and stir to combine.
- Place the lid on and set the pot on 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. Continue cooking if needed.
NOTE: Because every slow cooker is different, actual cooking time will vary. It's important to stir the pasta every 30 minutes to make sure it does not overcook and become mushy.
Once the pasta is fork tender, the crock pot mac and cheese is done.
If the sauce is 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 hot right away or turn the slow cooker to the WARM setting to keep it hot until you are ready to serve.
If you'd like to double the recipe, make sure your slow cooker is at least 7 quarts. The cooking time will be slightly longer.
We like to use sharp cheddar for the flavor and American deli cheese because it adds creaminess.
- To replace the shredded cheddar cheese choose from: Monterey jack, pepper jack, Fontina, Colby jack, Gouda, Parmesan cheese or Gruyere.
- To replace the softer American deli cheese choose from: Velveeta cheese, cream cheese or American cheese slices.
Pre-shredded cheese comes with a coating on the shreds to keep them from sticking together in the packaging. This coating acts like a thickener to the sauce, which will cause it to seize up.
Buy the cheese in blocks and grate it yourself for best results.
Different pastas cook at different rates depending on their size and what they are made from.
Gluten free pasta tends to cook faster that wheat pasta. That's why it's important to stir the mac and cheese every 30 minutes to prevent over-cooking.
Keep leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Reheated mac and cheese will have a different consistency versus one that has been freshly made.
If you'd like to reheat it, it's best to add a small amount of milk to help loosen the sauce up while you reheat it.
Use 3 cups of evaporated milk instead of half and half.
The half and half can also be replaced with 1 ½ cups of whole milk and 1 ½ cups of heavy cream.
More easy crock pot recipes
Crock Pot Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb. elbow macaroni pasta
- 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
- 4 oz. American deli cheese (cut into 1" cubes)
- 4 tablespoons butter (cut into 1" cubes)
- 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. Cook on LOW, stirring every 30 minutes for up to 2 hours.
- Check at 1 ½ hours for doneness and cook longer if necessary. Once the pasta is fork tender, the mac and cheese is done. If the sauce is too thick, stir in a few of tablespoons of milk to help loosen it.
- Serve right away or turn the slow cooker to the WARM setting to keep it hot until you are ready to serve. Keep leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.