This crockpot mac and cheese recipe doesn’t even require you to boil any noodles in order to make it.
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Although we’ve been in love with that famous blue box of macaroni and cheese for decades, the first mac ‘n cheese we know of was featured in two separate cookbooks in the 14th century. One of the cookbooks was from Italy, and the other was from medieval England.
Here in the U.S., Thomas Jefferson made macaroni and cheese popular. And while the blue box mac ‘n cheese is yummy and easy to make, it’s really pretty simple to make homemade macaroni and cheese, too. When you cook it in the slow cooker, it’s super creamy and ready in no time.
You can make creamy mac and cheese just by throwing all the ingredients into a slow cooker and it will be done in no time.
That is what’s best about this crock pot mac n cheese recipe is that you can focus on taking care of other errands while your dinner cooks itself.
When it comes to comfort food, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a bowl of warm, gooey mac and cheese. If you’re a fan of this classic dish, have you ever considered making crock pot mac and cheese? This method not only saves time and effort but also ensures an incredible flavor and texture that will have you coming back for seconds.
Using a crock pot, or slow cooker, is a convenient way to prepare mac and cheese without constantly monitoring a pot on the stove. Simply toss the ingredients in and let your appliance do the work. As it cooks slowly, the flavors meld together, creating a mouth-watering, creamy, and delicious result. This dish also makes for a great potluck option, as it can be easily transported and kept warm in the crock pot. So, the next time you’re craving mac and cheese, give the crock pot method a try and enjoy a tasty, fuss-free meal.
The slow cooker mac and cheese is the perfect one to serve the kids because you can throw in a ton of different ingredients and they’ll all taste delicious.
You can even make a ton of crock pot macaroni and cheese and have some leftovers waiting for the entire family so you don’t have to keep making meals throughout the week.
Here’s everything you need to know about making crockpot macaroni and cheese and how to get it done.
Crock Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe
There are two major ways people make their mac and cheese that has withstood the test of time.
Baking is one way and it’s a more southern traditional recipe and is made kind of like a casserole. You’ll often notice a lot of breadcrumbs on top of these dishes to give them more texture.
Another way is to make them on the stovetop where they don’t need any eggs but still end up super creamy.
If you want to make the best crock pot mac and cheese then you’ll need to add some condensed soup or Velveeta cheese to make it extra creamy.
If none of those ingredients are what you’re looking for, try out some evaporated milk and American cheese. Not the cheese that is pre-packed in the store but the kind that comes straight from the block at the deli.
If you really want to take your creamy crock pot mac and cheese to the next level, you could even buy some more high-quality cheeses like gouda or gruyere.
What to Consider Before Making
You’ll want to give this a test run before busting it out for any parties or get-together.
Even though the recipe is pretty simple to make, you wouldn’t want something to go wrong and ruin a meal tons of people are counting on.
Instead, try this slow cooker macaroni and cheese at home for your own family before making a big batch for others.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I double this recipe and how long would it take?
As long as you have a big enough slow cooker you can double the amount without problems. You don’t even need to change the time needed to cook.
Do I need to rinse the pasta?
You should always rinse your pasta before starting as it collects dust and other debris.
What is a good white cheese substitute?
Try out white American, white cheddar, or Monterey jack if you don’t want to use yellow cheese.
Can I reheat this dish?
You can always reheat your dish after making it. Just make sure to keep it in the fridge so it stays preserved.
How many servings does this make?
This recipe will serve 6-8 people and will give each person about 2 ounces of pasta.
Why is my easy crockpot mac and cheese gritty?
If you are using prepackaged cheese then your dish might turn out gritty. That’s because of the anti-caking agent that is added to the product. Even less expensive cheeses will have this problem.
Why was my homemade mac and cheese crockpot mushy?
Anytime your dish cooks a little too fast or even a little too long it will end up mushy. Older slow cookers have this issue because they cook hotter than newer versions. You can always double-check your crockpot by opening the lid and stirring the mixture to see how it’s going.
Can I mix all the ingredients ahead of time and cook when I’m ready?
You can mix all your ingredients together and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook. Don’t add the macaroni until you are ready to start cooking.
Does it take 2 or 3 hours to cook this crock pot macaroni and cheese recipe?
It will take a total of 3 hours for you to finish this recipe. Since every crock pot is different, the cooking times will depend on the heat level your crock pot runs at.
Do I have to use evaporated milk?
It is highly recommended to use evaporated milk rather than regular milk. Regular milk won’t cook the same when heated for long periods of time so evaporated milk is the best option.
Is evaporated milk and condensed milk the same?
Evaporated milk is not sweetened so it will have a completely different taste than using condensed milk. Only use evaporated milk for this recipe.
Ingredients for crockpot mac and cheese:
If you have some leftover pasta you can always try to make some other killer mac and cheese recipes.
Chili mac is a great way to get savory flavors into your sweet mac and cheese for the perfect combination.
Pasta salad is a great way to use noodles without needing a dish to be over the top with savory ingredients.
Another way to try this dish is by using an instant pot instead of a crock pot. It will help your dish taste just as good while using half the time.
The bacon cheeseburger pasta is one that is guaranteed to please the entire family. Just make sure you have plenty because this dish goes super quick when served at the table.
You could also turn your mac and cheese into a casserole with some ham and peas to give it some extra texture and flavor.
Chicken and dumplings is a fantastic dish to make and you could even try to stuff the dumplings with some mac and cheese for the ultimate combination.
Nothing goes better with some Crockpot mac and cheese than some meatloaf. It’s the best and will have everyone at the table satisfied.
Get your cheeses straight from the deli and shred them yourself using a shredder at home.
Every single slow cooker is going to be different and requires a different process. Newer models will work better for this recipe than older models because the older ones tend to have a naturally higher heat setting.
Don’t ever turn the heat up when you are cooking your dish. Instead, check your dish every 15 minutes or 30 minutes after the first hour is up. Remove the lid and stir your dish to check the consistency. If your mac and cheese are cooked on too high heat, it will make your dish turn mushy.
Read through this entire post, including the FAQs, to get the best results for your mac and cheese.
Remember, if you’re trying to make this dish for a special occasion, do a test run in your own home before actually busting it out in public. You want to make sure everything goes according to plan before potentially ruining a big meal for the entire party.
Our BEST Crock Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe
- 1 slow cooker at least 6 quarts
- 1 Food processor
- 1 Measuring cup
- 1 Measuring spoons
- 1 pound pasta
- 2 1/3 cups of milk
- 12 oz evaporated milk
- 12 oz shredded sharp cheddar
- 1 cup American cheese shredded
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard
- 1/3 teaspoon garlic powder
- A sprinkle of cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup of butter
- Spray your crockpot with non-stick spray.
- Rinse your uncooked pasta in a strainer and drain out all the excess water.
- Add your uncooked pasta to your crockpot along with your milk, cheese, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir everything well so all the ingredients mix together and make sure the macaroni is in the liquid as much as possible.
- Add your cubed butter.
- Cover your crock pot and turn on the low heat and cook for 1 hour. Remove the lid and stir all your ingredients before replacing the lid. Check the consistency because your dish may be done or require an additional 1-2 hours.
- Check your dish every half hour if it is not done and remember to stir when checking your dish.
- You will know your mac and cheese is done if the pasta is tender and the liquid is thick and creamy. Once you remove the lid, keep in mind the sauce will thicken even more as the mac and cheese sits.