This Crock Pot Mac and Cheese is a family favorite! Elbow macaroni noodles are slow cooked in a rich cheesy sauce.

It is great as a holiday side and a favorite for Sunday supper. This easy mac and cheese recipe needs just minutes of prep and comes out of the slow cooker perfect every time!

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese being served from a crockpot

Why This is The best Crock Pot Mac & Cheese Ever.

Homemade mac and cheese is my personal favorite food and I can assure you that this is the best crock pot macaroni and cheese I’ve ever had!

  • Unusual ingredients, amazing flavor. The recipe (and the reviews) speak for themselves.
  • It has a perfect consistency every time (and the pasta is not mushy).
  • This recipe takes only about 10 minutes of prep and the slow cooker does the rest.
  • This recipe can be doubled for a crowd (and left on warm for serving).
  • Everyone loves this recipe when I make it.

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese Ingredients

Why This Recipe Works

1. Precooked Pasta

Precooking the pasta ensures it is perfect every time. I’ve tested countless “no boil mac and cheese recipes” (using uncooked pasta). Depending on the brand, the pasta can become mushy or gummy in texture and I find it to be inconsistent.

Boiling the macaroni about 2 minutes less than indicated on your package (so it’s quite firm) keeps it from getting mushy.

2. Sauce Ingredients

I prefer crock pot macaroni without evaporated milk or Velveeta cheese. While some of the ingredients in this recipe may seem odd, they really make a great cheesy sauce!

A traditional cream sauce or cheese sauce doesn’t hold up well in the slow cooker, as dairy can curdle and/or separate in the crock pot.

The addition of mayonnaise sounds odd and even if you don’t love mayonnaise, it works (as you can see by the reviews on this recipe below). Regular or light mayonnaise (or dressing) will work.

Pasta in a strainer with shredded cheese on the side

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese is perfect for camping or potlucks, basically, anywhere you don’t have an oven.

It’s also a great way to save oven space for Thanksgiving dinner (including turkey and stuffing!) and cook this on the side.

How to Make Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

This slow cooker macaroni and cheese takes less than 10 minutes to get into the Crock Pot and then it’s ready to go!

  1. Boil pasta for about 2 minutes less than the package indicates.
  2. While pasta is boiling, shred the sharp cheddar cheese.
  3. Put all of the ingredients into the slow cooker and cook per the recipe below.

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese ingredients in a crockpot

Tips for Perfection

  • Pasta – Do not overcook the pasta, it should be very firm after boiling. Rinsing the pasta stops it from cooking.
  • Cheese – Shred the cheese from a block, pre-shredded cheeses do not work as well.
  • Cooking time – Check the pasta early, slow cookers can vary.
  • Double the recipe – A single batch of this slow-cooker mac is cooked in a 4qt slow cooker. To double this recipe, cook in a 6QT crockpot.  Cook on high for 2 1/2 hours, stirring after 1 hour and 2 hours.  (When stirring, try to do it as quickly as possible to keep the heat inside).
  • Make ahead –  To prepare this ahead of time, mix all of the ingredients except the pasta. The pasta can be cooked ahead, rinsed, and cooled. Combine the pasta and sauce ingredients in the crock pot just before cooking.
  • Baking in the oven –  If you prefer or if you are short on time, you can bake this in the oven (and I have many many times!) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake 30 minutes covered and 30 minutes uncovered.

Note:  Slow cookers can vary!  You may have to slightly adjust the time for your slow cooker.  If your Crock Pot Mac and Cheese is done early, you can turn your slow cooker onto warm.

cooked Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

More Crock Pot Holiday Sides

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese being served from a crockpot
4.96 from 838 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese is one of our favorite comfort food dishes! The whole family will love this creamy & cheesy dish.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients  

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 10 ½ ounces condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 cup gruyere cheese shredded
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream regular or light
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Instructions 

  • Boil macaroni noodles according to directions to make them very al dente. (I cook them for at least 1-2 minutes less than directed on the bag. Mine boiled for 5 minutes). Drain and rinse under cold water.
  • Combine all ingredients in a 4qt slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours or low for 3 hours, stirring once or twice.
  • Serve hot.

Video

Notes

  • Pasta - Do not overcook the pasta, it should be very firm after boiling. Rinsing the pasta stops it from cooking.
  • Cheese - Shred the cheese from a block, pre-shredded cheeses do not work as well. If you do not have gruyere cheese, you can use 4 cups cheddar instead.
  • Cooking time - Check the pasta early, slow cookers can vary.
  • Double the recipe - To double this recipe, use a 6QT crockpot.  Cook on high for 2 1/2 hours, stirring after 1 hour and 2 hours.  (When stirring, try to do it as quickly as possible to keep the heat inside).
  • Make ahead -  To prepare this ahead of time, mix all of the ingredients except the pasta. The pasta can be cooked ahead, rinsed, and cooled. Combine the pasta and sauce ingredients in the crockpot just before cooking. 
  • Baking in the oven -  If you prefer or if you are short on time, you can bake this in the oven (and I have many many times!) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake 30 minutes covered and 30 minutes uncovered.
4.96 from 838 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 464 | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 917mg | Potassium: 203mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1000IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 665mg | Iron: 1.5mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Casserole, Main Course, Pasta, Side Dish
Cuisine American

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Top Image - A dish of Crock Pot Mac & Cheese. Bottom image - Crock Pot Mac & Cheese ingredients with text

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. I was so scared to try this recipe and was extremely hesitant. The ingredient list is nothing like the other recipes online. But it came out AMAZING and everyone raves about it. I pre-mixed the sour cream, soup, seasoning, and Mayo. Then brought it on a farmhouse trip, boiled the noodles, threw it together with the cheese, and stirred every hour or so. After 3 hours? I switched to warm. Everyone loved it and got thirds! And it was requested again for next time. THANK YOU SO MUCH5 stars

  2. As usual recipes from this site are spot-on and I’ve made this one several times. My question is can this be made with cottage cheese instead of cheddar? I have 2 Grands that turn down any dish with cheddar type cheese because it’s ‘too sour” (their words) which I take to mean tangy so I sometimes make it with just mushroom soup or bechamel . It will affect the flavor so any ideas? Cottage cheese at least has a bit of protein.5 stars

    1. Hmm, I have never tried it with cottage cheese but that sounds delicious. You will have to let us know how it turns out. It may not be as creamy but hopefully delicious.

    1. You sure can, John! Some readers have mixed the breadcrumbs in with good results but if adding breadcrumbs we prefer to top with a bread crumb topping. Combine 1 cup Panko bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons butter melted, 1 teaspoon parsley (you can add a bit of parm too if you’d like).

  3. The best mac and cheese recipe by far! I got rave reviews after bringing to a potluck. My favorite way to make this is to bake this in my Pit Boss smoker – 30 minutes with foil, and 30 minutes uncovered. The dish is then infused with a hint of smoke, which is a perfect finishing touch.5 stars

  4. Has anyone made this recipe using a mixture bag of shredded cheddar cheese? I’ll be using hand shredded gruyere just not the cheddar.

    1. Hi Jennifer, we have not tried this recipe with a bag of shredded cheese. My only concern would be that bagged shredded cheese tends to have additives that can cause your cheese cause to be a little gritty. But otherwise, it should work well.

  5. I make this in the oven according to the alternative instructions. It’s a HIT! I’ve made it countless times. Only change I make is to add a generous portion of panko to the top. This recipe is soooo much easier than having to make a roux.5 stars

    1. This makes 6 side dish servings (½ cup each). Nutrition information is based on one serving.

  6. I doubled it and followed exactly. Huge hit. Only thing I will change is to add crushed red pepper next time. New fave for sure!5 stars

  7. So delicious & easy. Made this recipe for 8 teenage/young adult men who requested mac & cheese. They all loved it! So glad I doubled it, though easily could have tripled it for them because they inhaled it & kept saying how it was the best mac & cheese ever.5 stars

  8. I definitely loved this recipe! It was probably the best tasting Mac and cheese I’ve made. I was all weirded out when the recipe didn’t call for any milk but the sour cream and mayonnaise switch out works so well. I somehow couldn’t find my dry mustard anywhere, apparently I have a dry mustard thief, so I ended up putting grainy Dijon mustard instead… oh! And I ended up substituting Gouda for gruyere because it’s just what I had on hand. I definitely will make this recipe again :)5 stars

  9. This is by far the best Mac and cheese recipe that I’ve ever tried. My sons are a bit fussy when it comes to homemade Mac and cheese and they were amazed at how creamy and delicious it was that I had to make another crock pot of it the next day. I’ve made it both with the Gruyere cheese and without and it’s great either way. This is definitely a keeper. Thank you

  10. Do you thinking doubling the recipe would be too much for one crock pot? My family loves this Mac & cheese!!

    1. I doubled the recipe in a 6QT slow cooker and cooked on high for 2 1/2 hours, stirring after 1 hour and 2 hours. Worked perfectly!

  11. I am making this today for a potluck/tailgate. I won’t have time to slow cook because I leave too early but it still sounds delicious so I’m going to try on the stove and baking for a few (like traditional homemade). Hope it turns out okay!!! Wish me well!!

  12. I just cooked my pasta al dente but totally forgot to rinse it in cold water Will this make my pasta mushy? I’ve already mixed all the ingredients together and realized I missed rinsing the pasta, help!

    1. Rinsing in cold water helps stop the cooking to keep the pasta al dente. Some pastas tend to soften more than others. It’ll still taste amazing Lauren!

  13. I am making this tonight for guest
    I prefer the larger macaroni and I have a 4 quart slow cooker. There will be 4 guest
    How MUCH of the macaroni should I cook ???
    Can anyone help me with this!
    Thank you