Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

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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 671 votes
Review Recipe

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

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

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 10 ½ ounces cream of chicken soup condensed
  • 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

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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.

Recipe 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.

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

 

Extra Creamy Mac & Cheese with writing
A Serving dish of Crock Pot Mac & Cheese with text
Crock Pot Mac & Cheese in a slow cooker with text
A serving dish of Crock Pot Mac & Cheese with text
Top Image - A dish of Crock Pot Mac & Cheese. Bottom image - Crock Pot Mac & Cheese ingredients with text
About the author

Holly

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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. Sorry to hear that, Barabra! Dairy can separate in the slow cooker when it is cooked for too long or on too high of a temperature. How long did you cook it for? It is possible that your slow cooker runs a little bit hotter.

  1. Hi! I love trying new recipes especially with ingredients that are no the “norm”. Question…..I prefer a creamy but mild mac n cheese. Could I use Monterey jack and mozzarella cheese for a less sharp flavor? Or have you tried any other cheese aside from cheddar? I know most mac n cheese are made with cheddar so I may be the only crazy lady trying to make it without. LOL!
    Thanks!

    1. Almost any shredded cheese will work in this recipe. You could certainly use a Monterey and mozzarella for a milder flavor. You could also add some mild cheddar. Let us know how it goes!

  2. This is my family’s favorite mac and cheese recipe. We love to make it while camping. Make this recipe. You wont regret it. Just do it!5 stars

  3. I’ve been making this for years, and it truly is the best, especially for entertaining. My dad even admitted that he prefers mine over my mom’s recipe. I usually add a can of cambells cheddar cheese sauce, but it’s still great without.
    One thing I have found is that’s important to turn down the heat to warm once the cheese has melted and cooking time is up. After a while, the cheese starts to separate and the noodles become greasy.5 stars

  4. Can I make this and freeze it before cooking it? I’m thinking make it in a casserole dish, freeze, then bake it. Would that work?

  5. I have made this recipe several times and my family has always raved about it. Even my teenage daughter asks for this randomly and loves it more than a box mac & cheese!5 stars

  6. Really is the best. I’ve tried other cheeses in replace of the Gruyere because a few times I couldn’t find it. But the Gruyere the best.
    Everybody goes nuts over this recipe! I follow it to the T – I sometimes maybe add a tad more cheese but nothing different5 stars

  7. Question: I usually make my Mac and cheese with bechamel but like the idea of added flavor with cream of chicken. Has anyone tried this recipe with from-scratch cream of chicken in order to be gluten-free?

    1. I have only tried this recipe as written. Hopefully, another reader may have a gluten-free suggestion! If using gluten free pasta just make sure to cook them very al dente so they don’t get mushy cooking in the slow cooker.

  8. Is there something to substitute the cream of chicken for? I’m making for a group that there are some vegetarians. I’ve done the recipe before though and it is super yummy and would love to use again.

      1. So I actually used the campbells Cheddar Cheese Soup, which is also vegetarian, and it worked really well (I am also veg)—my husband actually commented that it tasted like there was chicken in it when there wasn’t lol subbed very well and made a lot of sense with the other flavors. Hope that helps!

  9. Amazing recipe! Followed it to a T. I doubled it for a birthday party group. All the mom’s were going on about how good it was! It was my first attempt making it, and thank goodness it was a winner! I’m definitely using this recipe as my pot-luck go to from now on!
    I found the gruyere cheese at Walmart in the deli section. One block makes 2 cups when grated.4 stars

  10. I’m making this for about 40 people in a 6 qt crockpot – what amount of each ingredient would you recommend? Help!

    1. Oh boy! I have never attempted to make a batch that large for this recipe, Lisa. Maybe another reader can offer some suggestions. I do not believe that it will all fit into a 6 qt crockpot though. You will have to let us know how it works for you!

      1. Cooked up some onions and worecestershire with the garlic before adding. Also added about a cup of cooked pasta water. Made it soooooo creamy and delish!4 stars

  11. Hi! I doubled the recipe. Flavor was amazing. We found it to be a dry though. Can I add milk to the recipe? Like 1 cup for double the recipe5 stars

    1. Hi Olivia, we have had great success with doubling the recipe as written but if you found it too dry you could add milk or even additional sour cream to add some moisture back into it. Enjoy!