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 850 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 850 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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Extra Creamy Mac & Cheese with writing
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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

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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’ve made this recipe 4 times. Clearly this creates the most excitement in my family. Initially I found the ingredients separated but after reading I likely cooked it too long, I adjusted it. HOLY COW. I won’t ever look for another recipe. Bravo….Excellent 5 stars. I thank you sincerely xoxoxo5 stars

  2. I always double the recipe and they still complain when it’s gone. My family will not allow me to try any other recipe. I don’t quite understand their excitement but even guests ask for more.5 stars

  3. Doubled the recipe and really liked the flavor but it was SO greasy to the point where it affected the creaminess of the mac and cheese.3 stars

    1. If you found it to be greasy this would likely be because the cheese separated which means the temp was too high or it overcooked a bit. Your slow cooker could run a bit hotter so if you try again, either cook it on a lower temperature and/or check it earlier. I hope that helps!

  4. I don’t have any sour cream, can I make this without it or is there something else that I can use as a substitute? I also do not have any gruyere cheese or dry mustard powder.

    1. Hi RG, we have only made this recipe as listed but you could try greek yogurt in place of sour cream. For the gruyere cheese you can substitute your favorite just keep in mind this will change the flavor of the mac and cheese. And other readers have swapped dry mustard powder for dijon mustard or regular mustard and had good results! We would love to hear how this recipe turns out for you!

  5. My youngest is obsessed with boxed mac and cheese. I tried a couple other homemade versions, but he turned his nose up at my attempts. Then I made this recipe, and, bingo, he loved it and asks for it weekly. Initially, I thought the cream of chicken soup sounded like an odd addition, but it works. I can’t believe how creamy the sauce turns out. The cheddar and gryere are a perfect combination. Thanks for this!5 stars

  6. This is a lot different than other crock pot mac and cheese recipes. I made this for a Christmas potluck with family and it didn’t go over well. I think it has too much of a strong tangy cheese taste. (best way I can describe it) I will not be making this one again but you don’t know until you try.2 stars

  7. The directions were well done for this recipe, but I just didn’t like the taste of the chicken soup in macaroni and cheese. The flavor doesn’t quite cook off and mac and cheese having a chicken soup taste was strange. I wouldn’t make this again.

    1. Sorry to hear that, Donna! You can substitute the cream of chicken soup for any other “cream of …” soup that you prefer. Other readers have tried it with cream of mushroom and had delicious results!

  8. Made this today for our work potluck and it was a big hit! I doubled the recipe; 1-16 ounce box of macaroni equals 4 cups, and it turned out perfect! Will use this recipe again on Saturday for Christmas dinner! Thank you for the many delicious recipes you have given us over the years! Happy Holidays!!5 stars

    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!

    1. It should be okay in a 3qt crockpot but it will be very full. We would love to hear how it turns out for you Therese.

  9. Hi there! I’ve been asked to bring a Mac and Cheese dish for family Christmas dinner. After researching several recipes, I’m most interested in yours. I’m thinking this Crock Pot one would be best since we have a large group and a 45 min drive. However, I’m confused with the recipe. This recipe adds condensed cream of chicken soup to the Crock Pot, but your recipe for Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup says do not use in Crock Pot? Please help with this confusion. Thanks, S Thornburg

    1. Thanks for pointing that out. We don’t recommend using our homemade condensed cream of chicken soup because the milk can curdle in the slow cooker. So I would use a store-bought canned version for this recipe.

  10. Hi there! This looks absolutely amazing! I’m going to make this for a bunch of guys at my husbands work for dinner next week as a treat. I’d like to add ground hamburger into the mix (and maybe a can or 2 of veggies?), but I’m concerned it will make the dish too dry. Do you think this will be ok to do? Should I add after it’s finished cooking in the crock pot? Thank you!! :)

    1. Hi Gina, I have only made this recipe as listed so I can’t say for sure but it does sound delicious. Other readers have added ground beef with good results, I would probably cook the ground beef separately and add it towards the end of the cooking, you could probably add the vegetables at this time too.