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 1209 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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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 an additional cup of cheddar instead (4 cups in total).
  • 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 ½ 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 1209 votes

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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Crock Pot Mac & Cheese in a slow cooker with text
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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. Hi

    I am looking forward to making this. I have always found my homemade Mac n cheese recipes dry out quickly. I am anxious to see how the mayo and cream soups do on that front.

    Question: Can I use homemade noodles or would they fall apart?

    Thank you!

    1. I haven’t tried this with homemade noodles but if they are pre-cooked it may work. Check it early and once the sauce is melted, turn the slow cooker to warm.

  2. Help, please! I’m making this for a potluck today, and I’m finding contradictory info on how many ounces of cheddar cheese yields three cups shredded. Please share this conversion with me ASAP. Thank you!

    1. 3 cups of cheddar cheese weigh 12 oz. We use a physical 1 cup measuring cup to weigh the cheese. Shredded cheese weighs 4oz per cup.

      1. hello! do.you use sharp, medium, or mild cheddar typically when you do it? thanks in advance !

  3. I don’t know what happened. :/ I came back after the 2 hours on high we’re up to find a lumpy, greasy, curdled mess. :( The flavor was super good though! I followed everything exactly. I don’t know where I messed up!

    1. Oh no, how disappointing. If the sauce broke, your slow cooker may run hot or it has overcooked. I would suggest checking the pasta early, as slow cookers can vary. I hope that helps!

  4. I was really excited to try this, followed the directions and tips to a T and it was just..meh. I realized the recipe didn’t call for salt and even after adding a few pinches, there wasn’t much improvement on taste. I am surprised by all of the high praise and compliments on this particular macaroni and cheese recipe.2 stars

  5. I wanted an easy slow cooker mac and cheese and thought the sour cream/mayo seemed interesting so I gave this a try – I am so glad I did! This was one of the tastiest and easiest mac and cheese recipes that I’ve tried.

    I did sub a can of cheddar cheese soup for the cream of chicken because I was trying to use it up. I also used 2 cups of sharp cheddar, 1 cup of white extra sharp cheddar and 1/4 cup shredded parmesan – all freshly grated. Those were the only changes I made to the ingredients.

    I did do the cooking a little different because I misread the recipe but it worked. The sauce cooked for about 45 minutes on high by itself. Then I cooked the pasta for 6 minutes and added it in. I cooked the mixture for about an hour and a half on low and it turned out perfect! I’ll definitely keep this recipe and make it whenever I’m craving mac and cheese!5 stars

    1. Nutrition information is calculated using a program and is provided as an estimate only. In this case, I would suggest using a nutrition calculator and adding in the exact ingredients/brands that you use.

    1. Hi Helen, It may alter the taste of the Mac & Cheese slightly, but mushroom soup would be a good swap. We would also suggest cream of celery or cream of broccoli as a vegetarian option.

  6. This was my 1st time making homemade mac and cheeses and OMG, it was a HUGE hit! I made it for my daughter’s babyshower and everyone wanted the recipe. So good! The gruyere cheese is a bit pricey but other than that, this will be my go-to side.5 stars

    1. If you make this recipe again you can use Swiss cheese to replace the gruyere. That’s what I do. You can’t taste the difference and it’s cheaper.

  7. I am going to attempt to make this gluten-free (for a friend.). I bought gluten-free pasta and gluten-free cream of chicken soup and I plan on using Swiss cheese instead of gruyere. Wondering if you forsee any problems or if you have any tips. I’ve never cooked with gluten-free products before.

    1. I have only tried this recipe as written. 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. I’m going to attempt to make this gluten free (for a friend.) I bought gluten free noodles and gluten free cream of chicken soup and I intend to use Swiss cheese instead of gruyere. Wondering if you forsee any issues or have any tips for me?

    1. The only issue that might arise is that Gluten Free noodles do not require the same cooking time (they cook much faster) and often don’t hold up well when overcooked. So I would recommend checking it more often to ensure you are not overcooking and end up with mushy noodles! Hope that helps!!

  9. Can this be made with velveeta? I already purchased my ingredients before finding this recipe and do not live close to a store. If velveeta is used, should I change any of the other ingredients? TIA!

  10. Has anyone tried this with egg free mayonnaise? My little one has an egg allergy so can’t have normal Mayo?

  11. How large is a serving. I know it says that it makes 8 serving, but doesnt tell me the size of each.

    1. Hi Jennie, this recipe makes 8 side dish servings for approximately ½ cup a serving.

  12. Awesome!! – Not over cooking the pasta really helps keep it from becoming a bowl of mush! Also noted this recipe didn’t call for any butter or margarine so it wasn’t greasy at all. The Cream of Chicken soup really gave it a nice flavor and the whole dish was creamy and cheesy. I served it next to a crockpot full of chilli which was a nice pairing.

  13. This is a keeper, Holly, thank you! So good! I especially appreciated your coaching on the cooking time for the macaroni. The five minutes of boiling you suggested produced a good product. Pure comfort food and so simple to put together. 5 stars

  14. I have enjoyed your recipes in the past and this one for the crockpot mac & cheese was very good. I did reduce a little bit the amount of the mayo and sour cream. Used light for both and the sauce still turned out creamy with no separation on low heat. We used whole wheat elbow macaroni since my husband is diabetic plus we substituted jack cheese for Gruyere. It was delicious and will always make my mac and cheese this way in the Future! Thank you!! BTW I did add more milk and a little half and half because of the Whole wheat pasta I think.5 stars

    1. So happy you enjoyed this recipe and were able to make it work for your hubby too! Thanks for sharing your changes :)

  15. hi, I hope you see this! I am not in a country where I can get cream of chicken soup. any suggestions for a sub?? thanks!

  16. Thank you holly for saving my life once again with this easy peasy recipe that I have going in the crock pot now. It’s looking good!5 stars

  17. Any sub suggestions for the Mayo? I looked through comments and didn’t see anyone else ask this question- we just don’t eat it here :)5 stars

    1. You could try additional soup but I can’t say for sure how this will change the texture/flavor. We have only made this as written. Let us know how it goes!

    2. I would try using 2 tablespoons butter plus 2 more tablespoons sour cream instead of the mayo. I’m thinking the mayo just helps make it creamy.