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!
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.
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.
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!
- Boil pasta for about 2 minutes less than the package indicates.
- While pasta is boiling, shred the sharp cheddar cheese.
- Put all of the ingredients into the slow cooker and cook per the recipe below.
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.
More Crock Pot Holiday Sides
- Crock Pot Creamed Corn
- No Boil Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
- Crock Pot Scalloped Potatoes
- Crockpot Sweet Potato Casserole
- Crock Pot Stuffing
Crock Pot Mac and Cheese
- 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.
- 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.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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