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
4.98 from 2744 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 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.
4.98 from 2744 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

 

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

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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. just curious but how many people do you think this will serve :)? I was thinking of doubling just to be safe since I plan on serving this on Christmas day tomorrow I’m so excited !!

  2. I have made this recipe for Macaroni and Cheese several times for family gatherings or potlucks and it is always a hit. It’s awesome. In the past I have always used just 4 cups of Sharp cheddar, but I’m making it for Christmas this year as a side dish. I splurged and will include the Gueyere cheese. Can’t wait to have it!!!!! Try it … You will love it!!!!5 stars

  3. I made this for our Christmas party last night and it is Amazing! I shredded the cheese by hand and used cellentani noodles and followed the instructions for the double batch. This is the only crock pot macaroni and cheese recipe I will use from now on! I am giving it 100 stars!5 stars

  4. The cream of chicken usually has chunks of chicken in it. Do you strain this out? I couldn’t find one without chicken meat in it.

    1. There are usually just a few little pieces and they mix into the dish, I’ve never actually noticed them after!

  5. Is Gruyère Mike or sharper? I was thinking of using Fontina bc it’s so delicious.
    What do you think?
    Also, this recipe it so similar to my cheesy potato recipe which is DELICIOUS

    1. It’s really a personal preference. Gruyère cheese is known for having a nutty and slightly sweet flavor. It’s more on the mild side, but the taste can vary depending on the age of the cheese. Fontina would taste delicious as well!

  6. Hello, I would love to try this recipe but would like your guidance on the pasta. Can I use any pasta with this recipe and would the measurements be the same? I am looking to use Rotini.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Melanie! You can use rotini for this recipe, measurement would still be 2 cups of dry pasta. I would love to hear how it turns out!

  7. Question…to keep it vegetarian, can you change soup from cream of chicken to cream of celery? Or is there a better substitution?

  8. This is my “go to” dish for holiday events like Thanksgiving and company parties. So easy to make. I buy the aged Gruyere (a little pricy, but it’s the holiday’s) which makes it especially posh. I also grew up with crunch on the top of my Mac & Cheese Casserole so have added Crispy Jalapenos or Crispy Peppers (don’t know if I can add a brand name here but they are sometimes sold in the produce section for salad toppers) as a garnish that people can add.

    As a side note, over the years, Spend With Pennies has become a trusted source for really solid recipes. Thank you!

    1. I’m so glad you’ve loved the recipes, this is a family favorite for us too! I love the idea of adding the Crispy Jalapenos on top!

  9. So excited to try this, so many great reviews!! I am making this for Christmas dinner, about 35 people!!

    Question on the cream of chicken, do you just use the can of it, or do you follow directions on the can to use can PLUS 1 can full of water?5 stars

    1. Add the can of cream of chicken soup but no need to add water. Please let us know what you think, excited for you to try it!

  10. I have a 5 qt casserole & will be going to a large potluck, can I double the recipe or what do you recommend? Can’t wait to try this recipe; looks delicious & great reviews!

  11. good morning, so I have a quick question about this recipe. I’m planning on making it for about 25 people so I figured I’d maybe do the servings at 20 is there a less expensive option for the gruyere cheese? doubling this recipe. It could add up to quite a bit. I read that you could replace that cheese with Swiss, but I wanted to ask first before I attempt to make it. Thank you in advance for your help..

    1. Hi Michelle, you can use Swiss in place of Gruyere or you could just use 4 cups of cheddar if you prefer.

    1. I make this every year during the holidays since finding the recipe, everyone absolutely loves it! I will say I messed it up one year by not measuring my noodles dry and just pouring the whole pack of noodles in made some dry weird Mac n cheese LOL other than that follow the recipe and it’s fantastic!!! Thank you ☺️5 stars

  12. Question- i want to make the homemade condensed cream of chicken for the mac n cheese but your recipe for condensed chicken states not to use in slow cooker

    1. Just make sure to make the condensed cream of chicken soup with evaporated milk to ensure it doesn’t curdle in the slow cooker!