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 2707 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 2707 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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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,
    So excited to try this do you think rotini noodles would be ok as I don’t have elbow on hand and also I only have pre shredded cheese on hand will this still work?

    Thanks

    1. Pre-shredded cheese works just fine in this recipe. I haven’t tried it with rotini but it should work, you’ll need about 2 ½ cups of dry rotini (8oz).

  2. Wow, so good and so easy. When recipes say 10 minutes to prepare, it’s normally too good to be true. if your have your water boiling, you can actually pull this off in 10 minutes. My teenage boys devoured it.5 stars

  3. Made for the first time today for a work potluck based on stellar reviews. Not one single spoonful left!!! Delicious and so easy to prepare with ingredients I had on hand. Cooked perfectly in 3 hours on low- actually got a little crispy around the edges. Will be making this again-my family was disappointed that there wasn’t any left to bring home!5 stars

  4. my whole family is obsessed even my kids ages 3 and 5. Best recipe I could find that they actually enjoy!! they are very picky and rich eaters so they are tough to please. one question I have as I can into this problem today is I ran out of sour cream and don’t have time to make it to the store.
    QUESTION: What can I substitute for sour cream or can I leave out?5 stars

    1. I have only tried this as written but Greek yogurt may work (I can’t say for sure though). You could also try a little cream cheese and heavy cream or evaporated milk (regular milk doesn’t hold up well in the slow cooker). Just cook until everything melds together so it doesn’t overcook. Let us know how it goes!

  5. Do you have any suggestions for substituting the soup? I’m not fond of using canned soups, but otherwise would love to try this!

  6. Delicious ! I didn’t use the Gruyère, so I added an extra cup of cheddar. I added broccoli into this as well and it was so tasty !! I doubled the recipe.5 stars

  7. I was skeptical at first due to the unusual ingredients but this is the BEST Mac and cheese I’ve made, skillet, oven or crockpot. It’s the easiest as well. Mac and cheese has the perfect texture, cheese isn’t gummy and the taste is amazing! This will be my new go to homemade Mac and cheese!5 stars

  8. This is the BEST ever Mac and Cheese I have ever made! My whole family loves it. It is so good that I am making it a second night in a row so we can have plenty of leftover. Thank you for this!!
    Ken5 stars

      1. Yes, I prep the dish as listed in the instructions but instead of making in the slow cooker I pop it in the oven to bake.

  9. We don’t eat a lot of mac and cheese, however we have many family members who do, so I gave this recipe a try for Christmas Eve.
    Everyone loved it!
    I doubled the recipe, using 1.23 lbs of 5 year cheddar and .65 oz of gruyere. My slow cooker got this done in 2 hrs., so I switched to the warm setting and it stayed nice and creamy. Noodles did not get soggy. We got to enjoy about two cups of left overs the next day. Warmed up very well.
    I will definitely make this again, per the request of all my guests!5 stars

  10. Fantastic party hit that was the star of our Boxing Day get-together. It will next make an appearance at the SuperBowl party.

    Take heed: if you smell this mix an hour in the smell of the cream of chicken soup will make it smell too heavy in that poultry flavour, but it ends up being an amazingly cheesy and perfect batch.5 stars

  11. So easy to make, we doubled it. We cooked it for 21/2 hours, and it came terrific. We have been making Mac and Cheese every Christmas Eve for a long time. This is our new go-to for sure. So good.5 stars

  12. Flavor is amazing! The last twenty minutes the Mac n cheese changed from silky/creamy to very oily. Does anyone know what caused this? Would love to make this recipe again but want to fix this issue. Whole family loved the taste!4 stars

    1. Oh no Christina, if the sauce split it could be that it was too hot or overcooked – perhaps your slow cooker uns a bit on the hotter side. Once you notice it’s hot and melty, you can turn your slow cooker to warm for serving. I hope that helps!

      1. You’re right! I remade it tonight and cooked it for 30 minutes less and it was perfect. So creamy. Thanks for your response!5 stars

  13. I’ve never left a review for a recipe in my life. But I just had to for this one.

    This dish is so good! I have made plenty of oven baked and crock pot macs in my time, but always with the same old drawbacks (sauce breaks down, gets mushy, etc.), but this one conquers all of those problematic aspects, with plenty of flavor to boot.

    I actually made a quadruple batch for a large Christmas gathering. I followed the recipe note for note and it was absolutely delicious. Creamy, flavorful, and it held up great in the crockpot literally all night. Most of the people at the party wanted the recipe, even a self-described “anti-mac and cheese person”. It was the culinary hit of the night. Thank you!5 stars

  14. I made this recipe for a potluck at work, and I’m telling you it got rave reviews. I cooked the pasta night before, stuck it in the ceramic pot, and added all the ingredients in the morning before work. Plugged it in at work, and it was ready by lunchtime. I put green chiles on the side (I would have just added them at home). If you want to be the star of the potluck, this is your dish!5 stars