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Creamy, cheesy and comforting, Crockpot Mac and Cheese is perfect for family dinners or potluck!
I have a confession: I’m obsessed with macaroni and cheese. I love it so much that I developed this recipe for Crockpot Mac and Cheese, which is creamy, cheesy, and comforting.
It’s really a hybrid meal, because you still have to boil the noodles before putting everything in the crock pot, but it is nice to get things ready for dinner in the afternoon and then you avoid that 5:00 rush to get dinner going.
This comfort food also happens to be so easy to make! If you want to try something new or just eat some delicious comfort food, give this Crockpot Macaroni & Cheese recipe a go!
Ingredients needed for Crockpot Macaroni & Cheese:
- pasta-I use elbow macaroni, but Rotini is also a great option because it holds the sauce well
- butter-butter is a key ingredient in this recipe, as it adds a lot of flavor and helps the cheese melt. It also helps the sauce thicken
- evaporated milk-sold in 12 oz. cans (now powdered milk)
- sharp cheddar cheese-mild cheddar is OK to use, but sharp cheddar packs more of a punch of cheesy flavor. Grate it fresh off the block for the best melting consistency (pre-shredded cheese doesn’t melt well)
- Velveeta-for the smoothest consistency and longer cook time in the slow cooker, you need chunks of Velveeta. If you can’t stand the idea of using a processed cheese, try my Homemade Velveeta Cheese!
- ground mustard-this spice adds a little kick and also a pretty yellow color to your Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese
- salt and pepper
Steps for making mac and cheese in the slow cooker
Easy things to stir into Crockpot Mac and Cheese:
- bacon- cook and chop up pieces of thick cut bacon, or cheat a little and try bacon bits!
- ham-this is a great way to use up leftover ham after Easter or Christmas!
- kielbasa or sausage-adding protein makes Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese into a complete meal.
- shredded or diced chicken breast
- vegetables-peas or broccoli are great add-in options for macaroni and cheese.
Just look at that creamy deliciousness! I make this recipe for family gatherings on occasion, and it’s always gobbled up. Even with a large crowd, the recipe is enough to serve at least 20 as a side dish.
This is the best macaroni and cheese recipe! It’s creamy, cheesy and comforting. I loved being able to cook it in my Crock-Pot to keep it warm for everyone. This would be great for a family dinner or potluck!
If you like this Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese, you might like one of these other slow cooker recipes
- Crockpot Tamale Pork
- Easy Crockpot Potato Soup
- Easy Pot Roast
- Slow Cooker Crack Chicken
- Crockpot Ravioli
Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese
- 4 cups uncooked elbow macaroni 1 pound pkg
- 1/4 cup butter cut into chunks
- 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
- 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese freshly shredded
- 8 oz Velveeta cheese cut into cubes
- 2 Tbsp ground mustard
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Spray 4-5 quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
- 4 cups uncooked elbow macaroni, 1/4 cup butterCook and drain macaroni as directed on package, using minimum cook time. Place macaroni in slow cooker; immediately add butter and stir until melted.
- 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk, 1 1/2 cups half-and-half, 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, 8 oz Velveeta cheese, 2 Tbsp ground mustard, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepperAdd evaporated milk, half-and-half, Cheddar cheese, the cubed cheese, mustard, salt and pepper; stir to blend well.
- Cover; cook on Low heat setting 2 to 3 hours, stirring once halfway through cooking time.
Originally published 7/2015; Updated 7/2022
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I don’t know what happened. I used foil. It tasted disgusting. It looked delicious.
First, I was confused with the size of the Crock-Pot. Can you a 6 qt Crock Pot?
I tried to half it. Does 4 cups of uncooked macaroni expand to 8 cups cooked? I think I got the proportions wrong. I thought it was two cups of cooked macaroni. Then I added another two cups.
Nicole Burkholder says
Wow, that’s a lot of information to unpack. Let’s start at the beginning and work through it all.
1. You used foil? Where? Why? Nowhere in the recipe does it call for using foil. I’m a bit confused about that one.
2. 6 quart is the standard sized Crock-pot. There are many available in that size and that’s what I used. Here’s my affiliate link to the exact model. https://amzn.to/2Y2AhZL
3. You can easily adjust recipes (halve them) by changing the servings in the recipe card. It will then halve the recipe for you. But if not, doing the math the old fashioned way works, too. 4 cups of uncooked macaroni would be halved to 2 cups of uncooked, etc. As per the recipe, you should have measured out the uncooked macaroni, cooked it in a pot of boiling water according to the instructions on the package, and then added it to the slow cooker with the other ingredients. (And yes, pasta does expand when cooked, so you need to measure the same way the recipe is written to avoid confusion.)
Yeah. The foil was my attempt at a liner. It’s worked in other recipes but not here.
Two things confused me. It says 4 cups of uncooked macaroni or package. I cooked my package of macaroni. It made a lot. Is there a size to the package you were talking about?
Also, the recipe states a 4-5 quart Crock-Pot. I had a 2 and a 6. That’s why I tried to half it. I hear you don’t want to overfill or underfill a Crock-Pot.
Anyway, thanks for your thoughts.
Nicole Burkholder says
OK, thanks for clarifying a few things 🙂 I forgot when I first wrote the recipe that I was using my smaller Crockpot. What I have now is a 6 quart, but originally it was a bit smaller, so I must have been guessing 4-5 quart. Either way, there was plenty of room for the macaroni. It fills it about 3/4 full. Since everything is really cooked, you’re just slowly melting it all together and getting the flavors to meld. It’s not like you’re trying to cook a large chicken or something. No worries about overfilling.
I would stick with the liners they sell specifically for slow cookers over foil next time (or just spray it with cooking spray.)
One pound (typically one package) of macaroni is about 4 cups. You’d be fine just cooking the whole package to throw in there. It will make a lot, so if you don’t need that much, just halve the whole recipe and only cook 1/2 of the package of noodles.
I tried a recipe and it was kind of ‘el floppo, good for you for making a delicious looking recipe!!
[email protected]/wp says
I love the fact that you can bake this in the crock pot. Since we wouldn’t be able to stir it on Sunday, it might just get a yummy crust on the sides.
We’ve been substituting full-fat cream cheese for Velveeta, in most recipes, and it has turned out amazingly well. I’m thinking that the dry mustard would provide all the color needed, and such yummyness in the recipe.
I believe I’ll be trying it – with the cream cheese, and will let you know how it turns out!
Nicole Burkholder says
That might work! I’ve tried and failed horribly so many times with making a roux and adding real cheese. I always end up with grainy, tasteless mush. I’m not a huge fan of processes cheese, but in this case I’ll make an exception. Be sure to let me know how the cream cheese works! I’ve made this without stirring and it’s been fine, too. Just really mix it up at the beginning and before you serve it 🙂
[email protected]/wp says
I shall let you know!