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Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

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Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

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This Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese is creamy, comforting and perfect for potlucks. Best of all, it comes together easily in the crock-pot — even the pasta!

When you want to enjoy a hearty pasta dinner with your family but are looking for recipes that are easy and hands-off, these are for you: Crockpot Olive Garden chicken with pasta, slow cooker ragu, and Instant Pot spaghetti! Along with this slow cooker mac & cheese, they make preparing weeknight dinners a cinch!

Macaroni and cheese in the bottom of a slow cooker, being mixed with a wooden spoon.

Macaroni & Cheese in the Slow Cooker

Fall is in full force which means bring on all the hearty comfort foods! Once the cooler weather hits, my kids crave for a giant bowl of mac & cheese regularly. They love a classic baked macaroni and cheese but with the busy school season we’ve had so far, we’ve been using our slow cooker a lot lately. This version couldn’t be easier since everything cooks right in the crock pot – even the pasta.

You can boil the pasta first if you prefer but I chose to keep things simple by throwing the uncooked macaroni together with the rest of the ingredients. For the cheeses, I used sharp cheddar and Monterey jack. They both melt so well! Slow cookers vary by brand and size, so be sure to keep your eye on this and stir every so often so that the pasta cooks evenly. Mine was perfectly al dente around 90 minutes in a 6-quart cooker.

Ingredient List

Trust me, you’re going to want to add in each of these ingredients so your crockpot mac and cheese turns out perfectly. Don’t be surprised if this becomes your new favorite mac and cheese recipe! It will win you over with its flavor and how easy it is to make.

  • Elbow Macaroni: To soak up all that cheesy goodness.
  • Unsalted Butter: Butter adds creaminess and flavor. It’s a must for rich and velvety mac and cheese.
  • Cheddar Cheese Soup: Makes the sauce creamy and super cheesy.
  • Half and Half: Half milk, half cream. It makes everything smooth and rich. If you don’t have half and half you can substitute it for 1 ¼ cups whole milk and 1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream. You can also use whole milk, but your mac and cheese won’t turn out as creamy.
  • Evaporated Milk: So the sauce is even more creamy and delicious.
  • Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese: The star cheese that brings all the flavor. Save some for the topping, too!
  • Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese: A milder, smooth cheese that goes perfectly with the cheddar. Some other cheeses that you can try using are gruyere, colby jack, and gouda!
  • Sour Cream: Tangy and creamy, it gives a little zing to the sauce and makes it even more irresistible.
  • Salt, Black Pepper, and Garlic Powder: These are your main seasonings. Salt for the taste, pepper for a tiny kick, and garlic powder for a savory twist.
  • Freshly Chopped Parsley: Adds a pop of color and a bit of freshness to your slow cooker mac and cheese. I love garnishing my pasta dishes with fresh herbs!

Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

This slow cooker macaroni and cheese is perfect for potlucks, parties, or those busy days when you don’t want to be tied down in the kitchen. Serve hot with some freshly chopped parsley and toasted panko breadcrumbs. Everyone will want seconds!

  1. Add Pasta and Butter to Slow Cooker: Spray a 5-6-quart slow cooker with non-stick spray. Add the dry pasta to the slow cooker. Then evenly distribute the cubed butter over the pasta.
  2. Top With Remaining Ingredients: To the crockpot add cheddar cheese soup, half and half, evaporated milk, 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, monterey jack cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then stir to combine and evenly cover the pasta.
  3. Cook: Cover and cook on low for 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours. After the first 30 minutes stir the macaroni and check on the pasta. Cover and continue to check the macaroni every 30 minutes, until the pasta has become tender and the cheese sauce is thick and creamy.
  4. Sprinkle With Cheese and Serve: Add the remaining ½ cup cheddar cheese to the top of the macaroni, turn the slow cooker off and cover, let the cheese melt over the top for about 8-10 minutes. Serve slow cooker macaroni and cheese fresh with chopped parsley.
4-photo collage of macaroni and cheese ingredients being added to a slow cooker.

If Your Sauce is Getting Too Thick:

If you find that the cheese sauce is thickening up before your pasta has reached a desired doneness, you can add additional half and half to thin it out. Only add ¼ cup at a time.

Closeup of a spoonful of pasta.

Storing Leftovers

Not only is this slow cooker macaroni and cheese delicious and easy to make, but it’s perfect for storing and enjoying throughout the week! The perfect quick lunch for you and your family.

  • In the Refrigerator: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 6 days.
  • Reheat: Reheat in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each one, or on the stove over medium-low heat until warmed through and melty.

A serving of macaroni and cheese in a gray dish.

Mac & Cheese Recipes to Try Out Next:

Macaroni and cheese is a classic recipe for good reason. It’s so comforting and delicious! You’ll have to add these other tried and true recipes to the dinner lineup:

 

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  • Spray a 5-6-quart slow cooker with non-stick spray. Add the dry pasta to the slow cooker. Evenly distribute the cubed butter over the pasta.

  • To the crockpot add cheddar cheese soup, half and half, evaporated milk, 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, monterey jack cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir to combine and evenly cover the pasta.

  • Cover and cook on low for 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours. After the first 30 minutes stir the macaroni and check on the pasta. Cover and continue to check the macaroni every 30 minutes, until the pasta has become tender and the cheese sauce is thick and creamy.

  • Add the remaining ½ cup cheddar cheese to the top of the macaroni, turn the slow cooker off and cover, let the cheese melt over the top for about 8-10 minutes. Serve fresh with chopped parsley.

Originally posted October 18, 2017
Updated on November 6, 2023

Calories: 914kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 32gFat: 60gSaturated Fat: 35gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 171mgSodium: 1607mgPotassium: 781mgFiber: 2gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 1924IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 797mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.



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