Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese

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Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese is super creamy and cheesy with no boiling or pre-made noodles and no velveeta or condensed soups!

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese is super creamy and cheesy with no boiling or pre-made noodles and no velveeta or condensed soups!SUPER CHEESY Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese has gone through a number of different methods and recipes in our house before we settled on this one. We’ve made versions with fully cooked noodles, half cooked noodles, noodles added at the end and finally non-cooked noodles. We’ve used a huge variety of soups/cheeses/cornstarch/cream cheese and more.

THIS IS THE RECIPE.

A LOT of people make Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese with Velveeta, but I use cream cheese to keep the mixture from separating. No cornstarch or flour is needed and this recipe is a hit every single time. Plus this dish is SUPER EASY.

Did I mention easy? It’s a dump the ingredients in, mix and cook sort of recipe: Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese is SUPER creamy and easy to make,

Tips for the Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese:

  • Know your slow cooker. Does it run hotter than other recipes call for? If so check this a half hour early since you don’t want the pasta to turn to mush.
  • Make sure things are mixed well before starting the slow cooker.
  • Don’t keep opening the slow cooker to check on the pasta, it totally throws off the cooking/the steam built up/the moisture helping to keep the pasta from drying out.
  • You can swap out the cream cheese for Velveeta or American cheese if you’d like.
  • You can add in a can of  Cheddar Cheese Soup (Condensed) instead of cream cheese if you’d like.
  • Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese with Bacon: Top with 6 slices of crumbled bacon on top just before serving. Adding during cooking will make the bacon soggy.
  • Slow Cooker Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese: Add half of a jalapeno (minced) to the slow cooker before cooking. Top with the remaining half of finely minced jalapenos and stir before serving.

Can I make this Mac and Cheese on the stovetop?

This recipe may not be right for the stovetop, but you’ll love this one pot mac and cheese I made on the stovetop.

The easiest creamiest and cheesiest Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese!

Looking for more great cheesy pasta dishes?

Looking for more side dishes?

Ready to cook in five minutes! Perfectly cheesy Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese!

Tools used in this Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese Recipe:
3 Qt. Slow Cooker: The perfect size for side dishes for 10-12 people, this slow cooker is an absolute bargain and a workhorse.
Evaporated Milk: Different than condensed milk, evaporated milk is actually milk with half of the water content removed. This makes for a thicker, creamier milk but without the high fat content of heavy cream. Condensed milk is similar to evaporated milk in that the water is removed from the milk, but the difference is about 40% of the content of that can of condensed milk is sugar. Not the best fit for this recipe.

Recipe

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Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese

5
  • Yield: 8 Servings
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Course: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: American
Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese is super creamy and cheesy with no boiling or pre-made noodles and no velveeta or condensed soups!

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 12- ounce cans evaporated milk
  • 2 ounces cream cheese diced
  • 1 cups cheddar cheese grated
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 cup butter diced

Instructions

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Add all the ingredients into a slow cooker and mix well.
  2. Cook on low for 90 minutes to 2 hours (If your slow cooker runs hot, check at 90 minutes).
  3. Stir gently and serve.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 8 Servings, Amount per serving: 429 calories, Serving Size: 1 , Calories: 429g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert, Inc.

Save Recipe
Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese is super creamy and cheesy with no boiling or pre-made noodles and no velveeta or condensed soups! #cheese #macandcheese #slowcooker #recipe
Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese is super creamy and cheesy with no boiling or pre-made noodles and no velveeta or condensed soups! #cheese #macandcheese #slowcooker #recipe
Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese is super creamy and cheesy with no boiling or pre-made noodles and no velveeta or condensed soups! #cheese #macandcheese #slowcooker #recipe

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Categories:

Christmas Recipes Holidays Main Dishes Recipe Sides Slow Cooker Vegetarian

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Comments

  1. GIRL!!! It’s like you know the way into my soul!!!! This looks DEVINE! I haven’t found a slow cooker mac and cheese I love, so I am SO trying this…like tonight. Thanks!

    Rating: 5
  2. Have you doubled this recipe? Planning to make this for a potluck, wasn’t sure how long it would take – guessing 3-4 hours if doubling but wanted to ask just in case you have 🙂

    1. It will take about the same cook time, possibly a half an hour extra when doubling this recipe. It’s such a great dish to take to a pot luck! Good decision with doubling the recipe to make sure everyone gets some because this one goes quickly!

    2. I have doubled this recipe! It took me 1 hour extra to get it where I thought it was set up enough. But I took liberties on evaporated milk substitutions while doing it too. I boiled down left over whole milk from the recipe, and used our half-and-half we use for coffee to substitute for the extra evaporated milk I needed. If you followed exact, it might take an extra thirty, but we left it a little longer to absorb the extra liquid from my substitution. I was worried at first but told myself to forget about it and just wait and see while I wrapped presents, and it ended up scrumptiously. * So, about 1 hour extra when doubled for me, 2.5 hours total.

  3. Hey Sabrina! I’m excited to make this recipe. Question for you about cooking time if I double the recipe. Do I up the time to 180 min to 4 hours or still keep it at 2 hour max?

    1. Check it at the 2 hour mark and if it needs to go longer, give it another half hour max. Sorry it took me awhile to respond. The holidays are crazy around here!!

  4. Hi Sabrina. I am going to make this on Saturday for a holiday party! Is the pasta amount correct? 8 ounces doesn’t seem like a lot of pasta so I wanted to double check. Thanks!

      1. Half a box of pasta was not enough for the serving size stated. Also, there was so much sauce in comparison to the noodles. I had to boil the rest of the box and add. The recipe should list the 16oz box in the ingredients not 8.

  5. Thanks for this super easy recipe! I made a double batch of this for a potluck and it turned out so delicious! It disappeared in 10 minutes. I’m usually lazy and buy pre-shredded cheese, but knew I shouldn’t take a shortcut for this recipe. Grating it myself was definitely worth it. Followed the recipe exactly except I bumped up the spices a bit and used smoked paprika. Done after 2 hours – probably could’ve done an hour and 45 minutes too. My only suggestion is to spray the pot with cooking spray first, to hopefully make clean up easier.

    Rating: 5
    1. I’m so glad you guys enjoyed it! It is a bit more work but glad you were able to see that it was worth it! Thanks for coming back to let me know!

  6. The grandkids are coming for a week (5 & 7) and I’m going to make this mac & cheese, but sneak in some fresh spinach! Thoughts?

    1. I love being sneaky too!! I would recommend using well drained frozen spinach because fresh spinach will release too much liquid while cooking down.

  7. I made this today and I am very pleased. It was probably finished after 90 minutes but I was out and didn’t check until the 2 hours were up. I think it would have benefited from being stirred halfway through but I stirred it as soon as I lifted the lid when it was done and all was well. I used mostly sharp cheddar cheese as that was what was one hand. I am sure I will keep this recipe as the template for future mac and cheese meals and experiment with the cheeses. What won me over from all of the other crockpot recipes is that this one doesn’t require making the pasta ahead of time and that everything can be made right in the pot.

    Rating: 5
    1. Yes, you’ll want to double up on everything. It may even take about 1/2 hour longer. Just watch it at the end so it doesn’t go too long though.

  8. How long can I leave this on low once it’s cooked without the pasta getting mushy or drying out  With family coming and not knowing exactly what time we are eating. Thank you 

    1. I haven’t tested it but as long as the noodle is thicker, you should be ok. If it’s thinner, it’ll breakdown in the slow cooker and turn to mush.

  9. Made this tonight for dinner and OMG… best Mac and cheese I’ve ever had! I’m a terrible cook so I was surprised with how well this turned out. I think next time I will add a little more milk and cream cheese. It lost a little bit of its creamy texture as it cooled but the flavor was still an A+! Thank you!

  10. I made this – it was super easy! However, I felt like it was more of a soup consistency than mac & cheese should be. It also tasted a little different to me me than a boxed mac & cheese- maybe due to the mozzarella cheese. Will still enjoy it! 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It sounds like it needed to simmer longer to thicken up. Try that for next time. 🙂

    1. I haven’t tested it but my gut is telling me it might make it “soupy”. I would recommend substituting the condensed milk with 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup half and half instead. I’d love to know how it turns out if you decide to try.

  11. I made double this recipe for work, it went over well… My only question is I cooked it for a little over 2 1/2 hours and the noodles never actually got softer, they still had a little bit of chew. Any suggestions for next time?

    Rating: 5
    1. It gets harder to figure out timing when you double it because generally the noodles closest to the outside will cook faster than the noodles that are in the middle of the slow cooker. It’s just a lot of noodles at once. You can try and stir it throughout the cooking process but that would affect the cook time as well because you’re continually taking off the lid and releasing heat. Maybe just make it in two separate slow cookers to avoid the issue all together for next time. I’m so glad you enjoyed it though.

  12. Any ideas on how to not make the sauce grainy? Followed exactly and it tastes AMAZING but our sauce came out a little grainy 

    1. So glad to hear you loved the taste!! Usually graininess comes from bagged pre-grated cheese. Try grating your own next time. That should help. 🙂

    1. It would depend on the thickness of the shells. I’m afraid if they’re thinner, they would breakdown and fall apart.

  13. I made this for a cookout potluck at my work. I doubled the recipe and it was ok. It got really thick, I added some water. But then when it was time to eat, someone had unplugged my crockpot and moved it, so the mac and cheese wasnt that warm. (I know thats not the recipes fault!)
    Even with being kinda thick and not very warm, it was still gone by the end of the hour!

  14. Thanks for this great recipe. This was my first slow cooker meal but it came out pretty good. I tripled the recipe so we can have enough for 20-30 guests. It took about 2 hours and I stirred it every half hour to make sure it cooked evenly. I used Kraft shredded triple cheddar with smoked Gouda that I shredded myself. The flavor was great! I added bacon which paired well with the smoke flavor of the Gouda. Like others said, it was a little grainy probably because of using pre-shredded Kraft and not as stringy since I didn’t use mozzarella. But still great and I’d definitely make it again. 

    Rating: 5
  15. Made this for a company lunch. Doubled the recipe and it all went; was delicious and easy. Had to print the recipe for several co-workers! Highly recommend for a yummy and easy mac n cheez!!

  16. Made this tonight! First crockpot Mac & Cheese I have ever made! It was a big winner with the Hubby & Kids! I Will Definitely Make This Again! Thanks Sabrina For Sharing!

    Rating: 5
  17. Do you find any differences in the quality of macaroni generic brand versus higher-priced? Have you made this with whole-grain pasta?

    1. I prefer Barilla pasta but you can use whatever your preference is. I haven’t made it with whole-grain before but I’d love to know what you think if you decide to try it.

  18. I made this exactly as per the recipe but it turned out too sweet.  It must have been the evaporated milk.  It’s nowhere near as good as my usual stovetop and baked version.  What a disappointment.  That’s what I get for trying a shortcut!

  19. This was good, but it did come out quite thick and even after two hours the noodles were still a bit under cooked. I am curious how you would adjust the recipe to make a bit more creamy (more milk or evaporated milk). I did stir the Mac and cheese about four times during the cook.

  20. Hi – can this recipe be tripled? I’m excited to try this for a backyard party we’re having next weekend with a lot of kids!

    1. I know this response is a little late. I’m browsing through the comments before I make this recipe! I have made Mac and cheese in the slow cooker before for the sole purpose of freezing it in small quantities for lunches and I’ve never had a problem. I haven’t tried it with this recipe, but it’s always worked for me before! I just let it thaw before I want to eat it and heat it up in the microwave.

  21. I’m making this for work and am unsure if I should cook in the morning, unplug, and then put on warm when I get there or if I should just mix everything and cook at work?

  22. This was very easy to make! Directions were easy to follow. I found it a touch too creamy and thick but overall the taste was great. Didn’t have any leftovers! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    Rating: 4
  23. It was absolutely delicious! However, I just made it for the first time and it turned out soupy. Did anyone else have this problem?

    Rating: 5
    1. It was too soupy for my taste too. I followed the recipe exactly, but I quadrupled it. After 3 hours, it still wasn’t finished. It was pretty good though when it finally finished (I think it was close to 4 hours), just too runny, in my opinion.

  24. This was very tasty! I cannot eat gluten / wheat, so I was worried about how well the gluten free elbows would cook. At 90 minutes, I had to add a little more milk and cook for another half hour, but that did the trick. I didn’t have evaporated milk on hand, so I used 1 cup half and half. I would like to try again soon with evaporated milk to see if it changes / improves the consistency. My baby ate a ton of it up! Thanks for the FLOUR-FREE recipe!

  25. 4 stars for taste, two for the directions. I can tell I’d like this if it was made right. I followed your recipe to a tee. However, not all of your readers are experienced cooks. I’m a divorced, single Dad who recently discovered the benefits of the slow cooker. My mac-n-cheese came out with the mac clumped together in big mushy chunks. Logic tells me it’s because it needed to be stirred a couple times during the cooking, but your recipe doesn’t say that and your “tips” specifically say to avoid lifting the lid during cooking… so mine sat unopened and unstirred for 90 minutes and my double batch wound up as several big hunks of cheesy pasta mush. My bad for assuming the directions would say “stir” if I should stir (I even debated whether I should put the lid on the crockpot since the instructions didn’t say it, but I figured out it must supposed to be on since the “tip” mentioned above said to not open the lid during cooking). I’m disappointed because I think this could have been really good. I’ll probably try again at some point, but I hope you can think about us novice cooks the next time you write recipe/instructions.

  26. Doubled the recipe in a 5 QT for our annual campfire cookout on the river and I should have quadrupled it! Gone! And people raved about it!

    Rating: 5
  27. I’ve made this a few times for work potlucks and it’s a huge hit. The best part is that I can just bring in all the ingredients and my crock pot and make it at the office. Adding a little salsa or green chilies is popular as well.

    Rating: 5
  28. Does this call for evaporated milk or condensed milk? You pointed out that they are different, which they are. Most are saying condensed. I am going to use evaporated milk.

    1. I haven’t tried it so I’m not sure if the ingredients would be compromised by sitting together without cooking. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out.

  29. This recipe is delicious! I doubled it, and cooked about an hour 50 mins. Could you please quadruple this recipe for my giant family??

    1. You’re best bet is cooking it in 2 slow cookers. I’m afraid if you put too many noodles in at once, it’ll be hard to ensure the middle is cooked through.

    1. I haven’t tested it so I’m not sure. I know sometimes GF pasta can come off a bit grainy in texture. If you decide to try, I’d love to know if it worked out for you and what brand you used. Thanks!

  30. Has anyone tried making this recipe with white cheese instead? Thinking about using cream cheese, Mozzerella, and Monterey Jack but not sure if that will mess anything up. Also thinking about adding a splash of white wine. I guess I’ll keep everyone updated on how it comes out …

  31. I want to make this for my friends but I’m a college student so I don’t have the money or time to buy different kinds of cheeses. If I use store-bought pre-shredded cheese would it taste the same or at least come close?

    1. You really want to shred your own because the pre-shredded type causes a grainy texture and it’s very good. Most times, the block cheese is cheaper to buy. Good luck!

  32. Great recipe! Thank you so much for sharing it! I’m so glad I found it. I had a recipe for Mac n cheese but not one for the crock pot. The family loved it! My kids went for seconds and I think my oldest may have gotten a third helping. I can’t wait to make it again. I had a little too much liquid, my fault, so I did put it on high for about 45-60 minutes to “burn” it off. I didn’t use all the ingredients either, just the cream cheese, milk, creamer (I didn’t have evaporated milk and I found the recipe right before starting to cook my turkey dinner. Good thing my husband doesn’t get flavored creamer. Lol.), butter, and I used generic Velveeta cheese. It’s a little salty so I plan on getting the cheeses you have in the recipe next time. I also loved I didn’t have to make the noodles first too. I’d share a picture of it but I don’t know how and it’s partly gone anyway. Happy Thanksgiving!!

    Rating: 5
  33. Doubled the recipe for Thanksgiving. Cook time was the same. Although tasty, the pasta seemed to disintegrate. Kids didn’t like it. Adults said it was okay.

  34. This recipe is so easy and incredibly delicious! Wow! I made it as a side at thanksgiving and everyone raved about it. And now I don’t have to make the boxed kind for my kids to save time- this is so much better!!

    Rating: 5
  35. I made this recipe for my husband’s surprise party because he loves mac and cheese. I quadrupled the recipe and then divided it in half. One half I made just like the recipe here, the other half i made with Monterey Jack cheese. They both turned out really well and everyone loved it. It was completely gone. The one with the Monterey Jack cheese was a little more soupy, but the other one turned out perfect. And I would say it was about 2 hour cook time. I actually had people asking for the recipe, so I would totally recommend it.

  36. If you are doubling for a potluck. Make sure to leave extra time as i did 2 hours on low and it was nowhere near done, runny and pasta wasnt cooked. I did another hour and a bit on high and it finally cooked and soaked up. Also i found it needed lots more salt pepper then the recipe called for and i added garlic powder .