Got leftover ham? With this creamy, cheesy Crock Pot Ham Mac and Cheese recipe, you don’t even need to boil the noodles first!
A CREAMY CHEESY COMFORT FOOD RECIPE
This Crock Pot Ham Mac and Cheese is the perfect recipe to make for dinner this week (or for whenever you’ve got some leftover ham you need to use up!) It’s incredibly easy and has tender macaroni with the best creamy cheese sauce. The ham brings a nice smoky flavor to your traditional mac and cheese and really takes it up a notch. It’s a whole meal in one!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ’S):
The Velveeta is in there to add creaminess. However, you can head to the deli counter and ask them to cut you a block of White American Cheese (same amount). This is the easiest way to get a nice big block of cheese and because White American is creamy. I use it for my regular Crock Pot Mac and Cheese recipe and it works perfectly (with that recipe you have to cook the noodles first though.)
The great thing about this recipe is not having to fuss with the stove. It’s a great recipe for kids to make since no stove is involved or for people who just are unable/don’t want to use their stove.
Also, because this is made in the slow cooker, you can put the noodles in uncooked. It cooks nice and slow so it gives the macaroni time to slowly cook and soften. You wouldn’t be able to do that on the stovetop unless you kept your stove on a low setting for a few hours and that’s just a waste of energy when a crock pot uses much less energy than a stovetop (source.)
This recipe is filling enough to be its own dish. However, if you want to serve this alongside something else I would recommend a side salad. Or you could serve this with some of your favorite steamed vegetables.
I wouldn’t for more than an hour, simply because the longer that the mac and cheese sits, the more it will soak up the cheese sauce and it will continue to thicken. Instead, once the mac and cheese and ham is done, I’d turn the cooker off so it doesn’t keep making thick sauce and just keep it covered.
If your sauce thickens too much, add some warmed milk and stir it in, that should help loosen it up some.
No! Stick to the lower heat option. Do NOT use the higher heat to try to get it to finish faster. You’ll end up burning it and your noodles won’t be fully cooked.
Place leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator or in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months.
Leftovers should be reheated in portions using a microwave. I wouldn’t use the slow cooker to reheat it since that would most likely burn it instead.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- diced ham – this is a great recipe to make when you have leftover ham from the holidays. Or, you can purchase a ham steak and cut that up instead.
- elbow macaroni noodles – you are not going to boil these first. They go in uncooked which is why we are using so much milk.
- whole milk – you can use 2% milk if needed.
- evaporated milk – evaporated milk helps to keep the mac and cheese creamy and smooth. You will find the cans of evaporated milk in the baking aisle.
- shredded sharp cheddar cheese – I just bought the bagged stuff (finely shredded)
- Velveeta cheese – see my FAQ’S above regarding substitution.
- unsalted butter – you can use salted butter, just cut the additional salt by half.
- ground mustard – if you don’t have this, just skip it. It just adds a nice depth of flavor but you do not get a mustard flavor at all.
HOW TO MAKE CROCK POT HAM MAC AND CHEESE
Spray an 8-quart crock pot with nonstick cooking spray. In the crock pot, add in ham, macaroni, milk, evaporated milk, 3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, Velveeta, butter, salt, pepper, and ground mustard. Mix together thoroughly.
Set the crock pot to the low heat setting and cook for 2.5 to 3 hours, or until the macaroni becomes tender. Stir the mixture every 30 minutes to ensure it cooks evenly and doesn’t stick to the edges.
Keep an eye on the consistency. If it starts to look done (the noodles are cooked) and thickened (but still a little loose) it’s time to add the additional 1 cup of shredded cheese on top. Cover the slow cooker with the lid for approximately 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
Once the cheese has melted, it is ready to serve.
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
Crock Pot Ham Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound diced ham (this recipe works without ham as well)
- 16 ounce box elbow macaroni noodles (uncooked)
- 4 cups whole milk (2 % is fine)
- 2 (12 ounce) cans evaporated milk
- 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided use (1 cup for topping)
- 8 ounce block Velveeta cheese, cubed
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
- Spray an 8-quart crock pot with nonstick cooking spray.
- In the crock pot, add in ham, macaroni, milk, evaporated milk, 3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, Velveeta, butter, salt, pepper, and ground mustard. Mix together thoroughly.
- Set the crock pot to the low heat setting and cook for 2.5 to 3 hours, or until the macaroni becomes tender. Stir the mixture every 30 minutes to ensure it cooks evenly and doesn’t stick to the edges.
- Keep an eye on the consistency. If it starts to look done (the noodles are cooked) and thickened (but still a little loose) it’s time to add the additional 1 cup of shredded cheese on top. Cover the slow cooker with the lid for approximately 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
- Once the cheese has melted, it is ready to serve.
- Please refer to my FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
- It’s totally normal if the cheese sauce starts to separate by the end. Just give it a good stir.
- I have not tested this recipe in anything smaller than an 8 quart slow cooker. You could probably do it in a 6 quart but I would keep an eye on the timing as it could take longer and may need more occasional stirring.
- In addition, this recipe was designed for the slow cooker only. I cannot give instructions on how to make it another way.
- Store leftovers in a container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.