Crock Pot Mac and Cheese is a creamy, cheesy and easy macaroni and cheese recipe that is always a hit!
A CREAMY MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE
This recipe is my go-to Mac and cheese recipe when I don’t have oven space and I want a recipe I know that everyone will love. There’s nothing quite like a comforting bowl of mac and cheese, and when it comes to making it, the crock pot is a game-changer. Whether you’re feeding a crowd or just looking for a comforting weeknight meal, this crock pot mac and cheese recipe is sure to become a new favorite in your household. So, grab your crock pot and let’s get cooking!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
My main reason is to free up oven space. Especially during the holidays when oven space is at a premium. Or in the summer, when it’s hot in my house and I don’t want to turn on the oven, this is a great alternative. Also, some folks just love to use their slow cookers for things like this because they don’t have to watch it like a hawk to make sure it doesn’t burn. You can set this to cook then have it automatically switch to the keep warm setting until you’re ready to enjoy.
Yes, it’s important to cook the macaroni before adding it to the crock pot. This will ensure that the macaroni cooks evenly and doesn’t become mushy.
I don’t recommend it. If possible, use freshly grated cheese. Obviously, if you’re short on time then certainly use it. I don’t mind using it for my No-Boil Macaroni and Cheese – but for this, because it’s hanging out in the slow cooker for a while, I think freshly grated cheese seems to hold up a bit better to the process. Also the American cheese in this recipe helps to keep it so creamy. Don’t skip it!
In some stores you can find it with the other block cheese. However, you may need to go to your store’s deli counter. Just ask for a 3/4 pound of white American cheese. Tell them you don’t want it sliced, just a big block.
Yes, this recipe is easily doubled. However, you will need a larger crock pot. The cooking time should be about the same.
Just replace the white American cheese in this recipe for Velveeta. One block of Velveeta is one pound (16 ounces) so you’d use 3/4 of a block.
This adds creaminess without the heaviness of milk or heavy cream. It also doesn’t curdle like milk tends to do. I like to use a bit of half and half to give it a richness without overloading. However, if you really want, you could certainly use milk instead of evaporated milk.
Store them in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It can also be frozen (if stored properly) for up to 3 months.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- elbow macaroni – you could use other small pasta shapes like shell pasta.
- salted butter – you want to use real butter here not margarine.
- evaporated milk – not to be confused with sweetened condensed milk although you can usually find them near each other in the baking aisle in the grocery store so make sure you’re looking closely at the label.
- half and half – you could technically substitute with milk but half and half is going to make it much creamier.
- shredded cheddar cheese – freshly shredded is best (if possible).
- white American cheese – I prefer to cube this rather than shredding it – just make sure it’s small cubes, if you don’t want to use this you can use all cheddar cheese but this adds a lot of creaminess to the mac and cheese.
- salt and pepper – you can use a white pepper here if you don’t want to see black specks in your mac and cheese .
HOW TO MAKE CROCK POT MAC AND CHEESE:
Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente (should still have a little ‘bite’ to it.) Spray a 4-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place the cooked macaroni into the slow cooker. Add the butter and stir until coated.
Pour in evaporated milk and half and half. Then add 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, cubed American cheese salt and pepper. Stir to blend.
Cover and cook on low for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (gently stir occasionally as it cooks.) During the last 15 minutes of cooking, top with remaining cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Cover and allow cheese to melt.
Once done, turn the slow cooker to the warm setting until ready to serve. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Originally published: November 2016
Photos updated and republished: April 2019
Crock Pot Mac and Cheese (+Video)
- Cook 16 ounce box elbow macaroni according to the package directions until al dente (should still have a little 'bite' to it.)
- Spray a 4-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place the cooked macaroni into the slow cooker.
- Add 4 Tablespoons salted butter, cubed and stir until coated.
- Pour in 12 ounce can evaporated milk, 1 1/2 cups half and half, 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, 3/4 pound block white American cheese, cubed, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir to combine.
- Cover and cook on low for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (gently stir occasionally as it cooks.)
- During the last 15 minutes of cooking, top with 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Cover and allow cheese to melt.
- Once done, turn the slow cooker to the warm setting until ready to serve.
- Please refer to my FAQ’s and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
- Just go to your grocery store’s deli counter and ask for 3/4 pound of white American cheese. Tell them you don’t want it sliced, just a big block.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
“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.