Crockpot Mac and Cheese is a simple dish pulled together with fridge and pantry staples. This recipe is easy enough to tackle any night of the week, and delicious enough for a special occasion. Any time you need comfort food, this mac and cheese delivers - it is one you will go back to again and again.
If you're in need of an easy, cheesy comfort food dish, look no further than crockpot macaroni and cheese.
This recipe is simple to follow and results in a creamy, delicious dish that is perfect for any occasion.
It has all of the flavor of baked mac and cheese and doesn’t require any oven space. (Perfect for the holidays!)
Whether you're needing a quick meal or something to bring to a party, this dish is sure to satisfy everyone.
So gather your ingredients and get started on this easy crockpot Mac and Cheese!
Ingredients for Making Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese
- Pasta: Elbow macaroni is classic for making mac and cheese, but you could use penne or another short pasta if you like.
- Butter: Use salted or unsalted butter; just make sure to adjust the seasonings accordingly. (I used salted.)
- Flour: All-purpose flour is what you'll need for the roux. Gluten-free flour would also work.
- Milk: For this recipe, I used a combination of whole milk and evaporated milk. The evaporated milk helps to make the sauce extra creamy.
- Seasonings: Garlic powder, ground dry mustard, and salt and pepper can be adjusted to taste.
- Cheese: I used a mix of sharp cheddar cheese and American cheeses, but you could use all cheddar, all American, or a mix of your favorite cheeses. For more complex flavors, gruyere and gouda are nice additions.
Tips & Tricks
- I recommend stirring the mac and cheese occasionally while it is cooking. This will help to prevent burnt bits at the edges. If you can’t do this, no worries! Just stir the into the pasta. They add great little bites of texture.
- If your sauce seems too thick, add a little milk to thin it out.
- If you want to add a bit of spice, a ¼ teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper is perfect.
- Want to add some veggies or protein? Baby peas, broccoli, ham, turkey, or bacon are all great options. (Just pre-cook them and stir them in before you add the last bit of cheese.)
This easy dish makes a perfect vegetarian main course served alongside a salad or your favorite veggie.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my crockpot mac and cheese grainy?
If your crockpot mac and cheese is grainy, it is likely due to the flour not being fully cooked.
Make sure to cook the roux (flour and butter mixture) until it is bubbly and starting to turn golden in color. This will help to ensure a smooth sauce.
How do you keep mac and cheese creamy?
The best way to keep mac and cheese creamy is to use a combination of milk and evaporated milk.
The evaporated milk helps to make sauce extra creamy. I also recommend stirring the pasta occasionally while it is cooking.
Can you overcook macaroni and cheese in a crockpot?
Yes, you can overcook macaroni and cheese in a crockpot. I recommend cooking it on low for 2 hours or on high for 1 hour. If you cook it for too long, the pasta will become mushy.
Tools Needed to Make Macaroni and Cheese in the Crockpot
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- Slow Cooker
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stove over low heat, stirring often, until heated through.
This recipe can also be frozen. Freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
How to Make Easy Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese
First, start by bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Cook the pasta for five minutes. (This will be less than what the package suggests, and that is intentional.)
Drain the pasta and add it to your slow cooker.
Next, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat or in your slow cooker if it has an saute function. Once melted, add the flour and cook for three minutes while whisking often. You want the roux to be a light golden brown.
Then, add the milk, evaporated milk, garlic powder, ground mustard, salt and pepper to the roux. Simmer until the cheese sauce thickens, about five minutes.
Reduce the heat to low and add in 12 ounces of the cheddar cheese and the American cheese. Stir to combine.
Pour the sauce over the noodles in your slow cooker and stir everything together.
Cook on low for two hours or high for one hour. (I recommend cooking it on low so the pasta doesn't become overcooked.)
About 15 minutes before serving, add the remaining four ounces of cheese. Cover and let it melt into the sauce.
Once everything is melted and bubbly, it's ready to serve! I like to top mine with a little extra cheese, but that's completely optional.
More Must-Try Slow Cooker Recipes
- Crockpot Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Easy Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes
- Crockpot Cheese Potatoes
- Crockpot Taco Soup
Crockpot Mac and Cheese with Evaporated Milk
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 12 ounces evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 16 ounces shredded cheddar divided
- 8 ounces American cheese diced
- Cook the pasta in salted water for 5 minutes. Drain, and transfer to your slow cooker.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat or in your slow cooker if it has an saute function.
- Add the flour, and cook for 3 minutes, whisking often.
- Add the milk, evaporated milk, garlic powder, ground mustard, salt and pepper.
- Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and add in 12 ounces of the cheddar cheese and the American cheese.
- Stir to combine.
- Pour over the noodles.
- Cook on low for 2 hours, or high for 1 hour.
- Add the remaining 4 ounces of cheese. Cover until the cheese melts.