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Crockpot Mac and Cheese

close up shot of Crockpot Mac and Cheese in a crockpot with a large wooden spoon
This is the best creamy crockpot mac and cheese around. It's the ultimate comfort food and sure to become a favorite recipe with the entire family.
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Table of Contents
  1. CROCKPOT MAC AND CHEESE INGREDIENTS
  2. HOW TO MAKE THIS CROCKPOT MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE
  3. HOW TO SERVE
  4. STORAGE
  5. MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This homemade crockpot mac and cheese comes together beautifully in your slow cooker. This is no ordinary crockpot mac and cheese recipe because it’s got an extra creamy texture and is full of flavor thanks to an amazing combo of milk, seasonings, tender macaroni noodles, plus sharp cheddar cheese.

Our super special creamy slow cooker mac and cheese recipe wins the hearts (and stomachs) of everyone who tries it – the secret is in the cheese sauce! Yummy alternatives to this crockpot recipe are our baked mac and cheese recipe as well as this easy chili mac and cheese.

CROCKPOT MAC AND CHEESE INGREDIENTS

You will need:

  • 1 (16-ounce) box elbow macaroni noodles
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 (8-ounce) block extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 (8-ounce) block extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 (8-ounce) block Velveeta cheese, cut into 1inch cubes
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper

PRO TIP:

Be sure to buy blocks of cheese and shred yourself. Pre-shredded cheese has a coating on it which can impact how it melts and therefore affect the texture of your finished mac and cheese. 

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

TOMATOES: You could add a can of diced tomatoes. Just drain and add to the cooked macaroni near the end of the cooking time.

TOPPINGS: Bacon always makes things better and mac and cheese is a classic example of a dish that needs bacon. Sprinkle bacon bits on top of your finished mac and cheese. Bread crumbs are also a great topping for mac and cheese. It gives it a delicious crunch, especially if you use panko bread crumbs.

VEGGIES: If you want to sneak in some hidden veggies, broccoli and cauliflower will go pretty much undetected by your children. When they’re smothered in cheese, who can tell the difference? If you can get away with visible veggies, peas, corn, and bell peppers add a nice bit of crunch to this soft pasta dish.

PROTEIN: Serve your quick crockpot mac and cheese with ham, chicken or beef for some protein. 

SPICE: If you like something that’s a little bit spicy, buffalo chicken and chili make a great contrast to the creamy cheese.

SEAFOOD: My top-rated way to dish up mac and cheese has to be what I like to call, “Adult Mac n Cheese”. This is easy macaroni and cheese is loaded with crab or lobster with extra cheese on top. 

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HOW TO MAKE THIS CROCKPOT MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE

STEP ONE: In the insert of your crockpot sprayed with cooking spray, place the milk and the uncooked pasta. Stir well to make sure that the noodles are not sticking together.

STEP TWO: Set your crockpot to high heat and your timer to 2 hours (if you have a digital style). Allow the macaroni noodles to cook for 30 minutes. Stir well, then add all the cheeses and spices. Stir again to combine and return the lid to your slow cooker.  

PRO TIP:

Every slow cooker is different so keep an eye on it and adjust your cook time slightly if you find it looks ready a bit early or takes a bit longer. The pasta will become mushy if it is cooked too long.

STEP THREE: Cook for the remaining 1 hour and 30 minutes. Make sure you stir your mac and cheese every 30 minutes until it is cooked through and all the cheese has melted and is smooth.

PRO TIP:

Stirring is very important to ensure the sauce is evenly distributed and coats all of the pasta.

HOW TO SERVE

This easy recipe is a great option for serving a crowd. Crockpot macaroni and cheese is one of the easiest things to make in big portions and keep it warm in the slow cooker — that makes it a perfect main dish or side dish for a lot of guests. Make sure you check out our crockpot chili as well.

You could even do a buffet-style crockpot mac and cheese. Make a plain batch and let everyone load their bowl with their choice of toppings. Serve with a caesar salad and cheese biscuits, beer bread or cornbread on the side. We’d recommended an easy blueberry cobbler for dessert.

STORAGE

IN THE FRIDGE: This creamy macaroni and cheese will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container. You may find the texture of the creamy sauce changes slightly but as long as you don’t mind, add a splash of milk and reheat.

IN THE FREEZER: We don’t recommend freezing this easy crockpot mac and cheese as it will affect the texture of the dish.

This superfast crockpot mac n cheese is easy to make, and using a slow cooker takes it from bland and boring to extra-creamy and mouthwatering. If you’re looking for a new meal idea in your crockpot, you’ll want to try this great dish for sure. You’ll never buy boxed mac and cheese again!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I double this great recipe?

You can double this homemade macaroni recipe as long as all of the ingredients will fit in your slow cooker.

Can I use low-fat milk in this creamy recipe?

Can I use low-fat milk in this creamy recipe?
For best results, we’d recommend sticking with the whole milk that the recipe calls for if you can. It makes for a much creamier mac and cheese.

Why did my cheese not melt properly?

If you are using pre-shredded cheese, it comes coated with an anti-caking agent. It is best for this recipe to shred your own cheese. 

Why is my pasta mushy?

Mushy pasta is the result of overcooking the pasta. Too long in the slow cooker will result in mushy pasta. It also needs to be stirred periodically to ensure the sauce is distributed evenly.

MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE

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close up shot of Crockpot Mac and Cheese in a crockpot with a large wooden spoon

Crockpot Mac and Cheese

5 from 18 votes
This is the best creamy crockpot mac and cheese around. It's the ultimate comfort food and sure to become a favorite recipe with the entire family.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 16 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces yellow cheddar cheese extra-sharp, shredded by hand
  • 8 ounces white cheddar cheese extra-sharp, shredded by hand
  • 8 ounces Velveeta cheese cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sea salt optional
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper

Instructions
 

  • In the insert of your crockpot, place the milk and the elbow macaroni noodles. Stir well to make sure that the noodles are not sticking together.
  • Set your crockpot to high heat and your timer to 2 hours (if you have a digital style). Allow the macaroni noodles to cook for 30 minutes. Stir well, then add all the cheeses and spices. Stir again to combine and return the lid to your slow-cooker.
  • Cook for the remaining 1 hour and 30 minutes. Make sure you stir your mac and cheese every 30 minutes until it is cooked through and all the cheese has melted and is smooth.

Video

Notes

TIP: Be sure to buy blocks of cheese and shred yourself. Pre-shredded cheese has a coating on it which can impact how it melts and therefore affect the texture of your finished mac and cheese. 
TIP: Every slow cooker is different so keep an eye on it and adjust your cook time slightly if you find it looks ready a bit early or takes a bit longer. The pasta will become mushy if it is cooked too long.
TIP: Stirring is very important to ensure the sauce is evenly distributed and coats all of the pasta.

Nutrition

Calories: 769kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 1725mg | Potassium: 588mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 1392IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 963mg | Iron: 2mg
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  1. JNeen says

    Sounds delicious and I’m planning to make this tomorrow. Can I use heavy cream instead of whole milk? If so, same quantity or how much? Thanks

    • Layne Kangas says

      I haven’t subbed that out! I think it tastes wonderful with the whole milk and the consistency is perfect so I don’t know if I would recommend subbing the heavy cream. Let me know if you try it!

  2. Lindsey says

    I would like to make a double batch, with a box of 32 oz elbow macaroni noodles, and wondered if you would recommend simply doubling the other ingredients as well? Also, cooking time? Thank you!

    • Layne Kangas says

      I’ve never tried doubling this! I would suggest doubling everything. I am not sure how that would impact cooktime. It might be easiest to make each batch in it’s own crockpot just to make it simpler. Enjoy!

  3. Jennifer says

    I will be making this Sunday for my son’s graduation party but would like to add some diced tomatoes – would you suggest draining before putting them in – and at what point in the cooking process? Thanks in advance 🙂

  4. Liz says

    I’m planning to make this for a group of 115 people. How big are you calculating the serving size at? It’s being served as a side so I want to make sure I’m making only enough for about 1/2 cup serving per person. Thanks.

    • Layne Kangas says

      The recipe is to make eight one-cup servings. So, using that for our basis, this recipe would make 16 1/2-cup servings. To make 115 of the 1/2 cup servings, you’d need to make this recipe 7-8 times over. Enjoy! 🙂 (Please also note, that we updated our recipe today, so be sure to print this new recipe card out!)

  5. Carrie says

    5 stars
    Was this recipe recently changed? I made it often and it had cream cheese and sour cream in it (no velvets).

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