September 23, 2023Review Recipe
Table of Contents
This homemade crockpot mac and cheese recipe comes together beautifully in your slow cooker. This is no ordinary mac n cheese recipe because it’s extra creamy and full of flavor thanks to an amazing combo of milk, seasonings, plus cheddar and Velveeta cheese.
Crockpot Mac N Cheese Ingredients
This mac and cheese is an indulgent comfort food dish that balances the sharpness of extra-sharp yellow and white cheddar cheeses.
The Velveeta adds a velvety texture, while sea salt, white pepper, and ground mustard provide a harmonious blend of flavors with a touch of heat.
As the macaroni cooks in the crockpot, it absorbs the rich cheese sauce, resulting in a luscious and satisfying mac and cheese experience.
- 4 cups of whole milk
- 1 (16-ounce) box of elbow macaroni, uncooked
- 1 (8-ounce) block of extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded by hand
- 8-10 ounce block of extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded by hand
- 1½ teaspoons of sea salt
- ½ teaspoon of white pepper
- 1 teaspoon of ground mustard
- 8 ounces of Velveeta, 1-inch cubes
Be sure to buy blocks of cheese and shred them yourself. Pre-shredded cheese has a coating on it which can impact how it melts and therefore can affect the texture of your finished mac and cheese.
Substitutions And Additions
SPICY KICK: If you enjoy a bit of heat, consider mixing in some diced jalapeños or adding a few dashes of hot sauce for a fiery twist.
PASTA VARIETY: While elbow macaroni is the classic choice for this crockpot mac and cheese, feel free to experiment with other pasta shapes like penne, rotini, or shells.
Just ensure they’re of a similar size to maintain even cooking and creamy coverage.
CHEESE SWAP: Don’t be afraid to play with different cheese varieties. Instead of extra-sharp cheddar, you can use mild cheddar for a milder flavor or try Gruyère for a nuttier, creamier twist.
SEASONING FLAIR: Get creative with seasonings! If white pepper isn’t your thing, black pepper can step in.
For a smoky depth, add a pinch of smoked paprika, and for a zesty kick, a dash of cayenne pepper can do wonders.
VEGETABLE BOOST: Add extra nutrition and color by tossing in some sautéed vegetables like spinach, diced tomatoes, or caramelized onions.
Mac And Cheese Crock Pot Instructions
Not only is the flavor of this recipe amazing, but it’s also so easy to make. Perfect for busy days!
STEP ONE: In the insert of your crockpot, place the milk, uncooked elbow macaroni noodles, shredded cheeses, and seasonings. Stir well.
OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS
You are not cooking the macaroni ahead of time. It will cook in the slow cooker.
STEP TWO: Turn the slow cooker on high and cook for one hour, stirring occasionally.
The cook time should be adjusted depending on your slow cooker and may vary slightly at the end.
STEP THREE: Cut the Velveeta into small, one-inch cubes and stir in until it starts to melt.
STEP FOUR: Cook on high for an additional 30-60 minutes until it’s hot and creamy, stirring occasionally.
After adding the Velveeta cheese, I set the timer for 30 minutes as it was very runny. I checked again at the 45-minute mark, and it had really thickened up. Once the sauce thickens up like that, it needs to be done, as the pasta will get pasty if it’s overcooked.
How Long To Cook Crockpot Mac & Cheese?
From start to finish, making your very own crockpot mac and cheese from scratch should take no more than two hours.
For the majority of that time, you don’t have to do a thing… Apart from smelling the delicious cheesy aroma.
Making this no-boil crock pot mac and cheese recipe couldn’t be much easier (or quicker!).
Add the macaroni to the slow cooker with milk, then add seasonings plus shredded cheese, and give it a good stir.
Lastly, add the Velveeta cubes and let it cook for another 30-60 minutes.
By this point, you’ll hardly be able to wait to taste your homemade crockpot mac n cheese, so dig in. Enjoy the velvety richness.
What To Serve With Slow Cooker Mac And Cheese?
Crockpot mac and cheese is so versatile. Although we say to serve this recipe with bacon on top, the things you could serve with this delicious crockpot mac and cheese recipe are endless!
Plain old macaroni and cheese is very kid-friendly, but what else could you pair with this creamy, cheesy bowl of goodness?
Serve your quick crockpot mac and cheese with ham, chicken, or beef for some protein. If you like something that’s a little bit spicy, buffalo chicken and chili make a great contrast to the creamy cheese.
My top-rated way to dish up mac n cheese has to be what I like to call, “Adult Mac n Cheese”. This is mac n cheese loaded with crab or lobster with extra cheese on top. Talk about simple and tasty homemade meals!
It’s so easy to turn a classic mac and cheese into something that the whole family will want to eat time and time again.
Our super special crockpot mac and cheese recipe wins the hearts (and stomachs) of everyone who tries it – the secret is in the cheese sauce!
Now that you’ve enjoyed your scrumptious crockpot mac and cheese, it’s time to talk about storing any leftovers.
MAKE AHEAD: If you’re planning ahead, you can prepare your mac and cheese a day before serving.
After cooking, let it cool down to room temperature, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and place it in the fridge.
This way, you can simply reheat portions as needed when you’re ready to indulge.
IN THE FRIDGE: For storing leftovers, transfer your mac and cheese to an airtight container or sealable food storage bag.
When properly stored in the fridge, your mac and cheese will stay delicious for up to three to four days.
IN THE FREEZER: If you have more leftovers than you can enjoy within a few days, freezing is a great option. First, allow the mac and cheese to cool completely.
Then, portion it into individual servings or family-sized portions, placing them in freezer-safe containers or resealable freezer bags. Label with the date for reference.
REHEATING: When it’s time to enjoy your leftover mac and cheese, there are a few methods for reheating:
- MICROWAVE: For a quick individual serving, microwave on medium power in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until it’s heated through. Add a splash of milk if it seems dry to restore creaminess.
- OVEN: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the mac and cheese to an oven-safe dish, cover with foil, and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until it’s heated evenly. You can also sprinkle a little extra cheese on top for a fresh melt.
- STOVETOP: Reheat on the stovetop over low heat, stirring frequently. If it’s too thick, you can add a splash of milk or cream to regain the desired creaminess.
Why We Love This Recipe
EFFORTLESS PREPARATION: This recipe simplifies mac and cheese-making by utilizing a slow cooker. You’ll appreciate how easy it is to assemble the ingredients, set it, and let the crockpot do the work.
CREAMY PERFECTION: The slow cooking process in this recipe ensures that the mac and cheese turns out incredibly creamy and velvety. The combination of cheeses and the slow, gentle heat creates a luscious texture that’s hard to resist.
FEEDS A CROWD: Whether you’re hosting a gathering, potluck, or family dinner, this recipe yields a generous portion. The mac and cheese can easily serve a crowd, making it an ideal choice for communal meals or parties.
You could even do a buffet-style crock pot mac and cheese. Make a plain batch and let everyone load their bowl with their choice of toppings.
Frequently Asked Questions
First, be sure to use good-quality cheese. A sharp cheddar will give the best flavor, but you can also use a combination of cheeses if you prefer.
Next, grate the cheese yourself rather than using pre-shredded cheese. Shredded cheese often has additives that can prevent it from melting properly.
Finally, be careful not to overheat the cheese. If it gets too hot, it will separate and become grainy.
It is perfectly fine to put dry pasta in the slow cooker. It will cook and soften up while the slow cooker is heating the rest of the ingredients.
Doubling a slow cooker recipe can impact the cooking time. The best approach if you would like to double your slow cooker recipe is to use a second slow cooker so that you don’t have to try to adjust the cooking time.
If you would like to use all-white cheese in this mac and cheese recipe, it will be just as gooey, cheesy, and delicious.
Overcooking the mac and cheese in the crockpot can result in mushy pasta. Make sure to stick to the recommended cooking time.
While you can make this mac and cheese ahead of time, we don’t recommend having it ready more than a few hours ahead of time, or it may lose its creamy texture.
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Crockpot Mac N Cheese
- 16 ounces elbow macaroni, uncooked
- 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, 1-inch cubes
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt, optional
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- In the insert of your crockpot, place the milk, uncooked elbow macaroni noodles, shredded cheeses, and seasonings. Stir well.
- Turn the slow cooker on high and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Cut the Velveeta into small, one-inch cubes and stir in until it starts to melt.
- Cook on high for an additional 30-60 minutes until it’s hot and creamy, stirring occasionally.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stirring is very important to ensure the sauce is evenly distributed and coats all of the pasta.
- You are not cooking the macaroni ahead of time. It will cook in the slow cooker.
- After adding the Velveeta cheese, I set the timer for 30 minutes as it was very runny. I checked again at the 45-minute mark, and it had really thickened up. Once the sauce thickens up like that, it needs to be done, as the pasta will get pasty if it’s overcooked.