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Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese is rich, smooth, creamy, and doesn’t get easier to make! Just add the noodles, milk, and cheese to the crock pot and let it do all the work.
I love that Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese can be served as a side or as the main course! We love to have it as a creamy side dish alongside mains like fried chicken thighs, crock pot ribs or baked chicken tenders.Pin this recipe for later!
Table of Contents
Why We Love This Recipe
- Four Cheeses – The blend of cheeses makes a smooth sauce that has the ultimate cheesy flavor.
- Easy Recipe – No need to make a roux on the stove, just add everything to the crockpot!
- Rich and Creamy – The sauce is perfectly smooth and creamy.
The key to this recipe is using the blend of cheese for a smooth and creamy sauce that is very rich and flavorful.
- Elbow Macaroni – This is the classic noodle shape to use for macaroni and cheese!
- Whole Milk – You want a high fat content for a creamier, richer cheese sauce.
- Evaporated Milk – it has less water content to make a creamy sauce.
- Cheese – Colby Jack, Mild Cheddar, Velveeta, and Cream Cheese all melt together really well. The Velveeta is a processed cheese, which I often shy away from, but when I want an ultra creamy sauce that will stay smooth, this is what I turn to.
- Unsalted Butter – Always use unsalted so you can control the amount of saltiness in your finished dish.
- Spices – Salt, Pepper for flavor and Ground Mustard for a slight tang. Do not use regular yellow mustard.
How To Make Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
Making cheesy mac in the slow cooker is super easy and the results are rich and creamy.
Cook Noodles – Start by boiling a large pot of water and cooking the noodles until just al dente. Don’t overcook. Drain them and set aside.
Add to Slow Cooker – Spray the slow cooker insert with cooking spray and add all ingredients, including the cooked noodles. Reserve about ½ cup of the shredded cheddar cheese. Mix everything together to combine.
Slow Cook – Cook on Low for 2 hours, stirring at least once an hour.
Add Cheese on Top – Sprinkle the reserved cheese on top and cook for 3 more minutes to melt the cheese.
If you overcook the pasta (either on too high of heat or by cooking for too long), then it will get mushy. Also make sure to only boil the noodles until just al dente.
It’s best to use a blend of cheeses – using a mix of cheeses that melt well and become creamy as well as cheeses that add rich flavor. It’s best to buy blocks of cheese and shred it yourself. The pre-shredded cheese doesn’t melt as well.
Leftovers can be stored, covered, in the fridge for up to 5 days. Leftovers can also be frozen, once fully cooled, in airtight freezer containers for up to 3 months. It’s best to fully thaw before reheating.
For best results, reheat on the stovetop over medium heat. If you choose to microwave, I like to add a little milk or cream and reheat at 50% power for 1-3 minutes. Keep in mind that reheating can overcook the pasta and cause it to become mushy.
- Add Protein – You can add 1-2 cups of shredded chicken or it’s great topped with pulled pork.
- Stovetop – While this particular recipe won’t translate to on the stove top, you can make my creamy stovetop shells and cheese instead!
- Spices – You can add other spices such as paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and even cayenne pepper if you like heat!
- Cook Noodles Until Al Dente – Cook the pasta 5-6 minutes or just until “al dente” so they don’t overcook in the crockpot.
- Evaporated Milk – Evaporated Milk is used because it has less water content and keeps the sauce nice and creamy.
- Different Cheeses – Velveeta helps keep the texture of the cheese sauce smooth while the addition of real cheese is better for flavor.
- Stir Every Hour – This is important so the cheese can melt into a sauce.
More Slow Cooker Recipes
- Perfect Slow Cooker Pot Roast
- Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup
- Slow Cooker Chicken Stew
- Slow Cooker Cream Style Corn
- Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken with Pasta
Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
- 16 ounces elbow macaroni uncooked
- 2 ½ cups whole milk
- 12 ounces canned evaporated milk
- 8 ounces colby jack cheese shredded
- 8 ounces mild cheddar cheese shredded, reserve ½ cup
- 8 ounces velveeta cheese cubed
- 8 ounces cream cheese cubed
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook noodles for about 6 minutes, or until al dente texture is reached. Drain and set aside.
- Prepare a slow cooker with a light coating of cooking spray.
- Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker, reserving ½ cup of the shredded cheddar for later.
- Mix until well combined.
- Cook on low for 2 hours, stirring at least once every hour.
- After 2 hours, add the remaining ½ cup cheddar cheese on top and continue cooking for 3 more minutes.
- It’s important to cook the pasta no more than 5-6 minutes, or just until “al dente,” so they don’t overcook in the slow cooker.
- We use Evaporated Milk (this is the unsweetened milk in the can, not regular milk) because it has less water content and keeps the sauce nice and creamy.
- Velveeta helps keep the texture of the cheese sauce smooth while the addition of real cheese is better for flavor.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- For best results, reheat on the stovetop over medium heat. If you choose to microwave, I like to add a little milk or cream and reheat at 50% power for 1-3 minutes.