This creamy crockpot macaroni and cheese starts with uncooked elbow pasta; no boiling these noodles. Simply throw the milk, cheese, and seasonings in the slow cooker for a meal everyone will love! We’ve also made homemade stovetop macaroni and cheese, but the slow cooker is super portable and the dish won’t dry out. This is a great casserole to take to a potluck or family get together.
Creamy Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese
I love cheese. I love the variety and how it spans cultures from Italian Beef and Cheese Manicotti to Mexican Corn in a Cup. Today, I’ve got an American classic – creamy crockpot macaroni. Hard to believe I first had slow cooker macaroni and cheese five years ago! I remember it so clearly because everyone at the potluck thought it was a genius idea to throw it together, keep warm and transport. Everyone loves mac and cheese. Just remember that next time you need a dish to pass!
There are two main types of macaroni and cheese. The first type is southern or baked mac and cheese, which includes eggs and is almost like a casserole. The second type is cooked on the stovetop in a béchamel sauce. There are no eggs and it is super creamy.
I love the slow cooker recipe I have, but it’s southern–style and I wanted creamy crockpot macaroni, so I turned to the internet in search of inspiration. I also did not want to pre-boil the pasta, which a lot of recipes call for. To me, that defeated the purpose of using my slow cooker.
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Turns out that in order to get that ultra creamy texture in a crockpot, you either have to use condensed cheese soup or Velveeta cheese, neither of which appealed to me. The next-best thing is to use evaporated milk and American cheese, the kind you get from the deli counter. Barring American cheese, using a melty cheese like Monterey Jack will also produce creamy results.
To this, I also added lots of sharp cheddar. This gives it that great mac and cheese flavor, but it is not the best kind of cheese for melting. For best results, buy a brick and shred it at home since the pre-shredded cheese comes coated in anti-caking agents. I use my food processor and it’s done in the blink of an eye!
Ingredients you will need for crockpot macaroni and cheese:
- 1 pound elbow pasta
- 2 1/2 cups milk (whole is best)
- 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
- 3 cups (12 oz) shredded sharp cheddar
- 1 cup (4 oz) shredded American cheese (or Monterrey)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Dash of cayenne pepper (to taste)
- 1/4 cup butter, cubed
Helpful kitchen gadgets:
While scrolling through recipe reviews, many cooks noted that the mac and cheese was bland. I hate bland food, so I remedied this by adding mustard, garlic, and cayenne to my dish in addition to the basic salt and pepper. These can all be adjusted to your taste.
It’s very important that you check the mac and cheese every so often. Pasta is not an ingredient that can cook all day or it will turn to mush. Slow cookers vary by brand and size, so keep an eye on it after the first hour. Mine was perfectly al dente around 90 minutes in a 6-quart cooker. It’s still less hands-on than babysitting a béchamel sauce on the stove or dirtying up a number of dishes!