crockpot mac and cheese featured image
This Crock Pot Mac and Cheese is creamy, cheesy and an easy family dinner that even our picky eaters will devour!
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Table of Contents
  1. The Creamiest Crock Pot Mac and Cheese
  2. Ingredients
  3. How to Make Crock Pot Mac and Cheese
  4. Frequently Asked Questions
  5. Tips for Making Crock Pot Mac and Cheese
  6. Crock Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe

This Crock Pot Mac and Cheese is creamy, cheesy, and an easy family dinner that even our picky eaters will devour! Our macaroni and cheese recipe is prepared in the slow cooker so it is easy to make and beyond delicious!

It will make you never want to use a boxed mac and cheese again! It only takes minutes of prep time and has become a weekly staple on our family meal plan. The ultimate in comfort food!

crockpot mac and cheese hero image

The Creamiest Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese have been a long-time favorite for our family! Frozen, boxed, baked…we love them all! But once we found this crockpot macaroni and cheese recipe, the game has been changed forever!

There is something about the freshly shredded cheese, cream cheese, and creamy texture that the slow cooker brings alive to this mac and cheese recipe. A powdered mac and cheese just cannot achieve that creaminess that the real stuff does!

Ingredients

  • Elbow macaroni noodles
  • Whole milk
  • Extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (use block and shred by hand)
  • Extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded (use block and shred by hand)
  • Grated parmesan (grate by hand – do not use the brand from the shelf – use fresh parm)
  • Cream cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Sea salt
  • Ground mustard powder
  • White pepper

PRO-TIP: For super creamy homemade mac and cheese, the key is using a block of cheese rather than the pre-shredded bagged cheese (which can have a coating that can affect the texture of the finished product!) It is worth the extra step to shred it because once the cheese is melted in the pot, it will be melt-in-your-mouth creamy!

SEE FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD BELOW

How to Make Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

This recipe really couldn’t be much easier. We prefer the method of cooking the macaroni noodles before putting them in the slow cooker.

  1. Fill a large pot halfway up with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Pour in a little bit of olive oil and the box of macaroni.
  3. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then rinse and drain (this will stop it from cooking)
    Pro-Tip: The pasta will be al dente and firm, you do not want to cook it for more than 3 minutes. It will finish cooking in the slow cooker.
  4. Add the macaroni to a slow cooker.
    add macaroni to the crockpot
  5. Add milk, shredded cheddar cheeses, parmesan, and seasonings.
    add cheese and seasonings to the crockpot
  6. Turn slow cooker on low and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  7. Cut the cream cheese into cubes.
  8. Stir in the cream cheese and the sour cream until cream cheese starts to melt.
  9. Cook on low for an additional 20 to 30 minutes until hot and creamy.
  10. Serve as is or with bacon on top.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you Cook Noodles in the Slow Cooker?

While you can cook your noodles in the slow cooker, I don’t recommend it. There are many recipes that are no-boil crock pot mac and cheese, this one, however, is not one of those. Precooking the pasta will ensure it comes out perfect every time. If you use a no-boil mac and cheese recipe with uncooked pasta, it can come out very mushy or gummy. Our method will be a success every time!

Can you double this recipe?

Yes, the recipe can be doubled, depending on the size of your slow cooker. You do not need to adjust the cooking time.

What are the best cheeses for mac and cheese?

We think the best cheeses for mac and cheese are a combination of white cheddar cheese, yellow cheddar cheese, and parmesan cheese. We add cream cheese to help make the cheese sauce super creamy.

Why isn’t your mac and cheese creamy

If you are using water rather than milk, it won’t be creamy. The combination of milk and cream cheese makes this mac and cheese recipe very creamy.

Why is my mac and cheese mushy?

Cooking your mac and cheese on high in the slow cooker can cause it to come out on the mushy side. We recommend always cooking on low.

Why no evaporated milk or Velveeta cheese?

We have tested tons of versions of crockpot mac and cheese and I found that regular milk worked best over evaporated milk in this mac and cheese. I also prefer blocks of real cheese over Velveeta cheese.

Can this be prepared ahead of time?

Mix the ingredients together except for the pasta. The pasta may be prepared ahead of time, rinsed, and refrigerated. Just before cooking, combine the sauce and pasta components in the crock pot.

Why is my mac and cheese grainy?

It is important to use fresh blocks of cheese and grate it by hand. Packaged cheeses can have a coating that can affect the texture of the finished product! Please do not use the shelf brand of parmesan cheese. It will give the finished product a grainy finish.

Not feeling the crockpot today? We also have a great stovetop or baked mac and cheese recipe. Looking for a healthier option? How about a low-carb version? We are currently obsessed with Cauliflower Mac and Cheese!

Tips for Making Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

  • As with all appliances, not all crock pots cook the same. It is possible that your dish is done cooking a little early or needs a little more time! Not to worry, if it finishes early, just put it on low to keep it warm (we don’t want to overcook and get mushy). Also, if it is not quite finished, let it cook a little longer.
  • Don’t lift the lid of the crock pot if you don’t need to, the steam is important to get the pasta and the mixture to the perfect consistency!
  • Hate the mess of cleaning up your crock pot, try (affiliate) slow cooker plastic liners, they make cleaning up a snap!
  • If the sauce seems too thick, you can add a little bit of milk until you get your desired consistency.
4.72 from 230 votes
crockpot mac and cheese featured image

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

Serves — 8
This Crock Pot Mac and Cheese is creamy, cheesy and an easy family dinner that even our picky eaters will devour!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 16 ounce box elbow macaroni noodles
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese shredded
  • 8-10 ounces extra-sharp white cheddar cheese shredded
  • ½ cup parmesan grated
  • 4 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp ground mustard

Instructions
 

  • Fill a large pot halfway up with water and bring to a boil.
  • Once the water has started to boil, pour in a little bit of olive oil and the box of macaroni.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes and then drain.
  • Add the macaroni to a slow cooker and add milk, shredded cheddar cheeses, parmesan, and seasonings.
  • Turn slow cooker on low and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Cut the cream cheese into cubes.
  • Stir in the cream cheese and the sour cream until cream cheese starts to melt.
  • Cook on low for an additional 20-30 minutes until hot and creamy.
  • Serve as is or with bacon on top.

Jenn’s Notes

Tips:
  • As with all appliances, not all crock pots cook the same. It is possible that your dish is done cooking a little early or needs a little more time! Not to worry, if it finishes early, just put it on low to keep it warm (we don’t want to overcook and get mushy). Also, if it is not quite finished, let it cook a little longer.
  • Don’t lift the lid of the crock pot if you don’t need to, the steam is important to get the pasta and the mixture to the perfect consistency!
  • Hate the mess of cleaning up your crock pot, try (affiliate) slow cooker plastic liners, they make cleaning up a snap!
  • If the sauce seems too thick, you can add a little bit of milk until you get your desired consistency.

Video

Nutrition Info

Calories: 594kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 1094mg | Potassium: 304mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 999IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 703mg | Iron: 1mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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Comments

  1. I made the crockpot mac & cheese, the flavor was very good, but it was a little grainy. I don’t know if it was the grated Parmesan cheese or not. I did use block cheese for all three changes. Can you tell me what I may have done wrong please.

  2. In the picture of the crock pot, it calls for 1 cup milk and recipe it calls for 4 cups. that is a big difference.

  3. the print-out recipe calls for 4 cups whole milk, while the ingredients on the picture call for 1 cup whole milk. Which is right?

  4. I tried this recipe and the milk is runny and the cheese is partial melted. Do I need longer than 1 hour in crockpot?

    1. 2 stars
      I cooked my cavatapi pasta for 5 minutes before putting it in the crockpot. It took 3 1/5 hours on low to cook. It is not creamy. I will not make this again.

  5. I made the crockpot Mac and cheese. The flavor was very good but it was grainy. I used block cheese for all three cheeses. Would the Parmesan cheese make it grainy.

    1. I find using fresh cheese always makes a difference. If you are using the kind in the green bottle, that would for sure make it grainy.

  6. Hi Jenn🙂 I currently have this Mac snd cheese recipe in the crock pot—it’s been 2 hours now, I followed the directions to the letter—and it is STILL like SOUP!! Srsly. Help, please!!

    1. Oh no! I am so sorry it didn’t work out for you 🙁 – I have made this recipe time and time again and even had it tested with a few recipe testers and haven’t run into this issue. Did you lift the cover a lot?

  7. If I want to make it a Buffalo chicken Mac n cheese… just put the chicken in the slow cooker 3hrs ahead of time?