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Crock Pot Mac and Cheese recipe

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Servings 6 (330g) servings

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This Crock Pot Mac and Cheese is super simple and has amazing flavor! NO boiling required — just dump, stir and cook. Super creamy!

crockpot mac and cheese in slow cooker with metal spoon stuck in

2019 is the year of the Instant Pot and the slow cooker around here, and this month I’ve been stocking up on easy, family-friendly, mostly-healthy dinner recipes to make getting dinner on the table more doable.

This Crock Pot Mac and Cheese is not totally hands off, but it’s a dump and go crockpot recipe that only requires a little stir here and there, so I’m adding it to my list of “doable dinners”.

Plus, who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese?!

Tips for making the best Crock Pot Mac and Cheese:

I absolutely wanted this to be a no boil recipe, because if I’m going to pre-boil the macaroni then I’m just going to make a simple stove top mac and cheese recipe or this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese (which requires no other pots or pans!).

mac and cheese close up with metal spoon stuck in

Here are a few tips to keep in mind to get the best results:

  • You need to spray your crockpot, and you need to stir it — every hour is best. Otherwise, you’ll end up with one big clump of pasta forever stuck to the bottom of your slow cooker.
  • You need to use cooking liquids that can handle some heat. This is why I choose to use a combination of evaporated milk and chicken broth — they both handle heat well. I don’t recommend using a low fat or skim milk for this recipe.
  • Why chicken broth? I like to use some chicken broth because, well, that’s just the way I like my mac and cheese. I’ve found if I use all milk that it becomes very thick and almost difficult to get done. The sauce doesn’t turn out as smooth. If you want to go all out, feel free to substitute the chicken broth for whole milk.
  • Why cream cheese? The cream cheese in this recipe helps the sauce to thicken. If you prefer a thinner mac and cheese, you can omit or reduce the cream cheese, but it will be quite saucy!
  • Please note that the sriracha in this recipe will not make the crockpot mac and cheese spicy, but it does add a bit of flavor that helps to cut some of the richness.
crock pot mac and cheese overhead on grey and white plate with fork and spoon stuck in

What are the best cheeses for this slow cooker mac and cheese?

Pick cheese that melts well for this and all macaroni and cheese recipes.

I prefer to use:

  • full fat over low fat
  • freshly shredded from the block over pre-shredded, bagged cheese
  • cheddar gives mac and cheese that classic orange color and flavor, but others work well, too: gruyere, monterey jack, or gouda are also favorites!

Variations on this crock pot mac and cheese:

  • If you like more noticeable spice in your mac and cheese, feel free to bump up the sriracha to 1 or 2 teaspoons or drizzle some on after cooking.
  • If you want to make it a full meal deal and bump up the protein, feel free to add some cooked, shredded chicken or some cooked ground beef, meatballs, or a can of chili for a really interesting chili mac twist!
  • If you want to bump up the veggie content, feel free to stir some in with the macaroni or if you prefer your vegetables with more bite, add them just at the end when you add your cheese.

Looking for more crock pot pasta dishes?

*recipe images updated since original posting

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Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

5 from 10 votes
This Crock Pot Mac and Cheese is super simple and has amazing flavor! NO boiling required — just dump, stir and cook. Super creamy! 
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 6 (330g) servings
Calories 564cal

Ingredients

  • 375 grams uncooked macaroni (1 box, white with fiber)
  • 354 ml evaporated or whole milk (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 1 3/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 oz cream cheese room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (175g)

Instructions

  • Spray 2.5-4 quart crock pot with non stick spray.
  • Pour in dry pasta, then add evaporated milk, broth, butter, salt, sriracha, mustard and pepper. Stir to combine, breaking up the butter as much as possible but know that it will still be chunky.
  • Cover and cook on low for 1 hour. Stir well (it might be clumpy, but will come apart easily as you stir). Cover and cook for 30 more minutes or until al dente or slightly firm (you don’t want it too soft at this point).
  • Cut the cream cheese into very small pieces and stir into the pasta with the cheddar cheese. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes, then stir to melt.
  • Serve.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 564cal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 646mg | Potassium: 431mg | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 855IU | Vitamin C: 1.4mg | Calcium: 530mg | Iron: 2.9mg
Keywords crock pot pasta, slow cooker mac and cheese

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. Ashley says

    Hey Ashley, the recipe sounds amazing! I’m planning on making a bigger batch so would it be okay to just double the ingredients?

    Thanks!

  2. Sandy says

    Hi Ashley! I love your recipes! I was wondering if you can use Velveeta cheese instead of cheddar? I want to make this mac and cheese for my brother, but he can’t eat cheddar cheese. It causes him to have migraines. His birthday is coming up and I wanted to make this and your crock pot blackberry cobbler for him to do something special. Thanks for your help in advance!

  3. Alicia Vizuet says

    Hello Ashley, I wan to make this recipe but I don’t have a slow cooker. I have an I.P. can I make it in the Instant Pot?
    What kind of slow cooker can you recommend? Thank you

  4. Paula A Sadowski says

    I tried this yesterday and it turned out horrible, followed the directions to the letter………made mush.

    My neighbor gave me a box of mini mini shells (I’m thinking maybe the pasta was too small)??

    any thoughts?

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Paula, but if you say you follow the recipe to the letter but you use another variety of pasta that’s a different size, that is not following the recipe. Yes, the size and shape of the pasta matters.

  5. Cathy says

    Have you made this with regular macaroni, not whole grain? My family hasn’t liked the whole grain so far, and I have a lot of pasta to use up.

  6. Valerie says

    Your mac and cheese looks very yummy! I remember the first time I made slowcooker mac and cheese, it was not a success, even the dog didn’t like it. This one is awesome and no preboiling the noodles!

  7. Natalie says

    Cheesy & so delicious!! We love this as a main dish or even a side dish, especially at Thanksgiving! Everyone always loves it!

  8. Alyssa says

    Just want to start off by saying I love your recipes! First time trying this one tonight and I’m so excited! I had a question about what to do if I double the recipe, I wasn’t sure if I would need to alter the cook time or if I would need to change the setting from low to high? I would love to hear back from you! Thank you so much

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Thank you so much Alyssa! Sorry it’s taken me a few days to get back to you. It will only change the cook time if it’s very full, then it might take a little longer for everything to cook through. Otherwise it won’t change it at all 🙂 I’d love to hear if you try it!

  9. Fiona Manoon says

    Thank you!!

    i made it today.very yummy and easy
    Made this for the first time today and it was amazing! Thank you for the recipe!

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