This creamy and cheesy Crock Pot Mac and Cheese recipe doesn’t require any boiling and is so delightfully easy to make! Made with cream cheese, butter, sharp cheddar, and evaporated milk, this is the most flavorful and comforting mac and cheese you’ll ever have.
Serve this easy slow cooker recipe with your other favorite dinner recipes for a simple meal at home. Family-friendly and versatile, this recipe is a definite crowd-pleaser.
Most people are intimidated by good Southern-style macaroni and cheese recipes, but fear not, this straightforward recipe is ready in very few steps.
Creamy Crock Pot Mac and Cheese
One of the biggest issues people come across when making mac and cheese is the sauce. A traditional sauce starts with a roux, a blend of butter and flour, is thinned with dairy, like milk, and folded with cheese. But there can be several elements that go awry causing lumps, thinner or too thick sauce.
Using evaporated milk is one of my tricks for making foolproof creamy sauce every time. It mimics the base of a roux, but without the potential for mishaps. Making it in a slow cooker keeps the temperatures low and steady for even heating and prevents scalding or separating, two other common issues making homemade mac and cheese.
The other is cream cheese. A tangy goodness and creamy base that is often the “I can’t quite put my finger on it” ingredient.
INGREDIENTS FOR EASY CROCK POT MAC AND CHEESE
- Uncooked Pasta– I like to use short cut pasta because it cooks evenly, but most variations of pasta will work. Some examples of pastas you can use include elbow, penne, shells, rigatoni, and farfalle. Anything with lots of nooks and crannies for the cheese sauce to cling to.
- Evaporated Milk– A can of evaporated milk is used to create a light creamy texture in the macaroni and cheese. It is simply milk that has been steamed to reduce the water content so it is rich and thick.
- Cream Cheese– Smooth cream cheese adds an extra level of richness and is my secret ingredient.
- Milk– Any kind of dairy milk will work such as whole, skim, or 2%. Personally, I like to use whole milk because it’s more flavorful and thick.
- Butter– Salted or unsalted butter gives the mac and cheese buttery textures that are tasty and delicious with the gooey cheeses. If you use salted, taste test before adding additional salt during the seasoning process. You can always add more salt, but it is hard to take it away!
- Cheddar Cheese– Shredded sharp cheddar cheese gives this pasta the best flavors! I like to grate my own cheddar cheese because it will melt smoother. Store-bought pre-grated cheese are tossed in a light starch mixture to prevent clumping, but that can effect texture and dry out the cheese. If you want to be adventurous, or just clean out the cheese drawer, use any combination of cheese. See below for our favorites.
- Salt and Pepper– Just a little bit of salt and pepper gives this macaroni the perfect balance of seasoning. Use white pepper for a milder flavor.
WHAT CHEESE IS BEST IN MAC AND CHEESE?
The best cheese for mac and cheese is anything you have leftover in your cheese drawer that can be easily melted. This leaves the possibilities wide open for yummy combinations and creations. These are our favorites:
- Other varieties of cheddar such as white, Vermont or mild cheddar cheese.
- Parmesan cheese- but only if it is freshly grated, not the bottled stuff which tends to not melt the same.
- Gruyere, Swiss or Jarlsberg- all of a similar flavor profile, these make for great melty sauces.
- Smoked Gouda- or any other smoked cheese.
- Monterey Jack- Most famous in quesos, it is also perfect for mac and cheese.
- Fontina- An Italian classic, it is used in pasta sauces worldwide.
HOW TO MAKE CROCKPOT MACARONI
You will not believe how simple this recipe is! Sit back and relax because you will love the easy steps in this mac and cheese.
- Combine the uncooked pasta, milks, cheeses, butter, and seasoning to a large Crock Pot. Try to mix it together, but note that the cream cheese might be a little lumpy, this is okay and will melt in seamlessly. The pasta, much like rice, will absorb liquid and cook this way.
- Set the Crock Pot on low and cook for two to three hours while stirring occasionally. You will want to make sure to stir the pasta occasionally to prevent the pasta and cheeses from sticking in the bottom of the Crock Pot.
- Once the noodles are soft to the touch and tender, you can serve the mac and cheese. If you are not serving the recipe right away, then you can leave the Crock Pot on warm until ready to serve just be sure to keep a lid on it!
- For gluten-free mac and cheese, use your favorite gluten-free pasta shells.
- Add cooked chopped bacon to the cheesy macaroni for bacon mac and cheese.
- Mix in cooked shredded chicken in this recipe for extra flavor and protein.
- Make it spicy with chopped fresh jalapenos and a pinch of paprika or cayenne pepper.
- Using regular milk rather than evaporated milk may result in macaroni cheese that is greasy and heavy.
- Grease the Crock Pot with cooking spray or use a disposable liner before adding the ingredients to prevent everything from sticking and for easy clean up.
- Be sure to stir the pasta and other ingredients while they cook to make sure everything is fully mixed and cooked.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CREAMY CROCK POT MAC AND CHEESE
You can serve cheesy pasta with so many different types of main courses and lunches! That’s one thing we love about mac and cheese–it’s so versatile and perfect with almost anything.
- Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin – Pork tenderloin is tender and juicy and delicious served with simple side dishes such as macaroni recipes. Mmm!
- Turkey Breast – Keep things easy with this easy air fryer recipe whenever you need a quick protein to go with your pasta.
- Chicken Tenders Recipe – What screams children more than chicken tenders and mac and cheese?
- Smoked Chicken Thighs – Smoked chicken thighs are juicy and tender and taste even more tasty served with Southern mac and cheese.
- BLT Salad – Crispy and fresh BLT salad is a great way to add a side salad to your life for lunch or dinner!
Once you try this amazing recipe, you will never want to make mac and cheese any other way. This recipe is just that good!
Be sure to share this mac and cheese recipe with everyone you know!
More Easy Side Dish Recipes
- Ruth Chris Sweet Potato Casserole
- Smoked Potatoes
- Corn on the Cob (Smoked)
- Simple Tossed Salad
- Air Fryer Asparagus
- 1 pound short cut pasta
- 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
- 1 (8oz) package cream cheese
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 Tablespoons butter, cubed
- 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
1. Add all of the ingredients to a slow cooker. Mix until combined.
2. Set on low and cook for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.
3. Once the noodles are tender it is ready to serve. You can turn slow cooker to warm and leave until ready to serve.
Amount Per Serving Calories 402Total Fat 31gSaturated Fat 18gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 91mgSodium 873mgCarbohydrates 13gFiber 0gSugar 5gProtein 17g
Nutrition Disclaimer: All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on dinnersdishesanddesserts.com should only be used as a general guideline.
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