Savor the ultimate cheesy delight with crock pot mac and cheese. Slow-cooked to perfection, it's an easy-to-make dish that will wow your taste buds.
Want to save this post?
Enter your email below and get it sent straight to your inbox. Plus, I'll send you the latest recipes and tips every week!
This recipe cooks macaroni noodles in a creamy cheese sauce to perfection in a crock pot with minimal effort. Simply stir together the ingredients, turn on the slow cooker, and give it an occasional stir until it's time to enjoy.
The slow cooking process allows all the ingredients to meld together beautifully, resulting in a creamy and rich dish that will leave you craving for more. So next time you're looking for an easy meal for one with planned leftovers, give this slow cooker mac and cheese a try.
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- Effortless preparation. There's no need for constant stirring or monitoring on the stove. You only need to give it an occasional stir as it slow cooks.
- No need to turn on the oven. This recipe is a great alternative to baked mac and cheese when you don't want to heat up the kitchen in the summer.
- Easily customized. Add some cooked bacon, throw in some diced tomatoes, or stir in chopped jalapeños. The possibilities are endless! Plus, you can sprinkle on toppings like breadcrumbs, chopped herbs, or hot sauce.
- Cheesy goodness. While cheddar and American are classic choices for macaroni and cheese, you can experiment with other cheese combinations for maximum flavor.
The beauty of this recipe is that it's made using simple ingredients that you likely already have in your kitchen.
Here's what you'll need to make the creamy mac and cheese in your crockpot.
- elbow macaroni
- sharp cheddar cheese
- American cheese
- half and half
- Dijon mustard
- onion powder
- ground black pepper
- optional sliced green onions
Scroll down to the recipe card for quantities used.
Once you've gathered all your ingredients and slow cooker, it's time to get cooking. We recommend using a 2-quart Crock Pot when making this small-batch crockpot mac and cheese recipe.
Add elbow macaroni, shredded cheese, chopped American cheese, butter, half and half, Dijon mustard, onion powder, salt, black pepper, and paprika to the slow cooker.
Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
Cover the slow cooker and cook on Low for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes to ensure even cooking and to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom.
Once the pasta is fork-tender and the cheese has melted, the mac and cheese is done. If the pasta is still too firm, continue cooking for a bit longer.
Hint: If the sauce appears too thick, stir in a few tablespoons of milk to help loosen it to your desired consistency.
Looking to add some excitement to your slow cooker macaroni? Try these creative variations that will take your slow cooker recipes to the next level:
- Add cooked bacon or ham: Crumble some cooked bacon or diced ham into your macaroni and cheese for an extra savory twist.
- Mix in diced tomatoes and green chilies: If you're a fan of spicy food, kick up the heat by adding diced tomatoes and green chilies to your slow cooker.
- Incorporate steamed broccoli or cauliflower florets: Sneak in some veggies by incorporating steamed broccoli or cauliflower florets into your slow cooker mac and cheese. It's a great way to add some nutritional value without sacrificing taste.
- Experiment with different cheeses. Try using a combination of sharp cheddar, mozzarella, and Gruyere cheeses. You can also substitute Velveeta cheese for the American cheese.
- Try evaporated milk. It has a higher concentration of milk solids than regular milk or half-and-half. This results in a creamier and thicker texture to the mac and cheese sauce.
- Double the recipe. If you need to feed more people, you can easily scale the recipe up.
For a unique topper, chop up leftover air fryer jalapeño poppers and sprinkle them on just before serving.
Top tip: If the pasta is not fully cooked at the end of the cooking time, continue to slow cook and check every 15 minutes until it reaches the desired tenderness.
- Grease the slow cooker crock to prevent sticking. Use a cooking spray or butter to lightly coat the insert. This will help prevent the cheesy goodness from sticking to the sides and bottom of the pot.
- Stir occasionally during cooking to ensure even heat distribution. This will prevent any cheese clumps from forming and guarantee a smooth consistency throughout.
- Adjust cooking time as needed. Some models may cook faster or slower than others, so watch your mac and cheese as it cooks. Start with the recommended cooking time in your recipe, but be prepared to make adjustments based on the texture of the pasta.
- Let it rest before serving. Letting it rest for a few minutes allows the flavors to meld together beautifully, resulting in a more delicious dish. This short resting period will also let the sauce thicken slightly, creating a creamy texture everyone will love.
- Use freshly shredded cheddar cheese. Pre-shredded cheese adds starch which can affect the consistency of the cheese sauce.
For a light and refreshing contrast to the rich and cheesy macaroni, consider serving it alongside a simple chopped Greek salad. The crispness of the lettuce, paired with juicy tomatoes and crunchy cucumbers, provides a refreshing break from the indulgence of the mac and cheese.
If you're looking for something heartier, consider adding some pulled pork or shredded BBQ chicken as a topping. The savory flavors of these meats perfectly balance out the creaminess of the pasta dish.
To store, let it cool down completely and transfer it to an airtight container. Mac and cheese can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
To reheat the mac and cheese, you can either microwave it or warm it up on the stovetop. If using the microwave, cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap and heat in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until heated through. If reheating on the stovetop, transfer the mac and cheese to a saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring occasionally until warmed.
It should be noted that the texture may change slightly change when reheating. To maintain its creamy consistency, you can add a splash of milk or cream when reheating to bring back some moisture.
Want a few more cozy side dishes to add to your meal rotation? Here are more of our favorites:
- Loaded twice-baked potatoes are a flavorful addition to any meal.
- Southern fried cabbage with bacon is a satisfying side.
- Scalloped potatoes for two are a cozy and creamy dish.
- Home fries in air fryer are a quick and crispy way to have potatoes.
- Small-batch biscuits are tender and flaky.
Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
- ¼ pound elbow macaroni about 1 cup
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese grated
- 1 ounce American cheese chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 ½ cups half and half
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- Sliced green onions for garnish
- In the slow cooker, combine the elbow macaroni, grated sharp cheddar cheese, chopped American cheese, butter, half and half, Dijon mustard, onion powder, salt, black pepper, and paprika. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on Low for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes to ensure even cooking and to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom.
- After 1 ½ hours, check the doneness of the pasta. If the pasta is fork-tender and the cheese has melted, the mac and cheese is done. If the pasta is still too firm, continue cooking for a bit longer, checking every 15 minutes until it reaches the desired tenderness.
- If the sauce appears too thick, stir in a few tablespoons of milk to help loosen it to your desired consistency.
- Once cooked, serve the mac and cheese immediately, sprinkle sliced fresh green onions.