Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
Easy slow cooker mac and cheese recipe, homemade with simple ingredients. Rich, creamy, loaded with 4 kinds of cheese. No velveeta needed!
This is a super satisfying version of a popular and classic dish! It’s very similar to this Slow Cooker American Goulash, but even easier!
How to make mac & cheese in the slow cooker?
- Add cheese and pasta to crock pot – Include mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar, and cream cheese.
- Add milk – Both evaporated and normal milk.
- Add the rest of the ingredients – Except the items used for garnishing.
- Cover and cook – On low for up to 2 hours. Stir every 30 minutes.
- Garnish and serve – Use chopped parsley and serve immediately.
What to serve with slow cooker mac & cheese?
This delicious and creamy recipe is a very common side dish and is super versatile. This means it can be served with countless main dishes.
Soup is always a great dinner to serve with this recipe since it adds a bit of heartiness to an otherwise light meal. I would suggest this Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup if you’re looking for ideas!
Of course, a plethora of chicken dishes are never a bad idea. Oddly enough, I love serving this recipe alongside this Slow Cooker Orange Chicken. You can’t forget beef dishes – they work super well also.
Add meat – If you want to make this dish heartier, add in already cooked chicken, ground beef, ground pork, ground turkey, etc.
Make it even more creamy – Add around 1/4 cup heavy cream to make this dish even dreamier.
Make it healthier – Substitute the pasta for a gluten-free or whole wheat pasta and choose low fat cheeses.
Make it spicy – You can add in a touch of sriracha sauce, crushed red peppers, or diced pickled jalapeno for a spicy kick!
Add garlic – Add 2 cloves finely minced garlic. You can also use roasted garlic for a stronger flavor.
Switch up the cheeses – Get creative with your cheese choices and mix things up. You can use options such as goat cheese, pepper jack, blue cheese, gouda, Mexican mix, Italian mix, etc.
Add rotel for a Mexican twist – Toss in a drained can of rotel to the mixture to give it a spicy and Mexican face lift.
Refrigerate– In an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freeze – I would not suggest freezing this dish since pasta doesn’t hold up well upon being reheated.
Reheat– The microwave works the best.
Tips and Techniques
How to thicken? If your recipe turns out too thin, you can add more cheese or let it cook longer with the lid off.
How to make thinner? If your recipe turns out too thick, add more milk and stir well.
Can you use whole wheat pasta? You can definitely use this option! It may need to cook a touch longer.
What kind of pasta to use? Elbow macaroni is the classic pasta choice for this dish. However, you can use any short pasta in its place such as penne, rigatoni, bow tie, etc.
Make ahead instructions – Simply cook this dish up to a day in advance. Then, store it in an airtight container until it’s ready to be heated in the microwave and served. You may need to add a splash of broth, water or milk to thin it out a bit and prevent it from being clumpy.
Add Broccoli or cauliflower – Adding in boiled broccoli or cauliflower near the end of the cooking cycle makes a great addition!
Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound Macaroni, Uncooked
- 2 cups Mozzarella cheese, Shredded
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, Shredded
- 1.5 cups Cheddar cheese, Shredded
- 4 oz. Cream cheese, Full fat
- 2.5 cups Milk, Whole
- 1 can Evaporated milk
- 1 tbsp Mustard, 12 oz. can
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Garlic powder
- 1 tsp Onion powder
- Salt, To taste
- Pepper, To taste
- 1 tbsp Parsley, Fresh, Roughly chopped, For garnish
- Add pasta, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, cream cheese in a crockpot.
- Pour milk and evaporated milk.
- Add mustard, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper. Mix.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 1.5 hours to 2 hours, stirring every 30-40 minutes, until pasta is fully cooked and cheese is all meted. Note: If the mixture is too thick, add more milk.
- Garnish with parsley and serve immediately (I skipped the garnish because my kiddo does not like it).
- Read all my tips above.
- Tastes best when served immediately but leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days.