This easy homemade Crockpot Mac And Cheese recipe is where delicious comfort food meets convenience! Perfect for family dinners, potlucks, or special occasions, it’s a cheesy favorite that is always a hit!
Easy Crockpot Mac And Cheese
My crockpot mac and cheese is creamy, cheesy goodness at its finest, effortlessly prepared in your slow cooker! Crafted with a combination of sharp cheddar and cream cheese, it creates a depth of flavor with a creamy texture that perfectly clings to every tender elbow macaroni. Best of all, it practically cooks itself, leaving you free to relax.
Why You’ll Love Crockpot Mac And Cheese
- Incredibly Simple! This recipe is a game-changer for busy days. Simply toss in the ingredients, set your crockpot, and let it work its magic. It’s the perfect quick and easy delicious meal.
- Creamy and Cheesy! Every bite promises a creamy, velvety texture that melts in your mouth. The combination of evaporated milk, cream cheese, and sharp cheddar creates a richness that’s hard to resist.
- Family Favorite! Crockpot mac and cheese guarantees to win over both kids and adults alike, earning its status as a favorite for weeknight dinners as well as holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Elbow Macaroni: These pasta tubes hold their shape beautifully and soak up the creamy cheese sauce without getting mushy.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese: Its aged sharpness gives the creamy sauce a delicious flavor.
- Milk: A combination of whole milk and evaporated milk thin the sauce out and add to its texture.
- Cream Cheese: It adds a touch of acidity and helps thicken the sauce for a truly decadent texture.
- Seasonings: Salt and black pepper enhance the overall flavor.
- Spices: Paprika and garlic powder work their magic in the background, adding a hint of savory complexity.
How To Make Crockpot Mac And Cheese
Just like my one pot spaghetti, this slow cooker mac and cheese is a kid-friendly dish that is a breeze to make! With simple steps and basic ingredients, it’s the perfect family meal without the fuss.
Assemble The Dish
To begin, lightly spray the inside of your crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. This little trick ensures that your mac and cheese will slide out easily when done and makes cleanup quick.
Next, place the uncooked elbow macaroni in an even layer on the bottom of your crockpot. Then add the shredded sharp cheddar cheese followed by the whole milk, evaporated milk, cream cheese, salt, black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder, and stir everything together to combine.
Cook And Serve
Now, put the lid on the crockpot, set it to low, and let it cook for 1.5 to 2 hours. When ready, stir your crockpot mac and cheese one more time and add a little milk if it seems too thick. Then serve it as the main course with some side dishes or alongside some crispy fish sticks or a juicy air fryer steak.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can personalize your crockpot mac and cheese by mixing a variety of add-ins into the finished dish. For extra protein, consider cooked bacon, shredded chicken, or ground beef. Vegetables like steamed broccoli, frozen peas, or baby spinach also make great additions. For a spicy twist, try pickled jalapeños. You can also experiment with other cheeses like Gouda and Gruyere.
Graininess in the sauce often results from overheating the cheese or using pre-shredded cheese, which contains anti-caking agents. To avoid this, cook on low heat and use freshly shredded cheese.
First, unlike baked mac and cheese, you don’t need to pre-cook your pasta! Mushy pasta typically occurs from overcooking. To prevent this, check the pasta after 1.5 hours. Remember, the noodles will continue to soften even after turning off the crockpot.
Dryness can result from not using enough liquid ingredients or cooking the mac and cheese for too long. To fix dry mac and cheese, try stirring in a bit more milk or after cooking. Also, ensure your crockpot’s lid is secure during cooking to prevent moisture loss.
- Keep an eye on the cooking time. Overcooking can lead to a grainy texture and mushy pasta, so it’s best to check the mac and cheese after an hour and a half.
- Shred your cheddar fresh. Pre-shredded cheese often contains anti-caking agents that can affect the sauce’s texture. For ultimate creaminess, shred your cheddar just before adding it to the pot.
- Spice it up. Feel free to add a teaspoon of dry mustard powder, a pinch of cayenne pepper, or a dash of hot sauce to give the dish a subtle kick.
- Add a garnish. Add a sprinkle of fresh parsley, crumbled bacon, or breadcrumbs toasted in butter for added texture and flavor right before serving.
You can store leftover crockpot mac and cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Then reheat it gently in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding a splash of milk or heavy cream if needed to maintain creaminess.
You can also freeze leftovers for up to 3 months and let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Just keep in mind that freezing will alter the texture.
Discover More Delicious Crockpot Recipes
- Crockpot Chicken And Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Chocolate Candy
- Crockpot Crack Chicken
- Slow Cooker Pork Chops
- Slow Cooker Sausage And Peppers
- Crockpot Steak And Gravy
Craving More? Follow Along:
Crockpot Mac And Cheese
- 16 ounces elbow macaroni
- 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cup evaporated milk
- 8 ounces cream cheese cubed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Begin by lightly spraying the interior of the crockpot with non-stick cooking spray. This ensures that your finished mac and cheese can be served with ease, and it facilitates simpler cleanup.
- To the crockpot, add the uncooked elbow macaroni evenly across the base, followed by the shredded cheddar, whole milk, evaporated milk, cream cheese, salt, black pepper, paprika and garlic powder.
- Gently toss all the ingredients together.
- Place the lid on the crockpot. Set it to low and let it do its thing for 1.5 to 2 hours.
- When time's up, give it one last good stir. If it's thicker than you like, a splash of milk will fix it right up. Serve warm.
Tips & Notes:
- Cheese Tips: For the best flavor and texture, shred your cheddar cheese from a block rather than buying pre-shredded cheese.
- Milk Matters: I recommend using whole milk and evaporated milk for their richness, but you can substitute with lower-fat options if preferred.
- Spice It Up: In this recipe I use basic spices like garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Feel free to adjust these to taste, or add in other favorites like mustard powder or onion powder for an extra flavor kick.
- Stirring Strategy: Halfway through the cooking time, give the mac and cheese a good stir. This helps to ensure even cooking and prevents any pasta from sticking to the bottom of the crockpot.