Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese

November 17, 2020
Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese has all the creamy cheesy downhome goodness we love, with the added bonus of crock pot convenience. It's truly the easiest to make mac & cheese around, all the while saving that oven space, too!  Its cheesy deliciousness and ease of prep make it a fabulous choice when preparing any holiday or everyday meal.

Serving Spoon of Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese Image

I'll take mac and cheese in about any form -- whether it's my absolute favorite baked macaroni and cheese, the 5-cheese stove top stuff, or even mac and cheese muffins.  Because truly, I've never met a mac and cheese I didn't like.  And I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one.

There's just something about its melty cheesiness and downhome goodness that make mac and cheese one of the absolute best foods around.  It's pure comfort in a pan.  

And when it comes to finding the absolute easiest mac and cheese to make? -- It's just got to be this Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese.

This slow cooker version's got all the creamy cheesy downhome goodness we love, with the added bonus of crock pot convenience.  

Simply combine all the ingredients in the pot and let the slow cooker do it's thing.  Three hours later, you've got yourself one big ol' pot of cheesy deliciousness.  All the while saving that oven space, too. -- Another great bonus, especially when preparing holiday and other big meals.

This slow cooker version's got all the creamy cheesy downhome goodness we love, with the added bonus of crock pot convenience. 

Now, when trying out several methods for making crock pot macaroni and cheese, one big factor I tested out was whether or not to cook the macaroni at all before mixing it in the crock pot with the other ingredients.

Some cooking methods I found called for placing dry, uncooked noodles in the slow cooker.  Others called for fully cooked noodles, and some called for boiling the noodles for just a bit to partially cook them prior to beginning their time in the crock pot.

I found that partially-cooked noodles work best, producing the best textured result.  With partially cooked noodles that have been boiled for 5 minutes, the finished slow cooker macaroni and cheese is tender in texture, with the presence of individual macaroni noodles evident.

Starting with fully-cooked noodles resulted in a texture that was too mushy. While when starting with uncooked dry noodles, the result ended up gloppy with barely any distinction between the individual noodles. -- The noodles just seemed to cook into one clumpy blob.

For the best result, we recommend boiling the macaroni for 5 minutes to partially cook before combining it in the slow cooker with the remaining ingredients.

Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese Image

Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese Ingredients

Two kinds of cheese and two types of milk combine to produce the best flavor and creaminess in this slow cooker version.  Other than standard macaroni noodles, of course, you'll need:

  • Cheddar cheese - A generous amount of shredded cheddar brings great cheesy flavor. We like the flavor with medium cheddar best, but mild, medium, or sharp cheddar can all be used with this recipe.  Grate the cheese yourself from a block for the best result, rather than using packaged pre-shredded cheese.  Cheese your grate yourself melts more readily than packaged pre-shredded.

  • Mozzarella cheese - Mozzarella is more melty than cheddar, and brings really nice cheesy creaminess to the finished mac and cheese.

  • Evaporated milk & whole milk - A combination of two types of milk brings depth of flavor and contributes to the dish's creaminess.

  • Eggs - Serve to bind the macaroni and cheese together a bit so it's texture is more that of baked macaroni and cheese, rather than looser stove top mac and cheese.

  • Butter - A little melted unsalted butter adds richness to the flavor.

  • Salt & pepper - The mac and cheese is seasoned simply with just a bit of salt and pepper.  Boil the macaroni in salted water, and use a little salt in the mac and cheese mixture, as well, for nice seasoning throughout.

Plate of Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese Image

How to Make Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese

Whipping up a crock of this cheesy deliciousness is really super easy.

Start by partially cooking the macaroni noodles.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni, and boil the noodles for just 5 minutes to cook them just a little bit.  Salting the water allows the noodles to absorb a bit of salt as they cook, seasoning them all throughout.

While the noodles cook, spray your crock pot with non-stick cooking spray.  Then place a couple of eggs in and lightly beat them with a whisk.

With partially cooked noodles, the finished slow cooker macaroni and cheese is tender in texture, with the presence of individual macaroni noodles evident.

Add evaporated milk, whole milk, a little melted butter, shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese, and a touch of salt and pepper.  Stir this all together until everything's well combined.

Next, add in the partially-cooked drained macaroni and stir to combine, making sure all the noodles are coated in the cheese mixture.

Cover and cook the macaroni and cheese on the LOW setting for 3 hours, without stirring.

Crock Pot Macaroni & Cheese Image

Once the mac & cheese has cooked, remove the crock pot lid and sprinkle the top evenly with more shredded cheddar. Then recover and cook an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.  

This adds a nice melty-cheese look to the top, and gives just that much more delicious cheesy flavor to every bite.

Now a note about cooking -- Cooking time can vary a bit based on your slow cooker.  Some crock pots cook "hotter" and faster than others, it seems.

Check to see if the macaroni is tender and all liquid is absorbed to judge when the macaroni & cheese is done.  If your slow cooker tends to cook fast (like mine does), the mac & cheese will done in 2 hours and 45 minutes to 3 hours.  If it cooks slower, it may take a little more time (like up to 3 hours and 30 minutes).

Fork Bite of Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese Image

See? Super easy, right?

Just toss a few simple ingredients in the slow cooker, and let the pot do its thing.  You'll end up with all the creamy cheesy downhome goodness we love, with the added bonus of crock pot convenience. It's truly the easiest to make mac & cheese around, all the while saving that oven space, too!  

Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese's deliciousness and ease of prep make it a fabulous choice when preparing any holiday or everyday meal, for sure.

Check out these other super tasty mac & cheese recipes:
Serving Spoon of Crock Pot Macaroni & Cheese Image
Thank you for stopping by The Kitchen is My Playground. We'd love to have you back soon!

slow cooker macaroni and cheese, crock pot macaroni and cheese, how to make macaroni and cheese in a slow cooker, how to make macaroni and cheese in a crock pot
Side Dishes
American
Yield: about 12-14 servings
Author: Tracey | The Kitchen is My Playground
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Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese

Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese

All the creamy cheesy downhome goodness we love, with the added bonus of crock pot convenience. Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese is truly the easiest to make mac & cheese around, all the while saving that oven space, too!  Its cheesy deliciousness and ease of prep make it a fabulous choice when preparing any holiday or everyday meal.

Prep time: 25 MinCook time: 3 H & 10 MTotal time: 3 H & 35 M

Ingredients

  • 4 c. uncooked macaroni noodles
  • 4 c. shredded medium cheddar cheese (divided: 3 c. for mixing in + 1 c. reserved for topping)
  • 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 6 T. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni noodles and cook for 5 minutes; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, spray the bowl of a 4-quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.  Place 3 cups shredded cheddar, shredded mozzarella, eggs, evaporated milk, whole milk, melted butter, salt, and pepper in slow cooker; stir to combine.
  3. Add drained partially-cooked macaroni to slow cooker; stir to combine.
  4. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 3 hours, WITHOUT STIRRING.
  5. Remove lid and sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1 cup shredded cheddar. Recover and cook an additional 10 minutes until cheese is melted.
TRACEY'S NOTES:
  1. Mild, medium, or sharp cheddar can be used in this recipe -- we like the flavor with medium cheddar best. 
  2. For the best result, shred your own blocks of cheese rather than purchasing packaged pre-shredded cheese.  Cheese shredded yourself from blocks melts more smoothly and is more creamy.
  3. Cooking time can vary based on your slow cooker.  Check to see if the macaroni is tender and all liquid is absorbed to judge when the macaroni & cheese is done.  If your slow cooker cooks fast, it will done in 2 hours and 45 minutes to 3 hours.  If it cooks slower, it may take a little more time (like up to 3 hours and 30 minutes).
Created using The Recipes Generator


Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese ~ All the creamy cheesy downhome goodness we love, with the added bonus of crock pot convenience! Truly the easiest to make mac & cheese around, all the while saving that oven space. Its cheesy deliciousness & ease of prep make it a fabulous choice when preparing any holiday or everyday meal. #crockpotmacandcheese #slowcookermacandcheese #macaroniandcheese  www.thekitchenismyplayground.com


This post is linked with Weekend Potluck, Meal Plan Monday.

1 comment

  1. Wow - this looks and sounds amazing - and so easy! Pinned! Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner party! Have a wonderful weekend.

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