You can’t get any simpler than this 6 ingredients Crock Pot Mac and Cheese. So creamy and you don’t even have to boil the pasta, just dump and go and you’ll have the ultimate comfort food!
Crock Pot Mac n Cheese
Slowly cooking macaroni and cheese in a crock pot creates the creamiest version of this ultimate comfort food. You don’t even have to cook the pasta first. One pot recipes are the best!
I love the slow cooker for carnitas and ribs, but it’s also great for sides when you don’t want to heat up the oven, or you just need some homemade mac and cheese without all the fuss.
Don’t get me wrong, I love old fashioned mac and cheese, and spinach mac and cheese, but you do have to cook the pasta and make the sauce. For those occasions when you want to have a fabulous side dish ready without doing any work, or just don’t feel like cooking, you’ll love this 6 ingredient slow cooker mac and cheese recipe.
The pasta cooks slowly in the milk mixture giving it more flavor without getting mushy. You still get a creamy cheese mac and cheese but without any of the fuss. If you love these flavors but don’t have all day, a baked macaroni pie is the way to go.
This is a great pasta casserole for family gatherings or a holiday meal when you don’t have the oven space to bake another side dish. If you don’t have time to wait, but still are craving mac and cheese, try broccoli pasta that is done in the time it takes to boil water.
Why you’ll love It
- Just 6 ingredients
- Very easy recipe
- No need to boil the pasta
- No mess to clean up
- You don’t have to make a cheese sauce
- Creamy and cheesy
What you’ll need
- Cheddar Cheese – for the traditional taste of macaroni and cheese you’ll want to use a sharp cheddar cheese. If you want it really gooey, add some American cheese with it. You can add different cheeses such as white cheddar any of your favorites.
- Eggs – unlike most recipes, this one contains eggs, which gives it a custardy texture.
- Milk – for a creamy sauce you’ll want to use whole milk, 2% will work, it just won’t be quite as creamy
- Evaporated milk – you’ll need a 12 ounce can that can be found on the baking aisle. You can not use sweetened condensed milk and you can’t substitute regular milk.
- Pasta – you can use any shape you want, elbow pasta is traditional, but I also like cavatappi and orecchiette. I have not tried this with gluten-free pasta but understand that it cooks quicker so you will need to check it more frequently to keep it from getting mushy.
- Butter – because everything is better with a little butter!
Pro Tip: When making macaronie and cheese, try to avoid using pre-grated cheese. It will not melt as well and you won’t get the same cheesy texture. It will still work with pre-grated cheese, so in a pinch grab the pre-grated package – I get it. If you have just a few more minutes go for a block and grate it yourself.
Why do you use evaporated milk?
Evaporated milk is different from regular milk in that it has been cooked down until about half of the water content is gone leaving a thicker creamier milk that is great for sauces and macaroni and cheese. It’s not sweetened like condensed milk but can still add a rich creamy flavor and texture to any recipe.
It’s not needed in my recipes for mac and cheese with cottage cheese or a Southern style mac and cheese because cottage cheese or cream provide the creaminess that you can’t get with milk alone. However it’s used in brisket mac and cheese to increase the creamy texture where the other liquid is half-and-half and not cream.
How to make crock pot mac n cheese
Step 1: Combine the ingredients
Whisk the eggs and add all the ingredients including uncooked pasta and add to the crock pot reserving ¼ cup of cheese.
If you have an older slow cooker, it will help to spray it with cooking spray before adding the ingredients to keep it from sticking. This isn’t needed if yours has a non-stick surface.
Step 2: Cook
Cook on low heat for 1 hour, then stir, add cheese and cook an additional 1 ½ hours.
How long does it need to cook?
Every crock pot and slow cooker are a little different when it comes to the cooking time. I find that mine cooks hotter than some. When you stir it at one hour, check and see if it’s done. If the pasta is cooked, it may be ready in just an hour. Don’t overcook it or the pasta will get mushy.
Once it’s done, turn the slow cooker to the warm setting until ready to serve.
Can you make slow cooker mac and cheese ahead of time?
Since it takes so little effort to put this together, I would not prep it in advance, the pasta will start to absorb the liquid and you could end up with mushy pasta.
While you don’t have to serve this the moment it’s done, it will dry out if it sits in the slow cooker too long.
FAQs and tips
Is evaporated milk the same as condensed milk?
The two are completely different. They are both thicker milk but condensed milk is sweet and is typically used in desserts, where evaporated milk will add richness but is not sweetened.
Why did my pasta get mushy?
The pasta can get mushy if it cooks too long. Since all crock pots are different, check it at an hour and then every 15 minutes until you know how long it will take in your crock pot or slow cooker.
Can you double the recipe?
If your crock pot is large enough, you can double the recipe. You will need at least a 6 quart crock pot.
How to make leftover mac and cheese creamy?
Macaroni and cheese can dry out when reheated so it’s best to add a little milk and cover it with foil. Bake for about 10 minutes at 350º.
What can you serve with Mac and Cheese?
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Crock Pot Mac and Cheese
- 8 ounces Cheddar Cheese grated
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- ¼ cup butter melted
- 2 ½ cups milk
- 12 ounces evaporated milk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 8 ounces pasta
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and evaporated milk. Add melted butter, 2 ¾ cup of the cheese and uncooked pasta and pour into a crock pot.
- Cook on low for 1 hour, stir and add the remaining cheese and cook an additional 30 minutes to 1 hours depending on how your crock pot cooks. All are a little different.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- All crock pots cook differently so the times will vary. Check the pasta at 1 hour and then every 15 minutes until you see how long it will take in your crock pot.
- If your noodles are mushy, it cooked too long.
Oh my does this look like that GOOD kind of mac, yummy! THIS is exactly what I personally need right now; even being able to dump the pasta. Sometimes life gets to be too much to even boil water. My body will be thanking you for this shortly, but for now my heart does!
Barbara Curry says
I agree, hope you love it!
I HAD to come back and tell you – ohmygoodness that was absolutely the best mac I’ve ever made! AND the simplest! I tried adding a lil dry mustard but didn’t notice a difference, so won’t bother next time. THANK YOU so much for maybe the most ideal recipe (in ALL ways!) I’ve ever tried! Fan-tab-u-lous!!
Barbara Curry says
Thanks so much, I’m glad this was a recipe you love, you made my day!