Creamy slow cooker mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food! This easy crockpot side dish is made with elbow noodles in a cheesy sauce and is perfect for holidays or anytime you are serving a crowd!
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Best Crockpot Mac and Cheese
This is one of our favorite side dish recipes for any holiday. Slow cooking just makes everything easier. Some of my other favorite slow cooker sides are crockpot creamed corn, crockpot mashed potatoes and slow cooker carrots.
If you’re looking for a recipe for slow cooker mac and cheese without evaporated milk, this is it! My two year old LOVES this recipe and asks for it pretty much every day. Luckily it makes a lot, so we always have leftovers for lunch the next day. It warms up great!
I love that this dish is made all in the slow cooker. No precooking the noodles or making a roux. It would make the perfect side dish alongside a roasted turkey for Thanksgiving! Also, makes a great dinner when you don’t have a lot of time to prep.
Just a few ingredients are needed to make the creamiest crockpot mac and cheese.
Find the full printable recipe with measurements below.
- Cavatappi pasta: I love using this shape, but you can opt for elbow macaroni or some other type just know that the cook time will be different.
- Salted butter: I use salted, but you can use unsalted if you prefer. You may just have to add a little extra salt.
- Cream cheese: This helps give the pasta an extra creamy texture.
- Whole milk: You want whole milk for the added creaminess.
- Heavy cream: This just ups the richness, but you can opt to use all whole milk, if you prefer.
- Cheese: I love using a combination of sharp cheddar cheese and pepper jack cheese.
Type of Cheese to Use
I typically use a sharp cheddar and Monterey jack cheese combo, but the pepper jack cheese tasted amazing. It has a tiny little kick, but not enough for my kids to notice the difference. It really just adds an awesome flavor and makes the sauce extra thick and creamy.
How to Make Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
This dish is SO simple…just throw everything in the crockpot and let it do the work for you! Scroll down for the printable recipe and video tutorial below.
- Combine. Add the uncooked noodles to the bottom of the crock pot. Put the sliced butter, cream cheese, salt and pepper on top. Then pour in the milk and heavy cream and give the mixture a stir.
- Cook. Place lid on top and cook on low until the pasta is tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Make sure to stir at the halfway mark.
- Melt cheese. Mix in the cheeses and then cover and let melt for another 5 to 10 minutes. Stir and enjoy!
- Other types of noodles (like elbow or macaroni) will work too. Cooking time will vary, so keep an eye on the mac n cheese after about an hour.
- I used shredded sharp cheddar and pepper jack cheese, but you can also use Monterey jack or even gouda as well.
- To thin out the sauce, add more milk. To thicken, add more cheese.
- Add a dash of buffalo sauce if you like a little heat.
- To reheat, either place in the microwave or oven until warmed throughout. I like to add a small splash of milk before reheating, to make sure it doesn’t dry out when warming back up.
No, that’s the best part about this recipe! The uncooked pasta goes straight into the crock pot and will cook over the course of the 2 hours. It softens up and has the perfect consistency. So so easy and no boiling required!
I have never tried it myself, but I have heard that you can replace heavy cream with evaporated milk to get the creaminess without the fat.
You can make this your own by adding garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, or dry mustard.
If you’re not serving the mac and cheese immediately, you can turn it to the warm setting once it’s done cooking. The longer that it sits, the cheese sauce will likely thicken up a bit. So give it a big stir and add more milk before serving to thin out the sauce as needed.
More Types of Macaroni and Cheese
Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese Recipe
- 1 pound uncooked cavatappi pasta
- 4 Tablespoons salted butter , sliced
- 4 ounces cream cheese , cut into cubes
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne or ground black pepper
- 3 cups whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream (can also use whole milk)
- 2 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup freshly shredded pepper jack cheese (can sub with monterey jack)
- In the bottom of a crockpot, place the uncooked pasta. Add butter, cream cheese, salt, and pepper on top. Pour the milk and cream on top and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the pasta is tender. Stir halfway through.
- Once the noodles are ready, add the cheese on top and stir to combine. Cover and let cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
- Stir before serving. Salt and pepper to taste. If not serving immediately, set the crockpot to warm and add more milk to thin out the sauce, as needed.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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