This Creamy Crock Pot Mac and Cheese is easy to make and turns out perfectly smooth and velvety every time. You only need a few simple ingredients to have a delicious bowl of comfort that the whole family will love!
Traditionally, mac and cheese is made on the stovetop, but it can also be made with the help of your slow cooker! After cooking the pasta, add it to the crock pot along with some simple ingredients to make a deliciously creamy cheese sauce. Let it heat up and melt together, and you've got a crock pot full of creamy mac and cheese!
This recipe is perfect for those busy weeknights when you don't have much time to cook. Use it as a side dish for a hearty protein, or enjoy it in a big bowl on its own!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- This family favorite is made with simple ingredients you may already have on hand.
- Great for when you need a quick meal or side dish and only takes a few hours to make.
- The sauce is creamy and smooth, making this dish ultra-satisfying.
- You can change up the type of pasta or cheese used to make it your own!
INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED
- Elbow Macaroni Noodles - This pasta is short and round, making it the perfect mac and cheese pasta. Feel free to use any short pasta you enjoy.
- Whole Milk - Helps thin out the creamy cheese sauce while keeping it rich and flavorful.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese - You'll need to shred cheese from a block of cheddar for this recipe for the best flavor and texture.
- Parmesan Cheese - Adds a salty and sharp flavor that compliments the dish.
- Cream Cheese - Gives the pasta dish a rich tangy, and thick texture.
- Sour Cream - Adds additional tartness along with a creamy texture.
- Dried Spices - A mix of salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder properly season and enhance the dish.
HOW TO MAKE MAC AND CHEESE IN THE CROCK POT
Cook the pasta: Boil and cook the elbow macaroni according to the package instructions. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Add it to the slow cooker.
Assemble the mac and cheese: To the crock pot, add the milk, cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, salt, black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.
Cover and cook: Add the lid to the top and cook on LOW for 2½ hours. Stir halfway through.
Add the sour cream: When there are 15 minutes left of cooking time left, stir in the sour cream and stir until fully combined. Cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Plate and enjoy: Stir it, taste to adjust seasonings, and serve while hot. Enjoy!
- When cooking the pasta, you may want to undercook it slightly. This will allow it to finish cooking in the crock pot without becoming overcooked and mushy.
- You must use cheese shredded off a block as pre-shredded cheese contains anti-caking agents that will prevent the cheese sauce from properly forming.
- If you want a thinner cheese sauce, add an additional ¼ cup of milk when adding the sour cream.
- Do not add the sour cream until last, as it may cause the sauce to curdle.
- Do not mix the pasta with the first round of ingredients, as the cheese and cream cheese needs to sit on top to melt so it does not burn.
- Add in some diced ham or bacon for a heartier dish.
- Stir in some cooked veggies like broccoli, peas, or corn.
- Try using a different type of cheese like Gruyere, American, or Swiss.
- Add a little bit of hot sauce or diced jalapenos to give it some spice.
- Use your favorite gluten-free pasta instead of elbow macaroni noodles for a gluten-free version.
- Make it a meal by topping it with grilled chicken, steak, or BBQ pulled pork.
HOW TO STORE MAC & CHEESE
Storing: Cooled leftovers should be stored in the fridge in an airtight container, lasting up to five days.
Freezing: This crock pot mac and cheese can be frozen in a freezer-safe container or ziplock for up to 3 months.
Reheating: Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stove over low heat or in the microwave. Add a little milk to thin out as needed.
Your Favorite Slow Cooker
Rinse pasta in cold water and drain. Add to the slow cooker.
Add milk, cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, salt, black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.
Cover and cook on low for 2½ hours. Stir halfway through to mix everything together.
Fifteen minutes before cook time is up, add in sour cream. Mix well to incorporate and cover. Continue to cook for 15 minutes.
Server while hot and enjoy.
If you're tired of the same old dinner routine, you're in luck! Chef Ryan loves to create meals that are sure to impress your entire family. Whether you're a busy parent of just looking for an easy and delicious meal.