Easy slow cooker mac and cheese is made with simple ingredients for a rich taste and creamy texture guaranteed to please. Prepare it in no time for the perfect side dish for holidays, weeknights, and everything in between!
Why You’ll Love Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
Is there anything better than a warm, creamy bowl of macaroni and cheese?! We grew up loving it as kids, and it’s still one of our favorite recipes today. In fact, we love it so much we have multiple recipes like our easy baked mac and cheese and our truffle mac and cheese. However, no matter how many variations we make, we always find ourselves coming back to this easy slow cooker mac and cheese. A crowd-pleasing recipe, it seriously just can’t be beat! Here’s why:
- It requires just 10 budget-friendly pantry staples.
- All you need is just a few minutes of prep work. No boiling required!
- It’s unbelievably creamy and ultra decadent every single time.
- This recipe can easily be doubled and is always loved by kids and adults alike.
Ingredients You’ll Need
We took traditional mac and cheese and took it to the next level creating an extra creamy texture and rich taste! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Pasta – We used regular elbow macaroni, but any pasta shape you prefer would work.
- Whole Milk – The higher fat content of whole milk is key to creating the best mac and cheese.
- Evaporated Milk – Provides creaminess and extra body (or fluff) to your mac and cheese without weighing it down with tons of fat.
- Cheese – For the best results, we include a combination of sharp Cheddar and Gouda cheeses, but feel free to mix and match with whatever you like best.
- Sour Cream – Used to enhance the creaminess and add a slight hint of tangy flavor.
- Butter – Crucial for a smooth texture and indulgent flavor.
- Seasonings – Garlic salt, kosher salt, and black pepper make this mac and cheese the best you’ll ever taste!
How to Make Mac and Cheese in a Slow Cooker
With this slow cooker mac and cheese, you won’t have to spend time hovering over the stove waiting for your pasta to boil. Just dump it all in the slow cooker, and come back later!
- Add the pasta noodles, 3 cups of whole milk, evaporated milk, and seasonings to your slow cooker, and stir to combine.
- Cover, and cook on high for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Mix in the cheese, sour cream, butter, and remaining milk.
- Cover again, and continue to cook for 30 minutes.
- Adjust the seasonings to taste, serve warm, and enjoy!
Can I Make this Recipe in the Oven Instead?
For a homemade oven baked option, we recommend checking out our easy baked mac and cheese! It’s every bit as simple to make and tasty as this recipe.
Protein. For a complete meal, add your favorite protein options like ground beef, turkey, chicken, shrimp, or even lobster!
Veggies. Boost the nutritional benefits for a healthy side dish with veggies like broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, spinach, and peas.
Beans. Add a little extra texture and plant-based protein when you stir in your favorite beans.
Breadcrumbs. Create a crunchy topping by sprinkling breadcrumbs on top just before serving.
Can I Double The Recipe?
Yes! However, to do so, you’ll likely need to add on extra cooking time. Keep the pot covered, and cook an additional 30 minutes or so until the noodles are soft and the ingredients have melted and combined.
This slow cooker mac and cheese is best eaten right away while it’s still warm. However, if you do have leftovers, they can be transferred to an airtight container and kept in the fridge for 2-3 days. Or, keep it in the freezer for 2 months.
To Reheat: Let leftovers thaw in the fridge. Then, warm them in the microwave for a minute or two. Or, transfer them back to the slow cooker, and warm on low until heated through. It is likely that the ingredients will separate, but just give them a good stir. They’ll still taste great!
More Satisfying Sides
Loved this slow cooker mac and cheese recipe? Try out more of our favorite family-friendly sides!
- Served sweet or savory, this Slow Cooker Coconut Rice is a game-changing rice pudding recipe.
- Indulgent, garlicky, and cheesy, these Garlic Knots are pure perfection in every bite.
- These Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes are the creamiest, most delicious golden mashed potatoes you’ll ever make.
- This Greek Rice Bake is loaded with flavor and unbelievably easy to create!
Easy Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
- 16 ounces elbow macaroni
- 3.5 cups whole milk (divided)
- 12 ounces evaporated milk
- 16 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces Gouda cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 4 ounces butter
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- Black pepper to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the macaroni, 3 cups milk, evaporated milk, garlic salt, and pepper in the slow cooker. Cover, and cook on high for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid, and stir in the Cheddar and Gouda cheese, sour cream, butter and the remaining milk. Stir well. Cover, and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve warm!
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