Slow Cooker Baked Mac and Cheese is the ultimate cheesy creamy comfort food for the whole family to enjoy! This macaroni and cheese is perfect as a side dish to my Slow Cooker Turkey Breast or for dinner on it’s own.
I was a little nervous to make Mac and Cheese in the Slow Cooker! Whenever I make a pasta dish, even though all my other ones turned out great like, Baked Ziti and Lasagna, I get nervous! Plus I decided I would bring it over to a friends house whose a chef and owns 5 restaurants so I knew it had to be delicious. Low and behold it was a hit! I received rave reviews from adults and kids. Mine turned out great on the first try but make sure and read the tips below to make sure yours is baked to perfection.
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No Boil Slow Cooker Baked Mac and Cheese
I wasn’t sure how the little elbow noodles were going to cook and if they were going to get mushy! It was a big debate if I should cook the noodles ahead or time or leave them raw. But finally I decided raw was the best choice with the liquid in the dish. And that turned out to be the right decision.
The noodles started to plump up after about an hour and then it need a good stir and cooked for another hour. It was cooked it perfection at 1 hour and 52 minutes. (Like I said, I was nervous making sure I didn’t over cook it.) Please make sure and read the tips below to make sure your turns out great!
Tips for Making Slow Cooker Baked Mac and Cheese
I’ve found that making homemade mac and cheese can be a little tricky! Whenever I made it in the oven it always seemed to dry out. Every other time I have made my own sauce with flour it just doesn’t turn into the creamy sauce I’m looking for. This method works every time! But you do need to make sure to make it the right way!
– Check it often! This is not a fix it and forget it dish, if you’re looking for that try my creamed corn. I like to check this dish after the first hour. You have a chance to stir it and check on the noodles to make sure they don’t over cook. Then I usually check every stir every 15 minutes after that if needed.
– Cook time varies. Every Crock Pot is different and cooks different. You will need to adjust your cook time for you crock pot. The larger the slow cooker you use, the more quickly the dish will cook as the ingredients are closer to the heat.
If you are making this for Thanksgiving or any holiday I recommend a dry run since there are so many variables.
– You MUST grate your own cheese! Do not buy bagged pre-shredded cheese. This cheese has an anti-caking ingredient that makes it more difficult to melt and the consistency won’t be correct.
– If you don’t like Velveeta, feel free to swap it for American Cheese. But you have to get it from the deli and request a block of it and shred it yourself because the slices won’t work.
Why Make it in the Crock Pot?
People always love to ask me this question! Well, I love my Crock Pot obviously, hence my entire blog! But here are the main reasons I like to use my Crock Pot instead of just making Velveeta Shells on the stove.
* Camping! Who doesn’t want to eat Mac and Cheese while their camping, add some hot dogs into it and dinner is done.
* The oven and stove are taken. On Thanksgiving my oven is taken by a turkey and my stove has green beans and mashed potatoes cooking. I like to break this out when it’s a busy kitchen to keep it a little less chaotic.
* It travels well! I love taking this to parties and potlucks! I have a Cook and Carry Crock Pot which I love for this reason. You can make this Mac and Cheese at your house and then just plug it in at the party on warm. You can give it a good stir and pour a little milk into it if it needs to be thinned out once you arrive.
Gluten Free Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
All of my recipes are Gluten Free! I make everything gluten free in our house because my husband has celiac disease, which is when you are allergic to gluten.
Our favorite pasta is the Gluten Free Barillla Pasta line. I use the elbow noodles for this recipe. I find that it is the best one at staying together while cooking. Some brands disintegrate especially when using in this kind of recipe where the pasta is soaking in sauce soaking.
If you are not gluten free feel free to use regular elbow noodles!
How to Make Slow Cooker Baked Mac and Cheese
Pour noodles into slow cooker. Add shredded cheese and cubed Velveeta cheese on top.
Pour milk and evaporated milk.
Add spices and stir everything to combine. Try to get the macaroni covered in as much liquid as possible.
Cook on low for 1 hour and check noodles.
Check every 15 minutes after the first hour. Once noodles are soft turn to warm until serving.
Loaded Mac and Cheese
Don’t forget you can easily make Mac and Cheese into the main dish! Just add some delicious bacon, ham, ground beef or even hot dogs. This is a great way to stretch this meal. We added some pancetta at the end to ours to give it a little extra but left it off for the kids.
Slow Cooker Baked Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound gluten free elbow noodles
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 12 oz evaporated milk
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar not pre shredded
- 8 oz Velveeta cut into small cubes
- 2 tablespoons butter cut into cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Dash of cayenne pepper to taste
- Pour noodles into slow cooker. Add shredded cheese and cubed Velveeta cheese on top.
- Pour milk, evaporated milk, and butter into slow cooker.
- Add garlic powder, mustard, cayenne, and stir everything to combine. Try to get the macaroni covered in as much liquid as possible.
- Cook on low for 1 hour, stir.
- Check every 15 minutes after the first hour to make sure noodles don’t overcook.
- Once the noodles are cooked and soft, turn to warm until serving.