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The easiest, most delicious Southern side dish recipe: Crock Pot Mac and Cheese! This simple combination of milk, cheese, butter, pasta and eggs pairs beautifully with just about any meal — from a summer barbecue picnic to a Thanksgiving feast. Enjoy this comfort food all year long!

Close up front shot of crock pot macaroni and cheese recipe on a plate with a fork

Few dishes rival macaroni and cheese when it comes to popular sides. Whether you like it with elbow pasta or rotini, cheddar or Velveeta, this versatile and easy recipe is a crowd-pleasing option for any occasion!

Where did this simple Crock Pot Mac and Cheese recipe come from?

I had never really considered using my slow cooker for macaroni and cheese until my friend Jackie introduced me to this version. She originally found the recipe in one of those local self-published cookbooks that the high school students put together as a fundraiser.

I made Jackie’s recipe from that little cookbook a couple of times, and ultimately decided that I needed to share it here. When I went to compare it to other slow cooker mac and cheese recipes online, I realized that it’s almost identical to Trisha Yearwood’s Crock Pot Mac and Cheese. As a result, I give full credit to Trisha Yearwood, and I assume that the high school cookbook simply adapted her original. Either way, I can assure you that this Southern treat is absolutely delicious!

Close up front shot of bowl of crock pot macaroni and cheese

How to make Crock Pot Mac and Cheese:

You only need a handful of basic ingredients for this easy mac and cheese recipe:

  • Elbow macaroni
  • Milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Salt, pepper and seasoned salt
Ingredients for crock pot mac and cheese

First, boil the pasta just until it’s al dente (or still slightly firm). I usually cook it about 1 minute less than the instructions on the box, since the macaroni will continue to cook in the Crock Pot later. Drain the pasta.

Cooked elbow macaroni draining in colander

While the pasta cooks, prepare the rest of the ingredients. I like to hand-grate a block of cheddar because I find that the block of cheese melts smoother than the pre-shredded bags of cheese that you can buy at the store.

Grating block of cheddar cheese on a cutting board

Then it’s just a matter of stirring together all of the ingredients in the slow cooker, but remember to reserve 1/2 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top. So easy, right?!

The Crock Pot Mac and Cheese cooks on LOW for 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Front shot of macaroni and cheese in a Crock Pot

This macaroni and cheese sets up really well and can be sliced into squares or spooned into bowls. Garnish with paprika and fresh parsley, if desired!

Close up shot of bowl of Crock Pot Mac and Cheese with fork in it

What to serve with Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese:

This easy side dish pairs perfectly with a variety of meals. Try serving it alongside:

Fork digging into mac and cheese

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • Can you cook Crock Pot Mac and Cheese on HIGH? Yes, you can cook this mac and cheese on the “HIGH” setting for about 90 minutes, but remember: all Crock Pots cook at slightly different temperatures. If you have a slow cooker that runs hotter than average, it may be done sooner. Similarly, a Crock Pot that cooks at a lower temperature may take a bit longer. Just keep your eye on it and be sure that you don’t overcook the pasta.
  • Can I make Crock Pot Mac and Cheese the night before? To prep the mac and cheese in advance, I recommend boiling the pasta the night before (and rinse it under cold water after draining to remove some of the starch and prevent sticking). Keep the cooked macaroni in the refrigerator overnight, along with the grated cheese and other ingredients. When ready to start cooking the next day, add all of your prepared ingredients to the slow cooker insert as instructed below!
  • How to reheat Crock Pot Mac and Cheese: you can reheat the macaroni and cheese in the slow cooker on the “WARM” setting.
  • This recipe calls for cheddar cheese, but you can also use any combination of cheeses that you prefer. My boys love mild cheddar, but adding some sharp cheddar, pepper jack, gouda, white cheddar, gouda, fontina, gruyere or even Velveeta would also be delicious.
  • Try substituting rotini pasta for the elbow macaroni.
Piece of crock pot mac and cheese on a blue and white plate with a bite on a fork

More easy macaroni and cheese recipes that you might enjoy:

Close up front shot of crock pot macaroni and cheese recipe on a plate with a fork

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 3 hours 15 minutes
Total: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 10 – 12 people
Calories 325 kcal
The easiest, most delicious Southern side dish recipe! This simple combination of milk, cheese, butter, pasta and eggs pairs beautifully with just about any meal — from a summer barbecue picnic to a Thanksgiving feast.

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces dry elbow macaroni pasta
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 ½ cups milk (I used 2%)
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon seasoned salt (such as Lawry’s brand)
  • Dash of pepper
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 16 ounces (about 4 cups) grated cheddar cheese (mild or sharp is fine), divided
  • Optional garnish: paprika; chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Boil pasta in salted water just until al dente (or even slightly undercooked), about 1 minute less than called for on the box. Drain.
  • Spray the liner of a slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all of the ingredients, except ½ cup of the grated cheese, to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Sprinkle the reserved cheese over top.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 3 hours and 15 minutes – do not stir while it’s cooking.
  • Garnish with paprika and parsley just before serving.

Notes

  • Can you cook Crock Pot Mac and Cheese on HIGH? Yes, you can cook this mac and cheese on the “HIGH” setting for about 90 minutes, but remember: all Crock Pots cook at slightly different temperatures. If you have a slow cooker that runs hotter than average, it may be done sooner. Similarly, a Crock Pot that cooks at a lower temperature may take a bit longer. Just keep your eye on it and be sure that you don’t overcook the pasta.
  • Can I make Crock Pot Mac and Cheese the night before? To prep the mac and cheese in advance, I recommend boiling the pasta the night before (and rinse it under cold water after draining to remove some of the starch and prevent sticking). Keep the cooked macaroni in the refrigerator overnight, along with the grated cheese and other ingredients. When ready to start cooking the next day, add all of your prepared ingredients to the slow cooker insert as instructed below!
  • How to reheat Crock Pot Mac and Cheese: you can reheat the macaroni and cheese in the slow cooker on the “WARM” setting.
  • This recipe calls for cheddar cheese, but you can also use any combination of cheeses that you prefer. My boys love mild cheddar, but adding some sharp cheddar, pepper jack, gouda, white cheddar, gouda, fontina, gruyere or even Velveeta would also be delicious.
  • Try substituting rotini pasta for the elbow macaroni.
Recipe slightly adapted from Trisha Yearwood.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/12 of the recipeCalories: 325kcalCarbohydrates: 19.7gProtein: 16.3gFat: 20.5gSaturated Fat: 12.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.8gMonounsaturated Fat: 5.7gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 582.4mgPotassium: 201.2mgFiber: 0.7gSugar: 5.2g
Keyword: Crock Pot mac and cheese, easy macaroni and cheese recipe, slow cooker mac and cheese
Course: Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. Hi 🙂
    So if I use Velveeta instead its still 16 oz and cubed?
    How would you use it?
    Thank you. Love your recipes but especially your no knead bread. Fabulous!!!

    1. Hi, Carrie Anne! Yep, if you want to use Velveeta, I would use 16 ounces cubed. Make sure that you dice it fairly small so that it distributes evenly throughout the pasta. You can use an additional 1/2 cup of cheddar on top, or just reserve 1/2 cup of the velveeta to put on top. Either way! A little extra cheese never hurt. 🙂