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Slow Cooked Macaroni and Cheese

Today is crock pot recipe day and I am excited to share with you another easy and delicious crock pot recipe with you. Today’s recipe is the fourteenth recipe in my Crock Pot Favorites series. I can’t believe I have shared fourteen new crock pot recipes so far this year. This year is going by really fast.

Now I only have thirty, or more if I post one every week, crock pot recipes to go! Thirty recipes might sound like a lot, but I am looking forward to making and sharing some crock pot deliciousness over the next few months.

Now for today’s recipe. Today’s recipe is all about mac and cheese, because who does not love mac and cheese.

I had a slow cooker mac and cheese recipe that I used for years. It was easy to make and we loved it. I shared it back in the early days of this site, which was also the days where I occasionally posted a recipe without a picture. Blogging has changed over the last few years and so has my cooking.

That recipe called for a can of soup. For various reasons, including our food allergies and issues, I no longer use much canned soup. So, I knew it was a recipe that I needed to adapt and come up with a new version we loved.

It really did not take a lot of tweaking, except to remove the canned soup. I was actually surprised how well it turned out without the soup. The version with the soup may be a bit creamier, but besides that it worked great.

I also left out the eggs. The first time I made it, I left the eggs out because I simply forgot them. Anyone else occasionally leave things out of recipes? Yep, I do  that too. Leaving the eggs out in this recipe though was a good thing, because I realized that we liked it without the eggs.

With minor tweaking I had a new crock pot macaroni and cheese my family loved and could all enjoy.

Slow cooker macaroni and cheese is one of those recipe that does not need cooked all day. This is not a throw it in the crock pot and cook all day type of recipe. This is more like a cook on low for 3-4 hours type meals. And even that may vary if your crock pot cooks hot.

I am sure that you noticed that in one picture I used macaroni noodles and in the others I used spiral type noodles. And I also used two different crock pots. That is because the pictures were taken on two different days and I just use what I have on hand. I also like to use the shell kind of pasta too. So, use whatever you like for the pasta. Pretty much any shape will work here.

And I also noticed that I have this recipe titled three different things through this post. I guess that is because of the whole crock pot versus slow cooker debate. Is it crock pot macaroni and cheese, slow cooker macaroni and cheese, or slow cooked macaroni and cheese? Since I obviously can’t make up my mind, I will let you decide on that. Hopefully, you can make that decision better than I can.

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. Jill Oldehoeft says

    Will gluten free mac work? I have rice/quinoa mixed in a pasta.

    • Yes, I have used several different gluten free corn or corn blend pastas and they work fine. So, I think any gf pasta should work ok here.

  2. Sounds great! Do you know if this works with gluten free pasta? I would be afraid of a big crock pot full of mush. 🙂

  3. Jill Oldehoeft says

    Oh my gosh, Lee, you posted the same question at the same time! We must be very in tune! 🙂
    Thank you Lynn.

  4. Michele ºÜº says

    Hello Lynn,

    This looks like a wonderful recipe! I am currently looking for recipes that will take about 5-6 hours to cook so that we can have a hot, freshly cooked meal that is ready to put on the table shortly after arriving home on a Sunday afternoon. Consequently, I’m wondering if there is a way to extend the cooking time on this.

    I had one of those Turbo Cookers (stove-top pans with domed lid with a valve the let steam out or when closed didn’t. Anyway, they had a recipe for making a “Hamburger Helper” type of dish putting the dry pasta in with a specified amount of liquid and it would absorb it all while cooking. Soooooo, I’m wondering if there is some way to tweak this to do the same thing and thus extend the cooking time to get it into the time frame I need for Sundays.

    What are your thoughts?

    Now I’m off to look at your other crockpot recipes, as I have not been visiting many of my favorite food blogs in a few months {since I was on a very strict diet 😉 }

    • I am not familiar with that type of cooker, but if you have done similar things in it, I would say it is worth a try. I would love to hear if it works.

      • I thought the reason these type of recipes have shorter times is because the dairy products may not do well with longer cook times. Pasta absorbs a lot of liquid over a long time of cooking–may need to add more liquid if cooking longer than 3-4 hours.

        • I’m curious… is anyone aware whether this will work with any of the rice pastas on the market? Son loves Mac &cheese like any other 8year old, but we avoid gluten like the plague with him (he has had it put him in the hospital before). Thank you in advance! (And may I just say, Lynn, I adore your website!)

          Adie B

          • I have done this with both Sam Mills and Heartland gluten free pasta, so I think it would work with most gf pasta. A rice only pasta might break down more and change the texture, so you might need to reduce the cooking time a little depending on the brand of gf pasta. I hope that helps and thanks for reading!

  5. Thank you. I lost my recipe. Mine had eggs, but no soup. Yours is simpler, and I know it will work. I also use colby-jack–my husband can’t eat cheddar, so it’s the perfect substitute in our home.

  6. I love the idea of mixing things up with Colby jack. Sounds amazing! 🙂 Would love to have you share your tips and recipes with The Crock Pot Crowd. Feel free to post links back to your posts, too!

  7. Hi Lynn. I have made this recipe before and it was great! Thanks so much. I want to make it again in a couple days, but I have a few constraints I must deal with this time. First, I want to double the recipe. Second, I have only about 2 hours to cook it, or about 6. How would you suggest I alter the recipe to make it work with these constraints?
    Thanks so much!!

    • I think you would be fine doubling it as long as the crock pot was big enough. I am guessing that you could do it 2 hrs on high, I think 2 hrs on high would be better than 6 hours. I am so glad you enjoy the recipe. We love it.

  8. Todd & Susan says

    Hi Lynn ~

    We made this with an extra cup of (elbow macaroni) noodles, and an extra 1/2 cup of 1% milk, and it turned-out wonderfully.

    Very rich and tasty, and our 3 year old loves it – thus, 10,000 points to Dad!

    Thank you for posting this.

    – Todd & Susan

  9. This sounds wonderful! Have you ever frozen this? Would like to make for my grandson and freeze in small batches.

    • I have never frozen it, but I think it is worth trying. You could easily freeze a little bit in a small container and see if it works. I have frozen other pasta, just not this one.

  10. You can heat this cheese sauce mixture on the stove top, in well under the time it takes to boil the noodles.

  11. Please can you convert to UK measurements?! I’m really struggling!

  12. Elena Staggers says

    Sounds really great, and I am looking forward to trying it! However, could you indicate on your recipes the quantity each recipe makes? Thanks!

  13. I love this recipe! I am making it for a friend, so I wanted to make it in a disposable dish and in the oven. Any suggestions on oven temp and time if I wanted to make it that way?

    • Most of the baked mac and cheese recipes I have made are cooked at 350 for 20-30 minutes. I think for this recipe the cooking time would probably be about 25-30 minutes. I would probably also sprinkle a little more cheese on the top if I were baking this. Or reserve a little bit of the cheese for sprinkling on top. I hope that helps and I hope your friend enjoys it!

  14. Lynn is it possible to bake this instead? If so how long and at what temp?

    • I think it would work fine baked. I would bake it at 350 for about 30 minutes. I hope that helps and I hope you enjoy it!

      • Hello Lynn, I’m back after many years of making this recipe. I was wondering if you’ve ever doubled it. I’m going to a barbecue and there will be a lot of people. I’d hate to use 2 crockpots. So I was wondering if I can just double the ingredients. And if it would cone out right.

        • I am so sorry that it took a little while to get back to you. I took some time off this weekend. I think the issue with doubling it will be the size of your crock pot. If you can double it and it will fit in your crock pot I think you will be fine. I have never doubled it, but I think it will be fine. It might need to cook slightly longer, but I think it will. I hope you have a great bbq! This is a great dish to take to a bbq or potluck.

  15. Hi there! Just popping in to thank you for this recipe. So many others I’ve seen use canned condensed cheddar cheese soup, which I would definitely not consider a “food”, so it was great to find this simple and clean recipe. Thanks!

  16. Christopher says

    Hi Lynn,

    was wondering if the pasta had to be cooked before putting it into the crock pot? My reasoning for asking this is that I am worried the pasta will become to soft and mushy… My family loves their pasta done al dente. is it possibly to put it in uncooked or even par-boiled?

    • I have never tried it in the crock pot uncooked. I have made other one pot mac and cheese recipes with uncooked pasta, but not this one. I think it might work, you would just need to add more liquid and adjust the time. But since I have not tried it, I can’t say for sure how well it would work.


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