Growing up, I always looked forward to the days when my mom would make mac and cheese for dinner. It was always so creamy and cheesy, and the smell from the oven would fill the house with warmth and comfort. Now that I’m a mom myself, I wanted to recreate the same feeling for my family, but with a lot less effort. I’m so excited to share this Expert-Approved Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese recipe with you!
This mac and cheese is super creamy and cheesy, thanks to the combination of sharp cheddar cheese and cream cheese. The secret is to cook it low and slow in the slow cooker, which gives it a really rich and decadent flavor that you just can’t get from the box. I like to top it with a dollop of butter and some crunchy bread crumbs for the perfect finishing touch.
This recipe is a great way to bring the family together for dinner. It’s also a great dish to make for potlucks and picnics. I know your family will love it as much as mine does!
Tip: For extra cheesy mac and cheese, add an extra 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Variation: For a spicy kick, add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Variation: For a smoky flavor, add 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika.
Expert-Approved Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
- Slow cooker, large pot, colander, spoon, measuring cups and spoons, whisk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 0.25 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 0.25 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 (16-ounce) package elbow macaroni
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 0.5 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 0.25 teaspoon black pepper
- 0.5 cup panko bread crumbs
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
- Whisk in the milk and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened.
- Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.
- Add the cream cheese, 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper to the sauce. Cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is creamy.
- Add the cooked macaroni to the sauce and stir to combine. Transfer the mac and cheese to the slow cooker and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.
- Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours, or until the cheese is melted and the mac and cheese is hot and bubbly.
- Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and serve.