Macaroni and cheese cooked in the slow cooker--a one pot meal

Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

What is better than cheesy gooey macaroni and cheese?   Macaroni and cheese made in the slow cooker that  cooked itself while you were at church or out running errands.  This version, made entirely in the slow cooker using uncooked pasta is rich and creamy and doesn’t disappoint.  The one pot preparation is a snap.

Slow cooker macaroni and cheese--one pot preparationMacaroni and cheese is a true comfort food, and since I made Macaroni and Cheese in my pressure cooker, I’ve been wondering if there’s a way to make macaroni and cheese in my slow cooker without cooking the macaroni first.  I think I’ve finally found the perfect solution for a making macaroni and cheese in the slow cooker.

slow cooker macaroni and cheeseMelt butter and toss it with the uncooked pasta in the slow cooker.

Slow cooker Macaroni and CheeseAdd all of the other ingredients and mix well to combine.  You want to add only as much water as you need to bring the liquid level up to the top of the pasta.

slow cooker macaroni and cheeseTurn the slow cooker to low and cook for 3 to 4 hours, checking pasta carefully after the three hour mark to ensure that it doesn’t over cook and become mushy.  When it’s finished, sprinkle the reserved 1/2 cup of cheese over the top, cover the slow cooker then allow the cheese to melt on the top.    We replaced the lid on the slow cooker and allowed it to sit for about 15 minutes with the cooker switched to the off position while we made the salad.   That was long enough for the cheese to melt.    Because we used a combination of cheddar and jack cheese, our macaroni and cheese is whiter than if it had been made exclusively with cheddar cheese.   Regardless of it’s appearance, it was delicious. Slow Cooker Macaroni and cheese

The only down side to this recipe is that the cooking time is only 3 – 4 hours, so you can’t start it in the morning and have it done when you get home from work.    The upside is that if you’re running around in the afternoon, or the morning, and you’ll be back within that time frame, you can put all of the ingredients together in the slow cooker and come home to delicious and creamy macaroni and cheese.  Food Critic, our resident macaroni and cheese expert, had no complaints about this recipe.  That was truly amazing because he isn’t called Food Critic for nothing.

Have you made macaroni and cheese in the slow cooker?  How was your recipe different from ours.

Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.

Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Comfort Food
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
This is a simple recipe. Put everything in the slow cooker, let it cook for a few short hours and you have cheesy, gooey goodness ready to eat. Cooks Note: If you don't have dry mustard powder, you can stir in a teaspoon of yellow mustard instead. Total Cost of recipe is $6.59 if made with half and half or $6.89 if made with cream. The cost per serving is a maximum of $1.15 per serving.
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted ($0.18)
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni ($0.88)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups half and half or heavy cream ($1.40 for half and half, $2.70 for cream)
  • 3 cups shredded cheese. (I used a combination of cheddar and jack cheese), divided ($2.99)
  • ½ teaspoon salt ($0.02)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper ($0.02)
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard. ($0.10)
  1. Turn slow cooker to high and add butter, allowing it to melt. (If you're in a hurry, you can melt the butter in the microwave and then add it to the slow cooker.)
  2. Turn slow cooker to low.
  3. Stir elbow macaroni with the butter, tossing to coat well.
  4. Add half and half, 2½ cups of shredded cheese, salt, pepper, and dry mustard.
  5. Mix well to combine all ingredients.
  6. Add just enough water to cover the macaroni. Mix well. (Don't add more than 2 cups of water.)
  7. Cook on low for 3 hours or until liquid is absorbed and pasta is fully cooked.
  8. Sprinkle with remaining half cup of cheese, cover, and allow to sit until cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.
  9. Serve with a side of broccoli or a salad for a nutritious and well balanced meal.

Macaroni and Cheese in the slow cooker. No reason to boil noodles first. Nutrition information is for recipe prepared with half and half.

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 641
% Daily Value
Total Fat 32.4g
Saturated Fat 20.4g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 90mg
Sodium 622mg
Total Carbohydrates 62.1g
Dietary Fiber 2.5g
Sugars 2.2g
Protein 24.4g
Vitamin D 3mcg 13%
Potassium 278mg 6%
Calcium 507 mg 39%
Iron 3mg 15%

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