The beauty of slow cooking your mac and cheese is that it allows the flavors to meld together. Here are our handpicked 5 easy crock pot mac and cheese recipes that will wow your taste buds!
Why use a crock pot for mac and cheese?
When it comes to making mac and cheese, you might be wondering why you should even consider using a crock pot instead of the traditional stovetop method. Well, there are several reasons why slow cooking your mac and cheese is a game changer. Firstly, using a crock pot means that you can set it and forget it. Simply add your ingredients, set the timer, and let the slow cooker work its magic while you go about your day. No need to constantly stir or keep an eye on the stove to prevent the sauce from burning or the pasta from overcooking.
Secondly, slow cooking your mac and cheese allows the flavors to meld together and intensify. This means that your final dish will be bursting with flavor, and the cheese will be perfectly melted and distributed throughout the pasta. And who doesn’t love a velvety, rich, and creamy mac and cheese?
Lastly, using a crock pot makes it easy to serve up a warm and comforting meal to a large group of people. Whether it’s for a family gathering or a potluck, your crock pot mac and cheese will be a hit, and you won’t be stuck in the kitchen cooking while everyone else is mingling and enjoying themselves.
5 easy Crock Pot Mac and Cheese Recipes
1. Classic creamy mac and cheese
There’s nothing quite like a steaming bowl of classic creamy mac and cheese, and this crock pot recipe delivers all the cheesy goodness you could ever ask for. To make this dish, you’ll need elbow macaroni, butter, all-purpose flour, whole milk, heavy cream, and a blend of your favorite cheeses (we recommend sharp cheddar, Gruyere, and Monterey Jack).
Start by cooking the pasta until it’s just shy of al dente, and then add it to your slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick and creamy and the pasta is perfectly tender. Serve this classic mac and cheese as a side dish or a main course, and watch as everyone comes back for seconds (or even thirds!).
2. Spicy jalapeno mac and cheese
If you like a little heat in your mac and cheese, then this spicy jalapeno version is just the recipe for you. In addition to the classic ingredients mentioned above, you’ll also need some diced jalapeno peppers (either fresh or pickled), a bit of hot sauce, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Simply follow the same cooking instructions as the classic creamy mac and cheese, but add the jalapenos, hot sauce, and cayenne into the slow cooker along with the other ingredients. The result is a deliciously spicy and cheesy mac and cheese that will have your taste buds tingling with delight.
3. Bacon and ranch mac and cheese
For a fun twist on the classic mac and cheese, try this bacon and ranch version. It’s packed with flavor and sure to be a hit with bacon lovers everywhere. Along with the standard mac and cheese ingredients, you’ll need some cooked and crumbled bacon, ranch seasoning mix, and a bit of garlic powder. Add everything to your crock pot and cook as you would with the classic creamy mac and cheese. Once it’s done cooking, sprinkle some additional crumbled bacon and chopped chives on top for a bit of added crunch and color. This bacon and ranch mac and cheese is the perfect dish to serve at a casual get-together or game night.
4. Lobster mac and cheese
If you’re looking to impress your guests with a more sophisticated mac and cheese dish, then this lobster mac and cheese recipe is just the ticket. Start by boiling your pasta, and while it’s cooking, sauté some diced onion and garlic in butter until softened. Drain the pasta and add it to your crock pot, along with the onion mixture, chunks of cooked lobster meat, and the rest of the classic mac and cheese ingredients. We recommend using a blend of Gruyere, fontina, and white cheddar cheeses for this recipe, as they pair beautifully with the lobster. Cook on low for 2-3 hours, and then serve this decadent and delicious lobster mac and cheese at your next dinner party or special occasion.
5. Veggie-loaded mac and cheese
For a healthier spin on mac and cheese, try this veggie-loaded version. It’s a great way to sneak in some extra nutrients while still enjoying the cheesy goodness of mac and cheese. To make this dish, chop up your favorite vegetables (we suggest bell peppers, zucchini, spinach, and cherry tomatoes) and sauté them in a bit of olive oil until softened. Add the cooked veggies to your slow cooker along with the classic mac and cheese ingredients, and cook on low for 2-3 hours. This veggie-loaded mac and cheese is not only delicious, but it’s also a great way to get your kids to eat their veggies without even realizing it!
Customizing your crock pot mac and cheese recipes
One of the best things about mac and cheese is how easily it can be customized to suit your tastes and preferences. Feel free to get creative and mix and match different types of cheeses, add in your favorite proteins (cooked chicken, ground beef, or sausage would all work well), or even experiment with different pasta shapes. The possibilities are endless, and with a crock pot, you can easily whip up a delicious and comforting meal tailored to your unique taste buds.
Storing and reheating your crock pot mac and cheese
What to do with your crock pot mac and cheese recipes leftovers
If you find yourself with leftovers after enjoying one of these delicious crock pot mac and cheese recipes, don’t worry – they can easily be stored and reheated for later enjoyment.
Simply transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, you can either microwave individual portions or reheat the entire dish in a low oven (around 300°F) until warmed through. Just be sure to add a splash of milk or cream to the mac and cheese before reheating, as this will help to maintain its creamy texture.