Damn Delicious

Slow Cooker Four Cheese Mac and Cheese

The BEST mac and cheese EVER!!!! No boil. No stress. Everything gets thrown right in. Even the uncooked noodles!!!

Slow Cooker Four Cheese Mac and Cheese - The BEST mac and cheese EVER!!!! No boil. No stress. Everything gets thrown right in. Even the uncooked noodles!!!

Am I the only one with Thanksgiving on my mind already?

No, right?

To be honest, I have actually been thinking about Thanksgiving since March.

So, October is not early, at all.

And also.

Mac and cheese is not a seasonal item.

It just isn’t.

And I would much rather make it in a slow cooker.

It’s one pot. No boil. And no stress.

You literally throw everything you need right in – the uncooked macaroni, the cheeses, the milk and your spices.

Stir around the halfway mark, and add more cheese prior to serving.

It’s creamy. It’s cheesy. And it actually keeps!

Slow Cooker Four Cheese Mac and Cheese

The BEST mac and cheese EVER!!!! No boil. No stress. Everything gets thrown right in. Even the uncooked noodles!!!

20 minutes2 hours 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound medium elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 cups grated American cheese
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Directions:

  1. Place macaroni, 1 cup cheddar cheese, American cheese, cream cheese and Parmesan into a 4-qt slow cooker.
  2. Stir in milk, evaporated milk, Dijon, paprika and onion powder, making sure the macaroni is submerged as much as possible; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Cover and cook on low heat for 90 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes, stirring every hour until tender and creamy.* Uncover and stir in remaining 1 cup cheddar cheese until melted, about 2-3 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more milk as needed.
  4. Serve immediately, garnished with chives, if desired.

Notes:

*A brand new 4-qt Crock-Pot was used for multiple recipe testing. Results and time can vary by brand, size and longevity of your slow cooker.

Did you Make This Recipe?

Tag @damn_delicious on Instagram and hashtag it #damndelicious.

Leave a Review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

131 comments

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    I made this for a family get together and it was perfect. I got so many compliments. It was rich and creamy. The blend of the cheeses mixed well. I think what put it over the top was the Dijon. I will definitely be making this again. 

  2. Rated 4 out of 5

    Does anybody know how much sodium is in this recipe?

  3. Rated 4 out of 5

    Made this on the stove. Cooked the macaroni as usual, al dente. Mixed the cheeses (substituted HAVARTI for the American cheese) with cream and milk until it was the perfect consistency and added the noodles. Yummy!

  4. Rated 3 out of 5

    Easy, for sure, but the finished product was quite sweet and the macaroni was gummy. Has anyone else found this as a problem? What did you do to remedy it? Maybe jalapenos?

  5. Rated 3 out of 5

    this tasted very good but was almost too cheesy – I stirred a lot and my pasta would stick together.  any ideas why?

  6. Not so much a review but a question. Do you think I could add bacon and bread crumbs to add some texture?

    And why submit a review if all you’re going to do is complain? It is a waste of time reading them so don’t submit bad reviews!

  7. Rated 4 out of 5

    im making this mac and cheese right now and it tastes delicious but its very very thick and not smooth even after adding milk. i don’t know if i over cooked it or if the cheese hasn’t melted all the way but it tatses good so it should work with dinner

  8. Delicious! I made it in a 6 qt crock pout and substited the American cheese for a mix and sliced havarti pieces.  Just make sure to keep stirring it so the noodles cook and layer evenly.  I had to add about 1/2 a cup of extra milk to make it creamier! Great recipe thank you!

  9. Rated 5 out of 5

    So, I made this recipe. After starting the crock pot up I decided to read the reviews…. I know, most people do this before making the recipe, obviously I don’t. After reading them, I was a little worried I was gonna end up with a crock pot full of mush. I didn’t change a thing, except for doubling everything, as I doubled the recipe. I let it go in the crock pot for 2 and a half hours, mixing it a few times during that time. The only concern I had while making it was being worried the cream cheese wouldn’t melt as it was taking a while for it to melt down. But it did melt down and it turned out wonderful! Even my picky son came back for seconds…. and then thirds.

  10. Would this work with Almond Milk?

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

    I was in a total panic looking for this recipe to make again this Christmas — that’s how good it is! So easy to make. An unusual combination of cheeses — Cheddar, American, Cream Cheese and Parmesan — makes the best mac & cheese I’ve ever had. And this dish was a huge hit on the Christmas buffet table with young and old and in between. I posted it on my facebook page so my friends will try it. I’m so glad I finally found it again and I’m saving it on and offline in multiple places so I never lose it again!

  12. Rated 4 out of 5

    I’M INTRIGUED THAT SO MANY PEOPLE FOUND THAT THIS MAC & CHEESE “OVERCOOKED” IN THE SUGGESTED TIME. I HAD THE OPPOSITE OUTCOME. FIGURED ON THE 2 1/2 HOUR TIMEFRAME …………. NEVER GOT IT TO THE TABLE AS THE NOODLES WERE STILL WAY TOO CHEWY. INSTEAD OF 2 1/2 …. IT COOKED FOR 4 1/2 !!!
    THEN IT WAS GREAT !!! USED A 4 QUART CROCKPOT … STIRRED AT AN HOUR & AGAIN EVERY HALF HOUR TO KEEP CHECKING. EVEN PUT IT ON HIGH FOR A HALF HOUR TO SPEED THINGS UP.

    QUESTION ……. RECIPE SAYS “KEEPS WELL”. WHERE & HOW ? IN THE POT FOR SERVING ? LEFTOVERS IN THE FRIDGE ? FROZEN ? AFTER THE INITIAL COMMENT THERE WAS NO EXPLAINATION.

  13. Rated 5 out of 5

    Haven’t tried YET.  Sounds great!

  14. I saw your note how you made in this in a new 4 quart Crock-Pot. I recently bought a new 4 quart Crock-Pot and was wondering how long you cooked yours?

    Also, if the noodles are done earlier than later within the estimated time frame, can I put it in the keep warm setting? Or should I turn it off all together and just keep the lid on?

    • Hi Jessica! This was cooked as directed in the recipe using a brand new 4-qt Crock-Pot. I do not recommend keeping this on the warm setting as it will continue to cook a little bit and may change the consistency of the mac and cheese. Hope that helps!

  15. I was wondering if I can replace the macaroni pasta for fusilli pasta.

  16. Cooked macaroni or uncooked

  17. WHY YOU ALLOW A RECIPE TO RUIN YOUR DAY… IS BEYOND ME.

  18. I made this for the 1st time today as a potluck dish, but made a few alterations depending on what I had on hand. Rotini pasta worked great, plus instead of grated American I used colby-jack, fat free cream cheese, and plain mustard. Since I miscalculated the time of cooking versus our luncheon, I had it on low for 90min, then high for 30min. Stirred, then topped with remaining cheese. One of our co-workers is a bit of a mac & cheese fanatic and he gave a big, happy thumbs-up.

  19. Hi not sure you’ll know this but would this work if I used the chickpea pasta ? I only ask honestly becuase I’m not one to put any pasta in the slow cooker

  20. Damn good mac and cheese. Subbed jalapenos for chives and added some chili powder. loved it. Tended it every 30 minutes. Thanks for this delicious side for my brisket. Cheers.

  21. Can you make this using low fat or fat free evaporated milk? I know it needs some fat to stay creamy but just curious 

  22. This 100% depends on the quality of the pasta! I used a good quality pasta and it turned out perfect, but I had leftover pasta from mac & cheese boxes and it turned to mush.

  23. Amazing ! I have to try this ASAP!

  24. I made this yesterday for 4th of July in 2 different batches. Based on the comments I was a little nervous that everything was going to be mushy. So I made 1 batch exactly according to the directions above and then the other batch I made exactly the same way as well except I cooked the macaroni at the very last minute just in pot of water and added the noodles to the melted cheese sauce in the crock pot. Everything tasted the same but the batch where I added the noodles at the end did hold up better and just mixed better. Initially when I added the noodles it was very soupy, but after a minute or 2 of stirring everything thickened up perfectly and I added the 2nd cup of sharp cheese at that point. I started the 2nd batch about an hour later than the 1st batch as well since I was basically just melting the cheeses in the crock pot. Everyone loved the 2nd batch and that was gone quickly.

  25. I made the recipe for a faculty luncheon today, and it came out perfect after 2 hours.  I used a very old Rival crockpot I’ve had since the late 1980’s and cooked it on low. I followed the recipe exactly except I subbed  a Colby/Monterrey Jack blend cheese for the American cheese, since I don’t like it.  Be sure to sure to stir it every so often so it doesn’t stick to the crock pot. 

  26. Mine came out way to liquidy 🙁 I followed the recipe exactly, minus the Dijon mustard.

  27. I used velveeta as my American cheese. I grated all cheeses myself and followed the recipe as is. It turned out delicious and creamy. Thank you!

  28. I made this in a 6 quart slow cooker for a family gathering and it came out perfect! Disappeared quickly and was enjoyed by toddlers, teens and adults. In the 6 quart it only took about 90 minutes. As it sat for a little bit on warm while the rest of the meal came together, I ended up mixing in a little more milk to keep it creamy. I may try doubling it sometime and will report back to let you know how it goes! Great recipe, thanks!

  29. I made this tonight in my huge crockpot – I wish I had read the comments first cause it must cook hotter and faster cause it was a big pot full of mush after about an hour and 3/4. I checked it at an hour and was pleased with how it was coming along but when I checked it the second time, not so much. We ordered pizza. BUT I am going to try again.

    I am in Canada so American cheese (is that even real cheese) was out, I had Swiss so used it and the flavour was good but next time I am going to try Edam or Gouda – and of course reduce the cooking time!

  30. Did you use bagged shredded cheese? That has cellulose added to it to keep it from clumping. It will absorb a lot of moisture depending on how much cellulose is in there. Can make it feel grainy or pasty. Think cornstarch? It does the same thing.

  31. I am so sorry that you had such a terrible experience. This recipe has been tested extensively with my team, and the images here are actually taken with the recipe created exactly as written!

    What kind of slow cooker did you use? Also, the time range is from 90 min to 2 hr 30 min. Cooking time can vary quite a bit between slow cooker brands!

  32. This recipe is 5 stars all the way! Made it for 2 Thanksgiving dinners and it was delicious. Used crock pot liner to make clean up easier and had no problems. My only suggestion–don’t leave it in slow cooker too long on warm! Pasta basically disintegrates into the cheese. Super easy and yummy!

  33. What do u think of subing pepprjack for American to add a kick?

  34. Also, will the recipe be compromised if I use a crock pot liner bag?

  35. Excited to make this for a company pot luck tomorrow!

    Quick questions – Can I use a Gruyere & Swiss mix as an alternative to the American cheese?

  36. If I use a 5 qt. slow cooker, would the cooking time be more or less than for the 4 qt.?

  37. yes was wondering if you had to put in mustard.

    • It is added in step #2:

      Stir in milk, evaporated milk, Dijon, paprika and onion powder, making sure the macaroni is submerged as much as possible; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

  38. Does the macaroni need to be cooked before putting it in the slow cooker?

  39. I used medium shells and extra cheese. I tried gournay cheese with shallots and chives with the cream cheese and Colby. Let it for proper time and had no problems. Was not mushy or pasty. Very good flavors

  40. I read the comments and was worried this might turn out (except all your recipes are always so amazing so the reviews confused me). It turned out so good! I will say I did use 2% instead of whole milk and even replaced the evaporated milk (just didn’t want to get an extra thing). It’s so good! Thank you again!

  41. Thought I’d add my two cents…made this twice with cavatappi, once in a 13 year old slow cooker and once in a new pressure cooker on the slow cooker setting on low. First time in old slow cooker, the pasta came out great, no problems with recommended time. The second in the newer slow cooker came out very mushy even after setting it to the keep warm setting after 1 hour and 15 minutes. By my estimate I think the the pasta was done in 1 hour and I should have cut all heat at that point. I think Chungah should definitely note these possible discrepancies in cooking time due to different types of slow cookers. I will make again but probably in the old slow cooker.

  42. I followed the recipe, but doubled it – it turned out great except way more sauce than noodles..fixed that by making another box of noodles and throwing it in.  🙂

  43. This was my first time trying out any of your recipes.  Based off the feedback in the comments I chose to use cavatappi noodles because it’s larger than the normal elbow noodles. With the change, I didn’t experience the same issues of the pasta falling apart or becoming overly mushy. The pasta is a little chewy but cooked. I omitted the last cup of cheese as I thought it would make it would makes it tough, even with adding in more milk. 

    I cooked for 2 hours and 15 minutes in my Hamilton beach stay and go crockpot. 

    I didn’t add in the chives, I’m serving this to a bunch of toddlers and their parents. 

    Overall I think a change to heavier pasta will help. Also it’s very important to mix everything before starting the crockpot and follow those directions of mixing every hour to cook evenly. I would recommend maybe providing the brand of crockpot you are using and that could be the difference maker or testing this is multiple brands of crockpots to see if it comes out the same. 

  44. I tried this last night and mine was gluey pastey as well. I believe I cooked it too long. Recipe should say don’t cook longer than 2 hour 30 minutes. Also it was very thick and had very little cheese flavor. Needed lots of pepper to even try to eat it. This is the first “miss” I’ve had from a recipe from here. The only change to the recipe was mine cooked longer because we were not ready for dinner yet at the 2 hour 3o minute mark, probably should have turned it to warm from there….

  45. I just made this tonight following the recipe

    I just made this pasta tonight following the recipe EXACTLY. The taste was very good but the pasta was extremely overcooked. I had to dispose of the whole pot. Chungah, since the taste was good and since so many have this same problem perhaps this recipe should be reworked. I was wondering how the sauce alone in the crockpot would be without the added starch from the pasta. If that worked you could just pour the sauce over stove prepared al dente pasta and still avoid the roux process. Just a thought. I do love your one pot garlic parm pasta!

    • Kerri, thank you so much for your feedback. This recipe has gone through extensive recipe testing and tweaks and we are doing our best to keep everyone and their tummies happy! 🙂

  46. Does this come out grainy? So many are not smooth and creamy so I have been skeptical in trying others

  47. You cook the noodles INSIDE the slow cooker and they don’t get mushy? BE STILL MY BEATING HEART! I think I just died and went to heaven. Pinning this amazing looking recipe for later!

  48. How much does this feed? Could you double the recipe for a group?

  49. Yes except I used colby jack in place of American cheese.
    It might be a personal preferance texture on my part. Thanks for your reply.

  50. Gratef american cheese?  Not sure what that is?  Is it velveeta??

  51. What is American cheese? Is that processed cheese? Is there a brand name you can recommend? I am in Canada, so it is not something I am familiar with. Thanks!

  52. Grated american cheese? Is that like Velveeta? 🙂

    • Velveeta is the brand name of a processed cheese product having a taste that is identified as a type of American cheese, but with a softer and smoother texture than cheese.

  53. Can you use a crockpot?  I don’t know the difference between the two. Appreciate your help. Looks delicious  

  54. What do you consider American cheese?

  55. Made this but added a stick of butter 🙂  Delish!!!

  56. What is a substitute for American cheese for those of us living elsewhere?  I haven’t ever seen that before.

  57. Is it freezable ?
    There are only two of us, but it looks amazing. Want !

  58. Could I possibly use Half and Half instead of canned milk?

    • Hi Bree, 

      Don’t use half and half. I made this tonight and used it and it came out waaaaaaaay too thick. Trying to figure out how to save my meal….

  59. I wonder how this would be without the cream cheese? Or if a can of cheese soup could be used instead?

    • Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment regarding substitutions and modifications.

  60. Can I skip the Dijon mustard and still have it come out yummy? My family will tolerate mustard but not dijon mustard. Any substitutes?

    BTW, love, love, love your recipes. I have your cookbook and I make a Damn Delicious recipe 1-2 times a week. Thanks for sharing your gift.

  61. Can you easily double this recipe? would you just adjust the cook time accordingly?

  62. Have been looking for a recipe. This is the imitation crab meat and a creamy sauce together baked. We get it at a Chinese buffet. It has the sweet crab taste with the creamy sauce bake together and so good. Asked a waitress what is the sauce, she said mayo. Don’t know if that is right or not. Maybe you have seen this dish. Thank you for your time and any info you may have. Cindy

  63. What is american cheese?

  64. Hanson for this great recipe! I can’t wait to try it. I have a quick question, though. Can I just use regular 2% milk instead of whole milk? Not sure if it would make that much of a difference.

  65. Precook the macaroni noodles or put them in uncooked? Thnx!

  66. Looks great, want to make this tomorrow! What is American cheese? (I’m from Canada sorry!) And how long would it keep in the slow cooker without getting mushy? Thanks!

  67. Is evaporated milk a must or can you substitute with more regular milk?

  68. I’m not a big American cheese fan. Do you think I could substitute a another cheese?

  69. Ohhhh I have tried a few slow cooker mac n cbeese recipes with little success.
    You havent failed me yet so I am going it a try!!!

  70. Can this recipe be used in the IstantPot?

    • Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment regarding substitutions and modifications.

  71. Will this recipe work in a larger crock pot?

  72. Looks yummy! I agree Mac and Cheese is NOT seasonal and my family and I could eat it daily LOL I use my crock pot for all kinds of things and in fact just bought a second one! I’ll be making this the weekend!

  73. Can this be made without evaporated milk?

  74. Thank you! Your recipes never fail and I can’t wait to try this one!

  75. Yum! Can this be frozen?

  76. Can I substitute cheddar for the American cheese?

  77. What are your thoughts on fat free rather than whole milk?

  78. This looks incredible! Perfect for fall!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

    • Paige… Do NOT waste your time with this recipe!  I am a great cook but made this recipe for this years Christmas Celebration.  I was never so unhappy!  This recipe separated and does NOT look anything like the posted Picture!  Do yourself a HUGE time saver and find a better Macaroni & Cheese Recipe OR just go to KFC… it’s better than this one!

      • BrownEyedGirl, what a bummer! But this should not separate at all. Did you follow the recipe exactly as written? I have made this mac and cheese at least 10 times now, and the images shot here is exactly how it came out. Even the instructional video shows the same outcome.

        • I have this twice and it was delicious both time. I have not had a bad experience with any of your recipes. Great as always. 

      • You must have not followed the recipe. I’ve made it a couple of times and it comes out exactly like the picture. It’s always a hit every time I make it.  It’s delicious! Give it another try, you will definitely change your mind. 🙂 

  79. I’m new to slow cookers (I have just bought my first one!), you are posting this yummy recipe at the best moment possible for me 😀
    I had never thought of cooking macaroni in a slow cooker, but this looks great so I must give a try!
    Thanks!!

    • I made this in a 6 quart slow cooker and it came out perfect. Wish I’d made two batches!

      • I am about to make this in a 6 quart cooker and I’m trying to figure out how long it needs On low. What worked for you?

    • The first time we made this it turned out perfect! I had the mac n cheese in the slow cooker for almost 3 hours. Tonight I tried to rush things and 90 minutes was way too short (in my slow cooker). Definitely needs at least 2 hours. I tried rushing it by cooking it on high but it didn’t result in the deliciousness we experienced the first time we made it.