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Slow Cooker Beefy Mac - A super simple, super delicious, hearty meal that the whole family will love!

Today’s recipe for Slow Cooker Beefy Mac was inspired by a conversation that my husband Jack overheard a few months ago when he took our daughter Emma to dance class. Some of the moms that were waiting outside the classroom started talking about slow cooker recipes – and Jack listened in!

While everyone loved the convenience of their crockpot, the biggest complaint seemed to be that many slow cooker recipes are written for just a few hours of cooking time. But when you leave the house in the morning for work and don’t get home until 8 or 10 hours later – sometimes the dish can be overdone!

Slow Cooker Beefy Mac - A super simple, super delicious, hearty meal that the whole family will love!

So this recipe – our Slow Cooker Beefy Mac – is meant to cook during a long day away from home! It’s also super simple to prepare – just place all of the ingredients (except for the pasta) in the slow cooker and set it to low for 10 hours. When you get home from a long day at work – you’ll end up with tender shreds of beef (similar to a pulled beef) in a rich tomato sauce that is absolutely delicious!

And, we give you two options for adding the pasta – you can cook the pasta right in the slow cooker (which will take some additional time) OR you can transfer the beef and sauce to a stove-top pot and cook the pasta right in the tomato sauce in about 10 minutes.  After a long day at work – dinner is served and you’ll have enough leftovers to pack for lunch the next day!

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Slow Cooker Beefy Mac - A Family Feast

Slow Cooker Beefy Mac

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 hours
  • Total Time: 10 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings


  • pounds chuck, cut into 4 or more large pieces
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quart beef or vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dry basil
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 pound Ditalini or elbow pasta


  1. Place all ingredients except pasta in slow cooker and set to low for ten hours.
  2. After ten hours remove beef and shred with two forks.
  3. With immersion blender, puree contents of crock pot and add beef back in.
  4. At this point, you have two choices. The first choice is to put the pasta in the crock pot with sauce and beef, cover and cook on high for two hours. Or pour contents of crock pot into a stove top pot and add pasta and cook until pasta is soft, about ten minutes. Be advised however that you need to stir the stove mixture often so it does not stick. Add a little more water or tomato sauce if needed to keep it moist. We did the stove top method over medium to medium high and added one more cup of water to achieve optimum results.
  5. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

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  • Stef wrote:

    This was ok. Was nothing like the photo. Kind of ‘soupy’. I finished on the stovetop. A strong tomato flavor.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for sharing your feedback Stef.

  • dave wrote:

    i don’t have a immersion blender what else can i do for your beefy mac looks good

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Dave – You can spoon the mixture into a regular blender or food processor instead. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • michael wrote:

    I too ended up with something that more resembles soup… albeit a very tasty beef soup.
    Should the 3 cups of water be omitted if you’re not adding the pasta to the slow cooker?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hmmm – I’m sorry you had an issue with the recipe too Michael! Yes – the pasta does absorb some if not most of the excess of the liqu omit some of the

    • Martha wrote:

      Sorry – I hit send too soon! The pasta does absorb the excess cooking liquid so yes use less water if you don’t plan to add pasta. Thanks for writing to us today – and apologies for the problems!

  • Suzanne wrote:

    Is the recipe correct? A quart of beef stock and 3 cups of water? It’s like soup. Not like the picture

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Suzanne – We’re sorry you had trouble with the recipe! I did go back to our notes and those quantities are correct based on our recipe testing. I suppose it is possible that our slow cookers are different and it didn’t allow as much liquid to evaporate as ours did during the cooking process. Would you confirm that you are seeing the soup-like consistency after the uncooked pasta was added and then fully cooked? (The pasta should have absorbed a lot of the liquid.) We will at some point retest the recipe to ensure that it is correct – but for now, my apologies that it didn’t turn out for you. Thanks for writing to us.

  • Amanda @ The Kitcheneer wrote:

    I’m loving this beefy mac! Such comfort food! And the fact that it can be done in the slow cooker is just a plus!

  • Kate @ Diethood wrote:

    MMMMM! I love this hearty, beefy mac!! Slow cooker = bonus points!
    At a birthday party earlier today all we discussed was slow cooker meals. Obviously, the party was WAY fun! 😀

  • Kirsten/ComfortablyDomestic wrote:

    Yeah..if I’m going to be around 2 to 4 hours after I toss something in the crock pot, then chances are, I’ll be home enough to cook dinner. I’m really loving that the beef in your recipe is content to hang out for 10 hours in the crock pot, and is shredded. The flavors and texture sound unbelievably good.

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