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This Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese is so good, everyone will be asking you for the recipe!

Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese

Throughout the winter months, Jack and I help operate the concessions stand at our daughter’s swim meets – and this Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese is always a crowd favorite. It’s always the first dish to sell out every weekend!

Fellow swim parents, April and Russ (who were so nice to share their recipe with us), have been making this easy, creamy, and very cheesy Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese to sell at concessions for a few years now. It’s simple to make and just has the perfect mix of gooey pasta and cheese.


Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese

This Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese is so good, even when other parents bring a second batch of a different kind of mac and cheese, everyone scrambles to get some of this recipe before it sells out! And more recently, we made it ourselves a couple of weekends ago for family and friends – and everyone asked us for the recipe.

How do you make the best Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese?

First, select the right kind of pasta. We suggest a sturdy pasta such as elbows or spirals including cavatappi (which means corkscrew in Italian), cellentani, gemelli, or lumache. Once cooked, all of these pasta shapes will hold up nicely to a thick sauce – and the tubes and curly edges also help the sauce stick to the pasta.

Second, cook the pasta just until al dente – which means that it is cooked to be “firm to the bite.” The pasta will cook more as it heats in the slow cooker with the sauce, so you want to make sure that the pasta isn’t soft and overcooked before mixing it with the cheese. Drain and rinse under cool water.


Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese

Then – make your cheese sauce by combining a pound each of shredded Colby Jack, Monterey Jack, and Velveeta cheeses, plus a stick of butter, a pint of heavy cream, and seasonings including salt, white pepper, dry mustard powder, ground nutmeg, Worcestershire sauce, plus a few shakes of hot sauce – right in the slow cooker.

Let the cheese mixture melt on low heat* in the slow cooker for about 90 minutes – then stir in the cooked pasta. Heat for another 30 to 60 minutes until the pasta is warmed through and the sauce is hot and bubbly. (Feel free to reduce to warm if you see the edges begin to brown.)

*If you want to speed things up, you can melt the cheese mixture in a saucepan, then add it to the slow cooker with the cooked pasta. Heat on low for about an hour before serving or lower the temp to warm.


Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese

Either way you make this delicious Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese – you’re going to love it!

You may like these other Mac & Cheese recipes:

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Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese

Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 10 servings
  • Category: entree
  • Method: slow cooker
  • Cuisine: American


1 pound cavatappi/cellantani, or your favorite pasta

1 pound Colby Jack cheese

1 pound Monterey Jack cheese

1 pound Velveeta cheese

¼ pound butter (one stick)

1 pint heavy cream (16 ounces)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon dry mustard powder

¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Few shakes of hot sauce


Cook pasta in salted water to two minutes shy of cooked. The pasta should be chewy. Drain and rinse under cold water and hold until later in this recipe.

Place all other ingredients in a slow cooker and heat for 90 minutes on low.*

Run cooked pasta under hot tap water, drain and add to the slow cooker and stir.

Cover and heat for 30 to 60 more minutes until the pasta is cooked and the cheese is melty before serving.

If cooking for a longer length of time, turn slow cooker to warm so it doesn’t brown on edges.


*If you want to speed things up, you can melt the cheese mixture in a saucepan, then add it to the slow cooker with the cooked pasta. Heat on low for about an hour before serving or lower the temp to warm.

Keywords: slow cooker mac & cheese


Slow Cooker Mac & CheeseSlow Cooker Mac & Cheese



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  • Lara wrote:

    Was the Monterey and Colby cheeses supposed to be in the square and grated yourself or could it be the shredded bagged kind? This was really good but the consistency was a little off- almost like it too much flour was added (but of course none was).

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Lara – We did shred it ourselves. Bagged shredded cheeses usually have some sort of additive to prevent the shreds from sticking together-entirely possible that’s what cause the texture issues.

  • Amanda wrote:

    This may be a dumb question but do I cube the cheese or shred it?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Amanda – Not a dumb question at all (and I’ll clarify in the recipe)! We cubed the Velveeta and shredded the other cheeses – but you could cube the other cheeses too, they would just take longer to melt. In the end, it all gets stirred together.

  • Richard Lehman wrote:

    Alright, we’re did I go wrong? I reheated the leftovers and ended up with the Mac n cheese drowning under a pool of grease (butter?).

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Richard – If stirring doesn’t work to reincorporate the cheese sauce, maybe try a lower temperature/lesser power setting and stir more as you go. I’m guessing some of the fats from the cheese also separated?

  • Richard Lehman wrote:

    Delish/just finished cooking/turned out perfect

    Looking for advice though: my plan is to take this to work with me and reheat it in the microwave (yes, I know this is not ideal, but…)

    Wondering about the best way to keep it from drying out and staying creamy using the microwave

    Any tips?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Richard – We reheat with the microwave too (no shame in it!) and usually add a splash milk or cream, stirring after thirty seconds or so, then reheating the rest of the way. Should be delicious!

  • Lee wrote:

    Hi Martha!
    Your recipe looks really good – but one question. I’m not a big Velveeta fan – if I were to sub cheddar for the Velveeta, would it be best to add an egg (or two) to help with the creaminess? Thanks! (I’m working this into my Christmas dinner with your bbq brisket)


    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Lee – Without testing, I’m not sure that egg is the right ingredient to add to make it creamier…it’s typically used as a binder so you might get the opposite effect. I did find this velveeta cheese copycat recipe on another blog – it could be a good starting point: – The velveeta in our recipe adds that extra ‘gooey’ texture to the cooked mac and cheese so you could play around a little with this homemade version. Hope this helps! (Sounds like a great dinner BTW!)

  • Michelle wrote:

    Hi there! I have colby, Velveeta, and sharp cheddar on hand. So you think it will be okay to use the cheddar instead of Monterey Jack? Wondering about the consistency…and flavor too. 😉
    Thank you!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Michelle, Yes, I think you’d be fine to swap the cheddar in.

  • Doris wrote:

    Hello Martha!
    Thanks for getting back to me on my question regarding the above recipe. I often wonder why people’s recipes include eggs … I have never made a mac and cheese with eggs but to each his own, as they say. I am postively sure this slow cooker recipe will become a new favorite of mine. You are always so kind in replying back to me. Blessing to you and family for a wonderful New Year!

    • Martha wrote:

      We hope you love it Doris!!

  • Charlie wrote:

    Hi Martha: It’s nice to meet you! Yes, I would be making the sauce first and then adding the pasta right away.
    Thanks for telling me why you rinse it.

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re welcome Charlie – hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Doris wrote:

    Hello Martha and Jack! You have to know how I love your recipes by now …. I have all ingredients on hand for the above but no heavy cream. I was wondering if I could substitute half and half , not because of calories… for sure. Your stove top recipe for mac and cheese uses eggs as well but not in this recipe above. Would like your thoughts on this. Hope your New Year is going fantastic!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Doris! Happy New Year to you too! You can definitely swap in half and half – it will still be delicious. And – with the variety of cheeses in this recipe, no eggs are necessary – the sauce is plenty thick and creamy enough without it. We hope you love the recipe!

  • Charlie wrote:

    This sounds good. I wouldn’t run the pasta under the water. It is the starch in it that helps the sauce stick to it.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Charlie – Great point and in most cases that definitely holds true. In this case, we ran the pasta under water so it wouldn’t all stick together while it cools and the cheese melts separately, and then a quick rinse before hand to heat it back up at bit. This sauce is thick enough that doing so doesn’t prevent the cheese from coating the noodles. If you prefer not to rinse the pasta, then I’d suggest the alternate method of melting all of the sauce ingredients together first – then pouring it right into the slow cooker with the cooked and drained (but not rinsed) pasta. Hope that helps and thanks for your comment!

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