Ok, this Crock Pot Mac & Cheese isn’t the healthiest meal I’ve ever made, but it turned out really good. The cheese sauce was easy to make (just follow my tips below), it didn’t break or clump, and it was super delicious! A big hit with everyone young and old at Thanksgiving. I don’t think a single person at Thanksgiving passed by the mac & cheese without taking some. And, I had lots of requests for the recipe, which I found on Pinterest from Repeat Crafter Me.
I know, I know, it has canned soup in it. But I think the canned soup helps it keep its creamy texture and not separate. And, well, it’s been years since I’ve eaten canned soup, so once every 5 years or so won’t kill me. All things in moderation, including moderation, right?
I also loved that it was in a crock pot or slow cooker. I made everything the day before Thanksgiving. I placed the cheese sauce in the ceramic bowl of the crock pot, and placed the cooked pasta in a separate container. I refrigerated them separately like this overnight. Once we got to Thanksgiving dinner we simply stirred the pasta into the cheese sauce in the crock pot, and turned the crock pot on low for three hours, giving it about 4 stirs.
I made mine in my 4-Quart Slow Cooker and it fit perfectly! It would probably work in a larger crock pot, but I wouldn’t go too much larger.
Some tips on making the cheese sauce…
- Gradually add the cheese, and do it on low heat. Gradually! If you add it all at once, it will clump. I know, I’m usually the lazy cook who throws it all in at once. In this case, don’t do it! Low and slow, that is the tempo (bonus points if you can name the band that this is from!) for making good cheese sauce.
- Let the cheese come to room temperature before adding it to the melted butter, also, use a fine shred rather than a large coarse one, both of these will help the cheese melt faster.
That’s about it! A tasty mac & cheese that can be made ahead of time and cooks in the crock pot so there’s no last-minute work. Perfect for any holiday or potluck!
Oh, and we had leftovers, which were delicious! Dan stirred some Italian seasoning into some of his leftovers, and that was a fun twist on the traditional mac & cheese. Since Thanksgiving we’ve made the cheese sauce again. It was delicious on chili cheese fries! It would be awesome with a little salsa stirred in and poured over nachos! And, it keeps really well in the fridge. Now, go, cook and eat!
- 4 cups large elbow macaroni, uncooked
- 8 tablespoons butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 5 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 cans (10 3/4 ounce) condensed cheddar cheese soup
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- Boil the macaroni in water for five minutes. Drain.
- In a medium saucepan on low heat, melt the butter. Once the butter is almost all melted, slowly and gradually add the shredded cheese, stirring as you add. Continue to stir until the cheese melts.
- In ceramic bowl of a 4-quart crock pot, combine melted cheese mixture, soup, sour cream, milk salt, and pepper. Stir in the macaroni.
- Place the lid on the crock pot, and cook on low for 2 ½ -3 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Crock Pot Mac & Cheese can be made ahead, simply refrigerate the cooked pasta separately from the cheese sauce, and stir together when you're ready to turn on the crock pot.