Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese!! Dump everything into your slow cooker, mix and set to low for about 3 hours. Couldn’t be any easier than that! This is a great, delicious and easy meal for the week!
Happy Friday everyone!
This week has been super busy but fun! Yesterday, I shot a bunch of videos with a show called Moms Everyday. These will air locally and in some major national TV markets . . more details when I know them!
It’s officially fall here in Wisconsin. This morning we woke up to a brisk 36 degrees. I read last night that it’s still 80 something degrees in certain cities in CA?? I’ll take the 30 degree weather! I love that it finally feels like fall and all I want to do is stay curled up in my pj’s with a blanket on me on the couch, eating some of this.
Isn’t this the most glorious mac and cheese photo? I just want to dive in.
OK, guys, here’s the skinny on slow cooker mac and cheese:
Some recipes call for cooking the pasta ahead of time and adding the cooked elbow pasta into your slow cooker. You don’t have to do that! and in fact, I prefer not doing that because I feel like the pasta is more mushy when cooked ahead of time.
The key here is the CHEESE! Use good quality cheese, and use a blend of different cheeses! Because of the slow cooker cooking method, I think it’s all about the ingredients here for this recipe. You want to use good quality, great tasting stuff. Everything is cooked on low heat so you want to amp up the flavor with the ingredients you are using.
With mac and cheese, these are my go-to Wisconsin cheeses: Hook’s cheddar (my absolutely favorite!), Edelweiss Creamery butterkase (super creamy and delicious in mac and cheese) and Sartori fontina! I just love the taste of fontina!
Shred it all up. I personally use a food processor when shredding a larger amount of cheese. A little more to clean up (the food processor) but it just makes things easier and it shreds everything so much faster!
The last thing to note with slow cooker mac and cheese: The texture.
The top layer and the mac and cheese in the middle is what you’re used to: creamy, similar to stovetop mac and cheese.
The edges and sometimes the bottom, however, get more baked and casserole-like. If you like those crispy edges that you get with baked mac and cheese, you’re in for a treat!
VERY IMPORTANT: I have bags and bags here of now frozen mac and cheese because I’ve tested this recipe so many times. This is very important: I say cook on low for 2 1/2 hours. Then, check your mac and cheese, mix it around and for some, it will be ready to eat. If you’re going for a more casserole-like baked mac and cheese, let it go for another 30 minutes on low. But after that, this is the important part: remove all of the mac and cheese out of the slow cooker and into a completely different casserole dish, pot or whatever. If the mac and cheese stays in the slow cooker, even when it’s off, it will continue to cook and get hard if you leave it in there. You don’t want this to happen. Trust me.
I hope you guys give this recipe a try! It’s a great dump and go (for just 2.5 hours!) recipe and a great recipe to make during your hectic work week!
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 3½ cups blend of shredded cheese, like cheddar, fontina and butterkase (reserve about a ½ cup)
- 2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
- 2 cups 2% or whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up into cubes
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt + more if needed
- Set aside a ½ cup of cheese if you haven't already. Combine all of the ingredients in your slow cooker and mix together well. Try to make sure the butter cubes aren't stuck together and are evenly distributed and the pasta is submerged in the mixture. Sprinkle that remaining ½ cup of cheese evenly over the top.
- Cover your slow cooker and cook on LOW for 2½ hours. Check your mac and cheese at the 2.5 hour mark, mix it around and immediately serve and enjoy. If you're going for a more casserole-like baked mac and cheese, let it cook for another 30 minutes on low.
- After 2½ to 3 hours, either serve all of the mac and cheese immediately, OR remove all of the mac and cheese out of the slow cooker and into a completely different casserole dish or pot. If the mac and cheese remains in the slow cooker, even when it's off, it will continue to cook and get hard if you leave it in there.