Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese With Variations

Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese
Diana Rattray
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings

This slow cooker macaroni and cheese makes about 6 servings. Optional green or red bell pepper and finely chopped onion may be added for extra flavor. 

It's a simple recipe with no need to make a separate sauce. Plus it can be left in the slow cooker and transported to a party or potluck dinner. Just set the slow cooker on warm and serve it right from the crock pot.

See the tips and variations for additional ingredient ideas and possible substitutions.


  • 3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni, about 12 ounces
  • 5 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 can (12 ounces) cups evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup milk, half-and-half, or light cream
  • 3 cups shredded sharp process cheese (Velveeta) or cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red or green bell pepper, optional
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Following the package directions, cook the macaroni in boiling salted water. Drain well and transfer the hot macaroni to a large bowl.

  2. Butter the slow cooker crockery insert with about 1 tablespoon of the softened butter.

  3. Add the 4 remaining tablespoons of butter to the hot macaroni and toss to coat thoroughly. Add the evaporated milk, the milk or cream, cheese, and bell pepper and onion, if using. Add 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.

  4. Cover and cook on High 2 to 3 hours, stirring once or twice. Taste and add more salt, as needed.

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.


  • If you like a crunchy topping, transfer the finished mac and cheese to a buttered 2 1/2 to 3-quart baking dish. Toss 1 cup of finely ground fresh soft bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle over the macaroni and cheese and then put it under the preheated broiler just until the crumbs are browned and crunchy.

Recipe Variations

Macaroni and Cheese With Ham: Add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of cooked diced ham to the macaroni along with the cheese.

Bacon Macaroni and Cheese: Add about 1/2 cup of cooked crumbled bacon to the macaroni along with the cheese.