If you can watch the clock, add stuff to a pot, and stir things a few times, then you can make this slow cooker mac and cheese. Chef and registered dietitian behind Camelback Nutrition & Wellness Kristen Carli’s recipe for this "three-cheese creamy crock pot mac and cheese" is a crowd pleaser like few other dishes you can whip up. It will have the kids clamoring for seconds and thirds, it goes beautifully with burgers, sandwiches, salads, and so forth, and the mac and cheese also makes a perfect base dish that can be dressed up with crumbled bacon, beans, or ground beef.
Perhaps best of all, the hands-on work here requires about five minutes of your time. This is one of those rare dishes you will actually spend more time eating than you will working to prepare.
Gather your ingredients for this slow cooker mac and cheese
It might seem like this slow cooker mac and cheese recipe uses an awful lot of ingredients, but don’t worry too much: Everything but the cheese goes in at the start, and then the cheese is added and stirred moments before serving. It is indeed a wonderfully easy meal.
You’ll need nonstick cooking spray, a 16-ounce box of uncooked macaroni, 15 ounces of evaporated milk, two and a half cups of whole milk, one stick of unsalted butter, melted, a half teaspoon each of ground paprika, black pepper, and garlic powder, a full teaspoon each of salt and ground mustard, four ounces of cream cheese softened to room temperature, a half cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, and two cups of shredded cheddar cheese.
Let your slow cooker mac and cheese cook
Spray a three- or four- quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray (or brush all the sides with oil), and make sure it’s well-coated. Set it to a medium heat setting. (If you only have high or low, start high, then switch to low after about a half hour.) Toss in the uncooked macaroni, evaporated milk, and whole milk. Stir well to mix everything.
Now, add the melted butter and all of the spices. Stir well and make sure things are heating up evenly. Cover the slow cooker and cook your slow cooker mac and cheese on low for one hour.
Stir, check liquid levels, and cook your slow cooker mac and cheese some more
After an hour has passed, open up the lid of your slow cooker and stir well to break up the pasta in your slow cooker mac and cheese. There should still be plenty of fluid in the cooker. If there’s not, reduce the heat to its lowest setting and add a bit more milk, then proceed to keep an eye on the pot during the last period of cooking to make sure it’s cooking well.
Assuming that everything looks okay, cover the mac and cheese back up and cook for another 45 minutes on low.
Add the cheese, stir, and serve your slow cooker mac and cheese
When about 45 more minutes have passed, take the lid off the slow cooker and, you guess it, stir everything well. Now, add all the cheeses (meaning cream cheese, mozzarella, and cheddar), and stir well yet again. Cover and cook for another five minutes to let the cheeses melt.
Now stir again one very last time before serving, and then ladle out a dish that is going to please everyone lucky enough to get a scoop or three of this slow cooker mac and cheese.