March 3, 2020

No-Boil Crock Pot Macaroni & Cheese

An impossibly easy slow cooker recipe for ultra-creamy Mac & Cheese that uses uncooked macaroni noodles. No boiling or baking required and no sauce to cook – just toss it in and go!


When it comes to mac & cheese, there could be a cookbook called 50 Shades of Yellow because there just are so many varieties and versions out there.

I narrow it down to four basic types below (and from these basic four types, there are slow cooker and no-boil versions for most so the next cookbook might be called 50 Shades Yellower). Here are the four basic types (and we can pretend I didn't just make a lame joke 😬):
  • Baked Custard-Style with eggs (the way my part of the South makes it)
  • Baked with Bechamel (roux) sauce
  • Stove-Top Homemade (typically with a Bechamel-style sauce)
  • Stove-Top Instant (from a box… that’s probably blue)

No-Boil Crock Pot Macaroni & Cheese | An impossibly easy slow cooker recipe for ultra-creamy Mac & Cheese that uses uncooked macaroni noodles. No boiling or baking required and no sauce to cook – just toss it in and go!

Having grown up in South Carolina and eaten it this way my entire life, I much prefer the Baked Custard-Style because it’s what I know and it conjures up thoughts of home and memories of family dinners. I have two recipes for it here on the blog:

No-Boil Crock Pot Macaroni & Cheese | An impossibly easy slow cooker recipe for ultra-creamy Mac & Cheese that uses uncooked macaroni noodles. No boiling or baking required and no sauce to cook – just toss it in and go!

My second favorite type – and Lord, y’all are gonna have a fit with this one – is the Stove-Top Instant. I KNOW!! It’s craaazzzzy. I knowww... I know! I like it because I don’t think of it as being in the same stratosphere as the baked, homemade stuff. I think of it as an entirely different food.

It’s the side dish that goes with hot dogs on a hectic Tuesday night. It’s the gooey guilty pleasure that helped me pack on 30 pounds in college. It’s the quick fix for lunch when the kids are cranky and hungry.

I like it for two reasons: 1) it’s easy and, 2)  the sauce is really cheesy and smooth (not pasty and bland from a flour-based sauce).

No-Boil Crock Pot Macaroni & Cheese | An impossibly easy slow cooker recipe for ultra-creamy Mac & Cheese that uses uncooked macaroni noodles. No boiling or baking required and no sauce to cook – just toss it in and go!

So I decided to try to create a recipe that’s a little bit of both of my favorites. Using real cheddar cheese, evaporated milk and my favorite spices gives it a taste that’s very similar to the baked custard-style (Southern-style) mac & cheese.

Creating a recipe that’s both made in the crock pot AND doesn’t require pre-cooking the noodles makes it easy peasy. Then using evaporated milk and Velveeta gives it the smooth and creamy, ultra-cheesy flavor like the boxed stuff.

Now, I will tell you, though the flavor is spot-on, the texture isn’t the same as the custard style so I can’t say this is a hands-down, all-time, nothing-better favorite but it’s so easy (and very delicious) so it’s still a winner for me!

No-Boil Crock Pot Macaroni & Cheese | An impossibly easy slow cooker recipe for ultra-creamy Mac & Cheese that uses uncooked macaroni noodles. No boiling or baking required and no sauce to cook – just toss it in and go!

FUN FACT:
Did you know that our famous blue box Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is called Kraft Dinner in Canada? When Husband (who most of you know by now is Canadian) kept calling it Kraft Dinner, I thought it was just a family thing. Then I noticed the packaging is totally different in the US and in Canada. Who knew??


NOTES ABOUT COOKING NO-BOIL CROCK POT MAC & CHEESE:

  • All slow cookers cook differently (the temperatures vary considerably) so the 2-hour cooking time is approximate. If you know yours cooks slow and low, plan for up to 3 hours cook time. 
  • If the noodles cook quicker than the sauce is absorbed, remove crock from heat, uncover, then let rest until the sauce thickens. Don’t overcook the pasta.
  • If the sauce gets too thick before the noodles are tender, stir in milk (1/2 cup at a time) to thin out the sauce then continue cooking until the pasta is tender. This might occur if your slow cooker cooks hot and fast.
  • If you hate Velveeta, substitute with shredded American cheese (from the deli, not slices).
  • I prefer mild cheddar because it’s a little creamier and I like the mild flavor but feel free to use whichever cheddar you prefer. 
  • You absolutely MUST shred your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese is coated with anti-clumping agents like cellulose (powdered wood pulp) which dries out your finished cooked dishes. It is also harder than cheese you shred yourself so it doesn’t melt as smooth and creamy. 
No-Boil Crock Pot Macaroni & Cheese | An impossibly easy slow cooker recipe for ultra-creamy Mac & Cheese that uses uncooked macaroni noodles. No boiling or baking required and no sauce to cook – just toss it in and go!


mac & cheese, mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, macaroni & cheese, crockpot, crock pot, slow cooker, no boil, no boiling, raw, uncooked, noodles, pasta, no eggs, southern, easy, best, how to, recipe, velveeta, evaporated milk
Side Dish, Crock Pot, Slow Cooker, Pasta, Meatless
Yield: 10-12 Servings
Author:

No-Boil Crock Pot Macaroni & Cheese

No-Boil Crock Pot Macaroni & Cheese

An impossibly easy slow cooker recipe for ultra-creamy Mac & Cheese that uses uncooked macaroni noodles. No boiling or baking required and no sauce to cook – just toss it in and go!
prep time: 5 Mcook time: 2 hourtotal time: 2 H & 5 M

ingredients:

  • 1 lb. macaroni noodles, uncooked
  • 2 12-oz cans evaporated milk
  • 1 cup milk
  • 12 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz. Velveeta, cubed
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)

instructions:

How to cook No-Boil Crock Pot Macaroni & Cheese

  1. Spray a medium-sized slow cooker with cooking spray then add dry, uncooked macaroni noodles.
  2. Combine evaporated milk, milk, salt and remaining spices in a large bowl then stir until mixed well. Poor seasoned milk mixture over noodles.
  3. Add cheeses and melted butter to the slow cooker then gently stir until well combined. Level the ingredients, taking care to submerge the noodles in the liquid.
  4. Cook on high for approximately 2 hours or until noodles are tender, gently stirring every 30 minutes. If needed, add more milk before serving for a creamier sauce.

NOTES:

All slow cookers cook differently (the temperatures vary considerably) so the 2-hour cooking time is approximate. If you know yours cooks slow and low, plan for up to 3 hours cook time.
If the noodles cook quicker than the sauce is absorbed, turn off the heat, uncover, then let rest until the sauce thickens. Don’t overcook the pasta.
If the sauce gets too thick before the noodles are tender, stir in milk (1/2 cup at a time) to thin out the sauce then continue cooking until the pasta is tender. This might occur if your slow cooker cooks hot and fast.
I use white pepper because I love it but black pepper is totally fine.
The spices listed here are my personal favorites with this recipe but feel free to omit or switch up any you prefer (just don’t omit the salt). Garlic powder is great in this too.
Approximately 3 cups = 1 pound of standard size uncooked macaroni noodles.
If you hate Velveeta, substitute with shredded American cheese (from the deli, not slices).
I prefer mild cheddar because it’s a little creamier and I like the mild flavor but feel free to use whichever cheddar you prefer.
You absolutely MUST shred your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese is coated with anti-clumping agents like cellulose (powdered wood pulp) which dries out your finished cooked dishes. It is also harder than cheese you shred yourself so it doesn’t melt as smooth and creamy.
If you don’t serve this immediately, you may find that you need to stir in a little milk for a creamier consistency.

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No-Boil Crock Pot Macaroni & Cheese | An impossibly easy slow cooker recipe for ultra-creamy Mac & Cheese that uses uncooked macaroni noodles. No boiling or baking required and no sauce to cook – just toss it in and go!

This recipe was shared at Meal Plan Monday!


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Hi there! While I’m not able to respond to every comment, I try hard to answer any questions that haven’t been addressed in the post, recipe or in other comments.

I can tell you now 1) I have no idea if you can substitute Minute Rice or brown rice in my recipes because I’ve never used them and 2) If I know how to convert a recipe to a Crock Pot version, I will make a note about it (otherwise, I don’t know).

And though I may not respond to them all, I do read each and every comment and I LOVE to hear from you guys! Thanks, y’all! - Mandy