Crock Pot Mac and Cheese with Uncooked Pasta has excellent taste, creamy texture, and tender pasta in one of the easiest recipes you can make for dinner tonight—no boiling for you.
👍Why you should make this recipe
- This Mac and Cheese has a wonderfully creamy, cheesy taste and tender pasta that the whole family will love, even picky kids.
- No need to boil—add the dry pasta uncooked.
- Easy cleanup with only the crock pot to clean.
- You cook the pasta in spicy milk in the crock pot to near done, drain any fluid, add cheese, and let it melt to creamy goodness.
- You can use any size crock pot, even as small as 2 quarts.
- There is no can of soup.
- Using your crock pot, you can free up the oven and stovetop space during holiday cooking, like Thanksgiving or Christmas.
- Elbow macaroni
- Pantry ingredients—dry mustard, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper
👨🍳How to make Crock Pot Mac and Cheese with Uncooked Pasta
- Add milk, standard macaroni, spices, and butter to a crock pot.
- Cook on low. Cook until pasta is al dente—usually about 2 hours. Stir well every hour and check the texture. DO NOT COOK BY TIME ONLY HERE.
- When the pasta is al dente, drain any free fluid, add cheese, and stir well
- Continue on low for 5-15 minutes until the pasta is tender and the cheese is melted.
♨️The Crock Pot
- This fits well in most crock pots 2 quarts or above. Even a double recipe will fit in a 3.5 qt crock pot. You can use bigger as long as the milk completely covers the pasta in the first part of the recipe.
- Large crock pots with small amounts of ingredients may cook faster, so be careful.
- This should usually be done on low. This is NOT a recipe you should cook on high and cut the time in half and ignore. The endpoint is the pasta becoming al dente, not an amount of time.
- My instructions are to use standard dry pasta.
- If you want to use whole wheat or gluten-free pasta, you MUST pay attention to the pasta's endpoint is just al dente. More than that will make mush. The time of cooking WILL be different.
- If using non-standard pasta, you should usually be OK if you check the pasta more frequently, stop at al dente, and discard the excess fluid.
- Many kinds of cheese should not cook for long periods. But by adding the cheese near the end, it will deliver its creamy goodness.
- American-made pre-shredded cheese that we all buy does not like long or high heat. It is waxier than block cheese, and it just won't take it and will separate some.
- I'm stuck on sharp cheddar cheese. Almost any cheese can work, like Velveeta, American, Colby jack, gouda, and gruyere.
- I'm sure a better cheese like a block of Cabot would do better, but are you going for a $10 cheese for this?
- Feel free to vary the cheese type.
❓Trouble Shooting—I have too much liquid.
There are hundreds of different pasta, some requiring more or less fluid. The amount of fluid is for standard elbow macaroni and is usually correct for most standard pasta.
Once your pasta is al dente, you are done with the free liquid. So, you MUST drain any excess fluid. Don't worry about getting every drop of the liquid out. Just use a cup and remove the liquid you can easily remove before adding the cheese.
Your pasta is mushy from cooking too fast or you cooked too long. You need to look for al dente and stop cooking.
If using non-standard pasta, you should usually be OK if you check the pasta more frequently, stop at al dente, and discard the excess fluid.
Some cheap cheese will separate quickly. Get better cheese, and do not cook it too long.
Storage of leftovers
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days or freeze for 2-3 months.
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Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
This recipe will fit in a 2-quart or larger crock pot.
Add 2 cups milk, 1 cup standard macaroni, ½ teaspoon dry mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon each of pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and 1 tablespoon of butter to the crock pot.
Cook on low until the pasta reaches al dente. Stir well one hour into the cooking and check the texture, then recheck every 30 minutes or more frequently until done—about 2 hours for most crock pots and pasta. But crock pots and pasta vary and your time may vary. DO NOT COOK BY TIME.
Drain any free fluid when the pasta is al dente, and mix in 1 cup of shredded cheese—sharp cheddar is recommended.
Continue on low until cooked the pasta is tender—about 5-15 minutes.
This is the crock pot after the meal. My wife scooped it into bowls within 30 seconds of her first bite. I think she liked it.
Crock Pot Mac and Cheese with Uncooked Pasta
- 1 cup Elbow Macaroni
- 2 cups milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup cheese of your choice - I used sharp cheddar
- Add 2 cups milk, 1 cup standard macaroni, ½ teaspoon dry mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon each of pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and 1 tablespoon of butter to the crock pot. You can use a crock pot as small as 2 quarts, but be sure the pasta is covered with milk. Larger crock pots cook smaller recipes faster.
- Cook on low until the pasta reaches al dente. Stir well one hour into the cooking and check the texture, then recheck every 30 minutes or more frequently until done—about 2 hours for most crock pots and pasta. But crock pots and pasta vary and your time may vary. DO NOT COOK BY TIME.
- Drain any free fluid when the pasta is al dente, and mix in 1 cup of shredded cheese—sharp cheddar is recommended.
- Continue on low until cooked the pasta is tender—about 5-15 minutes.
Your Own Private Notes
- This is not a dump-it-in-and-go shopping recipe.
- I suggest a standard dry pasta. If you use whole wheat, gluten-free, or other standard pasta, you must be aware of the endpoint being the pasta cooked to al dente and not longer.
- You may have some free liquid when the pasta reaches the al dente stage. You need to remove the extra fluid. Do not try to cook the extra fluid off. Get most of it spooned out, you don't need to get every drop,.
- Use the cheese of your choice. I always like some sharp cheddar here. Add the cheese at the end of cooking so you don't adversely affect the texture of the cheese.
- This will fit in a 2 qt. crock pot as written. A double batch will fit in a 3.5 qt or bigger.
- You can use bigger crock pots, but the pasta needs to be covered by the fluid, and remember that small recipes in large crock pots will cook faster.
- The bigger batch you have, the more extra liquid you will have. That is fine since we are cooking to the pasta al dente point. Just drain the extra fluid.
- I have closed the comment so this recipe. There were so many comments, and I felt everything was covered. I have modified the recipe some with that input over the years.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Originally published January 13, 2013. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.