Did anyone else have a Kraft obsession as a kid and alternate between The Cheesiest, Shells, or whichever cartoon character shape was on the shelf at the moment? Re-creating that comfort food is something I still like to do (especially on a bad day), although now my tastes are a bit more refined—which is where the novel concept of crockpot mac and cheese comes in. Yes, in case you haven't already heard, you can now whip up some mac and cheese in the slow cooker with the same amount of effort you would put toward heating up Easy Mac (and trust me, it tastes a million times better).
Plus, we're talking about so much more than just pasta and cheese in these dishes—there's the addition of mushrooms and peas, buffalo chicken, or even two types of beans for the ultimate take on veggie chili. We can tell you one thing for sure, these four crockpot mac and cheese recipes will have everyone asking for seconds. It's time to dig in.
SLOW COOKER MAC AND CHEESE
The Hero Ingredient: Cream of mushroom soup blends in effortlessly with the melted sharp cheddar and parmesan for three times the cheese (yum).
The Recipe: Uncooked shell pasta, the cream of mushroom, cheese (see above), milk, broth, mushrooms and peas cook up on low for three to four hours in this slow cooker mac and cheese recipe.
The Clincher: A dash of soy sauce ups the umami in this delectable dish.
SLOW COOKER VEGETARIAN CHILI MAC
The Hero Ingredient: Diced tomatoes give this mac and cheese an unexpected twist to create a veggie chili.
The Recipe: Pasta and cheddar are fancied up with the tomatoes, pinto and kidney beans, onion, peppers, broth and some spices (we say the more chili pepper, the better).
The Clincher: Opt for elbow pasta to soak up every last bit of goodness, and trust us, there's a lot.
SLOW COOKER FOUR-CHEESE MACARONI
The Hero ingredient: Cream cheese acts as the fourth "cheese," aside from cheddar, Havarti, and gruyere, and it imparts a gooey consistency that we love.
The Recipe: Pasta, milk, evaporated milk, all four kinds of cheese, ground mustard, and some seasonings cook up in the crockpot before getting finished off with Parmesan and parsley.
The Clincher: Easy prep and a short cook time—by crockpot standards—render this recipe the perfect fall dinner.
SLOW COOKER BUFFALO CHICKEN MAC AND CHEESE
The Hero Ingredient: Buffalo sauce gives everything in the pot—the pasta, the chicken, and the cheese—a nice kick.
The Recipe: The chicken, the sauce, and the broth cook up first (once done, the protein is shredded and thrown back into the crockpot). Combine with the uncooked pasta and cheese sauce until it thickens.
The Clincher: Mix up a homemade sauce on the stovetop with the cheddar, milk, butter, and flour—it literally makes the recipe.