How To Make Crock Pot Mac And Cheese
- Add pasta and liquids to the slow cooker. Sprinkle in seasonings and stir.
- Cover and cook 1 hour. Stir. Cover and cook another 10 minutes.
- Stir in cream cheese and grated cheese. Cover and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Stir and serve.
How easy is that?! No fancy cream sauce to make just hands-off cook time so you can go relax!
Stovetop Mac And Cheese Option
I love the golden brown edges and top that baking the macaroni and cheese creates, but you dont need to bake it if you dont want to. For a stovetop mac and cheese, simply add the pasta to the cheese sauce and then let it sit, covered for a few minutes. This time gives the pasta a chance to absorb some of the sauce. You can also take a look at this easy macaroni and cheese recipe made on the stovetop.
Special Equipment Used In This Recipe
- Box Grater remember, the best mac starts with freshly shredded cheese!
BE SURE TO SCROLL DOWN TO CHECK OUT OTHER READERS COMMENTS!
AND DONT FORGET, IF YOUVE MADE THIS RECIPE, LEAVE A COMMENT AND PLEASE GIVE IT A STAR RATING!
Post has been updated in September 2019 with new photos and additional information.
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
Read Also: Where Can I Find Goat Cheese
To Bake Or Not To Bake:
You dont have to bake the mac and cheese in this recipe. Everything gets fully cooked and is essentially ready to eat after the cheese and noodles are added. However, I love the extra gooeyness that comes when the cheese is baked and I think baking it adds a level of sophistication you just dont get without.
The Best Cheese For Mac And Cheese
Sharp Cheddar is my first choice for flavor however you can certainly use your favorite cheeses. Mix it up and use a bit of gruyere, or even pepper jack for a little kick. If you have bits of cheese leftover, you can combine them all together in this easy homemade cheese sauce.
This recipe has a special ingredient that is a little bit unconventional but makes it extra yummy AND it is optional. The addition of cheddar cheese soup makes the sauce a little bit extra velvety and just adds a little something. I think its much better than Mac and cheese with Velveeta! Give it a try! .
Don’t Miss: Where To Get A Grilled Cheese
How Do You Revive Macaroni And Cheese
Dont Miss: Laughing Cow Cheese Not Refrigerated
What To Serve With Easy Baked Mac And Cheese
Serve this easy oven baked mac and cheese as a lunch or main-dish dinner and your family will be thrilled. It’s total comfort food! Just add a house salad, tomato salad, or Caesar salad, roasted broccoli, Southern-style green beans, or collard greens on the side. We also love a basket of flaky biscuits, blueberry muffins, apple bread, cornbread, or corn sticks on the table to round out the meal.
If you’re serving the homemade mac and cheese as a side dish, here are some entrées that go well with the casserole:
Read Also: Who Owns Chuck E Cheese
Do You Need To Bake Mac And Cheese
Creamy mac and cheese recipes that start with a roux-based sauce , do not need to be baked before serving. A creamy stovetop mac and cheese recipe is designed to go straight from the pot to the plate — no oven necessary. You could also serve this mac and cheese without baking — it will just be really saucy. By contrast, Southern-style mac and cheese recipes must be baked in order to cook the egg and help the dish set.
How To Make Mac And Cheese Without Boiling Water
This recipe makes 6 servings. It takes about 5 minutes to prepare and about 60 minutes of cooking time.
To make this no boil mac and cheese recipe, you will need a few basic ingredients:
- Elbow macaroni
- Whole milk
- Salt & pepper
Full measurements for the ingredients are in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
For this recipe, you will use sharp cheddar cheese. You can use any cheese that you prefer. If you want a milder flavor, go with a medium or mild cheddar. Fontina is also a great melting cheese.
I recommend shredding your own cheese for this recipe, but you can use bagged shredded cheese to save time if needed.
Read Also: Does Kraft Cheese Have Lactose
Add The Pasta And Sauce To A Dish
After the cheese has melted, add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir until all the noodles are well-coated.
Then, add the mixture to a greased 3-quart baking dish. Top with more cheese
Then, bake! I like to broil for a few minutes at the end of the cooking time to give it a little color and extra crisp around the edges.
How To Make Oven
Here are a few kitchen tools I recommend to make this recipe easier:
- KitchenAid Mixer with shredder attachment this will shred the blocks of cheese in a fraction of the time.
- If the KitchenAid and attachments are outside of your budget, this Hamilton Beach food processor is a great option!
- Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven Any heavy-bottomed pot will do, but I love my Tramontina dutch oven set. Its a budget-friendly option that really stands up against the test of time. Weve used ours for years!
- 3 Quart Casserole Dish must be oven safe!
Much like my Chicken Divan Casserole, this recipe has a creamy cheese sauce as the base, which means you need to make a roux!
Also Check: How To Get Tickets At Chuck E Cheese
How To Make Instant Pot Mac And Cheese
Storing Crock Pot Mac And Cheese
The leftovers from this mac and cheese recipe need to be refrigerated. Let the leftovers cool completely, cover, then refrigerate for up to 3 days. For optimal texture, add enough milk to thin the sauce before packing up the leftovers, that way you can easily scoop out a portion to reheat, and the milk will meld into the cream sauce as it reheats.
Recommended Reading: What Goes Good With Grilled Cheese
What Type Of Cheese Should You Use
Cheddar is a classic choice for baked mac and cheese, and this recipe adds a bit of zing with an extra sharp version. Some other excellent cheeses include cream cheese, Parmesan, and Swiss, as the mild, buttery flavor and ideal melt make them great for this pasta dish.
Gruyere is a standout favorite for its creamy, nutty, and earthy flavor. Try half Gruyere and half cheddar the next time you’re feeling like switching up your baked mac and cheese recipe.
How To Avoid Grainy Cheese Sauce:
- The type of cheddar makes a difference. High quality aged cheddar cheese will give you a stronger taste and smoother texture. More mild and inexpensive cheddar cheeses will have less flavor and almost a grittier taste.
- Use fresh grated cheese. Pre-shredded store-bought cheese will not melt the same as freshly grated cheese, and grating the cheese helps it melt smoothly and evenly in the sauce.
- Bring the cheese to room temperature. I like to grate the cheese very first, before moving forward with the recipe. That allows it to sit at room temperature while I prepare the white sauce.
- Use low heat. In order for the cheese to melt properly and smoothly we want it to have gradual changes in temperature . When its time to add the cheese to the white sauce, remove the sauce from heat and let it cool for a few minutes. It only needs to be warm enough to melt the cheese.
- Dont over-stirthe sauce once the cheese has melted. Add the noodles and quickly assemble in pan and put into the oven.
Read Also: Where To Buy Gourmandise Cheese
Can I Freeze Macaroni And Cheese
I get asked that a lot and my answer is always no. As the pasta and cheese sauce sit, it will thicken and when you thaw it and bake it, the creamy consistency is just gone. Its thick and gloppy. Plus if you freeze it and its still a bit warm, water crystals will form and then thaw into your dish and could make it separate when you bake it. Besides, its so fast to make, theres not really a reason to freeze your macaroni and cheese.
Donât Miss: How Long Will Babybel Cheese Last Unrefrigerated
Baked Macaroni And Cheese Recipes
There are as many different baked macaroni and cheese recipes as there are home cooks. In the South, baked mac and cheese is typically just a simple combination of pasta, eggs, butter, milk, and cheese. The eggs set up to create a firm casserole that you can slice into squares to serve. If you prefer that style dish, try my favorite Southern Baked Mac and Cheese recipe. This recipe, by contrast, uses a roux to make a creamy béchamel that coats the noodles in sauce. If you’re looking for the ultimate creamy, easy baked mac and cheeserecipe, then you’ve come to the right place!
Don’t Miss: What Time Does Chuck E Cheese Open And Close
Variations Of This Recipe
- PROTEIN Feel free to add in some shredded chicken, pulled pork, or some crispy bacon for an extra protein punch.
- VEGGIES Trying to get your veggies in? Stir in some steamed broccoli or cauliflower.
- TOPPINGS If you love a topping on your mac and cheese, transfer the cooked cheesy mac to a baking dish and top with either some extra cheese, buttered panko breadcrumbs, or buttered crushed Ritz crackers. Broil a few minutes until crispy.
- COOKING LIQUID If you prefer to use all chicken broth, or all water feel free to do that. Just make sure there are 4 total cups of liquid.
- DIFFERENT CHEESES Gruyere, Gouda, Fontina, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Colby, or all Cheddar. These are all good melting cheeses and will give you a smooth sauce. However, feel free to play around with different combinations that you like!
Read Also: Babybel Cheese Backpacking
Easiest Baked Macaroni And Cheese
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Easiest ever baked macaroni and cheese this is a go-to recipe of many of my readers and it will become the same for your family!
This is the easiest ever macaroni and cheese! And so delicious!
You May Like: How To Make Creamy Cheese Sauce For Macaroni
Do You Thaw Frozen Pasta Before Cooking
Dont defrost before you cook the pasta simply drop the frozen pieces into boiling water. When you cook frozen pasta, always use an additional quart of water so the temperature does not drop when the pasta is added. If the water takes too long to return to a boil, the pasta will stick together in the pot.
Read Also: Does Laughing Cow Cheese Go Bad
How To Make Kraft Macaroni And Cheese In A Microwave Oven
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup milk
7.25 ounce package of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.
In a 2qt microwave-safe dish add 1-1/3 cups water. Heat the water for one minute.
Pour the pasta from the box into the hot water .
Stir the pasta and put the uncovered dish in the microwave oven for 5-7 minutes on HIGH . It is very important to stir the pasta every 1-2 minutes to avoid having the pasta stick together. You will know the pasta has been cooked long enough when there is no longer water in the dish. Do not overcook.
Once the water is absorbed, remove the dish from the microwave oven. Add 1/4 cup butter or margarine and mix together with the pasta.
Next add the cheese sauce that was included in the box along with 1/4 cup milk.
Blend all of the ingredients together until the pasta is well coated with the cheese sauce. Enjoy!
Prep time:10 min
Recommended Reading: Is Cheese Bad For Prostate Cancer
What Type Of Cheese
This classic mac and cheese recipe is made with cheddar cheese. I particularly love medium or sharp cheddar cheese but any type will do. If you want a more luxurious mac and cheese or youre really trying to impress a crowd, you could use a combination of different cheeses. Just be sure to select a type of cheese that is good for melting, like white cheddar, smoked gouda, gruyere, brie, goat cheese, mozzarella, or fontina.
Special Equipment For This Recipe
- Instant Pot I recently upgraded to this model and I love it!
BE SURE TO SCROLL DOWN TO CHECK OUT OTHER READERS COMMENTS FOR TIPS AND REVIEWS.
AND DONT FORGET, IF YOUVE MADE THIS RECIPE, LEAVE A COMMENT AND PLEASE GIVE IT A STAR RATING LETTING ME KNOW HOW YOU ENJOYED IT!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
Don’t Miss: Does Chuck E Cheese Sell Alcohol
Can I Refrigerate Before Baking
Yes, you can refrigerate macaroni and cheese before you bake it. This make-ahead mac and cheese is a great option for meal prep. Do all the cooking whenever you have the time and bake it right before youre ready to eat.
To refrigerate before baking, you will complete all the steps up to putting the mixture in the pan. Cover the dish with foil and refrigerate for up to two days. When youre ready to bake it, pull the mac out of the fridge while the oven is preheating and top with breadcrumbs and Parmesan.
You will need to bake the macaroni and cheese casserole a little longer since itll be cold. Bake for about 30-40 minutes until heated through.
Variations Of Mac And Cheese
- Bacon if you love bacon, feel free to add some crispy, crumbled bacon to the topping, or even inside the mac and cheese as well!
- Stovetop if youd prefer not to bake this mac and cheese, you dont have to! Make sure you boil your pasta until al dente , and youll only need about 3 3 1/2 cups of cheese total. No need to layer the pasta and cheese, just add all the cheese to the sauce, then combine with the pasta.
- Different Toppings Im a huge fan of the cheese layer on top, since it gets nice and crispy, but we also love tossing 1 cup of panko with 2 Tbsp of melted butter and using that as a topping. 1 cup of crushed Ritz crackers with 2 Tbsp of butter work amazingly well too!
- Different Baking Times the recipe calls for a lower baking temperature and time, but most of the time I find myself adjusting that based on my familys tastes. I like to bake this mac and cheese at 350 F degrees for 30 minutes, then broil for 2-3 minutes to get that glorious cheesy crust.
Read Also: Can I Have Cottage Cheese On Keto
How Do You Make Macaroni And Cheese Without Boiling The Noodles First
Start by preheating oven to 350°F.
Then grease a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Layer the uncooked elbow macaroni noodles in the bottom of the baking dish.
Cover the pasta with whole milk, salt, pepper, and half the shredded cheese.
Stir to mix the ingredients together in the dish.
Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and stir the pasta to keep it from sticking.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and return to the oven to cook an additional 25 minutes.
The macaroni and cheese is ready when the cheese on top is melted and the pasta is tender.
The Best Kind Of Cheese For Mac And Cheese
I used a combination of mozzarella, colby jack, and sharp cheddar cheeses. Sharp cheddar is one of the more popular cheeses for this dish, but you could also use pepper jack, parmesan, medium cheddar, or any other combination of cheese for your tastes.
I do recommend including at least a little bit of sharp cheddar for that flavor punch!
Don’t Miss: What Do You Need For Baked Mac And Cheese
How To Measure Pasta For This Recipe
Sometimes a reader or two has had an issue with how much pasta this recipe needs. This recipe is written by volume and sometimes people think that since a cup is 8 ounces that they can simply use 12-16 ounces of pasta or go by the weight of the dry pasta written on the box.
Youll end up with problems if you do this. Please follow the volume instructions and measure your pasta dry in a measuring cup meant for dry items . Small pastas like ditalini or little wagon wheels can go up to about 2 cups and be fine in the recipe, and large ones like bow tie or cellentani can as well. If you will stick to elbow pasta until you get the hang of things youll be better off.
Ive made this recipe with every pasta shape on the market and if you will measure in cups, your recipe will be just right.