It would be pretty embarrassing to admit that some nights even macaroni and cheese seems too complicated a recipe to tackle. But in the interest of transparency, I’ll admit that sometimes I really am that wiped at the end of the day, and totally not in the mood to cook. Slow-cookers are a great way to get around that, but so often slow-cooker recipes are meat-heavy soups and stews. That’s great, but not always what I’m in the mood for. To shake things up a little, I’ve started experimenting with slow-cooker mac and cheese recipes.
I’ll be honest: There have been some slow-cooker macaroni and cheese failures, but mostly major successes. The key is adding enough liquid so that you don’t end up with cheesy but dry mac. (The worst!) I also pays to take advantage of your slow cooker’s “warm” setting; letting your mac and cheese cook all day is a surefire way to make it too soft. (Also the worst!)
The following 17 slow-cooker mac and cheese recipes are all great options for your first attempt at a slow-cooker mac. Some are super simple, while others have fun mix-ins. No matter which you choose, you should probably head out and get the ingredients ASAP. Why delay an experience so beautiful when you could take full advantage of it, well, right now?
Chili Mac and Cheese
You already know your slow cooker’s great for chili. Why wouldn’t it be great for chili mac and cheese, too?
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
This earthy butternut mac and cheese is great in the fall—or any time of year.
Chipotle Chicken Mac and Cheese
This chipotle chicken slow-cooker mac has a little extra protein, and some spice.
Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese
Yep, gluten-free mac and cheese is possible. And yes, you can absolutely make in in the slow-cooker.
Bacon Jalapeño Mac and Cheese
If bacon and jalapeño are two of your favorite flavors, this easy slow-cooker mac and cheese is for you.
Garlic White Mac and Cheese
There’s enough garlic in this white mac and cheese to keep Vampires well away. (And also, it’s delicious.)
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Don’t worry, cauliflower doesn’t replace pasta in this cauliflower slow-cooker mac and cheese—it just adds some extra veggie goodness.
OK, OK, I know stuffed shells aren’t technically mac and cheese—but sometimes they’re just the thing you’re craving.
Bobby Flay’s Mac and Cheese
Bobby Flay is famously good with a grill, but it turns out he’s also good at slow-cooker mac and cheese.
Classic Mac and Cheese
This saucy mac and cheese is like easy mac, from scratch.
Mushroom Mac and Cheese
This super savory mushroom slow-cooker mac and cheese is a great way to upgrade your dinner menu, without upgrading your effort level.
Beer Mac and Cheese
The secrets to this beer mac and cheese? Beef and stout.
Vegetarian Chili Mac
In case vegetarian slow-cooker chili mac and cheese is more your speed.
Creamy Broccoli Mac and Cheese
This broccoli mac and cheese is a dreamy, simple dinner that’s comforting and packs a serving of veggies.
Bacon Mac and Cheese
This bacon mac and cheese isn’t exactly breakfast for dinner, but it comes close.
Four Cheese Mac and Cheese
Quadruple the fun with this four-cheese slow-cooker mac.
Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
What slow-cooker mac and cheese recipe isn’t better with buffalo chicken mixed in?