I thought I had eaten some pretty amazing mac and cheese recipes in my life. That was until I made mac and cheese in a crock pot for the first time. Holy mother of carbs. This Gluten Free Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese is hands down the creamiest, cheesiest, most indulgent and – most importantly – easiest mac and cheese recipe ever!
Everything goes right into the crock pot, even the uncooked pasta! And before you know it, you’ve got a big ol’ pot of the creamiest, dreamiest gluten-free mac you’ve ever had.
Ingredients for Gluten Free Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
Here is what you’ll need for this yummy mac n cheese recipe:
- Gluten free elbow macaroni. If you can’t find gluten free macaroni, any short cut pasta shape will work in this recipe.
- Milk. I have only tested this recipe with whole milk. I think a lower fat milk would still work, but I have not tested it yet.
- Sharp cheddar cheese. The only actual work you’ll do to create this recipe is grating the cheddar cheese. The rest is ridiculously easy!
- American cheese. When you want maximum meltiness, you’ve got to go with American cheese. The combination of American and cheddar in this recipe makes the creamy cheese sauce taste like Velveeta.
- Evaporated milk. This is regular milk that has most of its water content evaporated away, so it’s more concentrated. It adds richness to the sauce with less fat than if you had used heavy cream.
- Dry mustard. Also called ground mustard, you can find it in the spice aisle of the grocery store.
- Garlic powder
How to make this Gluten Free Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese
If you love crockpot cooking, you know the beauty of “set it and forget it”. And this recipe lets you do just that!
First, throw everything into the slow cooker except for the cheese. The uncooked macaroni will cook right in the crock pot. I like to give it a good stir about every half hour, but it’s not required.
After about 90 minutes of cooking time on the lowest setting, the pasta will be perfectly al dente, and it will be time to add the cheeses. Stir them in gently and wait a few minutes for the cheeses to melt.
Then, your mac and cheese will be ready to enjoy!
What does evaporated milk do to mac and cheese?
Evaporated milk adds the kind of creaminess to the mac and cheese sauce that you’d expect from heavy cream, without having to use heavy cream.
It’s simply regular milk that has a lower water content. So you’re saving on calories but not compromising consistency.
And if a creamy result is what you’re looking for, you won’t find anything better than evaporated milk. Trust me, it’s a total game changer.
What is the best kind of gluten free pasta for mac and cheese?
For a gluten free pasta that will hold its shape in a creamy sauce, go for a rice-based pasta or a rice and lentil combination. Avoid corn-based pastas, as they tend to crumble and fall apart.
I really can’t emphasize this enough. I don’t even know why they make corn pasta at all! It is really not good. It turns into mush as soon as you cook it. Avoid!
Lentil pastas are also very popular. I am okay with a pasta brand that combines lentils and rice, but I find that pastas made 100% from lentils are gummy and don’t taste like the real thing.
Your best results will come from using rice pasta or rice/lentil pasta.
What are the best cheeses for mac and cheese?
For a smooth, creamy mac and cheese, choose cheeses that have good melting properties. American cheese, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, havarti and gouda all melt beautifully. Avoid cheeses like Parmesan cheese, Pecorino Romano and ricotta. They do not melt as smoothly, and may cause your mac and cheese to be clumpy or grainy.
The combination of cheddar and American cheese in this easy crockpot mac is literally to die for. Together with the evaporated milk, they form a creamy cheese sauce that’s similar to Velveeta without tasting artificial. I am so obsessed.
Will this recipe work with regular pasta?
Of course! This recipe is as delicious with regular pasta as it is with gluten free pasta. Go for a short cut variety like shells, ziti or penne.
How to serve this slow cooker mac and cheese
Once the macaroni is cooked and the cheese is melted, set your slow cooker to the warm setting (if it has one). Serve it right from the crock pot.
If your slow cooker doesn’t have a warm setting, turn it off. It will still stay warm for several hours. You don’t want to continue to cook the macaroni, as gluten free macaroni does not hold up as well as regular pasta.
Delicious as a main dish, this mac and cheese is so rich and creamy that a side dish portion will also be satisfying. Try serving it as a side dish for roasted chicken, beef or pork. We also love it in a bowl with a scoop of chili on top.
Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and reheated in the microwave.
When you make this Gluten Free Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese, I’d love to hear about it! Drop a rating or leave a comment below. Enjoy!
For more gluten free meals, try these:
For more cheesy pasta recipes, try these:
Gluten Free Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
- 1 slow cooker or crock pot
- 1 lb. gluten free elbow macaroni
- 3 cup whole milk
- 10 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 oz. American cheese
- 12 oz. evaporated milk
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- Grate the cheddar cheese and set aside. Tear the American cheese into smaller pieces and set aside.
- Coat the inside of a slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
- Add the macaroni, milks and dry spices to the crock pot (all ingredients except for the cheeses). Stir to combine, making sure the macaroni is as submerged as possible.
- Cover the crock pot and set it to low. Cook for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Gently stir in the cheeses. Cover and cook an additional 15 minutes, until cheeses are melted.
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