This smoked gouda mac and cheese crock pot recipe is going to be THE dish you will be asked to bring for every get-together! Luckily for you, it's super easy to throw into the crock, set and forget. 😉 This mac is super cheesy, creamy, slightly smoky, and full of flavor. Everyone will LOVE it!
Best Crock Pot Mac and Cheese Ever
Loaded with Flavor! Using smoked gouda cheese in this recipe adds a perfect, slightly smoky flavor to this decadent mac and cheese. Seasonings such as smoked paprika, mustard powder, and fresh diced onion pack even more flavor.
Perfect for Parties. Macaroni and cheese is always a crowd-pleaser. Whether it be the next family gathering, dinner for your own family, or a work party! Everyone is always complimenting this recipe and wanting the recipe.
Customize with your Favorites. Add in some of your favorite toppings, proteins, or veggies to make it your own. This makes it fun for kids to want to eat, and I also love eating it!
Crock Pot Gouda Mac and Cheese Recipe Ingredients
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this slow cooker smoked gouda mac and cheese:
- Olive Oil: used to coat the noodles to blister in the microwave. Use your favorite kind of oil!
- Elbow Macaroni: use a standard-sized uncooked macaroni noodle for this recipe. You may substitute medium shells for a similar cooking time if preferred.
- Onion: sweet, white, and yellow onions work best in this recipe. Use what you have on hand or omit it if preferred.
- Low Sodium Chicken Broth: you don't need to use low sodium; however, the cheese in this recipe adds a decent amount of sodium, so using low-sodium broth it helps control the seasoning and taste.
- Evaporated Milk: this is typically found in the baking aisle at your local grocery store. Evaporated milk is milk, heated to reduce the water out to make a concentrated result. Substitute with heavy cream for an alternative with a similar end result.
- Processed Cheese: use block American cheese or cheese slices. You can use the typical yellow American or use white American cheese if preferred for color.
- Smoked Gouda: use a fresh block of gouda cheese for the best cheese sauce and shred yourself at home. This will give the best flavor and creaminess to your Mac.
- Smoked Paprika: adds a smoky and slightly tangy flavor.
- Mustard Powder: many southern comfort recipes for macaroni and cheese use mustard powder to add a slight acidity and tang to your recipe. It is a great complimenting seasoning to add that isn't overpowering, it's just perfect!
- Sour Cream: used for added creaminess; you can substitute with cream cheese if preferred.
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Optional: fresh chives or parsley for garnish
For exact ingredient quantities, please see the recipe card below!
How To Make Crock Pot Mac and Cheese with Gouda and Cheddar
Here are the steps for making this easy crock pot mac and cheese (uncooked macaroni) recipe:
1. Combine olive oil, pasta, and onion in a microwave-safe dish and cook at 30% power for 3 to 5 minutes until the pasta is blistered.
2. Add broth, evaporated milk, processed cheese, and macaroni to the crockpot. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or until pasta is cooked.
3. Add gouda, sour cream, butter, and seasonings to the crockpot and stir. Keep stirring until the cheese is melted.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with garnish, and enjoy!
For full details on how to make this, please see the recipe card below!
Hint: when blistering your pasta in the microwave be sure to stir often. I would suggest stirring every 30 seconds to prevent burning the noodles. Blistering the noodles before cooking in the crockpot adds integrity to the noodle to prevent it from being overcooked, mushy, and have the gluey starchy feel to it.
How to Serve This Recipe For Smoke Gouda Mac and Cheese
There are several ways you can serve your creamy smoked gouda macaroni and cheese!
Garnish your mac with fresh chopped chives or green onion. You can add your favorite fresh herbs, such as parsley, dill, oregano, etc.
Serve as a side dish with a main protein such as grilled chicken or steak.
Serve with your favorite fresh crusty bread and butter.
Add a ritz cracker crumble over top of your mac for an added texture!
Meal idea! Serve this delicious macaroni and cheese as a "build your own" style! Serve with your favorite toppings such as crumbled bacon, cubed ham, broccoli, additional shredded cheese, or any other. It's a fun way to serve your family or for a party!
Here are some suggestions for customizing your crockpot mac and cheese:
- Substitute the smoked gouda cheese with your favorites! Try using sharp cheddar cheese, pepper jack, mozzarella, or a combination.
- Add protein to the macaroni and cheese or use it as a topping. I suggest crumbled bacon, cubed ham, and shredded rotisserie chicken or steak strips.
- Make it spicy by adding chopped green chilies, seeded, diced fresh jalapeno, or chipotle powder to the mac while cooking in the crock pot. Start light and add more to taste!
- Use cream cheese instead of sour cream for a cheesier mac.
Be sure to save this pin to Pinterest for later! 🙂
Slow Cooker Tips
- Spray your crockpot with a nonstick cooking spray before you add your ingredients. This helps with preventing that crusty ring around the top and bottom. You can use a crockpot liner for additional easy cleanup.
- Use fresh block cheese and shred yourself at home for the best result of your macaroni and cheese. Some prepackaged shredded cheeses have a thickening agent that coats the cheese, which may result in a clumpy end product.
Store your leftovers (if there are any) in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Reheat in the microwave for the quickest and easiest option. Hint* Break up the macaroni and cheese in your bowl before microwaving to allow for more even heating. You can also reheat your leftovers in the oven for the most even cooking and to prevent the sauce from breaking.
It is not suggested to freeze macaroni and cheese after cooking due to the reheating process and the sauce breaking.
Absolutely! Gouda cheese is actually a very easily melted cheese making it great for making macaroni and cheese. Smoked gouda is going to have a smoky, sultry flavor that will mix well with other ingredients such as bacon, chives, smoked paprika, and peppers.
Gouda cheeses typically have a higher fat content, so they melt much easier than other types of cheese. This makes for a creamier and cheesier macaroni and cheese.
If you use pre-shredded store-bought cheeses, you may notice that your mac sauce gets a slightly grainy texture. This is because most store-bought shredded cheese has cellulose that coats the cheese to prevent clumping. This is also used as a thickener, so it can make your mac sauce textured and grainy.
Crock Pot Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 16 ounces dry elbow macaroni
- ½ cup onion (diced)
- 3½ cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 (12-ounce cans) evaporated milk
- 8 ounces processed cheese (slices or a block cut into cubes)
- 8 ounces smoked gouda (shredded)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- optional: fresh chives or parsley for garnish
- In a microwave-safe dish, stir pasta, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and onion together. Microwave for 4 to 6 minutes on 30% power, stirring frequently. Cook until at least half the pasta is blistered and turning golden brown.
- Add broth, evaporated milk, processed American cheese, and macaroni to the pot. Cover and cook on high 2 to 3 hours, or until pasta is just tender.
- Add gouda, sour cream, butter, smoked paprika, and dry mustard to the crock pot and stir to combine. Continue cooking and periodically stirring until the cheese is melted.
- To make it creamier, stir in more broth, sour cream, butter, or milk. Adust salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!
- Don't miss all of our helpful hints, substitution ideas, cooking tips, and other delicious recipes that can be found in our post. Check it out!
- VARIATIONS: Swap out the smoked gouda for another favorite cheese to vary the taste. Try sharp cheddar, pepper jack, or mozzarella. Add cooked and crumbled bacon. Add cooked crumbled bacon or ham cubes.
- SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Crumble ritz crackers over the top for a crunchy topping. Garnish with fresh parsley or chives, and additional cheese.
© 2023 Slow Cooked Eats
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