Make Ahead Mac and Cheese Freezer Meal
Want homemade mac and cheese WITHOUT the clean up?
This kids friendly recipe is a family favorite of ours when comfort food is a must. Making homemade mac and cheese from scratch can be intimidating and…if i’m being honest…too much work.
Who has time to slowly stir a cheese sauce, being sure to keep everything at the right temperature at the right time. While baking after, cooking the noodles, and then the dreaded phrase..CLEAN UP 🤦♀️
Instead, save hours and throw everything in the Slow Cooker for an EASY Mac and Cheese Recipe.
After using this recipe, you will NEVER see homemade mac and cheese in the same way. It’s that easy! All you have to do is throw everything into the slow cooker and then stir it once or twice as it cooks for you.
This slow cooker macaroni and cheese recipe is also a great make ahead freezer recipe.
What makes it a make ahead recipe? It’s a freezer meal, which means you need 5 minutes to prep the meal (NO COOKING INVOLVED) and then throw it in the freezer, so it’s ready when you are, to be cooked fresh.
Why you will love this recipe
- Takes NO time to make sauce
- No dirty dishes to clean up
- 5 minutes to prep the recipe
- Creamy cheesy goodness
- This dish is comfort food giving you all the feels.
Don’t feel like prepping your own freezer meals and need an easier way? Try Thrive Markets frozen meals. Get 25% OFF your first order and a FREE gift when you join Thrive Market! *Conditions Apply
Ingredients you will need for this slow cooker mac and cheese recipe.
- evaporated milk
- all-purpose flour
- mustard powder
- dried elbow macaroni noodles
- 4-5 cups sharp cheddar cheese
DO NOT USE SHREDDED CHEESE!
Have I caught your attention? I made this mistake for years when making homemade macaroni and cheese. No matter what recipe you are using you should never buy pre-shredded cheese when making homemade mac and cheese.
Pre-shredded cheese is actually mixed with an anti-caking agent to keep it from sticking together. This results in a broken cheese sauce with a grainy texture. It prevents the cheese from melting together into that creamy consistency we all know and love in our mac and cheese.
So what to do? Buy a block of cheese and have at it! I love a good old fashion sharp cheddar for macaroni and cheese, but sometimes it can be fun to switch it up and get creative. Adding in sharp white cheddar is my FAVORITE addition to this homemade comfort food recipe.
What kind of cheese can I use?
In the recipe card I use sharp cheddar cheese. But here are some variations of other cheeses you can add in or substitute for a different flavor.
- Colby Cheese
- Sharp White Cheddar
- Muenster Cheese
- Gruyere Cheese
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Pepper Jack Cheese
Why use evaporated milk?
In order to get that creamy texture AND make mac and cheese in the slow cooker, we need something super creamy. Evaporated milk is the perfect ingredient to use. Many slow cooker mac and cheese recipes will use condensed cheese soup or Velveeta cheese but neither of those ingredients are ones we eat.
So, if you are on the search for a slow cooker mac and cheese recipe made without Velveeta cheese or condensed cheese soup, YOU’RE IN THE RIGHT PLACE.
If I double this recipe will it change the cook time?
- No, as long as your crock pot or slow cooker is large enough to fit a doubled recipe the cook time will remain the same.
- TIP: If you are making this recipe for a special evening or event, I would recommend giving it a test run ahead of time since temperatures of different crock pots and slow cookers may vary to find the perfect timing for the perfect cook.
How do you make this make ahead mac and cheese freezer meal recipe? 👇
Make Ahead Mac and Cheese Freezer Meal
- Slow Cooker or Instant Pot
- 12 oz can evaporated milk
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 egg
- 3 cups milk I use almond milk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 16 oz dried elbow macaroni noodles
- 4-6 cups sharp cheddar cheese
Freezer Prep Directions
- Label Gallon Freezer bag with recipe name, cooking from frozen directions and expiration date (todays date plus three months).
- Add all ingredients, except pasta noodle, into labeled gallon freezer bag. Add pasta noodles into a separate quart freezer bag.
- Shake up the cheese sauce to mix sauce together.
- Place bagged noodles into gallon freezer bag with the cheese sauce. (Or label bags 1 of 2, 2 of 2).
- Store in freezer for up to three months.
- Thaw overnight in fridge or in the morning in some warm water (meal may not be 100% thawed but that is OK).
- Add gallon freezer bag contents into slow cooker and add in dried noodles.
- Cook on low for 4-5 hours. (Would not recommend cooking on high or you may break the cheese sauce).
- Stir mac and cheese all together and serve!
Don’t forget to pin and save for later. 👇
Are we friends yet? 👇
FREE Printable Meal Planner to help you get started today. 👇
If you like this slow cooker mac and cheese freezer meal recipe you may also like…
- The Best Chili you Ever Had!
- Fresh Basil Tomato Sauce
- Sausage Tortellini Bake
- Apple BBQ Pulled Pork
- Best Rib Recipe