Paula Deen’s Crockpot Mac and Cheese recipe delivers maximum cheesy comfort with minimal effort. This Southern cooking legend created a hands-off recipe that results in the creamiest, dreamiest mac around.
Overview of the Paula Deen’s Crockpot Mac and Cheese Recipe
This mac and cheese recipe has achieved fame for its ultra-creamy texture and indulgent cheesy flavor. Paula Deen is known for her expertise with Southern comfort foods, and this slow cooker macaroni and cheese is one of her crowning achievements.
When you bite into it, you get tender pasta enveloped in a smooth, velvety cheese sauce. The combination of melty cheddar and condensed cheese soup makes for next-level creaminess. Eggs and milk lend even more richness, while sour cream provides a subtle tang.
Overall, this mac and cheese is the essence of cheesy decadence. It satisfies cravings without being heavy or overpowering. Both kids and adults go crazy for its perfectly gooey goodness.
Benefits of the Slow Cooker Method
What makes this recipe extra convenient is that it’s made hands-off in the crockpot. The low, moist heat gently melds all the cheesy flavors together over time.
Unlike stovetop mac that can dry out or overcook, the slow cooker guarantees supremely tender pasta and luscious liquid cheese in every bite. No need to constantly stir a pot on the stove either.
You can prep the ingredients quickly in the morning, then come home to ready-to-serve mac and cheese. It cooks unattended for hours, yielding that ideal velvety texture. The slow cooker does the work for you with no risk of burning.
For cheesy comfort with little effort, Paula Deen’s famous crockpot mac and cheese is sure to satisfy. This crowd-pleasing recipe will become a staple in your home.
How to Make Paula Deen’s Creamy Crockpot Mac and Cheese
Making this indulgent mac and cheese couldn’t be simpler, with just a few steps from start to finish. Follow this process for creamy, cheesy pasta perfection every time.
Overview of Ingredients
The ingredients for this recipe are easy to source and likely already in your pantry:
- Pasta – Elbow and cavatappi work well to hold the creamy sauce.
- Cheeses – Sharp cheddar for tang and condensed soup for silkiness.
- Milk and eggs – Add richness and body to the sauce.
- Sour cream – Provides a subtle tangy undertone.
- Seasonings – Salt, mustard and pepper round out the flavors.
Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions
Here is the easy process for putting it all together:
- Boil pasta for 6 minutes only until just al dente. You don’t want it to get mushy. Drain and set aside.
- Make cheese sauce by melting butter and cheese in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Transfer cheese sauce to crockpot and add eggs, sour cream, soup, milk and seasonings.
- Add drained pasta and stir to coat.
- Cook on low 2.5 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Tips for the Best Results
Follow these tips for creamy, crowd-pleasing mac and cheese:
- Use a mix of cheeses for maximum velvety texture.
- Add eggs when the sauce has cooled slightly so they don’t scramble.
- Stir a few times while cooking to avoid scorching on the sides.
- If cooking for a party, switch to high heat an hour before serving.
With minimal effort, this easy recipe delivers rich, melty mac and cheese straight from the crockpot.
Customize Paula Deen’s Mac and Cheese with Delicious Mix-Ins
One of the best things about Paula Deen’s Crockpot Mac and Cheese is how versatile it is. You can customize it in endless ways with protein add-ins, vegetables, spices, and toppings.
Protein Options for a Hearty Mac
For a filling, protein-packed meal, stir any of these into the cheesy pasta:
- Cooked ground beef or sausage
- Diced ham, chicken, shrimp or bacon
- Chili or taco meat
- Lentils or white beans
The meat or beans add texture and make it more of a one-pot meal.
Vegetables Bring Crunch and Freshness
To add some freshness, try mixing in any of these vegetables:
- Onion, garlic, shallots
- Mushrooms, spinach, kale
- Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots
- Roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes
The veggies provide great texture and color contrast to the creamy pasta.
Spice It Up with Zesty Flavor Boosters
Spice up Paula’s Crockpot Mac and Cheese by stirring in any of these ingredients:
- Hot sauce, cayenne, smoked paprika, mustard
- Pesto, sun-dried tomato paste
- Chopped pickled jalapeños
- Shredded cheese like gouda, gruyère, pepper jack
Crunchy Toppings Add Finishing Texture
Right before serving, sprinkle any of these toppings for added crunch:
- Toasted breadcrumbs or panko
- Crushed crackers like Ritz or cheese crackers
- Crispy fried onions or shallots
- Crumbled cooked bacon or pancetta
The possibilities are endless for customizing this cheesy blank canvas of a mac and cheese recipe!
Pair Paula’s Mac and Cheese with Hearty Mains and Sides
Paula Deen’s rich, velvety mac and cheese makes the ideal partner for hearty main dishes and savory sides. Here are some delicious pairing ideas.
Protein Mains for Comfort Food Meals
Serve this cheesy pasta alongside:
- Paula’s signature fried chicken, pot roast or meatloaf
- Juicy burgers, fall-off-the-bone ribs or crispy chicken tenders
- Tender pot roast, prime rib, or baked ham
The indulgent mac and cheese balances perfectly with these satisfying protein-packed entrees.
Sides to Round Out the Meal
Complement Paula’s mac and cheese with:
- Skillet cornbread or buttery garlic bread
- Garden salad, coleslaw, roasted broccoli
- Mashed potatoes or roasted autumn vegetables
The fresh sides help cut the richness of the pasta.
Holiday and Party Pairings
For special gatherings, serve it with:
- Thanksgiving turkey, ham, stuffing, roasted veggies
- Christmas prime rib, scalloped potatoes, steamed asparagus
- Game day wings, coleslaw, cornbread, baked beans
No matter the occasion, this crowd-pleasing mac and cheese pairs perfectly as the cheesy centerpiece.
With the right main dish and sides, Paula’s famous Crockpot Mac and Cheese becomes an instant comfort food feast.
Tips for Serving Paula’s Mac and Cheese to a Crowd
Paula Deen’s Crockpot Mac and Cheese is the perfect party pleaser. Here are some tips for easily serving it to a crowd:
Make Ahead for Stress-Free Entertaining
- Prepare the pasta and sauce a day in advance.
- Store covered in the fridge until ready to serve.
- When ready, reheat on the stovetop or in a hot crockpot.
Making ahead saves you time when guests arrive. The mac and cheese reheats beautifully.
Budget-Friendly Ingredients Feed the Masses
- Pasta and cheese are inexpensive.
- Round out the meal simply with a salad.
- Both kids and adults love cheesy comfort food.
You can please a whole party without breaking the bank.
Transport It for Potlucks
- Cook the pasta and sauce separately in disposable pans.
- Mix together upon arrival at party.
- Bring toppings like breadcrumbs separately.
Keeping the components separate makes transport easy. Then simply combine and reheat at the gathering for freshly baked mac and cheese.
With a little advance planning, Paula’s Crockpot Mac and Cheese feeds a crowd with ease.