Crock Pot Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese

Crock Pot Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese

A simple custard-style crock pot gluten free macaroni and cheese that’s made ridiculously easy without a stove. It’s even easier than the boxed kind since you don’t even have to boil the pasta!

A simple custard-style gluten free macaroni and cheese that's made ridiculously easy in the slow cooker. It's even easier than the boxed kind, since you don't even have to boil the pasta!

I went from exactly zero slow cookers to two slow cookers in the space of one year. We’ve talked about this before, but I just didn’t get them. You know?

First of all, I’m more hare than tortoise. Slow and steady isn’t generally my thing (unless I’m letting gluten free bread rise because the payoffs are tremendous). Whenever readers asked me about slow cookers, I would always try to steer them in the direction of pressure cookers (see GFOAS Quick & Easy for more on that).

Second of all, I was really pretty sure that slow cookers made everything into a single, mushy consistency. If you wanted some texture to your food, well slow cookers were just not the way to go.

Along with this ridiculously easy, cheesy, slow cooker gluten free macaroni and cheese, I’m eatin’ some crow. Long live the slow cooker!

A simple custard-style gluten free macaroni and cheese that's made ridiculously easy in the slow cooker. It's even easier than the boxed kind, since you don't even have to boil the pasta!

I have made this recipe many, many times at this point. I was sold after the first, nearly-failed attempt, though, since I simply could taste its potential. And my family adored failure after failure.

This is not a smooth, stove-top-style macaroni and cheese. It’s a custard-style gluten free macaroni and cheese, and it happens in the most effortless way possible.

Simply whisk together the bit of flour and the spices into the milk, then pile everything into the slow cooker and let it do its thing. No boiling the pasta ahead of time—that would just be ridiculous.

This meal is so easy, in fact, that it rivals the boxed kind. Frankly I never really thought the boxed kind ewas easier than doing it yourself since you still have to boil the pasta.

A simple custard-style gluten free macaroni and cheese that's made ridiculously easy in the slow cooker. It's even easier than the boxed kind, since you don't even have to boil the pasta!

The cooking time will vary from slow cooker to slow cooker, and sometimes they have hot spots. The larger the slow cooker you use, the more quickly the dish will cook as the ingredients are more exposed to the heat source.

Once the pasta has noticeably swelled, it’s most likely tender enough for the dish to be done. The first time you make it, get a visual on it after an hour, and then after 2 hours.

You’ll know when it’s ready! And be sure to use a good-quality gluten free pasta, like Barilla gluten free or Delallo gluten free, or your mac and cheese won’t have the texture it should.

And keep in mind that slow cookers vary in their power and how quickly they cook. The cooking time provided is a range for just that reason!

P.S. Casserole-style classic mac and cheese is delicious, too…

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 4 to 6 servings


1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

2 tablespoons (18 g) superfine sweet white rice flour (or my basic gum-free gluten free flour blend)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground mustard powder (optional)

1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika (optional)

1 egg (60 g, weighed out of shell), at room temperature

3 cups (24 fluid ounces) milk (not nonfat), at room temperature

1 pound (16 ounces) dried gluten free elbow macaroni (I use Barilla gluten free pasta)

3 cups (about 1/2 pound) shredded sharp cheddar cheese


  • Grease the liner of a 4, 5 or 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray and set it aside.

  • In a measuring cup with at least a 3 cup capacity, pour the evaporated milk. Add the flour, salt, optional mustard powder, and optional paprika, and whisk to combine until all of the powders are fully incorporated into the liquid (especially the flour). Add the egg, and beat to combine. Pour the mixture into the greased slow cooker liner, add the milk and whisk to combine. Add the elbow macaroni and then 2 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese, and mix to combine. Scatter the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese on top of the mixture in an even layer.

  • Cover the slow cooker and cook the macaroni and cheese for 2 to 3 hours on low temperature, or until the macaroni has swelled and is tender. Cooking times will vary from slow cooker to slow cooker. Serve immediately.



Comments are closed.

  • Sam
    February 16, 2015 at 9:21 PM

    So good… thank you for inspiring our awesome dinner tonight!!

  • Gfmama
    February 16, 2015 at 3:33 PM

    Just another reason to love Barilla pasta! God bless ’em for standing up for what they believe. I will certainly make this amazing dish with Barilla.

    p.s. Their products are gmo free also – just another added benefit!

    • February 16, 2015 at 3:41 PM

      I’m not at all interested in getting into a political discussion, on either side of this issue. You’re all entitled to your perspectives, but this food blog is not the proper forum for them.

  • GPo
    February 16, 2015 at 10:45 AM

    Thanks for this. Just a note of caution when using Barilla pastas. Mr Barilla is outspoken about his anti-gay ideas. I’m a happily married straight chick but just can’t support companies that are proud to announce such mean-spirited, closed-minded, old-fashioned, and hateful ideas. There are plenty of other GF brands to choose from, presumably with more enlightened families or companies running the show.

  • Ocala Jo
    February 16, 2015 at 9:14 AM

    Wonderful! I tried this on Saturday and it took just under 2 1/2 hours in my slow cooker. Unfortunately, I left the lid on and the liner in the heater during dinner and after, it was mush. Lesson learned. The leftovers still taste good and are in the freezer for lunches later in the month. Smoked paprika is a genius touch, as well as powdered mustard. I usually grind peppercorns in my mac & cheese for a bit of interest, but not needed in this recipe. This is a keeper! Thanks, Nicole!

  • Mimi16
    February 15, 2015 at 5:26 PM

    I made this today with condensed goat milk, regular Silk soy milk, no extra spices (kid friendly), and veggie cheddar. This allowed the GF and DF (diary free) among us to participate in a yummy, easily prepared lunch. The taste and texture are perfect and this version is so much simpler than my tofu stove top version. Thanks, Nicole!

  • rowsbud72
    February 11, 2015 at 9:43 AM

    Has anyone tried this without the egg? Or with an egg substitute? :) Thanks!

    • JK15
      February 17, 2015 at 7:14 PM

      I made this today for dinner and used a powdered egg substitute. I used brown rice noodles from Costco and a gluten free flour blend that I had. I also added finely diced onion. I started this a little late and just used cold milk (no canned) so I put the temp to high for the first half hour then to low. Just checked it after one and a half hours total and it is done and wonderful. Thanks for posting this recipe. So easy and so good!

  • February 10, 2015 at 6:59 PM

    Oh my gosh, can’t believe it has taken me this long to find your blog! Can’t wait to try the Mac n Cheese recipe, but am literally SOOO excited about all the other yummy recipes I just browsed through! I have the same GF recipes on rotation, can’t wait to add some variation in our diet. Thanks!

  • joy
    February 10, 2015 at 12:33 PM

    I made it today for our second snowday this week. It cooked in 2 hrs. I would leave out the smoked paprika next time. It gave it a smokey flaver that my daughter didn’t like. Other than that, it was perfect and easy

  • Lucy
    February 10, 2015 at 10:31 AM

    Thank you Nicole :)

  • mamastone
    February 9, 2015 at 4:15 PM

    I make This with goat cheddar and smoked goat gouda with condensed almond milk, that way all my kids can eat it

    • AmyD.
      February 11, 2015 at 11:30 AM

      Where do you find condensed almond milk?

      • mamastone
        February 11, 2015 at 5:24 PM

        I make it on the stovetop. Just cook it down on low heat it takes some time but if you can’t have dairy it’s worth it. You can make sweetened condensed almond milk too. If I need a cup I start with 1 2/3 then cook it down. Stirring frequently. I hope this helps you. I found recipe online but I lost it.

  • youngbaker2002
    February 9, 2015 at 1:44 PM

    hey, nicole! where do you buy you’re gluten free Barilla?

    • February 9, 2015 at 3:08 PM

      I buy it on amazon.com in cases, often, and when Barilla goes on sale at my regular grocery store (and gluten free isn’t excluded, which it usually isn’t), I buy it there!

      • Annette
        February 9, 2015 at 11:02 PM

        They have Barilla GF pasta at our local Walmart. It’s by the regular pasta, not in the GF section.

    • Jennifer S.
      February 9, 2015 at 11:01 PM

      Target has it and it goes on sale as well.

  • Donia Robinson
    February 9, 2015 at 1:02 PM

    Indeed, it would be ridiculous to have to pre-boil the noodles! When I started reading this recipe, I thought, “Oh, she had better not tell me to pre-boil those noodles or I will refuse to make this.” I won’t be able to indulge, but my family will appreciate this recipe. Thank you!!! This is great!!

    • February 9, 2015 at 1:21 PM

      I couldn’t agree more, Donia! If I’m going to boil the noodles, I’m going to make the whole thing on the stovetop. :)

  • LisaW
    February 9, 2015 at 12:29 PM

    How does this do as a left over? Sometimes GF pasta doesn’t do well the next day.

    • February 9, 2015 at 1:20 PM

      You just have to use the right pasta, Lisa! I never have a problem reheating Barilla gluten free pasta.

  • Anneke
    February 9, 2015 at 10:59 AM

    I am a big fan of the slow cooker (making chili in mine today), and the family is a big fan of mac and cheese. Win win!

  • Mare Masterson
    February 9, 2015 at 10:13 AM

    I have a pot luck coming up at the end of the month. This will be great for the vegetarians in the bunch! I am assuming since I have a larger crock pot that doubling the recipe is not an issue.

    • February 9, 2015 at 10:30 AM

      If it’s any guide, the slow cooker you see in the photos is a round 5-quart Crock Pot, Mare. I’m not sure I’d fully double the recipe—maybe multiply it by 1.5—since remember the pasta swells as it cooks. You don’t want to pack it in, or it won’t cook properly and the pasta will be mushy by the time it’s done cooking. Hope that helps!

      • Mare Masterson
        February 9, 2015 at 12:35 PM


  • Suz
    February 9, 2015 at 10:06 AM

    Is there a sub for the can of evaporated milk? I do not like hormones in my milk and better yet prefer organic dairy. I haven’t found condensed milk that doesn’t have hormones.

    • Mare Masterson
      February 9, 2015 at 10:07 AM

      Suz, Evaporated milk
      is milk that has been cooked down to allow some of the water content to
      evaporate. The concentrate is canned, and the result is a heavier
      tasting milk with a slightly toasted or caramelized flavor. If you don’t
      have any, make your own: To produce 1 cup of evaporated milk, simmer 2
      1/4 cups of regular milk down until it becomes 1 cup.

    • youngbaker2002
      February 9, 2015 at 1:58 PM

      hi suz! nicole also has a recipe for sweetened condensed milk here on the blog. you can use whole milk, coconut milk, or evaporated milk.

      • Michelle Olson
        February 9, 2015 at 9:15 PM

        If I boil down almond milk, will it be too strong in the Mac and cheese?

  • Jennifer S.
    February 9, 2015 at 9:55 AM

    GENIUS! My little guy wants mac-n-cheese for his family b-day party coming up and I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to do it …now I do!!! you rock!

    • February 9, 2015 at 10:28 AM

      So cute, Jennifer! And this is perrrrrfect for that. I’d recommend a test run ahead of time so you know the speed at which your slow cooker makes it…

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