Slow Cooker Macaroni Cheese

This slow cooker macaroni cheese is so easy to make. Dry macaroni (that's right, no need to pre-cook the pasta!), milk, cheeses and a few other secret ingredients go in, and after a few hours out comes a creamy cheesy slow cooked macaroni cheese. Preparation time is less than 10 minutes.

Slow Cooker Macaroni Cheese


This slow cooker macaroni cheese requires no pre-cooking of the pasta (like so many other recipes do). It's a chuck it all in, give it a stir and leave it kind of dish, which is music to my ears.

The other benefit of this recipe is that it only takes about 2 hours to cook on high, so you could pop it in the slow cooker when you get home from the school run and be eating it by 'tea time'.

Slow Cooker Macaroni Cheese


Unfortunately this recipe isn't suitable for the hob as it has been specifically developed for use in the slow cooker. If you'd like to make a traditional macaroni cheese then I suggest you follow my recipe for Cheeseboard Macaroni Bake which uses a classic white sauce.

Slow Cooker Macaroni Cheese


Macaroni is the best pasta shape to use for this dish as it cooks quickly in the slow cooker. If you can get hold of elbow macaroni that would also work. Avoid large pasta shapes like Penne or Rigatoni as they would require a change to the liquid quantities in the recipe.

Slow Cooker Macaroni Cheese


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  • Honey Ale Macaroni Cheese has quite an adult taste given the slight bitterness of the ale. Hubby and I absolutely love it with gammon.
  • Sweet Potato and Feta Macaroni Cheese has an amazing flavour contrast between the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and saltiness of the feta cheese. One of my personal favourites.

Slow Cooker Macaroni Cheese


  • Vary the cheeses. Gruyere would work well and if you were cooking this for adults some crumbled blue cheese would taste fab too.
  • If you like things with a bit of heat add half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper at the same time as the smoked paprika.
  • Unfortunately this macaroni cheese isn't suitable for freezing. It's best eaten straight from the slow cooker.
  • The macaroni cheese will look thin with the butter floating on top until the last 20 minutes or so of cooking. Give it a stir after an hour and a half and you will be rewarded with a glossy thick cheese sauce at the end of cooking.
  • Every slow cooker is different. The recipe took 2 hours on high in my slow cooker but I suggest checking after 90 minutes. Be careful, the dish can go from cooked to overcooked quite quickly!

Slow Cooker Macaroni Cheese


Place your uncooked macaroni in the bottom of your slow cooker basin, making sure the basin has been buttered.

Uncooked macaroni in slow cooker
Pour in the milk (I used whole milk but semi skimmed would also work) and the tin of evaporated milk and give it a quick stir.

Macaroni and Milk
Then it's time for some cream cheese. I suggest using full fat if possible.

Cream cheese in slow cooker
Now it's time for some slightly unusual ingredients!


Whether you love it or hate it, Marmite is one of the secret ingredients in this slow cooker macaroni cheese that takes it to the next level of yumminess. We're very much a Marmite loving household and I add it to a lot of my recipes - french onion soup, bolognese and my kids favourite meal is Marmite pasta. When Engravers Guild sent my kids and hubby a personalised solid silver marmite lid they were over the moon. It's a great idea for Valentine's Day don't you think?

Personalised Marmite Jar from Engravers Guild
As well as Marmite you also need to add cider vinegar (it really helps to bring out the cheesy flavour), garlic granules, smoked paprika and Dijon mustard. Then it's time for some butter.

Slow Cooker Macaroni Cheese
 Finally add your cheese. I used grated extra mature cheddar and some Parmesan. Gruyere would also work well.

Cheese in the slow cooker

Give everything a good stir and pop it on high for about 2 hours, but check after 90 minutes and give it another stir.

Slow Cooker Macaroni Cheese ready to cook
The macaroni cheese is now ready for serving! I usually serve it with some veggies or salad and garlic bread. You can also sprinkle some chopped parsley on at this point if you wish.

Slow Cooker Macaroni Cheese ready for serving


Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken


Slow Cooker Macaroni Cheese
Slow Cooker
Yield: 4

Slow Cooker Macaroni Cheese

prep time: 10 minscook time: 2 hourtotal time: 2 hours and 10 mins
This slow cooker macaroni cheese is so easy to make. Dry macaroni, milk, cheeses and a few other secret ingredients go in, and after a few hours out comes a creamy cheesy slow cooked macaroni cheese. Preparation time is less than 10 minutes.


  • 300g Macaroni
  • 400g tin Evaporated Milk
  • 200ml Whole Milk
  • 100g Cream Cheese
  • 50g Butter, cubed
  • 1 TSP Marmite
  • 1TSP Dijon Mustard
  • 1 TBSP Cider Vinegar
  • 1 TSP Smoked Paprika
  • 200g Extra Mature Cheddar, grated
  • 100g Parmesan, grated


  1. Put the uncooked macaroni in the bottom of a buttered slow cooker basin.
  2. Pour over the evaporated milk and whole milk and give it a stir.
  3. Add the cream cheese and give it another stir.
  4. Now add the butter, Marmite, dijon mustard, smoked paprika and cider vinegar.
  5. Finally add the cheese, give it a stir and cook on high for 2 hours. 
  6. Check after 9 minutes and give it a good stir. Don't panic if the sauce looks separated, it will come together during the last bit of cooking.
  7. Serve with garlic bread and salad.


Calories and nutrition are for 1 serving
fat (grams)
sat. fat (grams)
carbs (grams)
protein (grams)
sugar (grams)


For more family friendly recipes have a look at my recipe index which has hundreds of quick and easy recipes to try.

DISCLOSURE: I was gifted a solid silver Marmite lid from Engravers Guild.
Beth Sachs (Jam & Clotted Cream)

Halloumi & Sweet Potato Curry

A mild and fragrant halloumi and sweet potato curry, using halloumi as a substitute for traditional Indian paneer.

Halloumi and Sweet Potato Curry

This yummy and filling halloumi and sweet potato curry is perfect weekend comfort food. The sauce is fragrant, creamy and very mild (although you can make it hotter if you wish), and I love the flavour combination of the sweet potatoes against the saltiness of the halloumi. 

Halloumi and Sweet Potato Curry


Traditionally the Indian cheese paneer would have been used in this curry, but due to availability issues I have substituted it for halloumi cheese. Both paneer and halloumi can be heated to high temperatures without melting, which is what we want in a dish like this and I have to say I actually prefer the slightly saltier flavour of the halloumi. By all means use paneer if you can get hold of it easily though. 

Halloumi and Sweet Potato Curry

Halloumi and Sweet Potato Curry


The curry can be frozen minus the halloumi, which loses it's firm texture if it is frozen and then defrosted. You can fry the halloumi cubes once you're ready to eat it. The curry can be frozen for up to 3 months, so why not make a double batch and freeze half?



Firstly you need to cut a block of halloumi (they usually come in 200g or 250g packets) into bite size chunks with sharp knife.

Fried Halloumi
Heat some oil in a pan and fry the halloumi chunks until they are starting to brown.You might find quite a bit of liquid come out of the cheese but just be patient and it will evaporate. Once the halloumi cubes are golden, remove the pan from the heat and pop the halloumi into a bowl ready for later.

Sweet Potatoes
Next it's time to peel and chop 3 medium sweet potatoes into large chunks and boil in a pan of water for 6 minutes until tender. Drain the sweet potatoes and set aside for later.

Sweet Potatoes
Now it's time to make the curry base. Firstly fry a sliced red onion (you can use an ordinary onion if you prefer), chopped garlic, chopped fresh ginger and coriander stalks until soft. It's best to do this over a low heat to prevent burning.

Curry Base
Once they are soft, add the curry paste. I use a mild paste like korma, but if you like things a bit hotter then use something slightly spicier. Alternatively you could add a fresh chopped red chilli at the same time as the onion.

Curry Paste
After a couple of minutes it's time for the coconut milk. Use full fat coconut milk as it gives a much creamier smoother sauce.

Curry Sauce
Once the sauce has simmered for 5 minutes, add the cooked sweet potato and a handful of spinach  into the pan. Make sure everything is coated in the curry sauce and simmer on a low heat.

Sweet Potato Curry
After a few minutes it's time to add the fried halloumi back into the mix. Make sure everything is combined and warmed through.

Halloumi & Sweet Potato Curry
Now it's ready to eat. I serve the curry with basmati rice, naan breads and mango chutney for a yummy filling meal. Lentil dhal would also be a nice accompaniment. 

Halloumi and Sweet Potato Curry



Halloumi and Sweet Potato Curry
Yield: 4

Halloumi & Sweet Potato Curry

prep time: 15 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 35 mins
A mild and fragrant halloumi and sweet potato curry, using halloumi as a substitute for traditional Indian paneer. A tasty vegetarian curry which the whole family will love.


  • 200g Halloumi, cubed
  • 2 TBSP Oil
  • 3 Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 Red Onion, sliced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • Coriander stalks - about 6, chopped
  • 3 TBSP Korma Curry Paste
  • 400g Tin Coconut Milk
  • 100g Baby Spinach


  1. Fry the halloumi in a little oil until golden. Set aside for later
  2. Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the sweet potato chunks for 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large pan, fry the onion, garlic, ginger and coriander stalks until the onion is soft.
  4. Add the korma curry paste for cook for 5 minutes on a medium heat.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the sweet potato and spinach to the curry and heat through (letting the spinach wilt).
  7. Finally, add the halloumi cheese just before serving.
  8. Serve with rice and naan breads.


Calories and nutrition are for 1 serving.
fat (grams)
sat. fat (grams)
carbs (grams)
protein (grams)
sugar (grams)

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Sweet Potato and Halloumi Bake

This yummy sweet potato and halloumi bake is perfect with a crusty baguette and a chilled glass of white wine.

Beth Sachs (Jam & Clotted Cream)

Penne Alla Vodka

    Penne Alla Vodka is a classic Italian pasta dish made with penne pasta in a creamy tomato and vodka sauce. Very easy but oh so tasty!

Penne Alla Vodka
My version of the Italian classic, Penne Alla Vodka, makes for a quick and easy weeknight dinner that the whole family are going to love. Who doesn't love a simple pasta and sauce sometimes?

If you're not a fan of vodka, don't be put off though! You can't taste the vodka in the sauce, it just really helps to bring the flavour of the tomatoes out.

Penne Alla Vodka

A Quick Tomato and Vodka Sauce

In classic Italian cooking you don't often find cream used in tomato based sauces for pasta because of the risk of the cream (fat) separating from the acidic tomatoes. In this dish however, the vodka acts as an emulsifier, which stops that happening. You can use any vodka you have, it doesn't have to be a top brand, they will all have the same effect.

It's also a very quick sauce to prepare, taking not much longer than it takes to cook the pasta. This is music to my ears on busy weeknights when the kids are hungry.

Penne Alla Vodka

Step By Step Penne Alla Vodka

To begin this super simple recipe you need to chop an onion and 3 garlic cloves and cook on a low heat to soften.


Once the onion mix is cooked through, add the vodka, dried oregano and basil and continue to cook until the vodka has reduced.

Onions and herbs in a pan

I use passata in this recipe as my kids like a smooth pasta sauce, but you can always add tinned chopped tomatoes instead.

Tomato vodka sauce

Add the cream to the sauce and mix it all in. I use double cream in my recipe but single cream would also be OK to use.

Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce

Make sure the sauce is mixed in thoroughly before adding the cooked pasta.

Adding the Penne to the Tomato and Vodka Sauce
Coat the penne in the creamy tomato vodka sauce, until every last bit of pasta is covered.

Penne Alla Vodka

Add a handful of grated Parmesan to the pan and stir until the cheese has melted into the sauce.

Adding Parmesan to Penne Alla Vodka

Serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and more grated Parmesan. My kids really go for the Parmesan in this meal!

Penne Alla Vodka

More Tomato Based Pasta Recipes You Might Like

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Penne Alla Vodka

Top Tips For Making Penne Alla Vodka

  • Spice it up by adding a chopped red chilli at the same time as the onion and garlic.
  • The sauce can be frozen so why not make a double batch of the sauce and freeze half.
  • Up the veg by adding some sliced mushrooms or courgettes to the sauce (fry them after the onion and garlic).
  • Serve with some garlic bread and a simple side salad.

Penne Alla Vodka

Penne Alla Vodka, Creamy Tomato Pasta
Yield: 4

Penne Alla Vodka

prep time: 8 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 28 mins
Penne Alla Vodka is a classic Italian pasta dish made with penne pasta in a creamy tomato and vodka sauce. Very easy but oh so tasty!


  • 400g Penne
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, chopped finely
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 125ml Vodka
  • 1/2 TSP Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 TSP Dried Basil (optional)
  • 700g Passata
  • 250ml Double Cream
  • 50g Parmesan, grated, plus extra for serving
  • Handful of Fresh Parsley, chopped


  1. Cook the Penne pasta in a pan of boiling water as per instructions.
  2. Meanwhile make the sauce. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil (in a large pan) until soft - about 10 minutes.
  3. Pour in the vodka and dried herbs and cook down until the vodka has almost evaporated.
  4. Add the passata and simmer on low for 5 minutes before pouring in the cream and mixing through the grated Parmesan.
  5. Drain the pasta (reserving 1 cup of cooking water) then mix the drained pasta through the sauce. Use the pasta water to loosen the sauce a little if needed.
  6. Serve with more grated Parmesan and chopped parsley.


Calories and nutrition for 1 serving
fat (grams)
sat. fat (grams)
carbs (grams)
protein (grams)
sugar (grams)

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Cheese, Bacon & Onion Lasagne

Another easy and frugal pasta dish for you to try! This Cheese, Bacon and Onion Lasagne is super simple to make but packs a punch in flavour. Perfect with a crisp green salad and garlic bread.

Cheese, Bacon and Onion Lasagne

More Recipes

Looking for more recipe inspiration? Check out my recipe index for hundreds of family friendly recipe ideas. 

Beth Sachs (Jam & Clotted Cream)
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