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BEST Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese - Vegetarian & Vegan Recipe

A luxury slow cooker macaroni cheese. The best mac and cheese I've made in years and the best part is this is a dump recipe. Dump in the ingredients, switch the slow cooker on and walk away.

BEST Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese - Vegetarian & Vegan Recipe

Macaroni cheese.  We all love it. It's like a comforting hug in a bowl.

When I was growing up my mum regularly made mac and cheese, although growing up in Scotland it was always called macaroni cheese. 

Whatever you call it, this pasta dish is always a winner with its creamy texture.

This recipe is one of the easiest and best for vegetarian mac or vegan mac.

You no longer need to stand stirring a sauce and have several pans to clean to it's perfect for busy nights.

Now you can just dump all the ingredients in your slow cooker, turn it on and walk away. 

Leaving it to get on with making the most heavenly mac n cheese.

Love slow cooker pasta? Try this Slow Cooker Triple Tomato & Spinach Pasta

Why slow cooker mac & cheese (veggie or vegan) is so good!

This luxury mac and cheese will instantly become your favourite. 

Here's why.

  • There's no pre-cooking of the pasta
  • No chopping
  • One-pot dish
  • Throw all the ingredients in - it's a dump recipe
  • Easy to make - the slow cooker does all the work
  • Less washing up
Reader's comment - best ever recipe.

Reader's Comment - made vegan and gluten free - best recipe.

Reader's comment - best recipe.

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese

Yes, there is a lot of cheese in there. 

I did tell you it was luxury mac and cheese recipe.

I've made vegan and vegetarian versions of this slow cooker macaroni cheese and they both brought about groans of pleasure.

I get regularly emails and messages from readers who say this is the best macaroni cheese they have every had. 

It's just a case of chucking (dumping) everything in and giving it a stir.

The full recipe is below, but I hope you now see just how luxurious and easy it is to make.

Also try my easy vegetarian macaroni cheese, which is an old family recipe and made in a pot, or for a quick vegan version, try my microwave vegan macaroni cheese.

For more slow cooker recipe, check out 27 Vegan Slow Cooker Recipes for Winter.

Is slow cooker pasta any good?

Pasta isn't the first thing you think of making when you buy a slow cooker or crockpot.

Usually, the first things you will make are soups and stews.

But slow cookers and crockpots can do so much more than that.

Slow cooker pasta can be amazing.

It's a chuck it all in style of recipe and you don't have to cook the pasta first.

Less washing up too.

But of course, you have to get the timing right and the cook time with slow cookers can vary.

You want the pasta to be al dente, or still a bit firm and not too soft.

If you like the idea of slow cooker pasta, check out vegan spinach and cream cheese stuffed pasta shells, which are lush, triple tomato and spinach pasta, which is a real family favourite and extra vegetable pasta, which is packed with veg,

I know you are going to be converted to slow cooker pasta.

Vegan Macaroni Cheese

It's often easier to make a vegetarian dish than a vegan dish, but it's getting easier all the time to make a vegan dish that is similar in flavour and texture to the original.

New products are coming onto the market all the time and they are getting better.

Soaking Cashews

Of course, you can make cream sauces with cashews.

I can't be bothered with all the soaking of cashews overnight, so I'm delighted with all these fabulous vegan dairy products. 

Have I ever soaked a cashew? 


Will I ever soak a cashew? Probably not!

What you need to make crockpot macaroni cheese

Here are the simple ingredients you need to make the best mac and cheese in a slow cooker.

  1. Pasta - elbow macaroni or short macaroni (the straight tubes of macaroni noodles)
  2. Milk  - dairy or plant-based)
  3. Cream - dairy cream, oat cream or soya cream
  4. Creme fraiche  - or sour cream (dairy or oat)
  5. Cream cheese - dairy or vegan
  6. Cheddar cheese - dairy or vegan
  7. Parmesan cheese - vegetarian or vegan (or if you can't find a good parmesan style cheese, you can use nutritional yeast (nooch), but add extra)
  8. English mustard powder - or English mustard, but American yellow mustard or dijon mustard would work too.
  9. Salt and black pepper
You are going to love this crockpot mac and cheese.

The full printable recipe card is at the end of this page.

Which Vegan Cheese?

These are our favourites, but there are others available. 

We used to love Violife cheddar, but we have moved to Cathedral City vegan cheddar now, as we prefer it and use it in this vegan cheese sauce.

My husband likes violife cream cheese is good, but I prefer Tesco vegan cheese with garlic and herbs.

For a vegan parmesan, we love Violife Prosociano

It's amazing. It has that tang of Parmesan and the same fabulous texture. 

Nooch - nutritional yeast in a small bowl with a spoon.

What about nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast or nooch as it is also called is very popular in the vegan community.

It gives an almost cheesy umami flavour to dishes.

I tend to add it to boost the flavour of vegan cheese instead of replacing it.

I know the Bosh boys seem to use nooch exclusively, but I like to make simple like for like swaps where I can and go for the best flavour and texture.

Do add it if you can't find vegan parmesan, but you will need to add more nooch than parmesan.

And of course it is a source of vitamin B12, which can be hard to get in a vegan diet.

reader's comment- recipe gave her the confidence to start using vegan cheese.

Vegan Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream

For creme fraiche we like Oatly. 

Although they call it creamy oat fraiche instead of creme fraiche. 

We often add it to a creamy mushroom sauce too.

It has a long fridge life, so stock up on it when you find it (Sainsbury's sell it) and use it with chilli, on nachos, in mac and cheese or in creamy sauces for that sour cream tang.

Vegan Single Cream

We used to use either Alpro single or Oatly creamy oat single (pouring) cream but now we buy Elmlea Plant cream, which is good for whipping too.

They are all great in sauces.

Plant Based Milk

Use your favourite dairy-free milk, but maybe not a really sweet one. 

Save that for your breakfast cereal. 

Graham's favourites are Koko or Oatly.

Luxury Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese

This slow cooker version of the best vegan mac is total luxury, but if you are on a diet don't make it. 

It's complete comfort food with that ultimate creamy sauce, or should I say cheesy sauce,

However, it is calorific. Too much cheese? Nah!

But this cheesy macaroni is also heavenly and will make you very, very happy.

Make it for your family or yourself on a cold winter night and enjoy the warm hug it gives you.

Food should be about pleasure too, so don't hold back. 

As they say everything in moderation!

Tips for making the best slow cooker macaroni cheese

Here are a few tips for the best results when making the best mac and cheese in a slow cooker or crockpot.

  1. This mac and cheese recipe makes a big portion -  if you have a smaller slow cooker, half the recipe and be aware it may cook quicker.
  2. Grate your own cheddar (veggie or vegan) - as the coating on pre-grated cheeses to stop it sticking, also means it doesn't melt as well.
  3. Don't open the lid to stir it too many times - as each time the cold air is let in which drops the cooking temperature and water can drop in from the lid making the sauce watery.
  4. Pop a clean tea towel across the top of the slow cooker before adding the lid  - to help some water from the lid dripping into the sauce.
  5. Don't leave the mac and cheese in the crockpot once it is cooked - as it will keep cooking and the pasta will get softer, so spoon into another dish if you aren't ready to serve or aren't serving all of the pasta
Go on, give crock pot macaroni a go, the whole family will love it as a main course or a side dish and it's such an easy recipe.

Much less work than a classic mac made in a pot.

Mac and Cheese Toppings

Here are a few toppings you can add towards the end of the cooking, once the cooking is well under way and it's well stirred.

  • Chopped chives
  • Spring onion - green onions
  • Slices of tomato
  • Corn and chopped green bell pepper
  • Jalapenos
  • Breadcrumbs - add these just before serving, toast them in a dry frying pan with garlic
  • Crushed nacho chips - add just before serving
I'm sure you will have some great ideas too.

Storing and reheating leftover macaroni cheese

Once the veggie or plant-based macaroni cheese is cooked, either serve it right away or spoon it into and airtight container to cool.

Once cool, chill in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Reheat in the microwave or a pot on the cooker top (stove).

Can you freeze slow cooker mac and cheese?

Yes, it's a great idea to freeze leftover mac and cheese, to prevent food waste.

Spoon it into another dish as soon as it's cooked, to let it cool quicker and so it doesn't continue to cook.

Then spoon portions into freezer bags or freezer-safe container.

You can freeze this for 2-3 months.

To defrost, leave a portion in the fridge overnight then reheat before serving the next day.

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Yield: 4-6
Author: Jacqueline Meldrum
BEST Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese - Vegetarian & Vegan Recipe

BEST Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese - Vegetarian & Vegan Recipe

A luxury slow cooker macaroni cheese. The best mac and cheese I've made in years and the best part is this is a dump recipe. Dump in the ingredients, switch the slow cooker on and walk away.
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 1 H & 30 MTotal time: 1 H & 35 M


  • 250g elbow pasta (or your favourite macaroni pasta shape)
  • 1 litre (4 cups) milk (dairy or plant-based)
  • 225ml (1 cup) single cream (dairy, oat or soya)
  • 3 heaped tablespoons creme fraiche (dairy or oat cream fraiche or sour cream)
  • 3 heaped tablespoons cream cheese (dairy or vegan)
  • 200g (2 cups) grated cheddar cheese (dairy or vegan)
  • 150g (1½ cups) grated Parmesan (vegetarian or vegan or 1/2 cup nooch)
  • 2 teaspoons English mustard powder (or English mustard, American yellow mustard or dijon mustard)
  • a good grinding of salt and pepper


  1. Dump all the ingredients into a slow cooker and stir well to combine.
  2. Set to high and cook for 1 ½ - 2 hours until the pasta is cooked and the sauce is thick and lush. Stirring a few (but not too often as it lowers the temperature)
  3. Serve and enjoy!


  • Pop a clean tea towel under the lid to catch the drips when you open the pot to stir the macaroni.
  • Once cooked serve right away.
  • Don't leave pasta in the pot once cooked, it will continue cooking and go soft. Spoon it into another dish to cool, then chill or freeze.
  • Chill leftovers for 3-4 days and reheat in the microwave or a pot.
  • Freeze in portions for 2-3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight then reheat.


4 portions = 964 calories per portion

5 portions = 771 calories per portion

6 portions = 643 calories per portion

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

39.48 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

23.22 g

Carbs (grams)

42.77 g

Fiber (grams)

1.33 g

Net carbs

41.45 g

Sugar (grams)

10.43 g

Protein (grams)

29.31 g

Sodium (milligrams)

897.8 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

123.87 mg

This information is approximated using a nutrition and calorie calculator.


  1. Honestly, I hadn't ever bothered soaking a cashew either -- but I was trying to remake a recipe of my mother's, which meant I wanted to at least give it a nod to doing it right! I just tossed them in a cup of water overnight and went to bed -- so it was very PASSIVE soaking, to be sure! I ADORE that there are so many products now which make the long, hard effort a thing of the past, though. Vegan is getting easier every day.

    1. Well that doesn't sound too bad, but honestly I would forget. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants when cooking and decide on the day what I am cooking. I know, I know, I should be more organised. Just too much going on!

      Yes it is so much easier to cook and eat vegan, which is great.

  2. I'm interested in your vegan substitutes - I recently decided to check our biolife ingredients and it is similar to violife - lots of coconut oil but does not seem to have the sort of nutritional profile to replace dairy cheese for me, which is a shame as I love the taste of it. I am interested in the oatly products - a friend recently told me about a great vegan butter made from oats that he found at a market but has not found made widely - wonder if oatly do one! And mac and cheese in a slow cooker sounds great.

    1. Yes, I know what you mean, I don't use them for extra nutrition. I rely on the other fresh ingredients I cook with to cover that. This recipe is purely comfort and indulgence.

      I haven't seen any oat butter.

      The slow cooker mac and cheese is so, so good!

  3. I'm in love with the ease of this recipe. Dump ingredients, and then slow cook. Looks so so good.

  4. I don't use my slow cooker very often but I am going to try this. I like that it is all made in one pot and you don't have to cook the pasta separately. Jill

    1. Yes that has to be the bet part of this, well actually the creamy, cheesy gorgeousness is the best, but it is a really simple recipe, which is good to have. I hope you try it Jill.

  5. Can you substitue the creme fraiche out for something else vegan?

    1. You could add some vegan plain yoghurt. It just adds to the flavour and texture. You are going to love it!

  6. My son made this today, but we wondered if the amount of milk was right. I'm not sure 2.5 cups is a litre of milk. It was bit wet, even after 2+ hours. We rescued it by heating on the hob with flour. Next time, and there will be next time, it was delish, I would try much less milk.

    1. I've made it a few times and not had a problem. It does have a lot of sauce. Mind you if you open it too much to stir, water can drop from the lid and make it a bit watery and there is always a bit of difference from slow cooker to slow cooker.

      Try adding a bit less next time and be careful when opening the lid.

      I am so glad you enjoyed it though.

    2. You are right. I made a mistake when typing in the cup measures for the milk. The litre is correct but I checked my notes typed in the wrong number for the cups. Thanks so much for spotting that. Luckily most of my audience is from the UK and metric. I've updated it now.

  7. Absolutely lush. Best recipe for Mac and cheese ever.

  8. Love a dump recipe, I didn't use all the vegan substitutes but this came out delicious 😋

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed it Janet and yes you can use regular milk etc for his one to suit your own diet.


I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x