Crafting the Ultimate Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

paula deen crock pot mac and cheese

This Paula Deen famous crock pot mac and cheese recipe is a creamy, cheesy delight that’s perfect for family dinners, potlucks, and cozy nights in. This southern-style dish is a no-fuss meal that’s sure to please everyone at the table. With its rich flavor and simple preparation, it’s no wonder this dish is a beloved classic. In this article, we’ll dive into the ultimate guide to creating this comfort food staple, complete with tips, tricks, and a mouthwatering recipe.

Who Is Paula Deen?

Paula Deen is a renowned American chef, TV personality, and cooking show host known for her traditional Southern cooking and restaurants. She began her career in the food industry with a home-based catering service called The Bag Lady, which she started with her last $200 during a difficult time in her life. This venture was a success and laid the foundation for her first restaurant, The Lady and Sons, in Savannah, Georgia.

When you’re making Paula Deen’s Crock Pot Mac and Cheese, you’re not just cooking a meal; you’re experiencing a piece of her history. This dish is a testament to Deen’s journey from her humble beginnings with The Bag Lady to her celebrated restaurant, The Lady and Sons. It encapsulates the comfort and warmth that have become the hallmarks of her cooking style.

A Recipe Born from Southern Tradition

Paula Deen has always had a knack for creating rich, heartwarming flavors, which is evident in her mac and cheese recipe. It’s a simple dish with deep roots in Southern cuisine, made with ingredients that speak to Deen’s philosophy of good, hearty food. The creamy, cheesy goodness that slowly simmers in the crock pot is a reflection of Deen’s own rise to fame—gradual, filled with care, and ultimately satisfying.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

delicious mac and cheese

In the world of comfort cuisine, few dishes can hold a candle to Paula Deen’s Crock Pot Mac and Cheese. This dish is a culinary hug that embodies the soul of Southern cooking. Here’s why it’s bound to become a beloved staple in your recipe collection.

Unmatched Comfort

The term “comfort food” might as well have been invented for Paula Deen’s Crock Pot Mac and Cheese. Imagine the creamiest, most decadent mac and cheese you’ve ever tasted—this is it. It’s the kind of dish that seems to wrap you in warmth from the inside out, making any day better.

Effortless Cooking

The beauty of a crock pot recipe lies in its simplicity. Add your ingredients to the pot, set the timer, and go about your day. Paula Deen’s version takes the convenience up a notch, ensuring that even on your busiest days, a comforting meal is never out of reach.

A Family Favorite

It’s hard to find a dish that pleases the entire family, but Paula Deen’s Crock Pot Mac and Cheese manages just that. It’s creamy enough for the kids and sophisticated enough for the adults, striking a perfect balance that lands it on the “favorite meal” list in homes across the country.

Customizable Creations

One of the joys of this recipe is its versatility. Whether you’re adding a punch of protein with bacon or a spicy kick with jalapeños, Paula Deen’s recipe is the perfect canvas for your culinary creativity. Each variation maintains the integrity of the classic while allowing you to tailor it to your taste.

Ideal for Every Event

This mac and cheese isn’t just for a quiet night in. It’s a showstopper at potlucks, a staple at holiday tables, and a must-have at barbecues. No matter the occasion, Paula Deen’s Crock Pot Mac and Cheese is always a good idea.

The Convenience of Make-Ahead Meals

In the spirit of Southern hospitality, Paula Deen’s recipe respects the value of your time. Prepare it ahead, let the crock pot work its magic, and serve it when you’re ready. It’s meal prep at its finest, offering up convenience without sacrificing flavor.

Ingredients List For Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac And Cheese

ingredients for paula deens crock pot mac and cheese

Let’s talk about what goes into making Paula Deen’s Crock Pot Mac and Cheese and why each ingredient is key to the dish’s success.

When you’re making Paula Deen’s Crock Pot Mac and Cheese, the ingredients are simple but each plays a pivotal role. You start with elbow macaroni, which is the classic choice for its cozy, comforting texture and ability to hold onto the sauce. Butter is next, which not only adds richness but also ensures your macaroni doesn’t stick together as it cooks to perfection in the crock pot.

The real MVP here is sharp cheddar cheese. Freshly grated is the way to go for that melt-in-your-mouth goodness and bold, cheesy flavor that’s signature to Paula Deen’s recipe. Eggs bind everything together, creating that creamy consistency we all crave in a mac and cheese.

Sour cream is a game-changer, offering a tangy twist that balances out the richness, while condensed cheddar cheese soup amplifies the cheesy element without weighing down the dish. Salt seasons it just right, enhancing all the flavors, and whole milk delivers creaminess without being overly heavy.

A little dry mustard gives an almost undetectable heat and complexity, and a final sprinkle of black pepper adds a subtle kick. Each ingredient works in harmony to create that comforting bowl of crock pot mac and cheese that Paula Deen has made famous.

Here’s the ingredient list in a table format for clarity:

IngredientRole in Recipe
Elbow macaroniBase for the dish, holds sauce well
ButterAdds richness, prevents sticking
Sharp cheddar cheeseProvides bold, cheesy flavor
EggsBinds the sauce for creaminess
Sour creamAdds tanginess, enhances creaminess
Condensed cheddar cheese soupBoosts cheesy flavor, enriches sauce
SaltEnhances other flavors
Whole milkBalances creaminess
Dry mustardAdds heat and complexity
Black pepperAdds a subtle kick

Steps To Make Paula Deen’s Mac And Cheese In A Crock Pot

making paula deen crock pot mac and cheese

Making Paula Deen’s Crock Pot Mac and Cheese is a breeze, and each step is designed to maximize flavor and creaminess. Here’s a concise breakdown:

1. Preparing the Pasta

Boil the elbow macaroni until it’s al dente to ensure it holds up during slow cooking. This texture is crucial for the final dish’s perfect pasta consistency.

2. Creating the Cheese Sauce

Begin by melting butter in a saucepan, then blend in the sharp cheddar until you have a silky, cheesy sauce. This step is foundational for achieving that classic creamy taste.

3. Mixing the Ingredients

In your crock pot, combine the cheese sauce with the sour cream, condensed soup, seasonings, milk, and mustard, whisking to a smooth blend. This mixture is the creamy heart of the dish.

4. Incorporating the Eggs

Whisk the eggs separately, then temper them with some of the hot cheese sauce to ensure they integrate smoothly for a rich, custard-like base.

5. Combining Pasta and Sauce

Gently mix the al dente macaroni into the crock pot, coating each piece with the cheese mixture for uniform flavor and texture.

6. Cooking to Creamy Perfection

Cook on a low setting for approximately 2.5 hours. This slow cooking melds the flavors and textures into a comforting, cohesive whole.

7. Stirring Through

Occasionally stirring the mac and cheese prevents sticking and promotes an even, creamy consistency throughout the dish.

8. Ready to Enjoy

Serve the mac and cheese warm from the crock pot to savor its ultimate creaminess, making it a hit for any meal.

For a quick guide during cooking, here’s the process in a table format:

StepAction
1Cook macaroni to al dente
2Melt butter and add cheese
3Whisk in creamy ingredients in crock pot
4Temper and add eggs
5Combine macaroni with sauce
6Cook on low for 2.5 hours
7Stir occasionally
8Serve warm

How To Temper Eggs For Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac And Cheese

How to temper eggs

Tempering eggs is a crucial step in many recipes to ensure they integrate smoothly into a hot mixture without cooking or curdling. Here’s how to temper eggs for Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese:

How To Temper Eggs For Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac And Cheese

  1. Crack the Eggs

    Start by cracking the required number of eggs into a bowl and beat them until they’re well mixed.

  2. Warm the Eggs Gradually

    Before adding them to the hot cheese mixture in the crock pot, you need to gradually increase their temperature to prevent them from cooking upon contact. Take a spoonful of the hot cheese mixture and slowly drizzle it into the beaten eggs while whisking continuously. This slow process brings the temperature of the eggs up without cooking them.

  3. Add More Cheese Mixture

    Continue to add a few more spoonfuls of the hot mixture, one at a time, to the eggs, making sure to whisk constantly. This gradual acclimatization is what “tempers” the eggs.

  4. Combine with the Main Mixture

    Once the eggs have been warmed with a few spoonfuls of the hot cheese mixture, they can be poured back into the main mixture in the crock pot. Keep whisking as you combine them to ensure a smooth, even texture.

  5. Cook as Directed

    Proceed with the recipe, cooking the mac and cheese on low heat as directed. The tempered eggs will thicken the dish to create a creamy consistency without any scrambled egg bits.

Remember, the key to tempering is to add the hot liquid slowly and to keep whisking. This method will give you a smooth and creamy Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese every time.

The Ultimate Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe

Get ready to indulge in the ultimate comfort classic with Paula Deen’s Crock Pot Mac and Cheese! This irresistibly creamy, cheesy delight is a breeze to make and perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re looking to cozy up with a comforting meal or impress at your next potluck, this recipe promises to deliver a mouthwatering experience. Follow the simple steps below to bring the taste of the South into your home, where every spoonful is a creamy embrace of down-home goodness. Let’s get that pot bubbling!

paula deen crock pot mac and cheese

Paula Deen’s Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

Ryan Yates
Dive into the ultimate comfort with Paula Deen’s Crock Pot Mac and Cheese. This recipe delivers a creamy, cheesy, and utterly satisfying dish that’s perfect for any occasion. It’s easy to make with simple ingredients and is a true crowd-pleaser.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Amercian, Southern
Servings 8 Servings

Equipment

  • Crock Pot (or slow cooker)
  • Large pot for boiling pasta
  • Medium Saucepan
  • whisk
  • Cheese grater
  • Mixing Bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 10 3/4-ounce can condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Boil the elbow macaroni in a large pot of salted water until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the grated cheddar cheese until melted and combined.
  • In the crock pot, whisk together the melted cheese mixture with sour cream, condensed cheddar cheese soup, salt, milk, dry mustard, and black pepper until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Gradually temper the eggs with a small amount of the hot cheese mixture before adding them back into the crock pot. This prevents the eggs from scrambling.
  • Add the cooked macaroni to the crock pot, stirring to ensure it’s well-coated with the cheese sauce.
  • Set the crock pot to low heat and cook for 2.5 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve the mac and cheese hot from the crock pot for the creamiest texture.

Notes

For a lighter version, substitute half of the whole milk with skim milk.
Add-ins like cooked bacon, diced jalapeños, or breadcrumbs can be included for added flavor and texture.
For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free elbow macaroni and check the labels on all other ingredients to ensure they are gluten-free.
Keyword Comfort food, Crock Pot, Easy Recipe, family dinner, family dinners, Family Favorite, family friendly, Mac and Cheese, macaroni, Macaroni & Cheese, Paula Deen

How to Customize Your Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese for Different Occasions

Creating a batch of Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese is just the beginning. With a few simple tweaks, you can tailor this classic dish to suit any event or preference. Here’s how to make your mac and cheese fit for any table, from laid-back family dinners to festive holiday feasts.

For Family Weeknights

Keep it classic and simple for those busy weeknights. Stick to the original Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese recipe for a tried-and-true favorite that’s both satisfying and straightforward. It’s a guaranteed way to bring the family together for a meal that feels like a warm hug after a long day.

Adding a Gourmet Twist

Elevate your mac and cheese for special occasions by incorporating gourmet cheeses like Gruyère or smoked Gouda. A dash of truffle oil or a sprinkle of fresh herbs can transform your Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese into a luxurious treat for the taste buds.

Kid-Friendly Customizations

When catering to the younger crowd, mix in fun ingredients like mini hot dogs or a crumble of their favorite crispy chicken tenders. This not only adds a playful twist to the Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese but also ensures clean plates all around.

Spicing Things Up

For those who like it hot, add some heat to your Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese with diced jalapeños or a spoonful of chili flakes. This spicy version is perfect for those who crave a little kick with their creamy pasta.

The Health-Conscious Version

Lighten up the classic Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese by opting for low-fat cheese options and skim milk. You can also stir in some steamed broccoli or spinach for added nutrients without compromising on the creamy deliciousness.

The Vegetarian’s Delight

Make your mac and cheese a vegetarian centerpiece by skipping any meat-based add-ins and focusing on the richness of the cheese and pasta. Add roasted vegetables like bell peppers or sun-dried tomatoes for a pop of flavor and color.

BBQ and Potluck Perfection

For a BBQ or potluck, your Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese can be the star side dish. Add a crunchy breadcrumb topping for texture, or mix in some pulled pork for a hearty twist that stands up to the smoky flavors of grilled meats.

Holiday Gatherings

During the holidays, make your Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese festive by adding ingredients like diced ham and peas or a topping of crispy onions. It’s a comforting addition to any holiday spread that’s as easy to make as it is delicious to eat.

By customizing your Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese, you can enjoy the versatility and comfort of this dish no matter the occasion. With each variation, you keep the soul of the recipe alive while making it uniquely yours.

The Secret to Perfectly Creamy Crock Pot Mac and Cheese Every Time

Creating the perfect Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese is an art that combines the right ingredients with the right technique. Here’s how to ensure that every batch you make is as creamy and delicious as the last, keeping the focus on the beloved Southern dish that has captured the hearts of comfort food enthusiasts everywhere.

Choose the Right Cheese

The secret to the creaminess of Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese lies in the choice of cheese. Sharp cheddar provides a depth of flavor, while a combination with a melty cheese like American or Velveeta ensures a smooth texture. For best results, grate your cheese fresh at home rather than buying pre-shredded varieties, which can contain anti-caking agents that affect meltability.

Cook Pasta to Al Dente

The pasta should be cooked to al dente before adding it to the crock pot. This is crucial because the pasta continues to cook as it absorbs the cheesy sauce, preventing it from becoming mushy. Al dente pasta also holds up better, maintaining its texture and shape, which is essential for the perfect bite.

Layer Flavors with Seasonings

Seasonings are more than just an afterthought in Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese. Dry mustard, a pinch of salt, and a dash of black pepper layered in with the creamy base add dimension to the dish. These seasonings enhance the natural flavors of the cheese and pasta, creating a more complex taste profile.

The Role of Eggs

Eggs are the binding force in Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese. They’re gently tempered and then added to the crock pot to act as a thickener, giving the mac and cheese its signature custard-like consistency. Be sure to temper the eggs properly to prevent them from scrambling and to ensure they integrate smoothly into the sauce.

Slow Cooking to Perfection

The crock pot’s low and slow heat is ideal for melding flavors and achieving the ultimate creaminess. Cooking the mac and cheese on a low setting for about 2.5 hours allows the ingredients to marry together without overcooking the pasta or causing the dairy to separate.

Stirring at Intervals

Occasional stirring throughout the cooking process is another key step. It prevents the ingredients from sticking to the bottom and helps maintain an even, creamy consistency throughout the dish.

Finishing Touches

Before serving, a final stir through the Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese can incorporate any additional cheese or toppings you might want to add. This last step ensures that every serving is as good as the first, with a creamy texture that’s consistent from top to bottom.

By following these tips, you can master the art of making Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese. It’s not just about following a recipe; it’s about understanding the nuances that make this dish a creamy, comforting classic. With each spoonful, you’ll taste the care and attention that goes into making this timeless Southern comfort food.

Must-Know Tips for Cooking with a Crock Pot: Mac and Cheese Edition

Cooking with a crock pot is a game-changer, especially when it comes to comfort food like Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese. Here are some expert tips to ensure your mac and cheese is the talk of the table:

Start with the Right Ingredients

  • Cheese: For Paula Deen’s recipe, choose a good melting cheese such as sharp cheddar for flavor and add a softer cheese for creaminess.
  • Pasta: Use elbow macaroni and cook it to al dente to prevent it from becoming too soft during the slow cooking process.

Master the Art of Tempering Eggs

  • Egg Tempering: To avoid scrambled eggs in your mac and cheese, gradually introduce the hot cheese mixture into the beaten eggs before combining everything back into the crock pot.

Understand Your Crock Pot Settings

  • Heat Settings: Know the settings of your crock pot. Paula Deen’s Mac and Cheese should be cooked on low to allow the flavors to develop without the risk of curdling the cheese or overcooking the pasta.

Layer Flavors for Depth

  • Seasoning: Don’t be shy with seasonings. A pinch of salt, black pepper, and dry mustard can elevate the taste of your mac and cheese.

Avoid Overcooking

  • Timing: Keep an eye on the clock. Paula Deen’s recipe typically calls for about 2.5 hours on low heat, ensuring that every noodle is perfectly coated in creamy, cheesy goodness.

Stir to Perfection

  • Stirring: Occasional stirring is essential. It prevents the ingredients from sticking to the bottom and sides, which is crucial for an even texture.

Serve It Right

  • Serving: Paula Deen’s Crock Pot Mac and Cheese is best served warm. If you’re taking it to an event, use the crock pot’s “keep warm” setting to maintain the perfect temperature until it’s time to dig in.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to making a Paula Deen Crock Pot Mac and Cheese that’s not only delicious but also perfectly cooked. With a little patience and the right technique, your crock pot will do most of the work for you, leaving you free to enjoy the rich, comforting flavors of this classic dish.

This article was reviewed and published by Ryan Yates, Culinary Expert with over 15 years of experience in elevated cooking techniques. This process was tested in a working commercial kitchen that Ryan manages as a Professional Chef.

Note: This article was crafted with the primary intent of educating and assisting our readers. We ensure that our content is backed by research and expertise. For more culinary insights, stay tuned to the Authentic Hospitality blog.


We value your feedback! If you found value in this article or have any questions, please subscribe or leave a comment below. Our team, including Ryan Yates, will be more than happy to engage and assist.

Ryan Yates

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating