Mac and Cheese For A Crowd

Creamy and delicious this easy recipe for Mac and Cheese For A Crowd can be made in a roaster or large crock pots. A combination of cheddar and Velveeta cheeses makes this side dish irresistible!

Roaster full of mac and cheese for 50 people with a serving spoon inside

If you are planning a party also check out our popular Fruit Salad for a Crowd recipe and list of Graduation Party Food Ideas.

Mac and Cheese for a Crowd Recipe

This big batch recipe of easy and creamy Mac and Cheese is perfect for crowds at graduation parties, family reunions, holidays, church carry-ins or weddings.

With inspiration from our Crock Pot Mac and Cheese and Velveeta Sells and Cheese recipe that are super popular on Pinterest, this roaster recipe for a crowd of 50 – 100 is equally delicious! People rave about how good this recipe is.

I like to make it with our Ham In A Roaster. I’ve seen teenage boys heap their plate with this homemade mac and cheese and then pile it high with bbq pork. The pasta also goes great with sliders or smoked meat!

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Serving spoon of cheesy and creamy macaroni for a crowd

No roux required, just cook the pasta, add ingredients and stir several times to get a fantastic warm side dish.

After hearing how many people love our Cheesy Potatoes for a Crowd, Macaroni Salad for a Crowd and Green Beans for a Crowd, I knew this classic needed shared.

Ingredients Needed:

  • Elbow macaroni or small shells
  • Vegetable oil
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Kosher salt
  • Velveeta cheese
  • Cheddar cheese

Make Ahead Mac & Cheese

The pasta can be cooked to al dente with the vegetable oil and butter stirred in. Store in a roaster liner or crock pot liner in the refrigerator for up to 2 days ahead of time.

For me the biggest challenge with making this ahead of time is finding the space in the fridge, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Allow additional cooking time for the pasta to warm up before the cheese can start to melt. Otherwise the directions can be resumed.

Be aware not to over cook the pasta or pile it too high as it can become smashed during the storage project. Also stir the butter and oil in very well to prevent the noodles from sticking together.

Large silver serving spoon in a large roaster of mac and cheese

Macaroni and Cheese for 50

It takes about 3 pounds of pasta with more cheese, milk and butter to feed 50 people

This recipe can be doubled to feed 100 people. Be sure to use a large roaster with plenty of room to stir for the bigger batch.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • Small shells also work well in this recipe.
  • The consistency of this mac and cheese will continue to change over time and as heat is applied; if it seems to runny keep cooking on low until it firms up.
  • I find it easier to make double batches in multiple 7 or 8 quart crock pots than a roaster as there seems to be more variation in temperature and heating in a roaster.
  • Use plenty of non-stick spray, plan to soak the roaster and have SOS pads ready to scrub the roaster pan clean.
  • This recipe also tastes great with Velveeta only, but the cheddar does add so much more cheesy flavor.
  • Have a firm, strong, long handled spoon ready to stir and serve the macaroni.
  • An extra cup or two milk or can of evaporated milk can be added mid way through cooking if the mixture is getting too thick too soon. Stir well when adding!

How to Make Macaroni and Cheese in a Roaster

Cook pasta in heavily salted boiling water to al dente. Drain and pour into a generously greased roaster.

Add vegetable oil and cut sticks of butter into pats. Spread slices or pats of butter over top of the pasta and stir.

Pats of butter over top of cooked macaroni in a roaster with a large spoon to stir

Add milk and cans of evaporated milk to the roaster and stir well.

Evaporated milk and milk stirred into cooked elbow macaroni

Use a board scraper or large knife to cut process cheese into cubes. Sprinkle cubes over top of the macaroni in the roaster.

Cubes of Velveeta cheese on top of mac and cheese recipe for a crowd

Stir up all that beautiful cheese!

Chunks of Velveeta cheese stirred into milk and pasta mixture

Set roaster to 200°F. Cover and let cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir well.

Melted velveeta cheese in a big batch of mac and cheese

Keep a small plate or dish nearby to rest your spoon on. Stirring often is the key to success in this recipe!

Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top and stir well.

Shredded cheddar cheese on top of roaster full of macaroni and cheese

Total cook time will be 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Stir every 30 to 45 minutes with special attention given to the corners, sides and bottom of the roaster.

When macaroni is close to being done or reaches your desired consistency turn roaster off if serving immediatley.

Turn to keep warm or the lowest setting possible and stir every 15 minutes if mac and cheese won’t be served for a while.

Melted yellow cheddar and Velveeta cheese in a roaster of cooked macaroni and cheese for a crowd

Leftovers And Reheating Instructions

When cooking for a crowd we always have some extra plastic containers to store leftovers since we never know how much will be eaten.

Storing in smaller containers with a few servings makes defrosting and reheating easier.

We do add milk and stir often while reheating in the oven if the macaroni and cheese needs a bit more moisture. Our family eats leftovers and enjoys them just fine, but this recipe does have the highest quality the first time it is prepared.

More Easy Big Batch Recipes:

Big Batch of Homemade Brownies is a great recipe to feed a lot of people and use up extra eggs.

Our Egg & Sausage Casserole can also feed a lot of people and is fairly easy to prep for.

Our Alfredo Spaghetti is another great option to feed a big group at a party.

Banana Pudding For A Crowd has a dreamy vanilla pudding based filling that makes it so popular!

Big batch of mac and cheese for a crowd on a spoon above a roaster full of macaroni

Mac and Cheese For A Crowd

Servings 50 servings
Author: Jennifer
Creamy and delicious this easy recipe for Mac and Cheese For A Crowd can be made in a roaster or large crock pots.
5 from 15 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pounds elbow macaroni uncooked
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 sticks butter
  • 4 1/2 cups milk
  • 72 ounces evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 72 ounces Velveeta cheese
  • 2 pounds sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions
 

  • Cook macaroni in an extra large stock pot of boiling water. Cook to al dente and drain.
    3 pounds elbow macaroni
  • Generously coat a roaster pan with non-stick cooking spray and add pasta.
  • Add vegetable oil and slices of butter to the pasta and stir well.
    1/2 cup vegetable oil, 3 sticks butter
  • Add milk, evaporated milk and salt. Stir well and turn roaster to 200°F.
    4 1/2 cups milk, 72 ounces evaporated milk, 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • Cut Velveeta cheese into cubes and stir into milk and pasta mixture.
    72 ounces Velveeta cheese
  • Cover and cook for 45 minutes to an hour; stir well.
  • Stir in shredded cheddar cheese.
    2 pounds sharp cheddar cheese
  • Continue to cook covered and stir every 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Continue cooking until firm, about 2 hours total. Turn to keep warm to serve and continue to stir well.

Nutrition

Calories: 383kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 19gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 1142mgPotassium: 374mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 885IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 504mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

Tried this recipe?Mention @PlowingThroughLife or tag #PlowingThroughLife!

50 Comments

  1. warrington says:

    Could you please let me know what your serving size is? thank you so much.

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! So the consistency and size of the pasta changes throughout the cooking process as it absorbs more liquid….so the amount of mac and cheese will slowly increase for a certain time period. I use a large serving spoon and estimate 1/2 cup servings…but as you know there’s a lot of variability in the size of the spoon, how full the spoon is, etc.

      Hope this recipe helps 🙂

  2. What size roaster pan is needed for 100 servings?
    Thanks!

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! I use a 22 quart roaster for this recipe. Hope you enjoy 🙂

    2. Does this get creamy or stay on the runny side? Seems like a lot of milk in the recipe unless it mostly cooks down with the cheese. Looking forward to trying it this weekend!

    3. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! Great question – it starts runny and with stirring and continuing to cook it will slowly move to creamy and then slowly continue to firm up.

      Not sure how many people you have to cook for, but I do find this crock version easier to double in a big crock pot. Hope you enjoy!

      ~Jennifer

  3. Can you make a smaller batch in the roaster – for 25? Does this freeze well?

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! I would recommend making a double batch of this crock pot version for 25 people. The consistency does change a bit after freezing, but it’s still good.

      Hope you enjoy!

  4. To clarify, a double batch, 100 servings (and 6 lbs of pasta) would fit in a 22 qt roaster? Thanks!

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! I have only made 3 pounds of pasta in the roaster. I do know being able to stir well is important. I would be more comfortable cooking in two roasters and then filling one to serve out of. Hope you enjoy the recipe 🙂

  5. Tracy M. Compaan says:

    I want to make this for a graduation reception. Would it work to make it ahead of time, bag it up and then put it back in to warm before the reception starts?

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! I think the best case for making ahead is cooking your pasta ahead of time and stirring in the oil. Then making it in multiple double batches in crock pots like I’ve tested with this recipe: https://plowingthroughlife.com/crock-pot-mac-and-cheese-farmhouse-style/

      I have reheated some because it was extra and it tastes fine, but the quality does decrease a bit with reheating. Hopefully you find an option that fits your schedule and budget! Thanks for looking at our site 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    Just did a trial run for graduation. My husband is a volunteer on the local fire department. I made a batch in the roaster for their monthly meeting and it turned out good. I did add more milk as it cooked and I think it would be ready to serve in 2 hours.

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! So glad you did a test run to determine how to make the recipe work best for you and super happy you enjoyed it! I hope your party goes great 🙂 Congrats on the graduation!! ~Jennifer

  7. Can this recipe be baked in the oven in large foil pans as opposed to a roaster. I don’t have 2 roasters to make this for 100.
    If so, what temp and cook times would you recommend? Any other adaptations?
    Thanks!

    1. Cristin Bright says:

      I just wanted to get some clarification on a couple quantities In this recipe…Is it really 72oz of evaporated milk and 72oz of Velveeta? I realize this is for a large batch I just wanted to make sure before I make it. Thank you!

    2. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Yes! This makes mac and cheese for 50 to 100 people depending on serving size. Hope you enjoy!

  8. 5 stars
    I made this as a side for my son’s high school graduation party this year. We also had boneless/traditional wings, watermelon and brownies – all his favorites. The mac & cheese was amazing! I was looking for a mac & cheese recipe that fed lots of people and was creamy and this one did not disappoint. It was very simple to throw together and doesn’t have a roux that you have to make that can be a little time consuming. This recipe also reheats great. It doesn’t turn oily or clumpy when reheated. My friend will also be using this recipe for summer camps that she cooks for. Thank you.

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Thanks so much for taking time to share these kinds words! So glad the recipe works well for you!

  9. Pam Wagner says:

    5 stars
    Very good. I used whole milk and heavy whipping cream. Cheddar and colby jack cheese. It’s a crowd favorite!

  10. Caitlyn R Mayor says:

    5 stars
    This was a huge hit at the graduation party I took it to. It was so cheesey and the perfect consistency. I don’t like a dry Mac and cheese and this definitely wasn’t. One of the best I’ve made thus far. Thank you for this recipe.

  11. 5 stars
    My church was selling pulled pork sandwiches and coleslaw at a fair they have every September. It really bothered me that they weren’t going to offer Mac and cheese as a side. I came to Pinterest to find a recipe for Mac and cheese for a crowd and this recipe was the first to come up and I’m glad it was. It looked fairly simple to make and made 50 servings so I went with it. It was a hit and we sold out before 12:00 pm. Everyone loved it, including me and I’m pretty picky when it comes to Mac and cheese. The church is already talking about me making it again next year!

  12. Meagan Honaker says:

    5 stars
    Made it for my son’s football team to feed at least 75 people over the summer. They loved it. Making it again for Thursday September 28,2023 for the team. This time doubling it since they loved it.

    1. How did U make this amount? I also have 75 on football team to cook for. Did you cook in 2 crockpots and double each and then also a batch in oven? Did it reheat well?

  13. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday for 30 teenage boys. Let me tell you, they loved it. It was easy to make, and super creamy.

  14. 5 stars
    My niece got married and wanted to serve Mac N Cheese with her pulled pork and brisket. My sister made the crockpot version as our taste test and she said that it was good just make sure to not overcook the noodles or it gets mushy.

    So we decided to full send this recipe and make it in 3 roaster pans for 150 wedding guests. We are not caterers!!! We are a mom and an aunt who has a husband willing to use his stirring muscles and timer. This recipe really did turn out pretty great.

    Things learned / strategy
    1. Cooked 10 lbs of noodles AL DENTE 2 days before. Stored in roaster pan plastic liner with butter and oil. And then stored this in 3 large lidded aluminum pans to minimize squishing.

    2. Evaporated milk, frankly, sounded really gross, but it was good in this recipe and served its purpose. Also we used whole milk. Have extra on hand in case additional liquid is needed.

    3. We used preshredded sharp cheese (including non caking agents ‍♀️), so additional liquid was on standby.

    4. Not all roaster pans cook the same!!! Stirring EVERY 20/30 minutes is important!!!

    5. One of the pans I think didn’t quite get the correct amount of milk which did cause the Mac N Cheese to “congeal” kinda quickly on a cool plastic plate…this is just my theory.

    What a relief it was to have a recipe with good directions and details!!! We would make this again for a large crowd!!

  15. 5 stars
    Noodles were the perfect texture and the cheese was very creamy

  16. Will this recipe turn out using cellentani pasta? Thanks!

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! I haven’t tested this using cellentani pasta, but I think it would work great. Hope you enjoy!

  17. So cook for 45 mins…..then add the shredded cheese, cook for 20-30 more mins….then it mentions cook for 2 hours ? Assuming that means total cook time could be 2 hours, correct?
    My trial run is in the oven now.

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! Yes, you read the instructions correctly for how we use our electric roaster oven. We find that they don’t always heat as evenly as a regular oven, so we add ingredients in stages as stirring often is a key part of getting great mac and cheese. Hope you enjoy!

  18. Amanda c Ochoa says:

    5 stars
    This mac and cheese was amazing!

  19. Mylissa Woolridge says:

    5 stars
    Made this recipe for my daughters wedding in February and everyone is still talking about it.

  20. 5 stars
    I’m a parent volunteer for our local homeschool co-op and we were doing a Kindness Matters lunch for about 150. I found this recipe and cooked servings for 75 in each roaster. It was the biggest hit! I had so many kids and adults alike coming back for more. I have now been asked to make it at several other functions.
    Thank you for developing this and making it easy to adjust serving size!! It made it so much less stressful.

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      This is so great to hear! And so KIND that you took the time to share 🙂 Thank you!!

  21. 5 stars
    I s there away I can make small batch in my crockpot? We had this at a fund raiser. My husband fell in love.

  22. Do you have any tips on substituting gluten free pasta? I have found that gluten free noodles turn into a rice texture in slow-cooked Mac and cheese recipes. Thanks!

  23. Melanie Wilt says:

    5 stars
    I was searching for a bulk mac and cheese recipe to use for CJ’s grad party, and I ran across yours, Jennifer! It worked out perfectly. I “marinated” the pasta in the oil, butter, evaporated milk and seasonings for a couple hours while we were at graduation, added the cheese when we got home, turned on the roaster, and it was perfect in 2 hours. I also added some black pepper, dry mustard and smoked paprika. Everyone raved about it. Of course, we served it with pulled pork sliders 😉

  24. We used this recipe for a recent party. We had two 18 quart roasters and made 1.5x the recipe in each. It was to the top (but not quite spilling). We used roaster bags and had no issues with them. It does make a TON. We had a lot of other food left over and the party was mid afternoon (not over a meal-time), but I would say you could easily get 75+ servings out of a recipe. Keep stirring and adding milk to get the consistency you want.

  25. Linda White says:

    This was a big hit at my grandson’s graduation party. I will share that the stated recipe will be sufficient to feed a large serving for 50 people.

  26. 5 stars
    Made this for my daughter’s graduation open house and it was a HUGE hit and was asked by several people for the recipe 🙂

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      So glad the recipe was a success! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  27. If cooking in an oven do I still use that low tempture and time?

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There – Yes, I think similar times and temps can be used, but keep in mind this recipe was developed in an electric roaster and stirring often is necessary whatever the appliance. I would keep an eye on it and adjust as needed. Hope you enjoy!

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