Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

5 from 5 votes
8 Comments

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This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is so quick and easy to make – plus it tastes amazing! The sauce is cheesy, creamy perfection! 

An instant pot full of mac and cheese

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe is the quickest, easiest dinner that your whole family will love. It tastes a THOUSAND times better than boxed mac and cheese because it is made with real food (I don’t even want to know what that powdered “cheese” is made out of). This homemade mac and cheese only takes five ingredients to make and you probably already have them all on hand. Everyone loves this ultimate comfort food and it’s perfect to serve on busy weeknights.

What Type of Cheese Should I Use?

When you’re picking out your cheeses, you have to consider two factors: melt-ability and flavor. Most cheeses are meltable, but stay away from crumbly types like feta or cotija. Avoid using pre-shredded cheese as well. It contains preservatives and coatings that will make your sauce turn out grainy. As far as flavor, some of our favorite cheeses are extra sharp cheddar cheese (please don’t use mild – your taste buds will thank you!), gouda, gruyere, fontina, and parmesan cheese. The only cheese flavors that I don’t recommend is Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese – for some reason they’re just not right in mac and cheese.

Three pink ramekins full of mac and cheese topped with bacon and green onion

Step by Step Instructions

  • Put uncooked macaroni and water into the instant pot. You can also use low sodium chicken broth instead of water for added flavor. We like using a classic elbow macaroni but you could use whole-wheat elbow macaroni noodles. Whole wheat pasta and gluten-free pasta are great options.
  • Add oil and gently push the pasta under the water. Do not stir.
elbow pasta in water in a pot
  • Sprinkle kosher salt, or table salt, black pepper, and garlic powder over the top. Cover the pot, set the vent to sealing, and cook on the Manual setting on high pressure for 3 minutes.
  • Once the timer goes off, do a quick release. Once the pin drops, take the lid off and stir in the butter, cheese, and milk. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

What to Serve with Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

A rich, creamy dish like this one only needs a couple of simple side dishes to make the perfect meal. Serve with a side of steamed broccoli, grilled veggies, or a green salad. We like to sometimes crumble bacon bits on top along with a dash of hot sauce for an extra kick. You can also try adding ground mustard or a little squirt of yellow mustard in the cheese sauce. Another favorite side dish in our house is our homemade applesauce. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. The delicious applesauce pairs so well with mac and cheese!

What our Readers are Saying About this Recipe

“I made this today with my kids! We’ve been having fun spending extra time in the kitchen. This recipe is certainly kid friendly! Easy to make and tastes great!” – Cindy

“I have only recently started making Instant pot Mac and Cheese and it is by far my favorite way to make it. There is no babysitting and the pasta comes out so creamy and delicious. Lovely recipe!” – Sandhya

“That looks so creamy and tasty! Yum! I always make mac and cheese using my instant pot!” – Rika

A spoonful of mac and cheese scooped out of an instant pot

Read Next: 27 BEST Instant Pot Recipes

Other Instant Pot Recipes You Will Love

We love our Instant Pots! They make dinner quicker and easier, which means more time to spend with our families. Try some of our other favorite Instant Pot recipes!

Three pink ramekins full of mac and cheese topped with bacon and green onion

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

5 from 5 votes
This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is so quick and easy to make – plus it tastes amazing! The sauce is cheesy, creamy perfection! 
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 13 mins
Total Time 18 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add the pasta, water, and oil to the Instant Pot. Gently press the noodles below the water without stirring.
    Mac and Cheese
  • Sprinkle salt and pepper (to taste) over noodles. (Optional: Sprinkle garlic powder over noodles.) Cover the Instant Pot and turn the valve to sealing. Cook on the Manual setting on high pressure for 3 minutes. When the timer goes off, immediately quick release the pressure.
    pasta with spices in an instant pot bowl
  • Once the pin drops, remove the lid and add the butter. Stir until butter is melted. Add the cheese. Stir until combined. Add up to ½ cup of milk, a little bit at a time. Top with more salt and pepper if desired and serve immediately.
    An instant pot full of mac and cheese

Notes

Instant Pot Note: We use a 6-quart Instant Pot brand pressure cooker that we bought in 2016. Different or newer versions may be more sensitive to the “BURN” notice. If you are concerned about the burn notice, please refer to the Instant Pot webpage about Overheat Protection, found HERE.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1gCalories: 379kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 16gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 272mgPotassium: 178mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 393IUCalcium: 210mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Kelsey Crist

Kelsey lives in Washington with her husband, Alex, and two cats, Diana and Nova. Her happy place is in the kitchen listening to an audiobook and trying new recipes. When she's not in the kitchen you can find her hiking, shopping at Trader Joe's, or playing Animal Crossing. Her favorite food is pasta and Alex loves when she makes Homemade Oreos.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hello there – the recipe sounds delicious and better then the box version though I’ve not invested in an instant pot. Old school I’ve got the crockpot – is there away to covert this or any recipe? Or should I breakdown and buy one and actually use it more then my crockpot ???

    1. I haven’t made this recipe in the crockpot so I’m not sure. I love my instant pot and I use it way more than my crockpot, but that’s just me!

  2. 5 stars
    Mac & cheese is the ultimate comfort food and I love making it in the Instant Pot. Looks super delicious!

  3. 5 stars
    I made this today with my kids! We’ve been having fun spending extra time in the kitchen. This recipe is certainly kid friendly! Easy to make and tastes great!

  4. 5 stars
    I have only recently started making Instant pot Mac and Cheese and it is by far my favorite way to make it. There is no babysitting and the pasta comes out so creamy and delicious. Lovely recipe!