Mac & Cheese is my love language.
This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe is so incredibly simple, it all cooks in just one pot (including the pasta) and is ready in minutes.
Extra creamy, super cheesy, and ridiculously easy. This is the ultimate quick comfort food and just might become your new go-to macaroni and cheese recipe!
Why You’ll Love Instant Pot Mac and Cheese as Much as I do
An Instant Pot is a brand of electric pressure cooker. It’s easy to use and cooks meals in no time at all making it perfect for weeknights!
- Just one pot. Who doesn’t love washing fewer dishes?!
- Extra cheesy and super easy to prepare. No roux, no flour, no strainer, no baking required.
- A pressure cooker makes this so fast, this may even be quicker and easier than a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese (and it tastes better too)!
- It’s creamy, cheesy, and delicious.
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Ingredients
PASTA Dry elbow macaroni noodles are the simple pasta of choice for this recipe. These are small, easy to eat, and are great for soaking up all that cheesy sauce.
WATER & SEASONINGS The cooking water in this recipe is seasoned to add flavor to the pasta. The water is not drained, it is combined with cheese to make the creamy sauce!
CHEESE SAUCE Cheese, cheese, and more cheese! Remember not to drain the pasta. The leftover pasta water from cooking adds a little starch to the sauce to help it stick to the noodles. Milk is added to give it the perfect smooth texture.
Ensure you’re using sharp and bold cheeses in this recipe. Substitute some of the sharp cheddar with gruyere, gouda, fontina, or even Monterey jack. Skip the mozzarella cheese in this recipe as it isn’t bold enough.
- Substitute half of the cooking water for low sodium chicken broth & skip the seasoning salt.
- Add your own favorite seasonings from garlic powder to cayenne pepper or a dash of hot sauce.
- To make it even creamier use evaporated milk or heavy cream in place of regular milk.
- For a splash of color, toss in your favorite veggies like a handful of chopped spinach or steamed broccoli (after cooking, they’ll overcook if cooked with the pasta).
- Add rotisserie chicken, diced ham, or even ground beef.
- Sprinkle with crisp bacon.
How to Make Instant Pot Mac & Cheese
- Add macaroni, water, & seasonings to an Instant Pot. Pressure cook on MANUAL – High Pressure.
- Quick release the pressure (as per recipe below) and be sure not to drain the cooking liquid.
- Add cream cheese, stir until melted.
- Stir in cheddar & parmesan cheese. Add remaining milk.
What Goes With Mac & Cheese?
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is a rich and filling dish, serve it with a fresh Easy Arugula Salad and some Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks, or some crusty bread. Even some Parmesan Roasted Broccoli or Air Fryer Cauliflower would be light sides with this dish.
Storing & Reheating Leftovers
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- When reheating, it’s a good idea to add a splash of milk or cream (about 1 tbsp per cup of mac and cheese) while heating.
- In the microwave, just add it to the bowl, & remember to stir everything together halfway through the reheating process.
We Love Mac and Cheese!
- Homemade Mac and Cheese is so ooey-gooey good, especially when it is loaded with tons of creamy cheesy sauce that is so velvety smooth.
- Lobster Mac and Cheese – so rich & creamy
- Stovetop Mac and Cheese – ready in 20 minutes
- Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese – cheesy with a kick
- Velveeta Mac and Cheese – a reader favorite
- Jalapeno Mac and Cheese Bites – the ultimate party appetizer
Did you make this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- 2 ½ cups dry elbow macaroni noodles
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon seasoned salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 3 ounces cream cheese approx. ⅓ cup
- ¾ cup milk divided
- 2 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese shredded
- Add dry elbow macaroni noodles, water, butter, dry mustard, onion powder, seasoned salt, and pepper to a 6 qt. Instant Pot.
- Set the instant pot to MANUAL for 6 minutes on high pressure.
- Once completed, quick release the pressure by turning or pressing the valve. There will be water in the bottom – do not drain it.
- Stir in the cream cheese until melted. Add ¼ cup milk slowly until blended.
- Stir in the cheddar and parmesan cheese. Add the remaining ½ cup milk until the desired consistency is reached. You may not need the entire amount of milk.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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