Instant Pot Mac and Cheese


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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese takes all of the creamy goodness of homemade mac and cheese and turns it into a meal you can have on the table in minutes!

Elbow macaroni and seasonings are cooked in the Instant Pot until perfectly tender.  We add in the rest of the sauce ingredients (and CHEESE!) and simply stir. The result is a rich creamy saucy macaroni and cheese that you will not be able to have just one bowl of!

This is going to become your new go-to macaroni and cheese!

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese served in a white bowl

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Cheese is probably one of my favorite things of all time. You can enjoy it hot, cold, in just about any dish, on it’s own… okay, I’m done… back to this mac and cheese recipe.

I’m kind of obsessed with homemade Mac and Cheese, so ooey gooey good and loads of creamy cheesy sauce.  I love this easy recipe… it’s simple (no strainer, no roux, no extra dishes). While I often make Crock Pot Mac and Cheese for gatherings and parties, I love being able to whip it up quickly in my Instant Pot!

I do have to say, if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you NEED one! It’s an easy to use (aka not-scary-totally-safe electric pressure cooker that will save you hours and hours in the kitchen).

This Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese recipe is absolutely loaded with flavor. It starts out with pasta, seasonings and water cooked in the IP (I sometimes substitute half of the water in the recipe for low sodium chicken broth & skip the seasoning salt).  Next we stir in cheese, cream cheese, and milk (or half and half if you want to make it even creamier!).

I’ve intentionally made this mac and cheese with no evaporated milk (and without Velveeta) because I prefer the flavor of fresh milk and cheeses. The sauce in this recipe comes out creamy and velvety with a bit of starchiness from the pasta water.

Seriously SO EASY right?!

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese prepared in the Instant Pot

What Goes With Mac and Cheese

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is a creamy and rich (as a homemade mac and cheese recipe should be), so I like to serve it with a fresh side salad and some crusty bread (to make sure not a lick of sauce gets left behind)!

Depending on what’s in my fridge, I sometimes add in ham, or broccoli or even make it with chicken or bacon for the perfect main dish meal!  If I have had a busy day at work, coming home and throwing everything in the Instant pot and having dinner on the table quickly makes my evenings stress-free!

If I’m not serving it as a main, this Instant Pot macaroni and cheese is a perfect side with any dish (especially Crispy Baked Parmesan Chicken).

Mac and cheese makes a great potluck food too, so if you decide to bring it to a potluck there will likely be a few great salad options (and a lot of requests for the recipe for this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese)!

A heaping spoonful of Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese

When you are saving macaroni and cheese to have leftovers, the starches in the macaroni noodles will suck up some of the moisture in the dish. The longer your macaroni and cheese sits, the dryer it will become!

Some dishes (like Slow Cooker Chili) are better the next day but sadly this one isn’t one of them.  This dish is truly best enjoyed when it’s freshly made.

Of course it can be reheated but it’s not quite the same.  When you reheat Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, it’s a good idea to add a splash of milk or cream (about 1 tbs per cup of mac and cheese) while heating. In the microwave, just add it to the bowl and remember to stir everything together halfway through the reheating process.

A heaping bowl full of Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Regardless, once you try this Instant Pot Mac & Cheese recipe, it’s going to become a frequent side on your table!  Fresh ingredients made into a simple side!

4.89 from 17 votes
Review Recipe

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Pressure Preheat 10 minutes
Total Time 26 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Holly
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Instant pot mac and cheese takes all of the creamy goodness of homemade mac and cheese and turns it into a meal you can have on the table in under 30 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups dry macaroni noodles
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 oz cream cheese approx. 1/3 cup
  • 3/4 cup milk divided
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese

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Instructions

  1. Add dry macaroni noodles, water, onion powder, dry mustard, seasoning salt, pepper and butter to the instant pot.
  2. Set timer for 6 minutes on high pressure.
  3. Release pressure once completed, there will be water in the bottom – do not drain.
  4. Stir in the cream cheese to melt. Add the 1/4 cup milk slowly until blended.
  5. Stir in the cheddar and parmesan cheese. Add the remaining 1/2 cup milk until the desired consistency is reached. You may not need the entire amount of milk.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 327, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 54mg, Sodium: 375mg, Potassium: 155mg, Carbohydrates: 26g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 14g, Vitamin A: 11.9%, Calcium: 31.7%, Iron: 3.9%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Repin this Delicious Mac & Cheese Recipe

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese in a white bowl

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Holly

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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Comments

  1. Going to make this for a Thanksgiving side dish. I bought pre-shredded cheese, will it still work okay? Also, do i turn instant pot off after the noodles cook? I attempted to make a broccoli and cheese soup once and left the heat on and my cheese turned into chewing gum. It was terrible.

  2. The only thing I did differently was to use 1 cup of chicken broth (made with better than bullion) and 2 cups of water.  It was SO flavorful, creamy, and perfect!  

  3. This is a fantastic recipe! I followed it to a T! I cooked the pasta and seasoning for 6 minutes then quick released and immediately stirred in milk and cheeses! I did add real bacon bits in at the end because my family requested it. They all loved it! Mine turned out very creamy and DELICIOUS! If you are looking for mac and cheese that tastes like kraft, or boxed made with powder – this is not the recipe for you. It’s amazing out of the insta pot!! Much better and not dry like baked mac and cheeee. I will make this over and over again!!

        1. I have not tried doubling this recipe so I can’t say 100% for sure. While I do think it would work (as I think the pasta will cook fine) my only concern would be the amount of liquid. If you try it, I might suggest removing some of the liquid before you begin adding the cheese. You can add more liquid as needed to get the right consistency.

          Keep in mind, I have not tried it but I hope it works out for you, please let us know how it goes! (I do have a Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese that doubles well)

  4. My first IP recipe and I’m a little disappointed. As other have mentioned, flavor is lacking but that’s easily worked with. However, this wasn’t so much creamy (super bummed) but stringy. Anyone have any ideas why? I doubled the recipe and used mild cheddar to accommodate a picky eater.

    1. Was your cheese pre-shredded? Pre-shredded cheeses can sometimes have additives to keep them from sticking/clumping which can affect how they melt.

      Using a mild cheddar would affect the flavor (sharp cheddar has more flavor). Hope that helps!

  5. I have made this at least 5 times and every time it has turned out fantastic!! The last time I ended up using garlic and herb cream cheese as I didn’t have regular and what a great flavor!!

  6. So I followed this to a T but after about 10/15 minutes everything starts to separate and it’s not creamy at all… I tried adding more milk and reheating but it just keeps doing the same thing.. any ideas?

    1. This recipe should only take about 8 minutes total. You’ll set it for 6 min to cook, once cooked stir in the cheese and serve. I wouldn’t recommend leaving it on warm as it will continue to cook and become mushy.

  7. Sounds awesome. Has anyone ever made this recipe and then put in casserole dish with panko bread crumbs and baked?  I was going to make today for a birthday dinner I’m going to tonight. I’m a last minute Lulu but have heard the instant pot is perfect for gals (you know the procrastinator) like me. Thanks! 

  8. This is delicious ! I ended up doubling it and put more Parmesan than the recipe said and a little garlic powder and it turned out perfect! Same cooking time as your recipe but because I doubled the water as well it left a bit more then I thought it needed so I took maybe 1/4 cup of the water out at the end. Love this ! 

  9. Help!  I followed the directions as printed, but it came out EXTREMELY soupy.  I need to get this right because one of my children has a wheat allergy and is a lover of Mac and Cheese!  Are you supposed to use 3 cups of water using a regular measuring cup or 3 cups of the InstantPot measuring cup? 

    1. Hi Abby, yes, you use 3 (measuring) cups of water. Did you use any low fat or pre shredded cheeses? Did you mix it really well until it was fully incorporated? It is possible that it may seem a little soupy at first, but it should combine into a lovely creamy sauce. Hope that helps!

  10. I made this for lunch using stove top instead of instant pot. Oops. It worked out well and I really liked it. Next time I plan on adding chicken and a veggie. :)

  11. Do you do anything once you add the milk and cheese to get it creamy? Or just stir it up? Just want to make sure i dont need to set the instant pot to something after adding the cheese besides the keep warm

    1. Yes, you just stir in the order as in the instructions, and it makes super creamy cheesy sauce! Hard to believe, right? It’s easy Kristin, you’ll love it!

  12. Sorry but this recipe (for me and my kids) was not good at all. It was super creamy which was a good thing but had little to no flavour.  Made the recipe as instructed.  It looked so good but was super disappointed when i tasted it.  I think if I made it again I would not use the cream cheese.  It added a really weird flavour to the Mac and cheese.  Instead, I’d use about 8oz of velveeta cheese and probably leave the rest the same.  

    1. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this recipe Jon, we love it! Did you add the onion powder, dry mustard and seasoning salt?

  13. Do I need a pressure cooker for the Mac & cheese or can I cook it another way. I recipe looks pretty good but I don’t have a pressure cooker, always been nervous with them. Thank you!!

  14. This has the absolutely perfect creamy texture – amazing! One more Instant Pot recipe that will help us through our big move this summer when most of my kitchen is all packed up!

  15. I finally jumped on the instant pot bandwagon and have been searching for easy recipes to make the family. I love how simple this is to make and that it only takes 6 minutes. Can’t wait to try this mac and cheese next.

  16. This mac n cheese looks perfect! I can’t believe it was made in an Instant Pot! My kids (and my husband and me) love mac n cheese so this is definitely a keeper!

  17. Perfectly creamy looking and all that cheese! My family would seriously enjoy this and I love that it’s made in the instant pot!

  18. This mac and cheese looks absolutely dreamy (and creamy obvi)!  I’ve used my instant pot twice in the last 4 months.  I might have to unpack it again and give this a try.

  19. Hey Holly this looks like some hella creamy mac n’ cheese! I definitely have to get myself an instant pot and try this amazing recipe out! Well done!

  20. Wow! This looks so creamy and wonderful! I haven’t tried pasta in my instant pot yet (which I just got only a month or two ago) and am going to have to add this to my list!

  21. There’s nothing better than homemade mac n cheese right?! I’ve not tried making pasta in the Instant Pot yet. I’ll give this a try. I like that you use real cheese, milk and seasonings.

  22. This is the first recipe I want to make when I finally get my instant pot! So excited to try this delicious looking mac and cheese very soon!

  23. We made this as a side for dinner and it was divine! Four of us ate the entire batch because we couldn’t stop eating it. Thank you for this delicious recipe! A “go to” mac and cheese for sure. Easy and delish.

  24. This mac and cheese looks sooooo creamy! I’ve been on the fence about buying an instant pot, but this recipe has won me over; I need one so I can make this!