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 in a white bowl with a fork

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 full of Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

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)!

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.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese in a white bowl

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

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese in a white bowl with a fork
4.85 from 177 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 Nilsson
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!

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups dry macaroni noodles
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon seasoning salt or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 ounces cream cheese approx. ⅓ cup
  • ¾ cup milk divided
  • 2 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese shredded

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Instructions

  • Add dry macaroni noodles, water, onion powder, dry mustard, seasoning salt, pepper and butter to the instant pot.
  • Set timer for 6 minutes on high pressure.
  • Release pressure once completed, there will be water in the bottom – do not drain.
  • Stir in the cream cheese to melt. Add the 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

Calories: 327, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 54mg, Sodium: 375mg, Potassium: 155mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 595IU, Calcium: 317mg, Iron: 0.7mg

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

Keyword Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

Repin this Delicious Mac & Cheese Recipe

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese in a white bowl with a fork and a title

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About the author

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!

More Posts by Holly

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Comments

  1. I made this and added a bit of finely shredded Mexican taco cheese, about 1/2 cup. This recipe is simple and delicious, with it without the addition. This is a keeper!5 stars

  2. Nice did this as a quick for my son I only did a mac and cheese with velveeta put on steam vegetables 4 minutes was so yummy no I can make Mac and cheese fast noodles were just right my son the picky eater was like no cheese I said no yes cheese it’s funny how kids are picky eater but will eat mac and cheese any way they can5 stars

  3. I just got my 5 qt InstantPot last year, and this recipe has been my favorite so far! I have a question about recipe doubling – could I double this recipe in my 5 qt Instantpot?5 stars

    1. Hi Lora, we use a 6 qt instant pot for this recipe so doubling the recipe may be too much in volume for this size of instant pot. If you do attempt it please let us know how it turns out!

  4. I cook mac and cheese all the time. The Instant pot is wonderful but new to me. I needed a little help. This was the best, easiest and most tasty mac and cheese I have ever cooked in my life. I don’t use cream cheese because I didn’t have anybody, but I usually put sour cream in mine. It worked perfectly. Will make it again next month.5 stars

  5. Very good and easy. Followed the recipe exactly except Ilike my Mac n cheese a little crunchy on top so I put it under the broiler for a few minutes…delicious!4 stars

  6. I’m new to the instant pot world……….only had mine for about a month but I am enjoying trying out new recipies. Everything has turned out great so far. I am lovin’ it. I made this mac and cheese for lunch today and it was delicious……….a great recipe. Thank you so much.
    I will add that I have Celiac Disease I so used gluten free macaroni…….cooked for 6 minutes just like the recipe called for. You’d never know it was gluten free. Perfect! Not mushy at all.
    Thanks again for a good recipe.5 stars

      1. Oh no, sorry to hear this recipe didn’t turn out as expected, Bogie! This recipe always turns out great for us, I am not sure what happened.

  7. Made this recipe for my family as my first ever Instant pot dish. Followed all the ingredients and instructions. Allowed the macaroni to sit on natural release for an extra 3 minutes before I switched it to vent. I used a sharp cheddar block cheese and shredded it myself (per your suggestion in a comment) which helped the consistency and I used a 1/2 cup of milk total and added slowly which kept it creamy. It was perfect. I have super picky kids and all 5 enjoyed this recipe. Thank you so much for a super easy and great dish 5 stars

  8. Safe for those who like bland. Good for kids. Sophisticated adults with an educated palate? Not worth the calories.2 stars

    1. Wow. Are you sure you haven’t lost your sense of taste or smell? This is THE most delicious mac – the gruyere seals the deal. I’ve been making this recipe for years, my friends and co-workers ask for the recipe constantly and I was asked to make it by family for BOTH Christmas gatherings this year. Ms. Spend With Pennies, let me assure you, this is the BOMB!!5 stars

  9. This came out perfect and was a big hit for my picky kids. I followed recipe except used big shell pasta and then added in a 1/2 can of peas and chopped ham at the end. Sooo good!!5 stars