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In this post: This Instant Pot® Mac and Cheese Recipe really is the best because it is so easy and quick, so creamy, so delicious, and no one will guess it was made in the pressure cooker. You can make it in a single pot!
Mac and cheese is a favorite recipe of children and adults alike! Perhaps, for us adults, mac and cheese is so well-loved because it’s so easy to make. If you agree, I’ve got good news! Making mac and cheese has never been easier than when you make it in your Instant Pot®! Learn how with step-by-step instructions below.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
This Instant Pot® mac and cheese recipe:
- is quick and easy to make
- doesn’t require hard-to-find ingredients
- is totally adaptable to any dietary restrictions or allergies (see below for ideas)
Why Use The Instant Pot® For Mac and Cheese?
Mac and cheese is definitely a common favorite comfort food! And using an Instant Pot® to make mac and cheese is so much easier and faster than making it on the stovetop. Nothing is creamier, richer, or more delicious than this Instant Pot® mac and cheese recipe.
Tools for Instant Pot® Mac and Cheese
These are my top ten favorite Instant Pot® accessories that will make cooking easier:
Instant Pot® Mac and Cheese Ingredients
- Elbow noodles: you can use any noodles you want, these are just my personal favorite!
- Water: used to cook the noodles.
- Evaporated milk: adds creaminess to the mac and cheese.
- Butter: contributes to this recipe’s creaminess and rich flavor.
- Shredded sharp cheddar cheese: aged cheddar that tastes strong and pungent.
- Shredded mozzarella cheese: a classic and delicious cheese for mac and cheese.
- Shredded fontina cheese: rich, creamy, and pungent, fontina adds incredible flavor and texture to this recipe.
- Ground mustard: an easy way to add tangy mustard flavor to rich foods like meat, cheese, and butter.
- Paprika: a mild and sweet spice.
- Garlic powder: an easy way to add delicious garlic flavor to any dish.
- Salt: a classic seasoning that brings out the other flavors in a recipe.
- Black pepper: has a smokey and spicy flavor.
How To Make Instant Pot® Mac and Cheese
- Place the elbow noodles and water into the Instant Pot® liner.
- Stir the pasta and then lock the lid into position.
- Set the vent to sealing and turn the Instant Pot® on ‘manual’ for 4 minutes.
- Once the Instant Pot® timer beeps, release the pressure and remove the lid.
- If there is water left, you can strain it carefully.
- Stir the evaporated milk and butter into the pasta.
- Slowly stir in all the shredded cheese until it melts.
- Add your seasonings and stir.
- Serve immediately in your favorite bowl!
- Hot dogs: go back to your childhood and add some cut-up, cooked hot dogs to your finished mac and cheese!
- Bacon: another wonderful way to add protein and flavor is by adding bacon.
- Veggies: add broccoli, peas, butternut squash, or any other veggies you like!
- Spices: try chili flakes, smoked paprika, onion powder, or cayenne pepper.
- Cheese: substitute in different kinds of cheese like Monterey jack, parmesan, gruyere, and gouda.
- Toppings: try green onions, parsley, hot sauce, bread crumbs, or anything else you want!
Instant Pot® Mac and Cheese Recipe Tips
- Shred your own cheese! Pre-shredded cheese has an anticaking starch in it to prevent the shreds from sticking together in the package. But this starch also prevents the cheese from melting as it should.
- Make sure you add enough seasonings, it really makes a difference!
- Use 2 or more different kinds of cheeses to add variety.
How to Reheat Mac and Cheese
Instant Pot® mac and cheese is best when freshly cooked. However, if you choose to store it, do so in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Stir some extra liquid (water, milk, chicken broth, etc.) into the mac and cheese before heating it up on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Instant Pot® Mac and Cheese: Frequently Asked Questions
What size Instant Pot® do I need to make this recipe?
You could use a 6-quart or an 8-quart (which would hold a double batch too!).
Can I use something other than elbow macaroni?
Absolutely! You can make smaller noodles like shells, spirals, etc. for the same amount of time as elbows. But if you want to use a larger noodle, like penne, you may need to add a bit of cooking time.
Can I use condensed milk?
No, if you don’t have evaporated milk try using 1% or 2% not condensed milk.
Can I use different cheese?
A portion of the cheese should remain cheddar cheese, but other than that I encourage you to vary the rest of the cheese for a more unique flavor.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
You can, but it won’t be nearly as delicious as it is when it’s fresh! The pasta will get dry in the fridge and the cheese sauce will lose its creamy texture. If you want to store/reheat this recipe, you’ll need to add extra milk to restore the consistency.
Can I double the recipe for my 8-quart Instant Pot®?
Yes, you can! Keep in mind that the cooking time will remain the same but the 8-quart pot will take longer to come up to pressure than the 6-quart pot.
Can you make gluten-free Instant Pot® mac and cheese?
Gluten-free pasta doesn’t really hold up in the Instant Pot®. It turns to mush. But if you don’t mind slightly mushy pasta that falls apart on your fork then go ahead and substitute in that gluten-free pasta!
Can you freeze this?
I haven’t tried freezing this recipe but I don’t see why you can’t try it! Freezing instead of refrigerating this mac and cheese will help seal in some moisture so the pasta doesn’t completely dry out. However, I’m sure this recipe still tastes significantly better when freshly cooked!
Can you reheat mac and cheese in an Instant Pot®?
Absolutely! Add a cup of water to the leftovers in the pot insert, set the vent to sealing, and press the steam function for 3-5 minutes.
Comfort Food Recipes You’ll Love
Delicious savory comfort food recipes:
- Sweet Potato Nachos
- Homemade Hamburger Helper
- Vegan Lasagne
- Mashed Potatoes from Scratch
- Canadian Poutine
Comfort foods for your sweet tooth:
- Gluten-Free Banana Bread
- Apple Cinnamon Muffins
- Oven S’mores
- Peanut Butter Cookies
- The Best Apple Crisp
- 16 oz elbow noodles
- 4 cups water
- 12 oz evaporated milk
- 2 tbsp butter
- 16 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
- 8 oz shredded fontina cheese
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- Place elbow noodles and water into the Instant Pot® liner.
- Stir and lock the lid into position.
- Set the vent to sealing and press 'manual' for 4 minutes.
- Once the Instant Pot® timer beeps, release pressure and remove the lid.
- If there is water left, you can strain it carefully.
- Stir in evaporated milk and butter until melted.
- Slowly stir in shredded cheese until melted.
- Add seasonings and stir.
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 635Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 901mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 35g
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily via Nutrifox.