Craving some classic comfort food? Try making Instant Pot Mac and Cheese! This dish is simple to make and can be ready in no time using your pressure cooker. Whether you are looking for a side dish for your next meal or an easy snack, this mac and cheese will hit the spot!
Can you make mac and cheese in the Instant Pot? Yes, this classic dish can be made right in your pressure cooker in just a few easy steps!
Mac and cheese is a dish typically made with elbow macaroni noodles and a cheese sauce. This dish is popular among both kids and adults and can be served as a main course or a side dish.
While it's usually made on the stovetop in two pots, one for the pasta and one for the cheese, cooking it in a pressure cooker allows you to only use one pot which saves you lots of time!
This comes in handy when you're short on time or want to make a quick and easy meal that is comforting and satisfying. And, the best instant pot mac and cheese can be served with just about everything!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- No need to babysit! The pressure cooker will cook the pasta while you wait to make it a mostly hands-off dish.
- Pressure cooker mac and cheese is easily customizable and can be made with your favorite cheeses and seasonings.
- It can be served as a side dish or as a main meal with added protein.
- You'll be hard-pressed to find anyone that doesn't enjoy the comfort food classic of mac and cheese. And, this pressure cooker version is sure to be a hit!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Elbow Macaroni - This classic pasta is used in most mac and cheese dishes because it's versatile and soaks up the cheese sauce well.
- Cooking Liquid - A mix of chicken broth and water is used to help create the sauce and to cook the pasta.
- Dried Seasonings - A mix of dried paprika, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper are used to season this side dish properly and can be adjusted as needed.
- Unsalted Butter - Adds a rich buttery flavor to the sauce along with a smooth consistency.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese - Gives this mac and cheese a bright orange color and a salty sharpness that's creamy and delicious.
- Monterey Jack Cheese - Compliments the cheddar by adding a smoothness and creaminess to the sauce.
- Whole Milk - Helps to create a rich and creamy sauce without thinning out any of the cheesy flavors.
How To Make Mac and Cheese In The Instant Pot
Add pasta, liquid, and seasonings: Add macaroni, chicken broth, water, salt, garlic, onion powder, paprika, and black pepper to the Instant Pot. Mix until well combined.
Pressure cook the pasta: Place the lid on Instant Pot and set the valve to sealing. Select pressure cook high, manual pressure. Set the timer to 5 minutes.
Release pressure: When the macaroni is finished cooking, use the quick pressure release method, turn off the Instant Pot and open the valve to release pressure. Wait until the valve drops, and carefully remove the lid.
Add the cheese sauce: Immediately stir butter and both kinds of cheese into the hot macaroni. Continue stirring until the cheeses have completely melted. Then, slowly stir in the milk until well combined.
Taste, adjust, and enjoy: Give the pasta a taste, and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Serve hot and enjoy!
- If the pasta is not cooked through after pressure cooking, pressure cook again for an additional minute.
- It's important to make sure the valve is set to sealing before pressure cooking. Otherwise, the pressure will not build up and the pasta will not cook properly.
- If you don't have chicken broth, you can use water or vegetable broth instead. You may need to adjust the salt if you're using just water.
- When adding the milk, start with half and then add more if needed. You don't want to thin out the sauce too much.
- If you want a creamier sauce, you can use half and half or heavy cream in place of milk.
- For a cheesy crust on top, transfer to an oven-safe casserole dish, sprinkle some shredded cheese on top, and broil for a minute or two.
- Add a kick of heat by adding some cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, or hot sauce to the sauce.
- If you want a heartier dish, add cooked bacon, sausage, ground beef, chicken, or shrimp.
- Vegetables such as broccoli, peas, and carrots can be added as well for more fiber and nutrients.
- Butternut squash puree can be used in place of milk for a fall twist.
- For a lighter version, use skim milk and low-fat cheeses. You can also substitute some of the cheese for cottage cheese or cream cheese.
- Try other types of pasta including shells, rotini, or penne.
Storing: Cooled leftover mac and cheese can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
Freezing: Freeze cooled mac and cheese in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to three months. When ready to eat, thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stove over low heat until warm. You may need to add a little milk or water to thin out the sauce as it will thicken when frozen.
Reheating: Leftover mac and cheese can be reheated on the stove over low heat until warm, or in the microwave in 30-second increments. You may need to add a little milk or water to thin out the sauce as it can thicken once refrigerated or frozen.
Yes, you can put cheese in the Instant Pot. Just make sure to add it after pressure cooking so it doesn't get overcooked.
The pasta is done when it's soft and cooked through. You can test this by taking a piece of pasta out and tasting it.
If the pasta is still hard after pressure cooking, it means the pressure didn't build up enough or there wasn't enough liquid. Make sure the valve is set to sealing before pressure cooking. If it's not, the pressure will not build up and the pasta will not cook properly.
More Crock Pot Side Dish Recipes
- Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese
- Easy, NO Foil Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Cheesy Ranch Potatoes (With Bacon)
- Easy, Cheesy Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes
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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- 1 (16 oz ) box elbow macaroni
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (freshly grated)
- 1 cup Monterey jack cheese
- 1 cup milk
- Add macaroni, chicken broth, water, salt, garlic, onion powder, paprika, and black pepper to the Instant Pot. Mix until well combined.
- Place the lid on Instant Pot and set the valve to sealing. Select pressure cook high, high pressure. Set a time to cook for 5 minutes.
- When the macaroni is finished cooking, use the quick pressure release method, turn off the Instant Pot and open the valve to release pressure. Wait until the valve drops, and carefully remove the lid.
- Immediately stir butter and both kinds of cheese into the hot macaroni. Continue stirring until the cheeses have completely melted.
- Then, slowly stir in the milk until well combined.
- Serve while hot and enjoy!