Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is a dream come true! Let your pressure cooker create perfectly cooked and creamy pasta that both kids and adults will love. Done in 20 minutes, this side OR main dish cooks absolutely perfectly every single time!
We love a good ol’ batch of boxed mac and cheese in our house, but I’ve been on a quest for years to create a version that far exceeds that easy meal. A few years ago I perfected a slow cooker mac and cheese recipe and I make this version OFTEN, especially on holidays. Recently I’ve become mildly obsessed with my Instant Pot and knew I had to create a perfect mac and cheese recipe made in its magical walls.
I cannot even tell you how perfectly cooked the pasta turns out and how cheesy and delicious this recipe is. In standard Instant Pot fashion, this mac and cheese recipe turns out perfectly every single time with total consistency. NO burned or clumpy pasta, no pre-cooking necessary and this pot of perfection is done in 20 minutes from start to finish. It’s a cheesy, comforting miracle!
HOW TO MAKE CREAMY MAC AND CHEESE IN AN INSTANT POT!
Follow these simple steps to make the most perfect mac and cheese your lips will ever taste!
Add 16 ounces of elbow macaroni, 3 1/2 cups of chicken broth and/or water, 1/4 cup of butter, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1 teaspoon of salt to the pressure cooker. Mix well.
Place the cover on the pot and set the timer to 5 minutes on high pressure (use the pressure cook setting). It will take the Instant Pot approximately 12 minutes to build up pressure before it begins cooking.
When cooking time is up, do an immediate quick release. Once you’ve released the pressure, remove the cover and stir. Add the Velveeta, cheddar, mozzarella and milk and stir until creamy. The milk and cheeses work together to create the most creamy, cheesy version of mac and cheese you’ll find! Serve immediately!
- Use water or broth (or a combination of the two), but for optimal flavor I recommend using fully salted broth. YUM!
- For a touch of spice (if that’s your thing!), add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
- For an extra splash of flavor, add 1 teaspoon of seasoned salt!
- Feel free to mix up the cheeses, not exceeding 4 cups and 3 different varieties total. Here are a few cheese options that have good flavor and also melt well: Mozzarella, cheddar, Velveeta (the loaf! the cheese loaf!), American, provolone, Gouda, Fontina, monterey jack, Gruyere and cream cheese.
- Add milk 1/4 cup at a time if the mixture is too dry.
- Just before serving, feel free to sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top for even MORE cheesiness!
- For a touch of sweetness, replace the Mozzarella cheese AND regular milk with a 12-ounce can of evaporated milk.
- This makes a large batch of mac and cheese! It will easily feed 8 hungry people as a main dish or 12 people as a side dish or party food. This is a great dish for pot lucks!
- Add cooked ham or bacon pieces to add flavor and when serving as a main dish.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper just before serving!
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder would be a great addition to the cheese sauce!
WHAT GOES WITH MAC AND CHEESE?
Everything! My personal favorites are steamed veggies such as broccoli or cauliflower. Chopped, spinach or Ceasar salads, too. Or how about roasted tomatoes or sauteed mushrooms?! YUM!
HOW MANY CALORIES IN MAC AND CHEESE?
There are approximately 380 calories in 3/4 cup of mac and cheese.
CAN YOU FREEZE MAC AND CHEESE?
You can definitely freeze mac n cheese! Place in a freezer resealable bag or air-tight container and store in the freezer for 3 to 4 months. When defrosting it, let it thaw in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours before heating.
HOW TO REHEAT MAC AND CHEESE
To reheat mac and cheese, pour it into a saucepan or microwave-safe bowl. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk and stir. Place the saucepan on a stove top over medium-low heat and stir until consistency is smooth and noodles are warmed through. If microwaving, heat in 1-minute bursts, stirring after each, until cheese has melted and the noodles are heated through.
MORE DELICIOUS MACARONI AND CHEESE RECIPES
If you are on a roll with mac and cheese, you have to check out these variations, as well!
- Cauliflower Mac and Cheese – Healthify Mac and Cheese by adding cauliflower! Kids won’t suspect a thing and you’ll secretly be adding nutrition to a favorite comfort food.
- My Crockpot Mac and Cheese recipe is one of my all-time favorite recipes to make for holiday meals because you can set it and forget it until dinner is ready to serve.
BEST RECIPE TO MAKE IN AN INSTANT POT
Don’t limit yourself to mac and cheese, guys. The list of recipes you can make in an Instant Pot is endless! It can act as a slow cooker, saute pan, steamer, rice maker, yogurt maker and pressure cooker. It can cook soup, chili, pasta, meat, potatoes, veggies, cake, beans and so much more. Here are just a few of my favorite Instant Pot recipes:
EASY COMFORT FOODS TO WARM YOU UP AND FILL YOU UP
- The Best Meatloaf – You need to make this classic meal. It is my mother’s delicious recipe with an added touch of delicious sauce. This dinner recipe will quickly become a favorite family meal!
- Easy Chicken Pot Pie Casserole – Creamy vegetables and chicken baked into a buttery crispy crust that is comfort food perfection especially during the fall and winter months.
- Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole – this dinner boasts flavor and creaminess over a bed of steaming egg noodles. This casserole is just like your mom’s recipe but so much more! This is a perfect hearty weeknight meal to put on the table.
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole – This is a delicious combination of the tastiest flavors you will ever eat in a single bite. Bacon, chicken, creamy alfredo sauce and pasta all make dinner a hit in less than 30 minutes!
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot
- 16 oz elbow macaroni
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth or water
- 1/4 cup salted butter cut into chunks
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 oz velveeta cut into chunks
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup milk
- Add the elbow macaroni, broth and/or water, butter, garlic powder and salt to the pot; mix well.
- Place the cover on the pot and set timer to 5 minutes on high pressure (pressure cook setting). It will take the IP around 12 minutes to build up pressure before it begins cooking.
- When cooking is done, do an immediate quick release.
- Remove cover and stir. Add the Velveeta, cheddar, mozzarella and milk and stir until creamy. Add more milk, if needed, and serve!