You’ve stumbled on THE BEST Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe! It’s super creamy, deliciously cheesy, and ready in minutes thanks to your pressure cooker!
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Why Make Mac and Cheese in an Instant Pot
Mac and cheese isn’t exactly difficult to make on the stovetop, but the Instant Pot gets the job done lickety-split. Here’s what makes this recipe one of my go-to weeknight dinners:
- It’s faster than the traditional method, cooking in just 5 minutes. (No, that’s not a typo!)
- You don’t need separate pots for the pasta and the sauce. It’s all cooked together in the Instant Pot!
- But, most important of all, it’s rich, creamy, and everything you love about mac and cheese. Just quicker!
If you love our mac and cheese recipes, be sure to try this easy shells and cheese dish. Enjoy as a side, or add some ground beef for a main dish you won’t regret!
Important Ingredient Notes
- Elbow Macaroni – Different shapes of pasta will require different cooking times, so I recommend sticking with elbows.
- Chicken Broth – Feel free to substitute vegetable broth to make this Instant Pot mac and cheese vegetarian.
- Dry Mustard – Dry mustard has two purposes in mac and cheese: it emulsifies the sauce and keeps it from breaking and its acidity cuts through some of the richness. Even if you’re not a fan of mustard on your hot dogs, you do want dry mustard in your mac and cheese!
- Whole Milk – For a rich sauce, use whole milk.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese – Shred it with a box grater, food processor, or stand mixer attachment.
- Butter – If you use salted butter, add a little less kosher salt to the recipe.
- Nutmeg – Nutmeg adds that little somethin’-somethin’ to this creamy Instant Pot mac and cheese.
How to Make Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot
Cook the Pasta:
- Stir together the uncooked macaroni, water, broth, dry mustard, salt, and pepper in the Instant Pot.
- Close and lock the lid, then turn the valve on top to “sealing.” Press “manual” or “pressure cook” and adjust to high pressure. Set the time for 5 minutes and start cooking.
- Once the time is up, use the quick release immediately. Open the Instant Pot away from your face.
- Use a wooden spoon to stir the pasta and break up any clumps.
Add the Remaining Ingredients:
- Stir in the milk, cheese, butter, and nutmeg until a smooth, creamy sauce forms and all the cheese has melted.
- Season to taste and serve.
Side Dishes for any Meal
While mac and cheese is a great side dish. I’ve got a few other classic recipes that you may enjoy! No holiday is complete without them!
- This Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole recipe is true comfort food. Made with frozen hash browns and plenty of cheese, I can guarantee your family is going to enjoy this one!
- In my family, this Sweet Potato Casserole recipe is one that’s served up sweet and salty with a delicious, crunchy streusel topping!
- Oven Baked Mashed Potatoes are creamy, delicious, and easy to assemble ahead of time. But, don’t tell anyone, I’ve got the secret on how to make them with instant potatoes!
I recommend avoiding pre-shredded cheese because it has an additive that prevents it from clumping in the bag—and this additive makes the cheese melt less smoothly. Also avoid cheeses that are dry and crumbly, like certain aged cheddars.
Yes, pasta is very easy to overcook in an Instant Pot. When you’re making Instant Pot mac and cheese or any other pasta recipe in an Instant Pot, it’s important to use the exact shape called for in the ingredient list to prevent over- or under-cooking.
The pasta will stick together, but you can loosen it right up by giving it a good stir after the cooking time is done.
More Instant Pot recipes
- Chicken Alfredo
- Instant Pot Bourbon chicken
- Instant Pot Broccoli Soup
- Instant Pot French Dip
- Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers
- Instant Pot Spaghetti
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup whole milk
- 16 oz sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- Add the uncooked macaroni pasta, water, chicken broth, dry mustard, and salt and pepper to the Instant Pot. Close and lock lid and turn the valve on top to “sealing.” Press “manual” or “pressure cook” and adjust to high pressure. Set the time for 5 minutes. Allow to start.
- Once the time is up, use the quick release immediately. Open the instant pot away from your face (learned the hard way). Using a wooden spoon, stir the pasta to break it up a little bit.
- Add in milk, cheese, butter, and nutmeg. Stir until completely melted (takes about a minute). Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Serve and enjoy.
- You’ll need 4 cups of water for this recipe. I prefer to either use ALL chicken broth, or at least half chicken broth for best flavor! It really does make a difference. You could also use vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian.
- Don’t skimp on the salt and pepper. I give a general amount in the ingredient list, but add more if desired. It really brings out the flavor.
- Use good cheese. For the photos I used basic store brand cheddar cheese. But using a Cabot Cheddar would make this even more flavorful!
- Also, for the cheese, shred your own, don’t use the already packaged, shredded cheese. It doesn’t melt as smoothly as it would if you buy a block and shred it yourself. Trust me.
- For more depth of flavor, add a variety of cheese to the recipe. A combo of gouda and cheddar is delicious, or even mozzarella and cheddar is good too! Experiment!
- You’ll find a lot of recipes for Instant Pot Mac and Cheese call for both evaporated milk and Parmesan cheese. Personally I’m not a fan of either in this recipe. I find it is much creamier with real milk (I used whole milk) and the Parmesan left a slightly grainy texture. I wasn’t a fan.
- See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks.