Instant Pot Mac and Cheese– creamy, cheesy, and comforting, this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe is cooked entirely in the Instant Pot and couldn’t be easier to make. Enjoy this delicious space-saving side dish for the holidays, as a last-minute dinner, or whenever you feel like channeling your inner-child with a big bowl of cheese-covered noodles.
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
A childhood staple and one of the most well-known comfort foods, Mac and Cheese is one of those feel-good favorites that never get old. There is no wrong way to prepare Mac and Cheese- but the Instant Pot? This was new…and I was skeptical. Wouldn’t the noodles get soggy?
Done right, you can have delicious, perfectly cooked, macaroni noodles cooked entirely in your Instant Pot. Perfect for entertaining, busy holidays or just crazy weeknight dinners, this simple Instant Pot Mac and Cheese will be loved by not only the kiddos but the grown-ups, too!
Ingredients in this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe
To make this super simple pressure cooker mac and cheese you really only need a few simple ingredients,
- Garlic powder
- Cream cheese
- Cheese (sharp cheddar, mozzarella cheese, parmesan)
Simple, easy, classic, the ingredients in this mac and cheese recipe are exactly what you would want in a homemade mac and cheese recipe.
You will notice that there is NO evaporated milk and NO Velveeta cheese in this recipe.
Equipment needed to Make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Yes, it’s true. You will need an Instant Pot (pressure cooker) to make this mac and cheese. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend purchasing one or borrowing one from a friend. The Instant Pot is super handy for cooking not only meat and stew but apparently, pasta as well. I own a 6 quart Instant Pot Ultra. The Instant Pot is super handy for the holidays and entertaining, too.
- Cheese grater
- Cutting board
How to cook Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot
To make this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese simply,
- Add the uncooked macaroni, water, butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the bowl of your Instant Pot. If you desire a little heat, add a few dashes of hot sauce.
- Place the lid on the pot and seal to close. My Instant Pot sings a little song when it’s sealed properly. Set to manual or pressure cooker mode, high pressure, for 5 minutes. The Instant Pot takes some time heat up and come to pressure, so if it’s your first time using the Instant Pot to make Mac and Cheese, or any recipe, don’t worry, you haven’t done anything wrong.
- After the 5 minutes has completed, do a quick release and remove the lid. The steam is HOT, so use a towel and keep your face away from the steam vent. Immediately stir the noodles to keep them from sticking.
- Stir in the cream cheese and milk until combined. Add the cheeses. Add additional milk if your mac and cheese is too thick. For best results, keep the Instant Pot on low, especially if you add cold milk to the noodles.
- Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and crumbled goat cheese.
What is the best cheese to use to make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese?
I am a firm believer that there is no wrong cheese in Mac and Cheese. But that doesn’t mean that I put all the cheese in this recipe. So what cheese did I add to this mac and cheese recipe?
- cream cheese
- sharp cheddar cheese.
- mozzarella cheese
- parmesan cheese
- goat cheese
Now, before you go out and buy a bag of pre-shredded cheddar or mozzarella, I highly encourage you to buy the block and shred it using a cheese grater. Why? When you purchase pre-shredded cheese they usually come coated with an anti-caking agent. In most recipes, this doesn’t make a big difference, but for mac and cheese, it can.
Plus, freshly grated always tastes better. Fact.
How to Reheat Mac and Cheese
Leftover Mac and Cheese never taste quite the same. The starches from the noodles absorb some of the moisture, resulting in a dryer less creamy pasta- even when warmed up. So, sadly, this is not a recipe I recommend preparing a bulk to enjoy throughout the week.
Of course, just because this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese may not be exactly the same warmed up the next day, that’s not to say it’s not delicious (just ask my 4 year old!)
When reheating Mac and Cheese, or any creamy, cheesy, pasta recipe, add 2-3 teaspoons of milk to the noodles (per 1 cup) and reheat in the microwave, stirring halfway through cooking.
What to Serve with Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
This easy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe is cheesy, creamy, and totally delicious. That said, it could use some vegetables or protein if you’re into those kinds of things. I love to serve this recipe with a fresh Balsamic Tomato Salad or easy Spinach Salad. If salad isn’t your thing, there’s always room for Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Asparagus, or yummy cooked Beets (which happen to be my personal favorite).
If you’re looking for more protein you can always serve a bowl with,
- Garlic Butter Steak Bites (reader favorite!)
- Roast Chicken Recipe
- Easy Baked Chicken Breasts (taste great with everything!)
- Garlic Herb Lamb Chops (delicious alternative to beef or chicken)
- Garlic Butter Pork Chops
- Lemon Pepper Chicken Tenders
More pasta recipes,
- Angel Hair Pasta Recipe with Chicken
- Loaded Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad
- Creamy Sausage Pasta with Kale and Burrata
- Spring Pea Pasta with Prosciutto and Burrata Cheese
- Tequila Lime Pasta with Chicken
If you try cooking this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 4.5 cups water
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp hot sauce - optional
- 3 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup warm milk - plus more as needed
- 1 cup sharp cheddar - shredded
- 1 cup mozzarella - shredded
- 1/2 cup parmesan - shredded
- Fresh chopped parsley - to garnish
- Crumbled Goat Cheese - for serving, optional
- Add the uncooked macaroni, water, butter, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and hot sauce (if desired) to the Instant Pot.
- Place the lid on the pot and seal. Cook on MANUAL or PRESSURE COOKER function, high pressure for 5 minutes.
- After the 5 minutes, do a quick release and remove the lid when the pin drops. Immediately stir the noodles.
- Stir in the cream cheese and milk until combined, followed by the cheeses. Add additional milk or water, if needed.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and crumbled goat cheese, if desired. Enjoy!
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)