Instant Pot mac and cheese creates the creamiest, dreamiest pasta ever – right in your pressure cooker. This classic mac and cheese recipe will become a family favorite that you’ll make over and over again. Perfect for dinner or a side dish.
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Mac and cheese is one of the most perfect foods I can imagine. Noodles. Cheese. It’s the ultimate in comfort food. What’s not to love? Plus, it’s one of the few foods my extremely picky daughter will eat. Sometimes. If the stars align and Mercury is in retrograde.
Kidding! This is one thing she will eat and it makes me feel like I am not failing as a mom because I am imparting on her an all important deep seated love of cheese and carbs. My job here is done.
The Best, Creamiest Macaroni and Cheese Ever!
I’ve updated this recipe based on my Instant Pot fettuccine Alfredo recipe. That pasta dish is so delicious that I never make it any other way. While this recipe was delicious when I first created it, it’s even better now.
So what’s changed? A few things:
- Instead of broth this recipe now calls for water so you get a better cheesy taste.
- Rather than adding half and half or milk after you pressure cook the macaroni, we are now cooking it right in a mixture of heavy cream and water. The result is a creamier, richer mac and cheese that is so indulgent and delicious.
- The cheese! To make the dish less stringy but extra creamy, I took away the shredded Italian cheese blend and replaced it with easy to melt Gouda.
Mac and Cheese Ingredients
To make this Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe you need some pretty basic ingredients. To make this macaroni and cheese you need:
- Elbow macaroni. You can use another small noodle like rotini or orichette but don’t use anything bigger than that.
- Water. Could you use broth? Sure. But I felt like the broth made it to taste a bit like cup o noodle soup. And with my update recipe, I tested it with water, chicken broth and vegetable broth and found water tasted the best.
- Butter. Butter provides the extra richness.
- Spices. This recipe uses a blend of spices that includes smoked paprika, mustard powder, and garlic.
- Hot sauce. Totally optional of course, but I highly recommend it. It doesn’t add heat but another level of flavor.
- Shredded cheddar cheese. What is mac and cheese without cheddar cheese?
- Shredded Gouda. Gouda melts so nicely and gives you that creamy mac without t.
- Heavy cream. Heavy cream makes a delicious rich sauce and bonus you can put it in your pressure cooker.
How to Make
This Instant Pot macaroni and cheese is so easy to make! It’s the perfect recipe for Instant Pot beginners and one of the first recipes I mastered when I got my Instant Pot. This recipe is pretty much a dump and go recipe.
To make it:
- Add everything but the cheese to the Instant Pot.
Add the noodles, water, butter, spices, hot sauce and heavy cream to the inner liner of the Instant Pot. Do not stir.
- Pressure cook.
Put the lid on the pot and make sure the the valve is set to sealing. Set the pot to Manual for 6 minutes. When the pot beeps, do a quick release.
- Stir in the cheese.
After the pot is done releasing, remove the lid. The pasta may look kind of runny at the moment but that’s ok! It will thicken as you add the cheese. Stir in the cheese. The pasta will thicken quickly. Serve and enjoy!
Pretty easy! Dinner is ready in under 30 minutes.
This macaroni and cheese makes 4 good sized dinner servings. I always get two nights of dinner and sometimes a lunch out of one batch for my family of 4. I like to keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. They last about 3 days and reheat well in the microwave.
What to Serve with It
This mac and cheese recipe is a meal on it’s own. I like it to serve it with a vegetable on the side like these Brussels Sprouts. It’s also fantastic with cornbread and a salad.
This Instant Pot macaroni and cheese would also be a fantastic vegetarian recipe to make during the holidays. Then you could serve it as one of your sides to a garlic herb turkey breast along with this twice baked potato casserole and classic stuffing.
Other Mac and Cheese Recipes
This Instant Pot mac and cheese is definitely one of my favorite ways to make a classic homemade macaroni and cheese. If you are looking for some variations on macaroni and cheese these are some of my favorites:
- Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese with Pancetta and Peas for a perfect fall pasta dish
- Beer Mac and Cheese for a skillet macaroni and cheese with an absolutely luscious beer cheese sauce
Made this macaroni and cheese recipe or one of my other recipes? Leave me a comment below or tag me on Instagram @seasonedsprinkles. I love seeing you make my recipes!Print
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 6 minutes plus time to come to pressure
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4-8 servings 1x
Instant Pot mac and cheese creates the creamiest, dreamiest macaroni and cheese ever – right in your pressure cooker. This classic mac and cheese recipe will become a family favorite that you’ll make over and over again. Perfect for dinner or a side dish.
- 16 ounces of uncooked elbow macaroni
- 2.5 cups water
- 1.5 cups of heavy cream
- 2 tbs butter
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cups of shredded Gouda
Add the noodles, water, heavy cream, butter, spices, and hot sauce to the inner liner of the Instant Pot. Put the lid on the pot and make sure the the valve is set to sealing. Set the pot to Manual for 6 minutes. When the pot beeps, do a quick release. After the pot is done releasing, remove the lid and give the noodles a good stir. Then stir in the cheese. Stir as you go so the cheese melts. Serve!
The noodles may look kind of runny at first. The sauce will thicken up as you stir and add cheese and taste delicious.
Omit the hot sauce if desired.
Add a pinch of salt and pepper at the end to your taste.
- Category: Dinner, side, vegetarian
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: macaroni and cheese, mac and cheese, Instant Pot mac and cheese
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