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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

 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.

A spoon full of Instant Pot mac and cheese being lifted out of a white dish in a white kitchen

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

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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.

A spoon full of Instant Pot mac and cheese being lifted out of a white dish in a white kitchen

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

The Best, Creamiest Macaroni and Cheese Ever!

A white bowl full of creamy macaroni and cheese that was made in the pressure cooker.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

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

Ingredients for Instant Pot Mac and Cheese are macaroni, heavy cream, water, butter, spices, garlic, cheese and hot sauce. They are shown in glass bowls in a white kitchen.

Ingredients for Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

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.

That’s it!

How to Make

A spoon full of Instant Pot mac and cheese being lifted out of a white dish in a white kitchen

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

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:

  1. Add everything but the cheese to the Instant Pot.
    Heavy cream, water, spices and macaroni in an Instant Pot

    Add everything but the cheese to Instant Pot. Make sure to add the cream last.

    Add the noodles, water, butter, spices, hot sauce and heavy cream to the inner liner of the Instant Pot. Do not stir.

  2. Pressure cook.
    Pressure cooked heavy cream, water and macaroni in the inner liner of an Instant Pot

    It doesn’t look super yummy when it is done pressure cooking, but hang in there! It looks delish after a stir!

    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.

  3. Stir in the cheese.
    Cooked macaroni in an Instant Pot

    The pasta after you stir- starting to look good!

    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!

    Macaroni and cheese in the inner liner of an Instant Pot with a wood spoon

    That’s more like it! After you stir in the cheese!

     

Pretty easy! Dinner is ready in under 30 minutes.

Storing Leftovers

A white bowl full of creamy macaroni and cheese that was made in the pressure cooker.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

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

A white bowl and a white plate full of creamy macaroni and cheese that was made in the pressure cooker.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

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

A white bowl and a white plate full of creamy macaroni and cheese that was made in the pressure cooker.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

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:

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!

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A spoon full of Instant Pot mac and cheese being lifted out of a white dish in a white kitchen

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese


  • Author: jfletcher
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 minutes plus time to come to pressure
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4-8 servings 1x

Description

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.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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

Instructions

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!

Notes

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

Recipe rating

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