Super creamy and cheese Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is done in under 20 minutes. It’s a comforting family-favorite recipe that definitely satisfies the craving for macaroni and cheese. Watch the video and you’ll see how easy it is to whip up a batch of Mac and Cheese that is so much better than the store-bought boxed varieties.
We love comforting pasta dishes, from Cajun Chicken Pasta to Creamy Shrimp Pasta. If you enjoy quick and easy family-friendly recipes, this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe is a must-try!
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Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
My kids visited my friend Jen’s house for a playdate and she made them this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese. My kids loved it so much that they requested the recipe. I was so intrigued when they brought it home because I’ve always cooked Stovetop Mac and Cheese or the Baked Mac and Cheese found in Natasha’s Kitchen Cookbook.
This recipe was love at first bite. I couldn’t believe how easy this was – a perfectly creamy Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot. It’s an excellent recipe to have on hand for busy weeknights and playdates of course! Thank you Jen for this wonderful discovery. We have loved Instant Pot Mac and Cheese ever since.
Instant Pot Mac & Cheese Video
Watch Natasha make this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese. You will be surprised at how easy it is. We will never stop loving this recipe. Now go forth and prepare your pressure cookers!
The instant pot is amazing at speeding up recipes and the perfect examples of this are Instant Pot Beets and Instant Pot Baked Potatoes. Making Mac and Cheese in the instant pot is brilliant and here’s why you will love this recipe:
- One pot – it all comes together in one pot (no need to pre-cook the pasta!) so there are fewer dishes to wash and less mess.
- Quick – This recipe cooks in just 4 minutes on high pressure so with the time it takes for the instant pot to come to pressure, it’s on the table in about 20 minutes!
- So creamy – it’s cheesy, gooey, and everything you want in a mac and cheese recipe.
- Good ingredients – this recipe doesn’t rely on fillers, preservatives, or highly processed products like Velveeta. It’s delicious without those things and we feel good about serving mac and cheese with real cheese and high-quality ingredients to our family.
This homemade mac and cheese calls for simple pantry and refrigerator staples that you may already have on hand. Make sure you use the right proportions of water, pasta, and milk so your pasta doesn’t end up dry. Find the exact measurements in the print-friendly recipe below.
- Water – necessary for the pasta to cook through properly. Use filtered water that is cold or at room temperature.
- Seasonings – salt, ground mustard, paprika, and garlic powder complement the cheese sauce and add layers of flavor. The paprika also adds a bit of color to the sauce.
- Evaporated milk – this is more concentrated than regular milk which helps create a rich and creamy sauce with more flavor.
- Mild Cheddar Cheese – mild cheese adds great cheesy flavor without being overpowering.
- Monterey Jack Cheese – we add a secondary cheese for more flavor and a gooey cheesy consistency. See substitution options in the “Common Questions” section below.
Pro Tip: If you want to substitute the elbow macaroni, make sure you pick pasta that holds onto the cheese sauce nicely. Some great options include shells, fusilli, and Cavatappi pasta.
How to Make Macaroni and Cheese in Instant Pot
- In a 6-Qt Instant Pot – add water, pasta, and seasonings. Stir together and top with a pat of butter.
- Cover with the lid and (following the manufactures instructions for your machine), set the pot to cook on manual high pressure for 4 minutes.
- Release Pressure – after the cooking cycle is complete, do a quick pressure release (I wear an oven mitt when I flip the valve and release pressure). Once the pressure indicator shows that it’s safe to open, carefully unlock and remove the lid.
- Add Evaporated milk – stir in the evaporated milk all at once.
- Add cheese – add 1 cup of cheese at a time, blending with each addition. Serve right away.
Pro Tip: Always follow the manufactures guide for locking the lid and proper use instructions. Because this is a starchy food (and some pasta brands are more likely to sputter), this has the potential to sputter when releasing the steam. When releasing pressure, use an oven mitt for safety and you might have a paper towel handy to cover and sputtering.
The classic choice for mac and cheese is elbow macaroni. You can use any brand, even gluten-free elbows.
Instant pots have a max fill line and for starchy recipes, it’s recommended to only fill the instant pot halfway to give you extra headroom in order to keep foam away from the pressure valve. For this reason, I would not recommend doubling the recipe but it’s easy enough that you can make a second batch after the first.
Evaporated milk will yield better results, but you can substitute it with whole milk instead.
You definitely have options when it comes to cheese. You can use all cheddar cheese, but we like to use 2 cups of mild cheddar cheese for the color and flavor and combine it with a secondary cheese or even multiple varieties of cheese. It’s best to use cheese that melts well such as:
- Monterey Jack cheese
- Mozzarella (this one is extra gooey)
- Gouda cheese
- Swiss cheese
Mac and cheese is one of those few side dishes that become the star of the show. Pair it with any of the following options:
Mac and Cheese is generally best served hot and fresh when it is at its peak of creaminess. If you have leftovers, here are our tips for storing and reheating:
- Storing – once it has cooled to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Reheating – Add a serving portion to a bowl, sprinkle on some water, and microwave just until heated through then stir to combine. The little bit of water will make it creamy again without drying out.
This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese had to be the quickest photography session I’ve done due to my children’s desperation of wanting to eat it hot and fresh and gooey and cheesy. My son barely survived being my spoon holder for the photos. One look in the pot and you just know you have something delicious going on here.
More Easy Instant Pot Recipes
If you love this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, then you won’t want to miss these time-saving Instant Pot recipes:
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe (VIDEO)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Time to Reach Pressure: 10 minutes
Total Time: 19 minutes
A creamy and cheesy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese that is ready in less than 20 minutes! Macaroni and cheese in the instant pot is a quick and easy, family-favorite recipe that definitely satisfies a craving for this nostalgic comfort food.
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese
Cost to Make:
Servings: 8 people as a side dish
Into a 6-quart instant pot multi-cooker, add 4 cups water, macaroni pasta, salt, mustard, paprika, and garlic powder. Stir to combine.
Add butter. Cover with the lid* and set the pressure cooker on manual high pressure for 4 minutes.
After the cooking cycle is complete, follow the manufacturers guide for a quick release and wait until all of the pressure is released.** Turn off the instant pot.
Stir in the evaporated milk right away.
Add the cheese one cup at a time, stirring with each addition. Once the cheese is completely melted, season to taste and serve right away garnished with freshly cracked black pepper if desired. If a looser cheese sauce is preferred, stir in some hot water.
*Follow the manufactures guide for locking the lid and proper use instructions.
**Because this is a starchy food (and some pasta brands are more likely to sputter), this has the potential to sputter when releasing the steam. When releasing pressure, use an oven mitt for safety and you might have a paper towel handy to cover and sputtering.
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe (VIDEO)
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Trans Fat 0.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Vitamin A 642IU13%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.