Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

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  • This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is creamy, cheesy, and everything you want in a homemade mac and cheese recipe! The best part?

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    It is ready in under 10 minutes, this is an easy meal that can’t be beat. From dry, uncooked pasta to cheesy creamy goodness in a jiffy. 

    Of all of the Instant Pot recipes, this pressure cooker mac and cheese is the best! Creamy, flavorful homemade mac and cheese, the ultimate comfort food.

    bite of mac and cheese on a fork

    Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot

    Comfort food is my favorite food. By definition, a comfort food is a food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being. Homemade Mac and cheese is definitely one of those foods for me (and many others). The creamy, cheesy goodness warms me right to the core. 

    This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is easy and flavorful. With lots of cheddar cheese and evaporated milk to make it extra creamy.

    three bowls of mac and cheese

    Ingredients

    You’ll be amazed that this recipe comes together using just 6 ingredients!

    • Unsalted butter- If using salted butter, omti the coarse kosher salt.
    • Elbow macaroni– I like elbows because the shape really clings to a cheese sauce. Of course you can swap this out, but the cooking time might vary depending on the shape and size of the pasta.Pasta shapes with nooks, crannies, twists and turn are the best for clinging to cheese sauce. Elbows, shells, rotini cavatappi and campanelle are some of my favorites. 
    • Coarse Kosher salt- Or coarse sea salt work best. Do not use a fine sea salt or iodized salt. In this amount, it will be far too salty. Reduce to just 1/2 teaspoon if using that amount.
    • Evaporated milk– Evaporated milk is whole milk that has a lot of the water content evaporated out so it is think and the purest form of milk. Do not use a sweetened condensed milk, or you’ll have a dessert pasta.
    • Sharp cheddar cheese– For cheesiest flavor, I like a sharp cheddar. Make sure to shred your own, pre shredded is tossed in a starch to prevent sticking. This in addition to the flour can impact the overall consistency and wind up gritty. Other flavors include gouda, monterey jack, Swiss, gruyere and any type of cheddar. You can also use blends to elevate the flavor profile.
    • Flour- for thickening. Yes, a gluten-free alternative can be used, such as cornstarch or GF flour. Cornstarch should be used a t half the volume, while GF flours will have a ratio swap on the packaging.
    straight on shot of bowl of instant pot mac and cheese

    How to Make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

    1. Place the butter, elbow pasta, salt and 4 cups water to inner pot. Stir well so the salt dissolves evenly and all of the pasta is wet.
    2. Cover and lock the lid in place, set to manual high pressure for 4 minutes. At the end of 4 minutes, use the quick release method.
    3. Toss the shredded cheddar cheese with the flour so it is evenly coated.
    4. While the pasta is still hot, stir in the evaporated milk and shredded cheddar cheese until smooth and creamy.
    5. Serve it hot or with seasoned bread crumbs sprinkled on top.
    collage of instant pot mac and cheese process shots

    Variations

    One of the things I love the most about mac and cheese in general is how easily you can customize it. Of course you have the traditional mac and cheese like this recipe, but you can also add so many other ingredients to kick it up a notch. 

    • Spice it up! If you like a little heat, try adding some jalapenos or sriracha. Adding bacon provides a nice, salty crunch. You can even add broccoli to get your veggies in. 
    • Cheese Varieties- The best cheese for mac and cheese includes gouda, monterey jack, Swiss, gruyere and any type of cheddar. You can also use blends to elevate the flavor profile. 
    • To make it a more well-rounded meal, try adding sliced chicken breasts or even cooked and drained ground beef. I also like using a grilled smoked sausage. 
    • Crispy crunchies- One thing you can do to make this recipe ahead and have crispy crunchies on top is to make the mac and cheese and transfer it to a baking dish.

    Whether you serve it as a main entree with grilled chicken, or alongside a juicy steak or pork chop with a vegetable, it is sure to become an instant family favorite. 

    overhead shot of two bowls of instant pot mac and cheese

    Make-Ahead, Leftovers & Freezing

    It can surely be made ahead, but seeing it is such an easy recipe, why should you? Mac and cheese is always the best freshly prepared. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days

    Can I freeze macaroni and cheese? Cooked mac and cheese can be frozen. Store it in an airtight container for up to 4 months. 

    What is the best way to reheat macaroni and cheese? I find the best way to reheat macaroni and cheese is to add an addition tablespoon or so of milk to revive the cheese sauce. 

    instant pot mac and cheese recipe for pinterest

    More homemade mac and cheese recipe:

    Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
    Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is an easy-to-make low carb mac and cheese that follows keto guidelines. A kid-friendly cauliflower side dish! #cauliflowermacandcheese #ketomacandcheese #lowcarbsidedishes www.savoryexperiments.com
    Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is an easy-to-make low carb mac and cheese that follows keto guidelines. A kid-friendly cauliflower side dish!
    Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
    spoon with cheesy mac and cheese
    Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese is a quick and spicy baked mac and cheese recipe the whole family will love. Perfect as a potluck recipe or for a BBQ side dish!


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    instant pot mac and cheese in a bowl with text overlay for pinterest
    straight on shot of bowl of instant pot mac and cheese
    Print Recipe
    4.94 from 15 votes

    Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

    Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is the easier way to make the perfect creamy homemade mac and cheese recipe without having to make a roux.
    Prep Time5 mins
    Cook Time5 mins
    Pressure Building10 mins
    Total Time10 mins
    Course: Side Dish
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: homemade mac and cheese, instant pot mac and cheese
    Servings: 8
    Calories: 378kcal
    Author: Jessica Formicola

    Ingredients

    Instructions

    • Place the butter, elbow pasta, salt and 4 cups water to inner pot. Stir well.
    • Cover and lock the lid in place, set to manual high pressure for 4 minutes.
    • Use the quick release method.
    • Toss the shredded cheddar cheese with the flour.
    • Stir in the evaporated milk and shredded cheddar cheese until smooth and creamy.
    • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.

    Video

    Notes

    *If you are using pre-shredded cheese, omit flour.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 378kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 802mg | Potassium: 240mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 395IU | Vitamin C: 0.6mg | Calcium: 290mg | Iron: 1mg
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