This Instant Pot macaroni and cheese is a quick, simplified version of a beloved classic. Creamy, cheesy and absolutely delicious!
It’s great for dinner or even makes the perfect side for any meal (especially holiday meal!) Serve it up with ham or turkey and watch it be devoured in minutes!
Just a Few Minutes to Prep
It finally feels like fall, which means it’s time to break out the Instant Pot and make some comfort food! This macaroni and cheese is a favorite of ours. Why? Because it only takes a few minutes to prep, EVERYTHING is done in the Instant Pot, and it tastes absolutely amazing.
This recipe is for all of the moms out there. It’s doable… on a weeknight. You can serve it on the side of just about anything. I’d suggest these Instant Pot BBQ chicken sliders, Crispy Cornflake Chicken Tenders, or these Homemade Honey Corn Dogs. It’s so good you’ll want to eat bowl after bowl of it too! Kid and parent approved.
Don’t let the ingredient list intimidate you. It’s mostly spices. I think good macaroni and cheese requires more than just noodles, butter, milk and cheese. It needs flavor! I’ve amped up the flavor by replacing part of the water with chicken broth and adding seasonings like dried mustard, garlic, paprika and a hint of cayenne. Nothing detectable (this is not spicy mac and cheese)!
Best Noodles + Seasonings
Now as far as the noodles go I stuck with the classic elbows. However, any short noodle will do. I’m also a fan of mini shells or gemelli (twists). My kids also loved shaped noodles (but they usually need about a minute less in the Instant Pot due to their delicate nature).
And for seasonings, you want to make sure you have the following to make them extra flavorful:
- coarse kosher sea salt
- dried mustard
- garlic powder
- black pepper
- cayenne pepper
And don’t forget the cheese – we use grated Colby jack cheese, grated Havarti cheese (mozzarella works too) and grated Parmesan cheese.
How to Make IP Mac and Cheese
To make the Instant Pot macaroni and cheese, you’ll add the pasta (a full pound) to the pot, along with broth, water, seasonings, and butter.
The macaroni takes 5 minutes on high pressure to cook. THAT’S IT!
While the pasta is cooking you can grate the cheese and measure out the milk.
Let the pressure release manually. Do not let it release naturally. Simply switch the valve as soon as the Instant Pot beeps and let it come down. It takes about 5 minutes.
The Instant Pot should be on the “KEEP WARM” setting. Pour in the milk and sprinkle in the cheese as you stir. Keep stirring until all the cheese has melted, then let the macaroni sit for 5 minutes. This will allow it to thicken.
Storing, Tips + Sides
If you are looking to change up this recipe, feel free to use your favorite cheeses or add-ins (like hot fogs, tuna, or veggies). We like it simple but there are so many ways to change this up.
To STORE the mac and cheese, just place in an air-tight container and place in the fridge for up to 4 days. To FREEZE the cooked mac and cheese, just let the mac and cheese cool close to room temperature and then divide it into portions as you see fit. Freeze in air tight containers for up to 3 months. Make sure you mark the date on them.
To REHEAT, do that in the microwave or in the skillet. You may need to add a little more milk, broth or water if it’s too thick.
For some other recipes to make with this, check out these SIDES + DISHES:
- Maple Roasted Butternut Squash
- Ham and Potato Casserole
- Perfect Chicken Breast
- Heavenly Dinner Rolls
Serve the macaroni immediately and watch it disappear. Seriously! We served it to our kids, went into the kitchen to grab the rest of their dinner and when we returned it was gone. Poof! ✨
This Instant Pot macaroni and cheese is bound to be a family favorite. It’s creamy, cheesy and full of flavor. Best of all, it’s practically effortless! ?
MORE DELICIOUS MACARONI AND CHEESE RECIPES:
- Skillet Mac and Cheese
- Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese
- Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese
- Broccoli and White Cheddar Shells
Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cup water
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp coarse kosher sea salt
- 1/2 tsp dried mustard
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 1/4 cup colby jack cheese - grated
- 1 cup havarti cheese - (mozzarella works too), grated
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese - grated
- Add noodles, chicken broth, water, butter, salt, mustard, garlic, pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper to the Instant Pot. Stir then close the lid.
- Turn the Instant Pot on MANUAL mode with high pressure selected for 5 minutes. Once cooked, allow for the pressure to release manually by switching the valve to venting (this usually takes about 5 minutes).
- Remove the lid and stir in the milk and blend of cheeses (keep Instant Pot on KEEP WARM setting). Continue stirring until the cheese has fully melted. Let the macaroni sit for 5 minutes before serving.
This was really good and really easy to make. I shredded cheddar because that’s all I had and it was delicious!