Instant Pot Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is hearty, comforting, and ready in less than 20 minutes. Made with just a few ingredients and ready in no time, it’s creamy, cheesy, and so easy to make!
Instant Pot macaroni and cheese. Easy macaroni and cheese. The best creamy mac ‘n cheese recipe. Look no further, friends, because you’ve come to the right place!
One of the most popular recipes on my little corner of the internet is this creamy stove-top macaroni and cheese from five years ago. There are dozens of reviews from readers stating how much they love this recipe. And I can’t disagree with them…it really is the best stove top mac ‘n cheese out there!
So, now that I’m into sharing more Instant Pot recipes, I thought now would be the perfect time to debut my latest (and greatest) dish. Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese is hearty, comforting, and ready in less than 20 minutes. Made with just a few ingredients and ready in no time, it’s creamy, cheesy, and so easy to make!
And I’m all about those simple recipes around here. Especially when it comes to side dishes.
This Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe really is easy, cheesy, and all-around delicious. In fact, I might never make macaroni and cheese on the stove top again, it’s just that good!
And like I mentioned, just a handful of ingredients is all it takes to make this easy Instant Pot macaroni and cheese. You probably already have them in your kitchen right now. And that’s a win-win all around!
So, let’s get down to the delicious details!
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Ingredients
The ingredients list for this creamy macaroni and cheese recipe is simple:
- Dry elbow macaroni
- Chicken broth
- Unsalted butter
- Garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
How to Make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
Never made mac and cheese in an Instant Pot before? Don’t sweat it, this creamy macaroni and cheese recipe is a breeze to make!
- You’ll start by combining everything in the Instant Pot (except the milk and cheese) and stir to combine.
- The dry noodles will cook with the liquid right in the pot, so there is no need to cook them beforehand.
- Once the IP comes to pressure, it will cook for 5 minutes. Yep, that’s it!
- When the timer goes off, do a quick release by turning the valve to the ‘venting’ position. I like to place a folded kitchen towel over the valve when doing this so that it catches the steam.
- Remove the lid and stir. Now it’s time to add the milk and shredded cheese. I like to start with 1/2 cup of milk and the cheese. If more liquid is needed, increase the amount of milk.
- And that’s it! Once you add the cheese and stir to melt, it’s time to dig in.
How Long to Cook Macaroni in an Instant Pot
This Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe calls for 16 ounces of elbow macaroni. I cooked it for 5 minutes on high pressure, along with 4 cups of liquid. Though remember that it will take your IP about 15 minutes to come to pressure, and then it will count down from 5 minutes.
If using 8 ounces of elbow macaroni, I would decrease the cook time to 2 minutes on high pressure and 2 cups of liquid.
Recipe Variations to Try
Adjust the seasonings! Add some Italian seasoning, paprika, onion powder, or thyme.
Use heavy cream! Swap out the milk for heavy cream or use a combination of both for added richness.
Try different cheeses! Monterey Jack, Gouda, Provolone, Swiss, or Fontina would make delicious mac ‘n cheese.
Add some meat! Shredded chicken, pork, ground beef or ham would give this dish a hearty texture.
What to Serve with Creamy Mac and Cheese
Fresh bread! If you’re looking to make this the main course, it pairs perfectly with ciabatta or crusty bread.
A salad! Whether a side salad or entree salad, macaroni and cheese is the perfect side.
Add some chicken, ham, or turkey to make this into a hearty main dish! I like to add some shredded rotisserie chicken to give this a boost of protein.
How to Reheat Mac and Cheese
If you have leftovers of this easy Instant Pot mac and cheese, I recommend reheating them in a skillet over low heat. You may need to add a little broth or milk to thin out the cheese sauce.
Tips for the Best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
Chicken broth or water can be used to cook the noodles. Chicken broth will enhance the flavor, but water will still give you delicious results.
If you use another pasta shape other than elbow macaroni, you may need to adjust the liquid to cook it in.
Season to taste once the creamy mac ‘n cheese is done! I like to add a touch more salt and pepper, if needed.
Shred your own cheese! It may sound like an extra step, but trust me, it’s worth it. Shredding your own cheese from the block ensure that the cheese melts better, and tastes better, too.
Add the shredded cheese to the IP about a 1/2 cup at a time! Otherwise, it will be harder to melt and may end up gloppy.
So, there you have it, friends. The best Instant Pot Creamy Macaroni and Cheese recipe. It’s so creamy, so easy, and so tasty. Try it and I guarantee you’ll love it just as much as I do!
Looking for more mac and cheese recipes? I’ve got you covered!
- Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese
- Microwave Mug Spinach and Feta Mac ‘N Cheese
- Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 pound (16 ounces) dry elbow macaroni
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth OR water , (or a combination of both)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½-1 cup milk, any kind (or heavy cream for richness)
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Add macaroni, chicken broth/water, butter, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to Instant Pot. Stir to combine.
- Cover, place into lock position, and make sure the valve is in the sealing position. Cook on high pressure (press the manual button to set time) for 5 minutes. **Remember that it will take about 15 minutes to come to pressure and then the time will start counting down.**
- When timer goes off, do a quick release by turning the valve to the venting position and letting steam release until the pin drops. I like to place a folded kitchen towel over the valve so that it catches the steam.
- Remove the lid and stir. Then, add ½ cup of milk and ½ cup of cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Repeat by adding ½ cup of cheese at a time and stirring until melted. If more liquid is needed, add an additional ½ cup of milk. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper, if needed. Serve immediately.
- Chicken broth or water can be used to cook the noodles. Chicken broth will enhance the flavor, but water will still give you delicious results.
- If you use another pasta shape other than elbow macaroni, you may need to adjust the liquid to cook it in.
- Although you can use the bagged shredded cheese, shredding your own cheese results in a creamier texture.
- See more tips and tricks for making this Instant Pot Creamy Macaroni and Cheese above the recipe box.
Wowwwwwww that looks amazing.. Love it…
Thanks for the kind words, Arpita!
If you double this recipe do you need to add to the cook time?
Hi Kelly! I haven’t doubled this recipe, so I’m really not sure of the cooking time. I would think that it would need a little more time since there are more ingredients filling the pot. Hope you enjoy!
IDK for sure, but a lot of people on a Facebook group for Instant Pot beginners say you don’t need to adjust the cooking time, but it will take longer to come to pressure. I would try it for 5 and then check & add more time, if necessary.
Thanks for the tip, Cari!
Oh my, I am making this over the weekend. Yummy! Cheers! and Bottoms up!
I hope you love this!
You should NEVER place anything over the vent of your IP! A particle could get stuck in vent.
Thanks for the tip, Esther!
I like Mac and cheese browned on top. What about putting this in the oven to brown after cooking in ip
Hi Kelly! I’ve never tried that but it might work! Good luck!
Just tried this, it was so so good! We used vegetable stock in place of the chicken kind and added onion powder and mustard to the mix and used a strong vintage cheddar – tasted rich and delicious!
Thanks for the recipe. 🙂
I’m so glad you liked this, Nancy! Thanks for stopping by and letting me know how it turned out!
can this be cooked in a crock pot ?
Hi James! It can, though cooking time will be a lot different. I would cook on low for 2-3 hours and check for doneness. I haven’t tested this recipe in a crock pot, so I really don’t know if ingredient amounts would be different. Best of luck!
I have made this several times. However, the noodles stick to the bottom of the pot every time. Any suggestions??
Hi Tammy! I really don’t have any suggestions on that one…maybe just stir as soon as it’s finished cooking and remove from the pot?