Instant Pot Mac And Cheese (Italian-Style)

This Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe has a rustic, Italian flare to it. With the addition of olives, artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes, and a hearty helping of mozzarella, this vegetarian wonder will have you drooling for days. 

Instant Pot Mac And Cheese Italian Style Recipe

Have you ever made Instant Pot pasta before? It’s ridiculously easy and the results will surprise you every time. You literally throw in the dried pasta and the sauce, press the button and walk away. And one of our favourite pasta dishes to make with the pressure cooker is a hearty mac and cheese.

Today, we want to share an Italian-inspired Instant Pot mac and cheese that comes with a few Mediterranian additions like olives, artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes. We like to think of it as a more sophisticated, grown-up mac ‘n’ cheese recipe BUT the kids will love it just as much as the classic. It’s hearty, delicious and perfect for those meat-free Mondays.



We are using elbow pasta, which is a classic shape for mac and cheese but you can use penne or fusilli pasta. This recipe yields quite a bit of pasta (6 servings) but it keeps well for leftovers and you can reheat it with a touch of water or milk, or turn it into a baked pasta slice.

We’re using a combination of cheddar (or other strong cheese) and a more mild mozzarella but you’re welcome to mix and match other cheeses in this dish. Here are some step-by-step pics to guide you along but the full instructions are below. You will find the full recipe ingredients, instructions and nutrition breakdown in the recipe card below. In summary, we’ve divided the ingredients and the method into two stages to make it easier for you:

Stage 1. Add uncooked pasta, liquids and seasoning to the Instant Pot, stir and pressure cook on HIGH for 4 minutes.

Stage 2. Add diced Italian favorites – olives, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes – and the cheese/milk and stir everything through until melted and fabulous. That’s it! 

PS. You don’t need an oven for this recipe!

How to make Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe - step by step photos


Enjoy this cheesy, gooey, flavoursome mac and cheese with a side salad to freshen it up or some steamed greens. It will keep well as leftovers (3-4 days in the fridge) and can reheat back in the Instant Pot on Saute, in the oven or in a microwave.

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Instant Pot Mac And Cheese Italian Style Recipe

Instant Pot Mac And Cheese (Italian-Style)

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe has a rustic, Italian flare to it. With the addition of olives, artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes, and a hearty helping of mozzarella, this vegetarian wonder will have you drooling for days.



Stage 1

  • 500 g / 17 oz elbow pasta (we love this brand)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 cup / 250 ml tomato passata or diced, tinned tomatoes
  • 4 cups water (1 L)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional, can be less)

Stage 2

  • 1012 black olives, sliced
  • 10 sun-dried tomato halves, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, diced roughly
  • 1 cup almond milk or regular milk
  • 1/4 cup tomato passata
  • 1 cup grated cheddar or other strong cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/41/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions/scallions (about 12 onions)
  • 4 tablespoons of fried shallots like these
  • Basil or parsley to garnish with, optional


  1. Stage 1. Combine everything in the inner pot, stir through and pop the lid on top. Lock and set to Manual, High for 4 minutes. After 3 beeps, the Instant Pot will start the cooking process. Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes and then use the quick release method to let off the rest of the steam. Don’t leave the natural release for too long as that will keep cooking the pasta and you risk having a soggy mess! Note: Once you open the lid, make sure to strain off any excess cooking liquid, it’s okay to leave a little bit in but not too much as we will be adding the milk.
  2. Stage 2. Add the diced olives, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, milk, extra tomato passata and half of the grated cheese to the pasta, and press the Sauté function key. Stir together for a minute or so, until the cheese has melted into the pasta. Add the rest of the cheese and stir in again for 30 seconds or so. Turn the Instant Pot off and serve the pasta topped with chopped green onions and fried shallots on top. You can add some basil or other herbs as well.


  • Serving Size: 2 cups
  • Calories: 530
  • Sugar: 10.9 g
  • Sodium: 766.3 mg
  • Fat: 13.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 80 g
  • Fiber: 7.4 g
  • Protein: 23.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 32.9 mg

Keywords: Italian, Pasta, Dinner, Kid-Friendly



Mac and Cheese Instant Pot

Instant Pot Recipes
By Instant Pot Eats

About Instant Pot Eats: Published by a seasoned food blogger and cookbook author, Irena Macri, and a team of cooking experts and enthusiasts, this blog is dedicated to delicious Instant Pot recipes you can make using your trusted pressure cooker.

More about us here »


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  1. Not sure why the milk needs to be added. I added one cup of milk like the recipe showed and it was runny. It looked so good before I added it too. Bummed!!

    1. hey, Suzie Is it possible you had a lot of cooking liquid in the pot before adding the milk in? Sometimes, depending on how much pasta or the shape of pasta or perhaps the cup measurements, there can be a little too much-cooking liquid in the past once you open the pot. If that was the case, then it would be too runny once the milk is added. I will leave a note for people to check and strain excess liquid first. We didn’t have any when we cooked it, so it didn’t really cross my mind but I can see how that might happen.

    1. Absolutely, I wouldn’t change the cooking time but add extra 1-2 minutes for natural pressure release before quick releasing the steam.

    1. 6-quart IP but fine in a larger pot too. I’ve not tried making it in the mini but you might be able to half the ingredients for a smaller batch.

  2. I notice salt shows up twice in the ‘stage one’ list of ingredients – the first time specifying 1 tsp and the next line is 1/2 tsp – is this an error?

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