Easy Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese (Step-By-Step Recipe)

In this beginner-friendly recipe, we are going to teach you how to make super easy Instant Pot macaroni and cheese. With detailed instructions, step-by-step photos and cooking tips, this family-favorite pasta dish is satiating and delicious. You can serve mac and cheese as a main dish with vegetables or salad or as a side dish. See how-to photos below the recipe card. Leave a rating or comment at the bottom of this post if you’ve made this recipe or have any questions!


Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese Recipe

We have a few Instant Pot mac and cheese recipes on the blog but we wanted to put together a very detailed guide for how to make a super simple version that would be suitable to pressure cooker beginners and novice cooks. 

Creamy macaroni and cheese is a dish that everyone should master. Who doesn’t love a good, creamy, cheese pasta? Right? Well, with this step-by-step recipe, you will learn just how quick and easy it is to make in the Instant Pot.

 

Easy Instant Pot Mac & Cheese (Step-By-Step Recipe)

WHAT YOU NEED FOR INSTANT POT MAC & CHEESE

The making of mac and cheese in the Instant Pot involved two stages: pressure cooking and cheesy-fying. The first stage is ridiculously easy! You will need elbow macaroni pasta (you can actually use any pasta you like but we’re sticking with the traditional shape here), water or stock (using chicken or vegetable stock adds a lot of extra flavor!), mustard, garlic powder, and a little hot sauce. Oh, and some butter! 

Mac and cheese ingredients for Instant Pot cooking stage

Once the pasta is cooked, all you need to add is a little hot milk and your favorite cheeses. We are using a classic trio of grated cheddar, mozzarella and Parmesan (adds a little sharpness). You can also use one type of cheese if you like. 

Macaroni and cheese ingredients for finishing the pasta after cooking

You will find the recipe for this mac and cheese just below or you can jump to detailed step-by-step photo instructions under the recipe card. These are especially handy if you’re an Instant Pot beginner.

 

You might like more recipes from our Instant Pot For Beginners series: 

WATCH OUR TOP 10 VEGETARIAN VIDEO RECIPES HERE


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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe

Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese (Easy, Step-By-Step, Beginner Recipe)

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 16 minutes
  • Total Time: 21 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Learn how to make easy Instant Pot mac and cheese with our beginner-friendly, step-by-step recipe. Serve this cheesy macaroni dish as a main with vegetables or salads or as a side dish the whole family will love.


Ingredients

Scale

1 pound (450 g) uncooked elbow macaroni pasta
4.5 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock (water is fine, add 1 teaspoon salt if not using stock)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon hot sauce (like Franks or Sriracha)
1 teaspoon mustard (Dijon or yellow, or a little dry mustard powder)
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

To finish the pasta:
11.5 cups shredded sharp cheese like cheddar
1 cup shredded mild cheese like mozzarella
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
½ to 1 cup hot milk (heat it in a microwave or a pot)
Garnishes: chives or parsley, extra grated cheese, breadcrumbs.


Instructions

  1. Add ingredients. Power up in the Instant Pot. Add the dry pasta, stock, butter, hot sauce, mustard, pepper and garlic powder to the inside pot and stir well.
  2. Set & cook. Secure and lock the lid; make sure the pressure handle is pointing to Sealing on Duo Classic. Select Manual/Pressure Cook and adjust the timer to 4 minutes on HIGH pressure. After a few beeps/seconds, the ON sign will come on indicating the pot is heating up and the pressure is building; pressurizing will take about 12 minutes and then the 4-minute timer will begin.
  3. Once the timer is done, use the quick release method to let off the remaining pressure (press the steam knob down or point to Venting on older models). Do not leave on natural release as the pasta will keep cooking!
  4. Tip: While releasing the pressure, hover a kitchen towel 20-30 centimetres above the steam jet to catch any foam. Oftentimes, when cooking foods like pasta, some foam can form during cooking. Beware of your hands and face!
  5. Finish the pasta. Open the lid. Most of the stock/water will be absorbed into the pasta but you might have a little left on the bottom. Stir in half a cup or a cup of hot milk. Follow by adding grated cheeses and stir into the pasta until melted. You can cover the Instant Pot with a lid for a couple of minutes to trap in the heat. If the pasta and cooking broth/milk are not hot enough, you can press the Saute button to heat up the pot sightly.
  6. Taste for seasoning and serve while hot.

Notes

  1. Pressurizing: 12 minutes | Cooking at pressure: 4 minutes | Release: quick release | Total cooking time: 16 minutes.
  2. Cleaning tip: Melted cheese can be a pain to clean and an easy way to do it in the Instant Pot is to fill up the pot with boiling hot water to melt any solidified cheese before scraping the pot clean. You can also add hot water and place the inner pot back in the Instant Pot and use the Saute function to heat it up. This will also melt any stuck-on cheese.
  3. Lighten-it up: You can use less butter or light butter when cooking the pasta and use low-fat milk and cheeses to create a lower-calories version of this dish. For a vegan mac and cheese, check out this recipe. 

Keywords: Macaroni, Mac & Cheese, Cheese, Pasta, Instant Pot, Pressure Cooker, Vegetarian

 

HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT MACARONI & CHEESE

Here are step-by-step instructions for making macaroni and cheese in the Instant Pot. We used Instant Pot Duo Nova 6-quart pressure cooker for this recipe.

Step 1. Add the dry pasta, stock, butter, hot sauce, mustard, pepper and garlic powder to the inside pot and stir well.

How to make Instant Pot macaroni and cheese step 1

Step 2.Secure and lock the lid; make sure the pressure handle is pointing to Sealing on Duo Classic. Select Manual/Pressure Cook and adjust the timer to 4 minutes on HIGH pressure.

After a few beeps/seconds, the ON sign will come on indicating the pot is heating up and the pressure is building; pressurizing will take about 12 minutes and then the 4-minute timer will begin.

Once the timer is done, use the quick release method to let off the remaining pressure (press the steam knob down or point to Venting on older models). Do not leave on natural release as the pasta will keep cooking!

Open the lid. Most of the stock/water will be absorbed into the pasta but you might have a little left on the bottom.

How to cook Instant Pot mac and cheese step 2 - settings

 

Step 3.Stir in half a cup or a cup of hot milk. Follow by adding grated cheeses and stir into the pasta until melted. You can cover the Instant Pot with a lid for a couple of minutes to trap in the heat. If the pasta and cooking broth/milk are not hot enough, you can press the Saute button to heat up the pot sightly. Taste for seasoning and serve while hot.

Making mac and cheese in Instant Pot step 3 - cheesy sauce


 

MORE INSTANT POT PASTA RECIPES

By Instant Pot Eats

About us: We are a team of Instant Pot enthusiasts, who love good food and cooking. Our blog is dedicated to delicious recipes you can make using your trusted pressure cooker.

PS. This post may contain Amazon affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. 

More about us here »

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