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.
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:
1–1.5 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- Taste for seasoning and serve while hot.
- Pressurizing: 12 minutes | Cooking at pressure: 4 minutes | Release: quick release | Total cooking time: 16 minutes.
- 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.
- 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