Instant pot macaroni and cheese cooks up perfectly creamy & tender in under 30 minutes in the pressure cooker. Easy to customize & loaded with 2 cheeses!
With both kids in school full time, it’s the return of quick and easy comfort meals.
My kids love a big ole pot of this classic stove-top mac and cheese but making creamy macaroni and cheese in the Instant Pot is a total game changer.
You can ditch that blue box of mac and cheese since this pressure cooker version takes less than 30 minutes. What I love about making macaroni and cheese in the Instant Pot is that you don’t have to dirty an extra pot since even the pasta cooks up perfectly in the Instant Pot.
It’s perfect for busy weeknights and super simple to customize with your favorite seasonings and cheese.
HOW TO MAKE MACARONI AND CHEESE IN THE INSTANT POT:
- Start by adding the pasta, seasonings and water to your Instant Pot. I usually use elbow macaroni or Cavatappi but you can certainly use small shells if you prefer.
- Close and seal the lid and turn the valve to SEALING.
- Cook on Manual / High Pressure for 3 minutes. Do a quick pressure release by using a long wooden spoon to push the valve to VENTING until all of the steam releases.
- Carefully remove the lid and stir in the butter and evaporated milk. Press the SAUTE (high) and cook until sauce has thickened and macaroni is fully tender, about 3-8 minutes. Turn off and stir in the sharp cheddar until melted followed by the Monterey Jack.
- Keep stirring until melted and the sauce is smooth. Adjust with salt, pepper and mustard to taste.
- Serve hot with chopped parsley, toasted panko crumbs (optional) and your favorite sides.
WHAT TYPE OF CHEESE MAKES THE BEST MACARONI AND CHEESE?
The best cheese for macaroni and cheese definitely depends on your taste-buds. My family prefers stronger cheeses and we like sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack plus a super creamy cheese like Provolone. Feel free to switch things up with:
- Mild Cheddar
- Cream Cheese
- Colby Jack
CAN I USE GLUTEN FREE PASTA IN MACARONI AND CHEESE?
I haven’t tested out this particular Instant Pot Mac & Cheese recipe using gluten free pasta but I have used this brand in the past for other Instant Pot pasta recipes and it holds up really well when cooked in the pressure cooker.
I will report back if I’ve had a chance to test it out for Mac & Cheese and would also love to hear if you’ve tried any brands you love that work as well.
CAN I MAKE MACARONI AND CHEESE IN THE OVEN?
Absolutely. If you prefer a more classic baked macaroni and cheese, feel free to transfer the pasta into an oven safe casserole dish and broil until the topping is browned.
More pasta recipes you might like:
Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese cooks up perfectly creamy & tender in under 30 minutes in the pressure cooker. Best of all, so easy to customize & loaded with 2 cheeses!
- 1 lb dry uncooked elbow macaroni or cavatappi pasta
- 3 cups water
- sea salt and pepper to taste I used 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 12-ounce cans evaporated milk
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup toasted Panko crumbs optional for topping
- fresh chopped parsley for garnish optional
- Add pasta, salt, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and water in the Instant pot. Make sure the pasta is covered with enough liquid - push down or add more water as needed.
- Cover with lid and turn the valve to SEALING.
- Press the PRESSURE COOK (or MANUAL) button and cook on high for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, do a quick release by pushing the valve to VENTING using a long wooden spoon. Pasta should be al dente.
- Stir in the butter and evaporated milk and turn the Instant Pot to SAUTE (high) mode. Cook until the sauce has thickened and the macaroni is fully tender, about 3-8 minutes. Turn off then stir in cheddar until fully melted. Add shredded Monterey Jack and keep stirring until the cheese is melted and smooth.
- Serve hot with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley, and toasted Panko crumbs if desired.