An Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe? Yes, you can make macaroni and cheese in your Instant Pot in 4 minutes! Forget the boxed stuff and make this quick and easy homemade macaroni and cheese recipe with only 6 ingredients.
Is Instant Pot Mac & Cheese really that good?
I LOVE Mac and Cheese. I always have. When I started seeing recipes to make it in the Instant Pot, of course, I had to try it for myself. Below you will find the recipe for "basic" mac and cheese and then the "adult" version with a little more flavor added. Either way, you can't go wrong. It's easy, fast, and delicious. Yes, please!! No more boxed mac and cheese for my kiddo (or me, let's be honest)!!
Does it really only take 4 minutes?
Yes, 4 minutes set on the Instant Pot. Ok, in total about 10 by the time you grate your cheese, your Instant Pot warms up and you release the steam, etc. But it's fast! And it's so worth it because there is so much more flavor and melty cheesy goodness.
Basic Ingredients Needed to Make Mac & Cheese
These are the ingredients you need to make basic mac and cheese. Check out my ideas below for ideas on how to spice up and add even more delicious flavor to your macaroni!
- whole wheat pasta
- unsalted butter
- cups shredded cheddar cheese
How to Make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Put the pasta, butter, salt, and water in the Instant Pot and stir together. Lock the lid in place and ensure the steam vent is closed. Set to Manual Pressure Cook High for 4 minutes.
- Quick-release the steam. Always be careful and follow instructions from the manual.
- Once the steam has released, stir in the milk and cheese until fully melted.
Making the box stuff takes about the same amount of time, so why should I make Instant Pot Mac & Cheese?
It's true, the boxed stovetop version we all grew up with is quick and easy. But, if you are making it from scratch you get to control the ingredients. No preservative powdered cheese packet or creamy bright orange cheese (?). Controlling the ingredients also means controlling the taste like salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc. You can add whatever you want!
What kind of cheese to use
Any melty cheese will work for this recipe. I used sharp cheddar, but next time I'm going to add white cheddar along with the sharp cheddar or gruyere for even more depth. Mmmmmmm. Again, that's what makes this recipe so awesome. You can make it your own with whatever you like or have on hand.
How to make this Instant Pot Mac & Cheese more flavorful
Let's be honest, although this basic recipe was easy and tasted fine for my toddler, it was a little bland IMO. So, let's add some extra ingredients to make this what I call an "adult version" (although the kids will probably like the extra flavor too).
- Use chicken stock instead of water. It adds even more flavor but doesn't add any more time. So if you have it, I would use it! Of course, you can use vegetable stock if you prefer it.
- Italian/regular breadcrumbs or panko for a crunchy topping to add texture.
- Stone-ground mustard will add some zing to your cheese.
- Garlic powder will also add some more depth and flavor.
- Roasted Veggies like squash, tomatoes or asparagus. Trust me on this one, it's good. And it's a good way to get more veggies in your diet!
- My son and I both love cooked sausage in our mac and cheese. Or Bacon?? Just sayin'…
- Fresh herbs on top are also delicious. I used fresh sage and it was perfect.
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
Basic Mac & Cheese
- 1 16 ounce box whole wheat pasta
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups water
- 2½ cups shredded cheddar cheese (or your favorite melty cheese)
- ½ cup milk, room temp
Extras for more flavor
- 1-2 tablespoon stone ground or dijon mustard
- fresh ground pepper
- Italian breadcrumbs
- fresh or dried oregano or sage
- garlic powder
- cooked sausage or bacon
- roasted veggies (squash, tomatoes, asparagus, etc.)
Basic Mac & Cheese
- Place the pasta, butter, salt, and water into Instant Pot and stir together. Lock the lid in place and ensure the steam vent is closed. Set to Manual Pressure Cook High for 4 minutes.
- After the four minutes, quick-release the steam. Always be careful and follow instructions from the manual.
- Once the steam has released and the pin has dropped, open the lid and stir the pasta. Add the milk and cheese and continue stirring until fully melted.
How to add more flavor
- Add the mustard and fresh ground pepper (or whatever ingredients you are adding) and combine it with the cheesy pasta. Then place it in an oven-safe dish and sprinkle breadcrumbs and fresh herbs on top. Place the dish in the oven under the broiler for 5-7 minutes until it is nice and brown on top. Allow it to cool and enjoy!
- Always read the instruction manual that came with your Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker and follow all safety guidelines.
Any nutrition calculations are only estimates using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
Check out some of my other Instant Pot Recipes:
- Impressive Instant Pot Lavender Cheesecake
- Flavorful Instant Pot Carnitas
- Spicy Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Beef
- Easy Instant Pot Kalua Pork
- Instant Pot Korean Burritos
Did you make this Instant Pot Mac & Cheese?
Did you make this Instant Pot Mac & Cheese recipe? Tag me on Instagram or Facebook and show me your best! Thanks for checking out my site, if you want more fun and easy recipes in your inbox, sign up for my mailing list I will also send you a FREE download of Ingredient Substitutions and keep you updated on the latest delicious recipes and cocktails!
Mac and cheese is my family's favorite side dish. Looks yummy!
It's so good Gina, and I love that's it homemade in minutes!
I was looking more recipes to use with my instant pot and this looks good meal to make 😃
It's a good beginner recipe and so, so easy!
Mac and cheese in an INSTANT POT, I need to try this especially since I just got an instant pot.
Oh yes, you definitely need to make this mac and cheese. It's a great beginner recipe.
Christina's Bread Bakes says
I have done this in my slow cooker but the instant pot makes this quick AND easy. I added some additional herbs/spices and the bacon you recommended - easy peasy and a real family-pleaser! I will definitely make it again.
Bacon makes everything better, doesn't it?!? I'm so glad you and your family enjoyed this mac and cheese. I've actually never tried it in the slow cooker, I bet that is amazing too!
Love mac and cheese and your recipe is wonderful. I have a kid that would love this and I cannot wait to make it for him.
Thank you for sharing.
This recipe is kid-approved!! Have fun making it for your family!
I just love a good mac and cheese. And I can't believe how fast this recipe comes together. In just a couple of minutes, a delicious meal can be served with just a handful ingredients. Just wow! Love this recipe
Mac and cheese is one of my all-time favorites. I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe!
Luisa | Coffee-Crafts-Chaos says
Just got my new Instant Pot and this looks like a great recipe to try in there! Thank you!
This is the perfect recipe for Instant Pot beginners. Enjoy!