Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

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.

mac and cheese made in the instant pot with breadcrumbs and fresh herbs baked on top
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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! Ok, actually 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
  • salt
  • water
  • cups shredded cheddar cheese 
  • milk

How to Make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

  1. 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.
  2. Quick-release the steam. Always be careful and follow instructions from the manual.
  3. 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 & cheese ingredients

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

An Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe made in 4 minutes! Forget the boxed stuff and make this quick and easy recipe made with only 6 ingredients.
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 6 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: EmilyFabulous

Equipment

  • Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker

Ingredients

Basic Mac & Cheese

  • 1 16 ounce box whole wheat pasta
  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 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.)

Instructions

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.
    instant pot mac and cheese before cooking
  • After the four minutes, quick-release the steam. Always be careful and follow instructions from the manual.
    instant pot mac and cheese after cooking
  • 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.
    instant pot mac & cheese

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!
    instant pot mac & cheese with herbs

Notes

  • 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:

mac and cheese made in the instant pot with breadcrumbs and fresh herbs baked on top
Click on the image above to PIN to your Pinterest board!

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