Instant Pot Mac and Cheese - a super simple mac and cheese Instant Pot beginners will nail every time! It's perfectly cooked pasta in a creamy cheese sauce that's a quick, hands-free dinner the whole family will love!
Instant Pot macaroni and cheese is America's favorite comfort food made with simple pantry ingredients you probably have on hand. The best part is that pressure cooker mac and cheese is a toss-and-go recipe. This means you toss everything in the pot and go do stuff, because it's virtually hands-free, just like Alfredo Chicken and Tuna Pasta.
Get ingredient amounts in the full printable recipe below.
- elbow macaroni - feel free to use any pasta shape for mac and cheese (see recipe footnotes for cooking time variation)
- pasta cooking liquid - use broth (chicken or vegetable) or water to cook your pasta in Instant Pot.
- butter - you can substitute oil, if preferred
- salt and pepper - feel free to add these to taste
- milk - use any variety (I usually use 1% milk)
- cheese - for this recipe, I use a combo of cheddar and Jack, but you can use other cheeses. Just be aware that this changes the consistency.
How to make mac and cheese in the Instant Pot
Get the full printable recipe below.
Step 1: Add ingredients (except milk and cheese) to the Instant Pot.
Step 2: Close the lid and pressure cook on high for 2 minutes. Allow a 10-minute natural pressure release (NPR). Carefully turn the pressure valve to release any remaining steam.
Step 3: Open the lid and stir in the milk.
Step 4: Stir in the cheese. Add a splash of milk to loosen the consistency.
Step 5: Serve and devour!
Feel free to replace elbow macaroni with rotini spirals or medium shells such as the ones used in Beefy Taco Pasta.
You can make mac and cheese with chicken broth or vegetable broth instead of water. I recommend a reduced-sodium broth and adding salt to taste.
I like to shred block cheese such as Cheddar, Gruyere, Gouda, etc. for this recipe because it melts more smoothly and is more economical than pre-shredded cheese.
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with cream cheese is a game changing cook's secret. Cream cheese adds an irresistible rich and creamy texture to mac and cheese. Simply add about 4 oz cream cheese per every one pound of macaroni.
Make Instant Pot mac and cheese with Velveeta using my recipe below. Just replace the jack cheese with cubed Velveeta. You may need to use the "Saute" function to assist melting the Velveeta, stirring as needed.
Try these Instant Pot recipes
What to serve with Instant Pot mac n cheese
- Greek Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs
- Pan Fried Pork Chops
- Southwest Baked Chicken Wings
- Baked Chicken Legs
- Garlic Butter Baked Chicken Breast
- Broiled Salmon
- Garlic Butter Grilled Salmon
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- 16 ounces Uncooked Macaroni Noodles, (about 4 cups) *see footnote for substitution
- 4 cups Broth or Water, chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
- ½ teaspoon Sea Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- ½ cup Milk, or more as needed
- 8 ounces Cheddar Cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
- 8 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
- Add MACARONI, BUTTER, BROTH, SALT, and PEPPER to the Instant Pot. Push pasta under the water to submerge it.
- Secure lid and turn pressure valve to "Sealing".
- Select "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" on HIGH for 2 minutes. Yes, you heard that right...only 2 minutes.
- When cook cycle completes, allow cooker to sit undisturbed for a 10-minute natural pressure release (NPR). Do not cut this time short...the pasta is still cooking.
- Safely turn pressure valve to "venting" position and release any remaining steam.
- Open the lid and DO NOT EMPTY the little bit of remaining liquid. You need it to incorporate the cheese into a sauce.
- Stir MILK into the cooked pasta.
- Add CHEDDAR and JACK CHEESE and stir until melted and creamy.Note: If needed, add splashes of milk and use the "Saute" function to add heat to incorporate the cheese, stirring as needed.
- Serve warm (optional sprinkle of parsley).
Mac and cheese storage and reheat instructions
- Refrigerate in an airtight container up to five days.
- To reheat mac and cheese, add a splash of broth or milk to moisten the macaroni and reheat on the stove over medium heat, or microwave on medium-high, stirring as needed.
Traci's Recipe Notes
- Thicker pasta (elbow macaroni, penne, rotini, bowtie, etc) gets 2 minutes + 10 minute NPR.
- Thinner pasta (shell pasta, spaghetti noodles) gets 1 minute + 10 minute NPR.
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.