Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Servings of pressure cooker macaroni and cheese cooked in the Instant Pot.
Diana Rattray
Ratings
  • Total: 14 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 4 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings

This incredibly creamy Instant Pot macaroni and cheese is surprisingly fast and easy to cook in a pressure cooker. Aside from needing very little attention, there are no boil-over messes to worry about.

For this delicious mac and cheese, there's no separate sauce to make and no baking required. Of course, if you like a crunchy breadcrumb topping, spoon the cooked macaroni and cheese into a baking dish, top it with buttered breadcrumbs, and stick it under the broiler for a few minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups mild cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Instant Pot macaroni and cheese.
    Diana Rattray
  2. Add the water to the Instant Pot along with the elbows, butter, mustard, salt, and pepper.

    Combine the elbows and water in the Instant Pot.
    Diana Rattray
  3. Lock the lid in place and set the knob to the sealing position. Choose the manual setting, high pressure. If the package instructions recommend 6 to 7 minutes, set the time to 3 minutes. If the instructions recommend 8 to 10 minutes, set the time to 4 minutes.

    The Instant Pot lid.
    Diana Rattray
  4. When the time is up, carefully move the knob to the venting position to release the pressure manually. The steam is very hot, so protect your hands and use the handle of a wooden spoon to move the knob.

  5. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the cheese and add the remaining cheese and evaporated milk to the macaroni and stir until the cheese is melted.

    Combine the cooked macaroni with the cheese and milk.
    Diana Rattray
  6. Spoon the macaroni and cheese into a serving bowl and top with the reserved cheese.

    A bowl of macaroni and cheese made in the pressure cooker.
    Diana Rattray
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Tips

  • Macaroni cooking times can vary. If the elbow macaroni directions recommend a cooking time of 6 to 7 minutes—or if you like firm elbows—pressure cook the pasta for three minutes. If the pasta is too firm, it's easy enough to turn the dial to sauté and continue cooking the macaroni for another minute or two. If you replace the elbows with a different kind of pasta, adjust the pressure cooking time accordingly. For instance, penne pasta with a conventional cooking time or 12 to 14 minutes will take about 5 to 6 minutes in the Instant Pot.
  • The Instant Pot is easy to clean. The inner pot, stainless steel steam rack, and sealing ring are all dishwasher safe. The lid may be washed in the dishwasher as well, but place it on the top rack. The steam release valve and float valve should be cleaned by hand. Remove the anti-block shield—the small metal piece in the lid with perforations in the top—after each use and clean it. Wipe it and dry it completely before you replace it.

Recipe Variations

  • Macaroni and Cheese With Vegetables: If your kids are picky about their vegetables, they might not mind if the veggies are mixed into their favorite macaroni and cheese. Try adding some steamed mixed vegetables, broccoli florets, or some cauliflower to the mac and cheese.
  • Tex-Mex Macaroni and Cheese: Replace all or part of the cheddar cheese with pepper jack cheese. Add 1 can of chopped green chili peppers (drained) along with the cheese if desired.
  • Macaroni and Cheese With Bacon: Cook 6 to 8 strips of bacon until crisp; drain and crumble. Add most of the crumbled bacon to the cooked macaroni along with the cheese. Garnish servings with the remaining crumbled bacon.
  • Macaroni and Cheese With Ham: Add diced leftover ham to the cooked macaroni along with the shredded cheese.