Move over stovetop, crockpot or even oven baked mac and cheese, because this creamy and cheesy Instant Pot Macaroni And Cheese will win the prize for taste and convenience every time!
Don’t underestimate the power of the Instant Pot when it comes to one-pot meals like this one. Easy and delicious instant pot mac n cheese is made in less than 30 minutes and still has all the cheesy goodness everyone loves from traditional mac and cheese recipes. And the best thing besides the delicious cheesy flavor, is that it’s made without any of the fuss.
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Perfect Mac and Cheese Every Time!
- Just toss the noodles with water and spices in the Instant Pot, close the lid, select the cooking time, and voila, the noodles are cooked perfectly every time. No need to hover over a boiling pot of noodles, wait for the water to boil, and then test the noodles for doneness. Nope. Not with this recipe.
- There is just enough time to grate the cheese and measure the remaining ingredients while the noodles are cooking. Add everything to the pot once the noodles are done and stir. So simple!
- This homemade version is healthy compared to the processed type.
- Macaroni And Cheese can be served as a side dish with almost entree like chicken breast or ham. But it can also be served as a main dish. Pair it with a side of kale or Greek salad for a complete meal.
Ingredients & Variations
NOODLES – Choose small macaroni noodles for this dish. Different sized noodles have different cooking times, so if choosing a different type of noodle try the smaller versions like penne or spiral.
CHEESE – Don’t omit the cream cheese, this cheese will keep the sauce smooth and velvety. Sharp cheddar will give the sauce a deeper flavor, but in a pinch just use plain cheddar. Parmesan cheese has a slightly nutty and salty flavor which is delicious. Fresh blocks of parmesan can be found in the specialty cheese section of the supermarket. Make sure to shred it before adding it to the pot.
MILK – Use regular milk for this recipe or replace it with a can of evaporated milk or some light cream.
VARIATIONS – The variations on this recipe are so diverse and so much fun. Get creative and dress up that pot of noodles! Leave out the parmesan and replace it with some Velveeta (16 oz) cut into cubes. Replace the cheddar with some gruyere, gouda, or even blue cheese. Or sprinkle some crumbled cooked bacon or bacon bits in to the sauce. Why not add some broccoli or shredded chicken? To make it a spicy, buffalo style mac and cheese, add 1/2 cup of buffalo sauce. Or for a gluten free version use cauliflower instead of noodles.
How to Make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
Cook this comforting and cheesy dish in no time!
- Toss noodles, water, and spices in the Instant Pot.
- Cook as per the recipe below.
- Stir in milk and cheeses.
Leftovers are perfect for weekday lunches, for the following night’s dinner or freeze to enjoy later on!
Instant pot mac n cheese will last in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Place lunch-sized portions in individual, re-heatable containers for work or school. Simply warm in the microwave for a few seconds. Warm larger portions by placing in a baking dish, add a tablespoon milk and stir. Preheat oven to 350°F and warm (covered) for 20-30 minutes or until heated through.
Freeze larger portions in an air tight container and save for another meal. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw mac and cheese overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat as directed above.
Other Mac N Cheese Recipes!
- Homemade Creamy Mac and Cheese – easy stovetop method.
- Smoked Macaroni and Cheese – flavorful and fun.
- Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese – a classic baked recipe.
Instant Pot Macaroni And Cheese
- 2 ½ cups macaroni pasta uncooked
- 3 cups water
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon seasoned salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 3 ounces cream cheese approximately ⅓ cup
- ¾ cup milk divided
- 2 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese shredded
- Add macaroni noodles, water, butter, dry mustard, onion powder, seasoned salt, and pepper to the Instant Pot.
- Seal the lid and select manual pressure high. Set the timer for 6 minutes. Manually release pressure once completed.
- Do not drain the water in the bottom. Stir in cream cheese to melt. Add ¼ cup milk slowly until blended.
- Stir in cheddar and parmesan. Add the remaining ½ cup milk, mixing a little at a time, until desired consistency is reached. You may not need all of the milk.
- Prep remaining ingredients (shred cheese, etc.) while pasta cooks.
- Refrigerate mac n cheese for 3-5 days in air tight, individual or meal sized portions. Freeze larger portions in an air tight container for up to 3 months.
- Thaw mac and cheese in the refrigerator, then reheat covered in a 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes or until heated through. For individual portions, simply microwave at 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until heated.
Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.
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