Creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese [Video]

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet

Creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is the easiest dish to make, yet the most delicious! Made entirely using the pressure cooker, and ready in under 30 minutes for a quick and delicious dinner.

We love making easy and comfort pasta dishes in the Instant Pot. Among our most popular once are Tuscan Chicken PastaChicken Pot Pie Pasta, and Philly Cheesesteak Pasta.

Creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

The Best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

This Creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is the perfect version that delivers truly rich, creamy, and a comforting dish. After making the most amazing baked Mac and Cheese Casserole, I decided to replicate the highly popular dish in the Instant Pot. Using the pressure cooker saves time, effort, and it’s very convenient. You literally dump everything in the pot and turn it on for 5 minutes.

This Pressure Cooker Mac and Cheese will quickly become your favorite easy to make the recipe, that will satisfy both kids and adults alike.

The key to creamy and delicious Mac and Cheese is using a combination of different cheeses, plus milk and butter. This way, all you have to do is cook the pasta with seasonings in the Instant Pot, let off the steam, and then stir in the rest of the ingredients. The heat of the pasta is enough to melt the cheeses and cream together into a perfect, creamy sauce in no time.

The Best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

INSTANT POT MAC AND CHEESE INGREDIENTS:

You will need the following ingredients to make this dish:

  • Pasta: We like using elbow macaroni, but feel free to use any short type of uncooked pasta.
  • Butter: It gives the dish a nice and creamy texture. 
  • Water: It is used to cook the pasta. For even more flavor, you can use half water and half broth. 
  • Dry mustard: It works great for this recipe. You can also use Dijon mustard.
  • Seasoning: Salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and red pepper flakes is what we use. Adjust per your taste. 
  • Cream Cheese: This is what makes this meal so creamy and delicious!
  • Milk and heavy whipped cream: Whole milk works great. However, you can use half and half as well. 
  • Freshly-grated cheese: Freshly grated cheddar and parmesan cheese are the best! Remember, this recipe will only taste as good as the cheese you use. So, try using good quality cheeses. You can also use other types if desired. For example, Fontina, Gouda, Gruyere, Havarti, Monterey Jack, are all great alternatives. 

HOW DO YOU MAKE CREAMY INSTANT POT MAC AND CHEESE

This is one simple and easy recipe to make, and ready in no time. For exact ingredients measures, please follow the recipe card below. Also, I have attached a short step-by-step video to guide you through the cooking process. Below are the quick steps to make it:

  • Start with Elbow macaroni, water, butter, and seasoning.
  • After that, set the High Pressure on 5 minutes.
  • Then, add the milk, and heavy cream.
  • Next, add in the cheeses and simply stir.
  • The result is a rich, cheesy, and creamy, saucy macaroni.

POSSIBLE VARIATIONS:

It is easy to customize this homemade pressure cooker macaroni and cheese. Some great additions are:

  • Add some veggies: For a boost of vitamins and add some color to it, go ahead and add some baby spinach, sun-dried tomatoes or broccoli. 
  • Meat or protein: Similarly, you can add cooked chicken, bacon, ground beef, kielbasa, lobster, or even shrimp to it. 
  • Make it on the stove: Check out the stove version of this recipe by clicking on this link
  • Alfredo Mac and Cheese: Making it with alfredo is equally delicious. Find the recipe here

Ultimate Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

WHAT IS THE BEST CHEESE TO USE FOR MAC AND CHEESE?

This totally depends on your taste and preference. Any good quality melting cheese will perfectly work for this dish. A combination of cheddar, Parmesan is what I usually use. Similarly, a sharp white cheddar cheese, mozzarella, Monterrey, or Asiago will produce a smooth, rich and creamy sauce.

WHAT SHOULD I SERVE WITH MAC AND CHEESE?

This dish is very versatile, and can be served as it is, or with various pairings. Some suggestions would be:

HOW TO FREEZE CREAMY MAC AND CHEESE?

  • First, make sure the dish is fully chilled before freezing.
  • To freeze, transfer the mixture to a buttered 9-by-13-inch freezer-to-oven baking dish.
  • Then, cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months. Bake, frozen and covered with foil, at 350°F, for 1 hour.

Creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe Tips

  • This meal can be made with your preferred type of smaller pasta. I like to use Elbow pasta for this dish.
  • Additionally, use quality cheese. If you want a truly creamy texture, it is best not to use pre-shredded cheese. Take the extra few minutes and shred your own cheese.
  • Also, feel free to swap cheeses for a combination of whatever you have on hand. Such cheeses as Asiago, Gouda, smoked Cheddar, Monterrey, will work just as well.
  • Instant Pot – I have the 6 quarts one. It makes weeknight meals so much easier.

Save Recipe
5 from 5 reviews
Easy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 6 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 5 minutes Total time: 10 mins

Ingredients

Cook the Pasta:

  • 1 lb  elbow macaroni  (dry)
  • 4 tablespoons  butter  (unsalted)
  • 4 1/2 cups  cups water 
  • 1 teaspoon  dry mustard 
  • 1/2 teaspoon  thyme 
  • 1/4 teaspoon  ground black pepper 
  • 1/4 teaspoon  kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon  garlic powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon  red pepper flakes  (optional)

Cheese:

  • 4 oz  cream cheese  (softened and cubed)
  • 1 cup  milk  (warm)
  • 1/2 cup  heavy whipping cream  (warm)
  • 2-3 cups  cheddar cheese  (shredded)
  • 1 cup  parmesan  (shredded)

Garnish:

  • 10 slices  thick cut cooked bacon  (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add all the ingredients from the "Cook the Pasta" list to the pot. Stir to combine.

  2. Cover and seal the lid. Make sure the valve points to Sealed. Adjust time to 5 minutes on High Pressure.
  3. Once Instant Pot beeps to show that it's done, wait 5 minutes and after that do a quick release, by changing the position of the valve to Vent. Carefully remove cover and stir.
  4. With the pressure cooker on Warm, add the cream cheese, warm milk, warm cream, 2 cups of cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese until fully melted. If you want, stir in the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

  5. If the sauce is too thick you can stir in more warm milk.
  6. Turn off Instant Pot.
  7. If desired, top Mac and cheese with cooked bacon before serving.
Calories: 552 Carbohydrates: 62 Protein: 28 Fat: 20 Saturated Fat: 8 Cholesterol: 34 Sodium: 803 Potassium: 338 Fiber: 2 Sugar: 6 Vitamin A: 775 Vitamin C: 0.2 Calcium: 471 Iron: 1.3
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Comments

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Meghan

I'm getting a new Instant Pot this week so I am adding this to the dinner menu for SURE!

Reply

Kimberly

That looks so good and everything is better with bacon!

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Melanie Bauer

Looks incredibly delicious! This is great specially when we need something quick and easy, love it!

Reply

Toni | Boulder Locavore

This looks like a new favorite dinner in my house!

Reply

Jamielyn

YUM! I haven't tried making mac and cheese in the instant pot yet. Looks so quick and easy!

Reply

Anna

Instant Pot mac is a favorite around here! The addition of bacon makes it irresistible!

Reply

Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert

I need to try this immediately, it looks so good!

Reply

Jenn4pc

Can this be doubled? I have the 8 qt Instant Pot .

Reply

Yes, it can.

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Jade

How many iterations of the recipe will fit in a 6-qt? 8qt? I cannot wait to try this recipe, and I am so confident this will be a smash, I'm not even going to do a test run!

Reply

1 in the 6qt and maybe 2 in the 8qt. Hope you will like it!

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