Creamy & Decadent Instant Pot Mac & Cheese

Are you looking for a quick and easy comfort food recipe that the whole family will love? Look no further than this instant pot macaroni & cheese recipe!

Mac and cheese is a classic dish, but it can be time-consuming to make from scratch. However, with an instant pot, you can have creamy and delicious macaroni and cheese in just a fraction of the time.

In this article, I will guide you through every step of the recipe, offering helpful tips and substitutions along the way. Whether you’re new to instant pot cooking or are an experienced pro, this recipe is sure to become a favorite in your household.

So fire up your instant pot and let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese
Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese

When it comes to a classic comfort food like macaroni and cheese, we all have our favorite ways of making it. But let me tell you, this Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese Recipe is about to become your new favorite way of making this timeless dish!

First of all, can we talk about the convenience of using an Instant Pot? No more waiting for water to boil, no more hovering over the stove stirring the pasta. This recipe is as simple as adding uncooked macaroni with water, salt, and butter to the pot, and letting the high pressure work its magic for just 4 minutes.

But convenience isn’t everything. Let’s talk about taste. This mac and cheese is rich and creamy with a sharp cheddar cheese add that will keep you coming back for more. And let’s not forget about the garlic powder, mustard, salt, and hot sauce that add a flavorful kick to every bite.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is the versatility when it comes to customizing it to your liking. Swap out the cheddar cheese for three cheese blend or pepper jack to give it some additional zest. Add in some shredded chicken or macaroni chicken to make it a heartier meal. Or if you’re feeling vegan or dairy-free, switch out evaporated milk for a creamier option like almond milk.

Trust me when I say that once you try this Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese Recipe by Amy + Jacky, you’ll never want to make it any other way again!

Ingredient List

 Creamy and cheesy, this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe is the ultimate comfort food.
Creamy and cheesy, this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe is the ultimate comfort food.

Before we dive into the recipe, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to make this creamy Instant Pot macaroni and cheese. Here’s the list of ingredients that will be used:

  • 16 oz elbow macaroni
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 12 oz evaporated milk (or regular milk)
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Bread crumbs for topping (optional)

Nothing too fancy or out of the ordinary here. In fact, you might already have most of them in your kitchen right now! But if not, a quick trip to the grocery store should have you covered. Once you have all of these ingredients, it’s time to move on to the fun part – cooking!

The Recipe How-To

 No more store-bought mac and cheese, this homemade version is quick and easy to make.
No more store-bought mac and cheese, this homemade version is quick and easy to make.

Let’s get started with the Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese recipe! Here are the step-by-step instructions:


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Add uncooked macaroni, water, butter, salt, garlic powder and hot sauce (if using) to the Instant Pot inner pot.

  2. Stir well to combine and make sure all macaroni is submerged in the liquid.

  3. Close the Instant Pot lid and set to manual high pressure for 4 minutes.

  4. Once the timer goes off, do a quick release of pressure by turning the valve to “venting” position.

  5. Open the lid carefully away from you.

  6. The macaroni will be partially cooked with a little bit of residual water left in it in the pot.

  7. Now add milk and shredded cheddar cheese to the pot, while stirring constantly, until all cheese has melted and evenly incorporated into a creamy cheese sauce.

  8. If you find your mac and cheese is too thick, add a little more milk and stir well.

  9. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed with salt and pepper.

  10. Enjoy your creamy Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese!


  • For even more flavor, try adding diced cooked bacon, chopped jalapeño peppers or diced tomatoes to the cheesy pasta.
  • Make it healthier by using whole wheat macaroni and skim milk instead of regular macaroni and full-fat milk.
  • This recipe serves about 6-8 people depending on portion size.
  • To reheat leftovers, simply stir in a little milk or water and heat on medium-low heat until heated through.

That’s it! You’ve just made the best Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese recipe. Enjoy!

Substitutions and Variations

 The Instant Pot is a lifesaver when it comes to cooking pasta, and this recipe is no exception.
The Instant Pot is a lifesaver when it comes to cooking pasta, and this recipe is no exception.

One of the great things about this Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese recipe is that it’s easy to customize to your liking. Here are some suggestions for substitutions and variations:

– Cheese: While we recommend cheddar cheese for its sharp flavor, you can experiment with different types of cheese, such as Gouda, Asiago, or even a blend of cheeses.

– Milk: Use whole milk for a creamier texture, or try using half-and-half, heavy cream, or evaporated milk for even more richness. For a dairy-free option, use almond or oat milk.

– Butter: Swap out the butter for margarine or coconut oil. You can also infuse the butter with garlic or herbs for added flavor.

– Spices: Experiment with different seasonings to customize your mac and cheese. Try adding paprika, cumin, chili powder, or even hot sauce.

– Pasta: Feel free to use any type of pasta you like instead of traditional elbow macaroni. Penne or rigatoni work well in this recipe too. You can also use gluten-free pasta if needed.

– Vegetables: Add some color and nutrients by throwing in some cooked vegetables like broccoli or peas.

– Protein: For a heartier meal, add cooked chicken, bacon bits, or ham to the mac and cheese.

– Baked Macaroni & Cheese: For a crunchy topping, sprinkle bread crumbs over the mac and cheese once it’s done cooking and bake it in the oven until golden brown.

These are just a few ideas to get you started on customizing this mac and cheese recipe to fit your preferences. Get creative and make it your own!

Serving and Pairing

 Get ready for mac and cheese like you've never tasted before.
Get ready for mac and cheese like you’ve never tasted before.

When it comes to serving and pairing Instant Pot Mac & Cheese, there are a few things you should keep in mind. This dish is great on its own, but can also be elevated with some complementary sides and drinks.

First off, the creamy instant pot mac and cheese pairs well with some simple green vegetables, like steamed broccoli or roasted asparagus. These veggies not only add some variety to your plate, but they also bring a bit of lightness to balance out the richness of the dish.

Another great side to serve with this macaroni and cheese recipe is a fresh garden salad. The acidity and crunchiness of the greens provide a nice contrast to the warm, velvety cheese sauce. You could also go for something more indulgent like garlic bread or potato wedges for a carb-heavy meal.

As for drinks, the best way to wash down your mac and cheese is with something refreshing like iced tea or a chilled rosé wine. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could try pairing it with some hoppy beer or even spicy Bloody Mary cocktail for extra zing.

Overall, this comfort food classic makes for an easy weeknight dinner or weekend party fare that is sure to please everyone’s palate. And by playing around with side dishes and beverages pairings, it’s easy to customize your meal according to your preferences.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Perfectly cooked al dente elbow pasta smothered in a rich and gooey cheddar cheese sauce.
Perfectly cooked al dente elbow pasta smothered in a rich and gooey cheddar cheese sauce.

The Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese Recipe is a great dish to make in advance, allowing you to save time on busy weeknights or when entertaining guests. If you want to make this dish ahead of time, simply prepare the recipe according to instructions and store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

When you’re ready to reheat your macaroni and cheese, simply place it in the microwave for one minute or until it’s heated through. Alternatively, reheat it on a stovetop by adding a splash of milk to the pot and stirring until it’s hot.

If you have leftovers, consider storing them in individual meal prep containers for an easy and convenient lunch during the week. To keep your macaroni and cheese fresh for longer periods, consider freezing it in freezer-safe containers.

To reheat frozen macaroni and cheese, simply thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating either in the oven or microwave. Reheating frozen macaroni and cheese can cause it to dry out, so be sure to add a little extra milk or water before reheating.

Overall, Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese can be easily made ahead of time, stored in the fridge or freezer, and reheated quickly when you’re ready to enjoy. Its flexibility makes it perfect for those with busy schedules who need a quick meal solution without sacrificing taste or quality.

Tips for Perfect Results

 This recipe is perfect for dinner parties, potlucks, or a cozy night in.
This recipe is perfect for dinner parties, potlucks, or a cozy night in.

Let me share with you some tips for making the perfect creamy and delicious macaroni and cheese in your Instant Pot. Follow these tricks, and your dish will turn out perfect every time.

Firstly, make sure to select a sturdy type of pasta, such as elbow macaroni or rotini, which will hold up well under pressure cooking. Additionally, adding a tablespoon of butter or oil to the macaroni will help prevent the noodles from sticking together during cooking.

When using high-pressure cooking mode, it’s crucial to add enough liquid, usually water or broth. Don’t worry about having too much liquid left after cooking, as you can strain it out later.

For the cheese sauce, use sharp cheddar cheese that is grated fresh instead of pre-shredded. Freshly grated cheese will melt more smoothly than store-bought grated cheese, which often contains additives to prevent clumping.

To make the sauce extra creamy and flavorful, add a teaspoon of garlic powder and a pinch of mustard powder before blending in the cheese.

The key to avoiding a burn message is releasing all of the air pockets and ensuring that nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pot. Before locking the lid into place, press down on any visible pockets of pasta or cheese sauce with a spoon.

When releasing pressure after cooking, use quick release mode and keep your face at a distance from the pot. Once depressurized, remove the lid carefully.

Lastly, if you find that the macaroni and cheese is too thick after cooking, add additional milk in small increments until you reach your desired consistency.

By following these helpful tips and tricks, you are sure to create a flavorful pot of macaroni and cheese that is creamy, decadent and always perfect!

Bottom Line

This Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese Recipe is one that you won’t regret trying. With just a few simple ingredients and an instant pot, you can have creamy, cheesy goodness in no time. The best part is that it’s customizable to your taste, whether you want to add hot sauce or breadcrumbs, or swap out the cheddar cheese for Three Cheese, there are endless possibilities.

So why not step out of your culinary comfort zone and give this recipe a try? It’s perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or an easy potluck dish. With the convenience of the Instant Pot and the deliciousness of creamy mac and cheese, why settle for anything less?

Make sure to take advantage of the substitutions and variations section to truly make this recipe your own. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and flavors, as these additions can make all the difference in creating a unique and unforgettable dish.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a convenient and tasty mac and cheese recipe that will impress any guest, look no further than this Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese Recipe. Give it a try today and experience the creamy goodness yourself!

Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese

Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese Recipe

Slightly adapted from
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 3 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 458 kcal


  • 1 lb macaroni
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1/2-1 cup milk
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded


  • Place the water, salt, butter and noodles in the Instant Pot.
  • Close the lid and make sure the valve is on closed.
  • Use the manual setting and set for 3 minutes on high.
  • When the pot beeps, quick release the steam.
  • After the pressure has dropped, remove lid and give a stir.
  • Start with adding a ¼ cup of milk and shredded cheese.
  • Stir until cheese is melted, adding more milk if it seems dry.
  • Let sit at warm to let the liquid 'cook' a bit and the flavor to mingle for about 2 minutes.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 220gCalories: 458kcalCarbohydrates: 58.2gProtein: 20gFat: 15.6gSaturated Fat: 9.4gCholesterol: 45.8mgSodium: 651.9mgFiber: 2.4gSugar: 2.2g
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