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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese – Spend With Pennies


Mac & Cheese is my love language.

This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe is so incredibly simple, it all cooks in just one pot (including the pasta) and is ready in minutes.

Extra creamy, super cheesy, and ridiculously easy. This is the ultimate quick comfort food and just might become your new go-to macaroni and cheese recipe!

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese in a serving dish

Why You’ll Love Instant Pot Mac and Cheese as Much as I do

An Instant Pot is a brand of electric pressure cooker. It’s easy to use and cooks meals in no time at all making it perfect for weeknights!

  • Just one pot. Who doesn’t love washing fewer dishes?!
  • Extra cheesy and super easy to prepare. No roux, no flour, no strainer, no baking required.
  • A pressure cooker makes this so fast, this may even be quicker and easier than a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese (and it tastes better too)!
  • It’s creamy, cheesy, and delicious.

ingredients to make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with labels

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Ingredients

PASTA Dry elbow macaroni noodles are the simple pasta of choice for this recipe. These are small, easy to eat, and are great for soaking up all that cheesy sauce.

WATER & SEASONINGS The cooking water in this recipe is seasoned to add flavor to the pasta. The water is not drained, it is combined with cheese to make the creamy sauce!

CHEESE SAUCE Cheese, cheese, and more cheese! Remember not to drain the pasta. The leftover pasta water from cooking adds a little starch to the sauce to help it stick to the noodles. Milk is added to give it the perfect smooth texture.

Ensure you’re using sharp and bold cheeses in this recipe. Substitute some of the sharp cheddar with gruyere, gouda, fontina, or even Monterey jack. Skip the mozzarella cheese in this recipe as it isn’t bold enough.

Variations

  • Substitute half of the cooking water for low sodium chicken broth & skip the seasoning salt.
  • Add your own favorite seasonings from garlic powder to cayenne pepper or a dash of hot sauce.
  • To make it even creamier use evaporated milk or heavy cream in place of regular milk.
  • For a splash of color, toss in your favorite veggies like a handful of chopped spinach or steamed broccoli (after cooking, they’ll overcook if cooked with the pasta).
  • Add rotisserie chicken, diced ham, or even ground beef.
  • Sprinkle with crisp bacon.

process of adding ingredients together to make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

How to Make Instant Pot Mac & Cheese

  1. Add macaroni, water, & seasonings to an Instant Pot. Pressure cook on MANUAL – High Pressure.
  2. Quick release the pressure (as per recipe below) and be sure not to drain the cooking liquid.
  3. Add cream cheese, stir until melted.
  4. Stir in cheddar & parmesan cheese. Add remaining milk.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

What Goes With Mac & Cheese?

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is a rich and filling dish, serve it with a fresh Easy Arugula Salad and some Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks, or some crusty bread. Even some Parmesan Roasted Broccoli or Air Fryer Cauliflower would be light sides with this dish.

Storing & Reheating Leftovers

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • When reheating, it’s a good idea to add a splash of milk or cream (about 1 tbsp per cup of mac and cheese) while heating.
  • In the microwave, just add it to the bowl, & remember to stir everything together halfway through the reheating process.

We Love Mac and Cheese!

Did you make this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Instant pot mac and cheese takes all of the creamy goodness of homemade mac and cheese and turns it into an easy meal that’s cooked in one pot!


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  • Add dry elbow macaroni noodles, water, butter, dry mustard, onion powder, seasoned salt, and pepper to a 6 qt. Instant Pot.

  • Set the instant pot to MANUAL for 6 minutes on high pressure.

  • Once completed, quick release the pressure by turning or pressing the valve. There will be water in the bottom – do not drain it.

  • Stir in the cream cheese until melted. Add ¼ cup milk slowly until blended.

  • Stir in the cheddar and parmesan cheese. Add the remaining ½ cup milk until the desired consistency is reached. You may not need the entire amount of milk.

This recipe can be made with other types of cheese but you will need bold or sharp cheeses for the best flavor.
Shred the cheese yourself for the best results, pre-shredded cheeses have additives and they don’t always melt well.
Other shapes of pasta can be used but depending on the shape, cooking time may need to be adjusted slightly.
You may not use all of the milk, add just a little bit at a time.
6 minutes on high should be just right for most brands of pasta, if you use another small shape and find it isn’t cooked through, put the lid back on and let it sit a few minutes.

Calories: 327, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 54mg, Sodium: 375mg, Potassium: 155mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 595IU, Calcium: 317mg, Iron: 0.7mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Course Lunch, Pasta, Side Dish

Cuisine American

plated Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with writing
close up of Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with writing
cooked Instant Pot Mac and Cheese in the pot with writing

 

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese in the pot and plated with a title





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