Easy and Delicious Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese
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Instant Pot macaroni and cheese.

There’s just something about the rich cheeseyness that makes mac and cheese the ultimate comfort food. I’m entirely guilty of comforting myself with an entire box of spiral Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (because let’s be real – the spirals DO taste different), but it lacks that ooey, gooey delightfulness that you get from a homemade batch. Enter Instant Pot Mac and Cheese. I’ve made a few batches of macaroni and cheese in my Instant Pot. I have tried putting my own spin on a classic, but I kept coming back to the recipe from Dad Cooks Dinner. It’s easy to follow, cheesy and delicious – what more could you want from macaroni and cheese?

The Process

Instant Pot macaroni and cheese starts with 4 cups of water and 16 oz of elbow noodles. When I shop for noodles, I make sure to get the 16 oz box – some of the boxes are only 12 oz. The water and noodles go into the pot – weeeeeee! Easy enough so far, right? Then I add 2 TBS of butter, 1 TBS yellow mustard, and 1 tsp Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. The recipe calls for 1 TBS of Diamond kosher salt or 2 tsp table salt – I usually only add 1 tsp of table salt if that. I’m not a big salt person, so I don’t use very much in most of my cooking. I slosh that around a bit in the pot with a spoon, and add the lid with the valve in the “sealing” position. The soon-to-be macaroni deliciousness gets cooked on the “Manual” setting for 4 minutes. And now we get ready to party macaroni style!

Hey Macaroni!

It takes my pot about 5 minutes to come up to pressure. The noodley-goodness only has a 4 minute cook time, but the pot needs time to build pressure. When the pot finishes cooking, I use a quick release. For pasta newbies – a quick release with pasta has the potential to create a mess. I say this because…well…. I did it the first time I made pasta in my Instant Pot. Now I use a small paper towel and the spoon that came with my Instant Pot to help me do an SQR – what I’m calling a “Slow Quick Release.” Warning – the excitement in the next video may be too much for you to handle (in my defense, I was preparing turkey for dinner, mini Instant Pot cheesecakes, maple bacon wrapped mini sausages,  and the Instant Pot macaroni and cheese for a New Year’s shindig 🙂 )

“The Slow Quick Release”

A full quick release will let all of the steam out very rapidly. Using this method, I control how fast the steam comes out. I have the paper towel there just in case I do have a pasta quick release emergency. I’ve never had any issues with this method though.

After the quick release comes the fun part! I add 16 oz of freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese, a handful at a time, and one can of Evaporated milk. Now, I hate shredding cheese. But I LOVE shredding cheese with my KitchenAid cheese shredder thinger.

I have tried using milk, half and half, heavy cream, and evaporated milk in macaroni and cheese recipes, and the evaporated milk is consistently the best for m. The sharp cheddar cheese is also a consistent favorite but any cheese could be substituted for taste – get down with your macaroni and cheese adventurous self! I also add a handful of a four cheese blend from Wegman’s.

Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese
Ooey gooey cheesey goodness!

After it’s all mixed up, I transfer to an 2.5 quart Corelle dish and add a bread crumb topping. Usually I use Italian Style bread crumbs because that’s what I usually have in my pantry. I broil the macaroni and cheese for 5-10 minutes – I try to keep an eye on the color, and take it out when it looks delicious.


Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese Bread Crumb Topping Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese





The recipe from Dad Cooks Dinner has been consistent for me (be sure to check it out!), and has received great reviews from anyone I’ve served it to. My husband even said he’d eat it again, and that is a big deal! 🙂 If you try any different cheeses or variations, we’d love to hear from you! Happy Instant Pot macaroni and cheese-ing!



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