Instant Pot Mac & Cheese Recipe

Katie Jasiewicz | Katie's Cucina

Belly-up to a comforting bowl of creamy mouth-watering Instant Pot Mac & Cheese that is made in under 10 minutes. You will never make macaroni and cheese any other way again.

Once again, I’ve been testing and trying different ways to cook macaroni and cheese in the Instant pot, and I’ve finally found the correct heat setting as well as the perfect combo of cheese and cream.

Instant Pot Mac & Cheese Photo

I tested this recipe so many times in one month that my family was only willing to have a few bites toward the end of my testing.

I was handing out containers full of macaroni and cheese to neighbors—no one complained one bit!

People think I’m crazy when I tell them you can actually cook macaroni and cheese in the instant pot.

Instant Pot Mac & Cheese Picture

You place an entire box of elbow macaroni in the Instant Pot plus the spice combo I’ve created, as well as water.

Turn the lid to the locking position and make sure the steam valve is closed. Then set the Instant Pot to “manual” mode for 4 minutes.

That’s it! Easy as that!

Instant Pot Mac & Cheese Image

It will take about 4-5 minutes to come to pressure. Once the Instant Pot beeps, carefully release the pressure.

You will have a tiny bit of water in the Instant Pot and that is okay. Stir the noodles and then stir in the heavy cream and half the cheddar cheese.

Stir until melted, and then repeat again until all the cheese has been stirred in and melted.

Taste the pasta and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Then ladle into bowls and enjoy.

Instant Pot Mac & Cheese Pic

You can also keep the macaroni and cheese on the “warm” mode and wait to serve it for up to an hour.

However, if you do this you might need to add additional cream.

This recipe is perfect for entertaining with. I can’t wait to create a mac and cheese bar for friends and family this holiday season.

Think about all the fun toppings you can pair with this pasta! My son’s favorite is crispy bacon—yes, that’s how my 4-year-old request his mac and cheese!

File 1 - Instant Pot Mac & Cheese

During my recipe testing I tried various methods of liquid. From whole milk, heavy cream, and evaporated milk.

At the end of the day my family and I preferred the heavy cream. It yielded the creamiest macaroni and cheese.

Some will argue that if you don’t use evaporated milk, the cheese will clump and coagulate. Yes—that will happen to an extent using the heavy cream; however, we preferred the creaminess.

File 2 - Instant Pot Mac & Cheese

We found with the evaporated milk it left a little bit of a tangy after taste that we didn’t like. 

When it comes to mac & cheese, the cheese is the second most important component to the recipe.

I tested a variety of cheeses from sharp cheddar, mild cheddar, mozzarella cheese, fontina, smoked gouda, Gruyere, Parmesan and the list goes on.

At the end of the day I really liked the combo of sharp cheddar paired with a mild mozzarella.

File 3 - Instant Pot Mac & Cheese

I also prefer Cabot cheese of all the cheddars. It’s the smoothest and melts the best.

I’ve grated my own cheddar from a block as well as used the pre-shredded.

I didn’t notice a difference, but every time I tested I used Cabot. So, you might yield different results if you use another brand.

If you’re looking to simplify lunch or dinner, or maybe looking to entertain and make a mac & cheese bar of your own, I hope you’ll give my Instant Pot Mac & Cheese recipe a try.

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Instant Pot Mac & Cheese Recipe

    8 Servings


  • 1 pound Elbow Macaroni
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 4 tablespoons Salted Butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Hot Sauce
  • 4 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded (like Cabot)
  • 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese


  1. Place the elbow macaroni, ground mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, butter, hot sauce, and water in a 6-quart Instant Pot. Close the lid, making sure the pressure valve is in the “sealing” position.
  2. Set the Instant Pot to “manual” and cook for 4 minutes.
  3. As soon as the Instant Pot beeps, carefully release the pressure from the pot. Remove the lid and stir the noodles.
  4. Then stir in the heavy cream, cheddar cheese, and mozzarella cheese.
  5. Stir until melted, then serve immediately. 


Cooking Method:
Instant Pot
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Related Recipes:
One Pot Meal Recipes, Easy Dinner Recipes, Easy Recipes, Instant Pot Recipes, Pressure Cooker Recipes, Pressure Cooking Recipes, Macaroni and Cheese Recipes, Pasta Recipes, Cheese Recipes
Recipe Yields:
6-8 servings
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Related Post:
Author: Katie Jasiewicz
Recipe Yields: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 1 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 155
Calories 403

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g
  Saturated Fat 12g
Sodium 423mg
Total Carbohydrate 43g
  Dietary Fiber 2g
  Sugars 8g
Protein 14g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.
Katie Jasiewicz

About Katie

Katie is our resident one-pot meal fanatic, but you'll find that she's passionate about every kind of food, from dinners to desserts, on her blog Katie's Cucina.

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