Get ready to have the easiest Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe made with just simple ingredients already in your pantry. And I have the secret to making your mac and cheese come out smooth and creamy every time. Yep, no more goopy cheese!
Mac and Cheese – Instant Pot Style!
With more than 235K page views since 2021, this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is my most popular pressure cooker recipe on the site. And for good reason, because it’s easy to make and absolutely delicious!
I’ll tell you the secret to that creamy cheese, and it makes a huge difference. Instead of pre-shredded cheese, use freshly shredded cheddar cheese right off the block. Pre-shredded cheese tends to use preservatives that turn grainy or even goop and stick together when melted.
Use a cheese grater, or better yet, a food processor, to shred the cheese quickly.
This simple, easy step gives the macaroni and cheese a delicious, creamy texture that is impossible to beat.
I made this in my 6-Quart Instant Pot Duo Nova. It has the same functions as the normal Instant Pot Duo but has an improved seal that will last longer.
Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese Ingredients
- Elbow Macaroni – or small shell pasta
- Butter – unsalted
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese – shredded
- Whole Milk – for the creamiest texture, though low fat works in a pinch
How to Make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
STEP ONE: Place the inner pot into your Instant Pot. This is the pot you will cook inside. Add the pasta, butter, salt, and water.
Do not stir, but you can slowly move the noodles around to make sure the water covers them as best as possible.
STEP TWO: Close the lid and push the pressure cook button for high pressure and turn it to 4 minutes. It may also show as manual mode.
It will take about 10 minutes for the pressure to build in the pot and then the clock will start counting down.
STEP THREE: When the Instant Pot beeps and the time is at zero, carefully use the quick release to release the pressure.
When the knob drops back down, the pressure has been released and you can open the lid.
STEP FOUR: Change the Instant Pot to Saute mode and add in sharp cheddar cheese and milk and stir to combine until fully melted.
Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese Tips
- Use freshly grated cheddar cheese to prevent graininess — pre shredded cheddar cheese can contain preservatives that can make the cheese goop together when melted
- Use a long oven mitt or wooden spoon to quick release your Instant Pot easily
- Do not cover the steam with a cloth or any other object
- You can easily halve this Instant Pot mac n cheese recipe by cutting all ingredients in half, but use the same cooking time
- Do not add the milk until after the mac and cheese is done pressure cooking or the milk will curdle and start to separate
- Use elbow macaroni or small shells pasta with this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe
Instapot Mac and Cheese Recipe Variations
- Swap shredded cheddar cheese with small cubed Velveeta for an extra creamy version
- Use chicken broth instead of water when pressure cooking for some added flavor
- Add in some cream cheese for more creaminess
- Add some garlic powder, Monterey Jack cheese, and/or Parmesan cheese for some new flavors in your Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Toss in some buffalo chicken or diced ham for added protein
- Add a little hot sauce for a good kick of spicy
- Swap out the milk for a can of evaporated milk for an extra creamy sauce
What to Serve with Pressure Cooker Mac and Cheese
- Baby Back Ribs
- Air Fryer Asparagus
- Air Fryer Carrots (or Instant Pot Carrots)
- Green Bean Casserole
- Garlic Cheese Bread
- Air Fryer Hot Dogs
More like this Instant Pot Mac N Cheese
- Mac and Cheese with Cream Cheese
- Ninja Foodi Mac and Cheese
- Air Fryer Mac and Cheese Bites
- Crockpot Mac and Cheese
- Stove Top Mac and Cheese
- Mac and Cheese Without Milk
- Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
- 12 Ways to Use Leftover Mac and Cheese
- Mac and Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Stovetop Mac and Cheese
More Instant Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
- Instant Pot Navy Bean Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks
- Instant Pot Sirloin Tip Roast
- Instant Pot Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Instant Pot Steak
- 16 ounces elbow macaroni
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 chunks
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- Add elbow pasta, butter, salt, and water in the Instant Pot. Do not stir the pasta, but gently use a spoon to make sure all pasta is covered with water.
- Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes, then quick release carefully.*
- Change to "saute mode" and add in cheddar cheese and milk.
- Stir to combine until fully melted then remove from heat.
- Enjoy immediately!
* If releasing the pressure causes splatter, stop the release and try again in 10-15 seconds
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 264Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 329mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 10g
This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.