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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese


This is the creamiest Instant Pot Mac and Cheese you’ll ever make! Even better, it can be made in one pot – no muss, no fuss. Pressure cooker macaroni and cheese is so easy (no roux!), and is ready in under 20 minutes.

a wooden spoon lifting up a serving of Instant Pot mac and cheese out of a black bowl.

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Ohhhhhhhh, friends, this extra-cheesy mac and cheese recipe is so simple to make. You won’t even believe how quickly it comes together and with hardly any dishes.

The sauce in this mac and cheese is so smooth and creamy, even as leftovers. This means it needs to go to the top of your list for easy meal prep.

Can You Cook Macaroni in the Instant Pot?

Yes, and you absolutely should! The Instant Pot turns this into a one-pot wonder magic dish! It’s a complete dinnertime game-changer.

You cook the butter, noodles, and water together, allowing all that awesome starchy goodness to create a base for creamy mac and cheese that will take your dinner to the next level.

4 photos showing how to make macaroni and cheese in an Instant Pot.

No pressure cooker? You can use the base recipe from this Homemade Stovetop Mac and Cheese.

How Long do You Cook Macaroni in the Instant Pot?

You only need 4 minutes of cook time, and then a quick release. I used an 8-quart pressure cooker and it took 11 minutes to come up to pressure and 3 minutes to depressurize. 

What is the Best Cheese for Mac and Cheese?

I love a blend of extra sharp cheddar (Tillamook in the black label is our favorite) and mozzarella. The extra-sharp gives the mac and cheese some bite/tang, and the mozzarella creates that amazing creamy goodness we all love.

But feel free to get creative and use what you have on hand. Adding a bit of smoked gouda can take this dish to “punch the wall” level exciting. 

a bowl of shredded cheese, cubed butter, evaporated milk, and elbow macaroni noodles.

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes

  • I have had multiple people test this recipe in their Instant Pots. One friend who had an off-brand pressure cooker did have an issue with not all of the water being absorbed when she cooked the pasta. If that happens, simply drain off any excess water before adding the cheese and evaporated milk.
  • It is not recommended you double this recipe. If you fill the inner pot too full, the water + melted butter combo might clog the vent during the quick release.
  • Fun additional toppings: bleu cheese, cilantro, or breadcrumbs (transfer mac and cheese to a baking dish, mix 2 tbsp of melted butter with 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs, sprinkle over the pasta, and put under a low broiler until lightly toasted). You can also use the chicken recipe from these Buffalo Chicken Fries to add some kick to your mac and cheese.
  • If possible, it’s worth the extra few minutes to shred your own cheese. Commercially shredded cheese has cellulose added to keep it from clumping up and it doesn’t melt as well.
  • If you don’t have evaporated milk, you can sub in regular milk, half-and-half, or cream. Just make sure you heat it before adding it to the hot pasta. This prevents the milk from curdling, resulting in a grainy cheese sauce.
  • Cooking time remains the same if you use whole wheat pasta, but increase the water by 1/4 cup.
a black bowl of macaroni and cheese with a spoon and shredded cheese on a board.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Prep Time5 mins

Cook Time4 mins

Pressurizing/depressurizing14 mins

Total Time23 mins

This is the creamiest instant pot mac and cheese you’ll ever make! Even better, it can be made in one pot – no muss, no fuss. Pressure cooker macaroni and cheese is so easy (no roux!), and is ready in under 20 minutes.

For an 8 quart Instant Pot

  • Cut butter into 4-5 pieces and combine with water, salt, and pasta in the Instant Pot.

    1 lb elbow noodles, 4 cups water, 1/2 cup butter, pinch of salt

  • Lock the lid into place and set the steam release handle to “Sealing”. Press Manual>High Pressure>4 minutes.

  • When it has finished cooking, flip the steam release handle to “venting” and allow any additional pressure to be released. Remove the lid. 

  • Turn the Instant Pot to “Off”.

  • Pour in the evaporated milk, add the cheese, and stir gently until the cheese has melted.

    12 oz evaporated milk, 3 cups cheese

For a 6 quart Instant Pot

  • Combine water and noodles in the Instant Pot.

    4 cups water, 1 lb elbow noodles

  • Lock the lid into place and set the steam release handle to “Sealing”. Press Manual>High Pressure>6 minutes.

  • When it has finished cooking, flip the steam release handle to “venting” and allow any additional pressure to be released. Remove the lid. 

  • Turn the Instant Pot to “Off”.

  • Pour in the evaporated milk, add the cubed butter, cheese, and stir gently until the cheese and butter have melted.

    1/2 cup butter, 12 oz evaporated milk, 3 cups cheese

  1. If your pressure cooker doesn’t absorb all water while cooking the pasta, simply drain off any excess water before adding the cheese and evaporated milk.
  2. It is not recommended you double this recipe. If you fill the inner pot too full, the water + melted butter combo might clog the vent during the quick release.
  3. Cooking time remains the same if you use whole wheat pasta, but increase the water by 1/4 cup.

Nutrition Facts

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)

Calories 217
Calories from Fat 108

% Daily Value*

Fat 12g18%

Saturated Fat 7g44%

Trans Fat 0.2g

Polyunsaturated Fat 1g

Monounsaturated Fat 3g

Cholesterol 34mg11%

Sodium 169mg7%

Potassium 117mg3%

Carbohydrates 19g6%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 2g2%

Protein 8g16%

Vitamin A 352IU7%

Vitamin C 0.3mg0%

Calcium 172mg17%

Iron 0.4mg2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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