A big bowl of creamy cheesy mac and cheese topped with parsley sprigs.
Instant Pot, Pasta

Instant Pot macaroni and cheese

13 comments

Yes, you can make creamy, delicious macaroni and cheese in an Instant Pot / electric pressure cooker / multi-cooker!! I use a blend of sharp cheddar cheese, Neufchatel cheese and Parmesan cheese in this homemade macaroni and cheese recipe. This blend of cheeses gives a rich creamy and tangy flavor. Plus it’s easy and fun to make!

A big bowl of creamy cheesy mac and cheese topped with parsley sprigs.
Instant Pot macaroni and cheese is creamy and delicious

While making macaroni and cheese in an Instant Pot / electric pressure cooker won’t necessarily save you time compared to a traditional stove-top method, there are some advantages to it. Making this recipe all-in-one pot is super convenient and it helps make clean-up a little quicker. If you don’t have a cook-top, you too can make an inexpensive, quick meal at home. Plus, it’s kinda cool. I mean who doesn’t want another delicious recipe that you can make in your Instant Pot / electric pressure cooker?

Ingredients for Instant Pot macaroni and cheese.
Fresh ingredients for Instant Pot macaroni and cheese

Ingredients for Instant Pot macaroni and cheese

I use three types of cheese in this electric pressure cooker macaroni and cheese. I like the blend of Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese and Neufchatel cheese. If you aren’t familiar with Neufchatel cheese it is tangy and very similar to Philadelphia cream cheese, but with 1/3 less fat. You will find it right next to the Philly in the grocery store. When it comes to Parmesan cheese, purchase the real block of Parmesan found in the deli section of the grocery store and grate it yourself. I go through allot of Parmesan cheese, so we buy a block of it at Costco. The texture and flavor of the real Parmesan is worth it.

Aromatic and fresh

In addition to the three cheeses, you’ll need elbow macaroni, one 14.5 oz can chicken broth (or 2 cups), butter, whole milk, heavy cream, dried mustard powder, garlic powder, ground nutmeg, cayenne, salt and white ground pepper. The aromatic spices give the macaroni and cheese great flavor and just a little kick.

A big bowl of Instant Pot macaroni and cheese. Spoon to the left of the bowl. Rich and delicious.
Easy to make macaroni and cheese in one pot!

Why white ground pepper?

Picky eaters tend to find little black flecks in their macaroni and cheese to be unappealing. This is the main reason why. Also, if you are cooking for children, start with just a slight dash of cayenne. Taste it once it’s all finished. You can always add more salt, pepper and cayenne as desired.

How to make Instant Pot macaroni and cheese

This is where the fun begins. First, I highly recommend you get all your ingredients measured and placed out just so…”mise en place.” This process goes quickly. The first step includes cooking the elbow macaroni el dente. Place 8 oz of elbow macaroni into the Instant Pot / electric pressure cooker. Pour in the chicken broth and give it a stir. There should be just enough liquid to cover the macaroni, like this. Add in 1 tablespoon of butter on top. Seal the Instant Pot. Set it to high-pressure for 5 minutes and start.

Elbow macaroni covered with chicken broth in the Instant Pot. This is right before cooking it.
Use chicken broth for the best flavor

Why use chicken broth?

Cooking the macaroni in chicken broth gives it great flavor. If you’d like to use vegetable broth instead, you can. I find the flavor of the chicken broth goes perfectly with all the cheese. Once the Instant Pot / electric pressure cooker has signaled it is finished, carefully quick release the steam. Open the lid. The macaroni will be cooked through like this.

A large wooden spoon is filled with macaroni cooked el dente. All the liquid is absorbed.
Macaroni cooked perfectly el dente.

The macaroni absorbs the liquid. There should be very little liquid left in the pot. The next step includes making the creamy, dreamy, macaroni and cheese sauce. At this point, add in a tablespoon more butter, milk, cream and spices. Set the Instant Pot / electric pressure cooker to saute for 7 minutes. You may not use the whole 7 minutes for thickening the sauce, but its better to shut the pressure cooker off yourself than to run out of time.

Adding milk, cream and spices to the Instant Pot.
Milk, cream and spices added

The sauce will develop as you add in all the cheese. Stir and it will melt and thicken. It becomes a delicious, creamy sauce. If the Instant Pot becomes too hot, pause the saute function to stop the heat. It should take just a few minutes for the sauce to thicken. If it’s too thin, you can add more cheddar cheese a little at a time.

An overhead photo of cheese being added to the Instant Pot macaroni and cheese.
Add in a 3-cheese blend

If it’s too thick, you can thin the sauce with a little more milk. Keep in mind, the sauce will thicken slightly as the macaroni and cheese sits in the Instant Pot / electric pressure cooker once it’s turned off. Taste the macaroni and cheese and adjust the seasoning to your taste. For example, add in more salt, pepper or cayenne pepper. And voila! This is the creamy, dreamy macaroni and cheese you end up with!

A bowl of Instant Pot macaroni and cheese. Parsley on top.
Serve Instant Pot macaroni and cheese immediately

Instant Pot macaroni and cheese is best enjoyed the same day. It is most creamy right after it is made. This recipe is enough for four people. I often make this creamy Instant Pot macaroni and cheese on busy weeknights. It’s delicious comfort food ~ fast!

What brand of electric pressure cooker to use

The Instant Pot is quickly becoming a household name for electric pressure cookers / multi-cookers. However, there are many brands on the market. Which one should you buy? The answer to this question simply depends on your budget and what features you need to have. Most Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker recipes and books will tell you how to cook something using manual functions (high, medium, low pressure) and set times. You will become a better cook by learning these rather than just using preset buttons.

I have the Breville Fast Slow Pro multi-function cooker (affiliate link below). There are a few things that I like about this electric pressure cooker including its sleek design, ability to pressure cook and slow cook and easy to read display. It also has a non-stick removable cooking bowl, many accessories and high, medium and low pressure cook functions vs just a high and low. The Instant Pot, while also a great brand simply has too many pre-set buttons for my liking, which can be confusing at times. However, everyone I know that has one, likes it. It is a great electric pressure cooker to start off with.

This post contains affiliate links. Read disclosure here.

What to serve with Instant Pot macaroni and cheese

While this recipe makes a great lunch on its own, it also makes a great side dish to some of these tasty dishes:

I hope you enjoy this recipe for Instant Pot macaroni and cheese. It’s easy to make and has a rich, creamy flavor. Leave me a comment below about your thoughts and experiences with this recipe. I hope you are having fun using your Instant Pot / electric pressure cooker. There are so many unique ways to use it.

Happy cooking!
Michelle

If you make any of my recipes, share your photo with #northwestspoon and tag me.

Instant Pot macaroni and cheese

Recipe by Michelle BarsnessCourse: Instant Pot, PastaCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

12

minutes
Calorieskcal

Yes, you can make creamy, delicious macaroni and cheese in an Instant Pot / electric pressure cooker / multi-cooker!! I use a blend of sharp cheddar cheese, Neufchatel cheese and Parmesan cheese in this homemade macaroni and cheese recipe. This blend of cheeses gives a rich creamy and tangy flavor. Plus it’s easy and fun to make!

Ingredients

  • 8 oz elbow macaroni (approximately 2 cups)

  • 2 cups chicken broth, (14.5 oz can, plus a little water = 2 cups)

  • 2 tbsp butter (divided)

  • 1 cup whole milk, plus 1/4 more set aside

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 1 tsp dried mustard powder

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

  • 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper

  • 4 oz Neufchatel cheese (1/2 an 8 oz package)

  • 1 heaping cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/4 tsp additional salt, to taste. (Taste it first!)

Directions

  • Add elbow macaroni, chicken broth and 1 tablespoon of butter into the electric pressure cooker. The macaroni should be just covered by liquid. Give it a stir.
  • Seal the electric pressure cooker. Set it to high pressure for 5 minutes, and start.
  • Wait for your electric pressure cooker’s signal that it is finished. Do a quick release of the steam. Carefully open the pressure cooker.
  • Stir the macaroni. Almost all of the liquid should be absorbed by the pasta. Add another 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 cup of milk and the heavy cream. Next, add in the dried mustard powder, garlic powder, nutmeg, cayenne and white pepper. Set the pressure cooker to saute function for 7 minutes.
  • Stir in the Neufchatel cheese, sharp cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese. As the cheese melts the sauce will thicken. If necessary add in up to another 1/4 cup milk to desired saucy consistency. Turn off the pressure cooker. You can also add in additional sharp cheddar cheese up to 1/4 cup to help thicken it. This should take a few minutes. Also, it tends to thicken more as it sits in the electric pressure cooker with the heat off.
  • Taste the macaroni and cheese. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Add a little more salt, pepper or cayenne to taste.

Notes

  • 8 oz of elbow macaroni  is 1/2 a 16 oz box or approximately 2 cups.
  • This recipe feeds four people or up to six people as a side dish with no left-overs. Homemade Instant Pot / Electric pressure cooker / Multi-cooker macaroni and cheese is best enjoyed the same day. It is most creamy right after it is made.
  • Neufchatel cheese is like Philadelphia cream cheese, but 1/3 less fat. You’ll find it right next to the Philly.
  • If you are vegetarian, you can substitute the chicken broth with vegetable broth.
  • If you made this recipe, please come back and tell me how you liked it at https://www.northwestspoon.com/instant-pot-macaroni-and-cheese
 

13 Comments

  1. What?! My Instant Pot can do this? That looks like the sauciest, creamiest mac’n cheese I have ever seen. Just the way I like it! Can not wait to try this. I have a 3qt. Instant Pot, do I need to halve this recipe? Thanks!

     
    • Hi Tara, Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. The first time you try it, I would recommend cutting the ingredients in half (just to be safe). You can keep the cooking time exactly the same. I haven’t tested it in a 3 quart yet. I have a 6 quart pressure cooker. I hope you like this blend of cheese. It was a big hit with my family.

       
  2. caren p magill

    Hi Michelle,

    I gave you a 5 star review for that awesome mac and cheese. I would never have thought to make it in an instant pot 🙂

     
  3. Oooo mac and cheese in the instant pot! Love it! I love all of the extra spices and flavours that have gone into this recipe, I can’t wait to try it out on my kids!

     
  4. Can’t beat the good old mac’n cheese! Your version looks super creamy and delicious, and I think you’ve convinced me to buy instant pot! Nicely done!

     
  5. I really like using my instant pot. I like it even better when I can find quick and wholesome recipes like this macaroni and cheese.

     
  6. It looks like I will never get tired of macaroni and cheese because every time I see a new recipe, I get really excited. Your recipe is not an exception – can’t wait to give it a try!

     
  7. Always ready for another portion of mac’n’cheese – this world is so much better when there is a full bowl of this delicious dish in the kitchen! 🙂

     
  8. I make this Mac and cheese in instant pot and love the way instant pot cooks it. Your recipe is delicious and I will try it too.

     
  9. Mac n cheese is my weakness and this looks perfect for my palate

     
  10. If that’s not the creamiest mac and cheese I”ve ever seen, I don’t know what is! Love how easy it is in the Instant Pot!

     

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