This easy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is about to become your new favorite dinner. It’s super creamy and delicious, plus it’s ready in minutes!
Don’t have a pressure cooker? Make this macaroni and cheese on your stovetop instead.
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Do you have an Instant Pot?
I bought one on Cyber Monday, and it took me a while to get up the nerve to use it. I’m not sure why, but my mom’s stories of pea soup on the ceiling when using an old school pressure cooker may have had something to do with it. Ha ha.
When I finally tried out my Instant Pot, I had to kick myself for waiting so long. It’s so easy and safe to use, and I haven’t had an explosion yet (nor do I expect to!). I’m officially obsessed and have been making multiple Instant Pot meals a week ever since … this Instant Pot Pasta with Feta, Olives, and Basil and these Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers are faves!
So far, my favorite recipe is this easy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese. It’s ready in minutes, tastes amazing, and couldn’t be simpler to make. Plus, it’s super cheesy and creamy … total comfort food!
Easy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
Are you familiar with the Instant Pot? Basically, it’s an electric multi-cooker, which means that it’s a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, and more … all in one appliance.
There are different models, but I have the Instant Pot DUO60. I’ve mainly used the pressure cooker function, but I’ve also used my Instant Pot to make rice (so easy and fail proof!) and even hard boiled eggs. The list of recipes I’d like to try is about a million miles long at this point!
Macaroni and cheese was one of the first Instant Pot meals I made. The recipes I tried turned out okay, but I thought they were kind of bland and runny. So I decided to make my own!
This easy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is the result, and not to brag, but I think it’s pretty amazing! It’s creamy (but not runny) and full of flavor. It’s also the perfect beginner recipe, although Instant Pot pros will love it, too. And your family will definitely gobble it up!
Don’t have an Instant Pot? You can make this recipe on the stovetop instead (see the recipe note for instructions).
How to Make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
If you’re looking for an easy Instant Pot recipe that your whole family will love, you have to try this pressure cooker mac and cheese. It’s simple to make, and it’s ready fast.
I love making homemade macaroni and cheese, but it does take a little effort … not exactly the kind of recipe I’m inclined to make on a weeknight.
One thing I love about mac and cheese in the Instant Pot is that it’s almost effortless, and there’s very little hands-on time required (no standing over a boiling pot of water, that’s for sure!).
And it’s totally ooey, gooey delicious!
To get started, you’ll add pasta (I used rotini, but macaroni or another tube shape would work), water, spices, and butter to your Instant Pot. I used a combination of paprika, garlic powder, cayenne (just a dash and totally optional), and salt, all of which add tons of flavor.
Give everything a mix, put on the lid, and turn the steam release valve on top to sealing. Then, press the Pressure Cook button and set your pot to cook at high pressure for four minutes. (If your Instant Pot doesn’t have a Pressure Cook button, use the Manual button. They do the same thing.)
Once the time is up, turn the pressure release valve to quick release. I like to use a wood spoon for this, as you can see in the video!
I have to admit that I was doubtful that pasta would turn out well in the Instant Pot, but it comes out perfectly al dente every time. It’s like magic!
Next, you’ll stir in the cream cheese, which will make your Instant Pot Mac and Cheese extra creamy and delicious! Feel free to used reduced fat or Neufchâtel cheese (that’s what I used).
You’ll add whole milk and two cheeses to your pasta next. Sharp cheddar adds lots of flavor and Monterey Jack makes your mac super creamy.
Stir in the cheese until everything is combined and that mouthwatering cheese sauce coats your pasta, then it’s time to eat. Yum!
Wasn’t that easy? This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is a no fuss meal that’s perfect for busy weeknights and is full of flavor. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
And make sure to try my Instant Pot Pasta with Feta, Olives, and Basil, too … yum!
Make this easy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese in minutes! It's creamy and delicious ... total comfort food!
- 1 pound rotini (or other pasta shape, such as macaroni)
- 4 cups water
- 3 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- dash or two of cayenne
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)
- 4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 1 cup)
- minced green onions, optional
Add pasta, water, butter, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne to Instant Pot; mix.
Secure lid and set pressure release valve to sealing. Select Pressure Cook (or Manual) button, then set to High Pressure for 4 minutes.
When time is up, do a Quick Release, then open lid.
Stir in cream cheese until pasta is coated.
Add milk, cheddar, and Monterey Jack to pot. Stir until smooth, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve Mac and Cheese immediately, sprinkled with green onions, if desired. Enjoy!
Stovetop Directions: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain Pasta, then return to pot. Stir in butter, cream cheese, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne (skip salt for now). Then, mix in milk, cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheese until smooth. (Add more milk, if needed.) Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Looking for more Mac and Cheese recipes?
If you loved this recipe, I have a few other (conventional) mac and cheese recipes for you to try:
And make sure to check out my roundup of 100 Vegetarian Comfort Food Recipes, too!
What is your favorite Instant Pot recipe?