This is the Creamiest Instant Pot Mac and Cheese on the internet! It’s loaded with three kinds of cheese and a few secret ingredients.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Vegetable oil – or another neutral cooking oil like olive oil or canola oil.
- Chicken broth – vegetable broth would be the next best thing.
- Macaroni pasta – swap out for another small sized pasta like conchiglie, scoobi doo noodles or fusilli.
- Onion powder – garlic powder would also be good or you can leave this out altogether.
- Mustard powder – substitute for 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard or leave this out altogether.
- Salt & pepper – to taste.
- Butter – swap out for your favourite butter substitute like margarine.
- Evaporated milk – regular milk will also work, but the evaporated milk helps make the sauce thicker and creamier.
- Mozzarella cheese – feel free to swap out for another cheese of your choice like Swiss or more cheddar.
- Cheddar cheese – see substitution notes above.
- Cream cheese – you can leave this out but it helps make the dish smooth and adds a bit of tang.
How to make mac and cheese in the Instant Pot
- Add the first 6 ingredients to the Instant Pot in order.
- Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.
- Do a quick release of the pressure.
- Stir in the butter, milk and cheeses.
- Serve and enjoy!
Making this recipe healthier
Mac and cheese is a rich and delicious comfort food. If you want to cut down on the calories, there are a few things you can do to make this recipe ‘lighter’:
- Cut the amount of cheese in half or use skim cheese.
- Use water to cook the pasta instead of chicken broth.
- Omit the butter and just use one can of evaporated milk when it comes time to stir in the cheese.
You can also add in some more veggies and protein to make this dish healthier and more filling like broccoli, cauliflower, frozen veggies, diced chicken breast, bacon and bell peppers.
Frequently Asked Questions
You sure can! Traditional mac and cheese recipes have you wait for the water to boil and the noodles to cook before baking everything in the oven; but with this recipe, everything cooks in one pot. All it takes is 4 minutes at high pressure! Keep in mind it’ll take the Instant Pot 10 minutes to get up to high pressure, so the total cooking time is about 15 minutes.
You can use pretty much any type of cheese that you have on hand for mac and cheese, including pre-shredded blends. I find that they aren’t quite as tasty as cheese freshly shredded from a block, but if you need to use up some cheese kicking around the fridge then this is a great recipe for that! I personally like using a blend of mozzarella, cheddar and cream cheese.
While this mac and cheese is pretty amazing as-is, you can serve it with side dishes to make it even more nutritious. Add some veggies to your meal with steamed vegetables, a garden salad or broccoli slaw; or make it a full-on comfort feast with chicken wings or sweet potato fries.
Storing and reheating
You can store any leftovers in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 5 days. Keep in mind that due to the starch in the pasta, the longer that mac and cheese sits, the less creamy it will be. It’s never quite as good as it is right after cooking.
When it comes to reheating, you can either microwave the mac and cheese for 1-2 minutes or reheat it in the oven at 350° Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes. Whether you’re reheating it in the microwave or the oven, I suggest sprinkling a bit of milk or water over top so the pasta doesn’t dry out. Top it off with a bit more shredded cheese and dig in!
Freezing this recipe
This mac and cheese recipe is definitely freezer-friendly and will last in the freezer for up to 3 months. I prefer to freeze this dish in individual portions in glass bowls or foil containers.
When you’re ready to reheat, sprinkle some water or milk over top then microwave from frozen for 6-7 minutes, stirring halfway through. If you froze your mac and cheese in foil containers, simply take one out of the freezer and then reheat it at 350° Fahrenheit for about an hour. It’s like a frozen TV dinner but so much better.
More Instant Pot pasta recipes
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on storing any leftovers.
- Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls up to 3 months.
The Creamiest Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 lb dry macaroni pasta
- 1 tsp onion powder (optional)
- 1 tsp mustard powder (optional)
- 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 (354mL) cans evaporated milk
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup cream cheese (optional)
- Add vegetable oil, chicken broth, macaroni, onion powder, salt & pepper and mustard powder to Instant Pot in that order. Press pasta gently under the liquid without stirring. Place lid on Instant Pot and make sure valve is set to seal.
- Press the pressure cook button and set to high, then cook for 4 minutes. Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure then pressure cook the 4 minutes.
- Do a quick release of the pressure on the Instant Pot by flicking the switch at the top with a spoon. Open the lid when pressure gauge has dropped and the lid opens easily.
- Gently stir in butter, evaporated milk and three cheeses until fully combined and creamy. Serve and enjoy!