Macaroni and cheese is total comfort food! This easy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe is ready in 30 mins for a dinner your family will love!
You guys. I have no idea why it took me this long to make mac and cheese in my Instant Pot, but holy cow is it good! The cheese sauce is super creamy and it tastes a million times better than the boxed stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up eating Kraft Mac and Cheese and still love it, but this easy instant pot mac and cheese blow it out of the water!
Slowly but surely, my Instant Pot is becoming one of my favorite kitchen appliances. It totally rivals my slow cooker some days. Today is one of those days.
This might be the best instant pot mac and cheese around. It’s total comfort food.
Sure there are lots of recipes for homemade mac and cheese on the internet, but if my blue box fixated kids will eat a bowl, it’s gotta be good. Nothing makes them stray from the power of the blue box. Well… almost nothing.
This recipe is SUPER easy to make. It’s a great option to help your get started with your Instant Pot if you’re new to this cooking tool.
After making Instant Pot pot roast, I should have all the confidence in the world. Yet for some reason, I feel like I haven’t earned my Instant Pot achievement badge yet. (Yes, I know that’s not a thing.)
This recipe will get you in the groove with your Instant Pot and have your family asking for seconds!
Instant Pot Mac n Cheese Ingredients
- Elbow macaroni
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Salt & pepper
- Unsalted butter
- Sour cream
- Whole milk – you can swap for 2% or evaporated milk too if needed
- Monetery Jack cheese
- Sharp cheddar cheese
Can I use different cheese?
You can use any combination of freshly shredded cheese you like. Pepper jack, gouda, edam, Havarti, asiago, and parmesan cheese would all be great additions!
How to Make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Start by pouring the water into your Instant Pot. Then add the macaroni, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and 2 tablespoons of butter to the pot. Give everything a stir.
- Then you’ll place the lid on top and secure it in place. After that, set the valve to sealing. Set your Instant Pot to high pressure/manual for 4 minutes.
- Once the timer goes off, carefully quick release the valve. Once the pin has dropped, you can take the lid off. Grab a wooden spoon and give the pasta a stir to break it up.
- Next, add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the sour cream, and 3/4 cup of milk. Stir this into the pasta until they’re coated and the butter has melted.
- Now it’s time for the cheese! Add 1/3 of the cheese at a time and then stir until it’s completely melted into the pasta and liquid.
- Continue adding the cheese is batches until it’s all melted into the sauce. If you add it all at once, the sauce won’t be as creamy. It’s worth the effort.
- At this point, you’re ready to season with salt and pepper if you think the sauce needs it. But if the sauce is thicker than you’d like, pour in some of the remaining milk, about 1 tablespoon at a time, and then stir. Once you’re desired consistency is reached, season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Then all you need to do is portion the mac and cheese into bowls and dig in!
I love adding a little chopped bacon on top of this instant pot mac and cheese recipe. But, you could also garnish your pasta with some toasted bread crumbs or chopped parsley. Whatever floats your boat!
Can this be made ahead of time?
This instant pot mac & cheese really tastes best if made just before serving. However, you can make it ahead and keep it warm in the Instant Pot using the keep warm setting.
If the sauce starts to thicken too much, stir in a bit of additional sour cream or milk just before serving to loosen it up and make it creamy again.
How can I store leftovers?
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. It can be reheated in the microwave or a pot on the stove.
The cheese sauce will thicken up. So when reheating you can add a bit of additional milk, half-n-half, or sour cream to loosen it up and make it creamy again.
Can this be made on the stove top?
Yes! Follow the directions on the package to cook the pasta then drain and return to the pot. On low heat add the butter, sour cream, milk, and seasonings. Then stir in the cheese until melted before seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
Let’s eat ALL the pasta!
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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- 4 cups water
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese shredded (see note)
- 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded (see note)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Pour the water into your Instant Pot. Add the macaroni, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and 2 tablespoons butter. Give that all a stir
- Place the lid on the pot. Set the valve to sealing, and then set to high pressure/manual for 4 minutes.
- When the timer goes off, turn the valve to quick release the pressure. When the pin has dropped remove the lid and stir the noodles to break them up.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, sour cream, and 3/4 cup milk. Stir to mix until the noodles are coated and butter is melted.
- Add 1/3 of the cheese at a time and stir until the cheese is melted. Continue until all the cheese has been added to the pasta. (DO NOT dump it all in at once, doing this will effect the consistency of your cheese sauce.)
- If the sauce is too thick, add the remaining 1/4 cup milk, a little at a time, until the sauce is your desired consistency. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed to taste.
- Portion into bowls and sprinkle with a little fresh parsley, crumbled bacon (YUM!), or bread crumbs, if desired. Serve warm.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.
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