Hassle-free INSTANT POT MAC and CHEESE make great comfort food during the holidays without too much labor in the kitchen. A delightful cheesy creamy dish that you can eat as is or as a side to any of your favorite main courses. You won’t regret making this yummy treat especially when everything gets so crazy busy in the kitchen!
Why Cook with an Instant Pot?
Whenever I get home after a long and tiring day, I would always whip up a nice meal for me and the boys. However, there are just days that are too exhausting.
Luckily, this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese needs little to no attention at all. Now I can rest while the meal prepares itself. The best part about this is that it’s so indulgently addicting! You’d totally be hooked to mac and cheese more than ever!
Why Cook with an Instant Pot?
I wasn’t kidding when I told you that this is a hassle-free instant pot mac and cheese. With its multiple functions that support different dishes, an instant pot multi-cooker makes everything easier. A total kitchen must have to any home cook with little to no time for cooking.
Overcooking isn’t really a problem either especially with a cooking preset that’s specific to each dish. It’s your own kitchen assistant! It’ll tell you when your food is done and will automatically switch to “keep warm” when it’s finished.
Personally, I think making comfort food should also be comfortable. That’s what this dish is all about. Easy cooking to easy eating!
Everything is so easy, that it doesn’t really cause any mess at all! No spills nor splats!
Best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe
For me, the best instant pot mac and cheese must be totally cheesy and should contain real cheese. You can’t copy the rich creaminess with anything else. It should also have a thick consistency that carries the flavor of the whole dish.
Don’t be overwhelmed. I’ll show you how easy it is to make this amazing recipe! All you have to do is prepare these ingredients:
- Uncooked macaroni or cavatappi
- Butter – This will make the consistency of the the cheese richer and smoother.
- Ground Mustard – A touch of earthy and tangy makes the flavors more exciting.
- Onion Powder – give your dish a touch of sweet herby flavor.
- Garlic Powder – add a bit of aroma to your dish with this ingredient.
- Creole Seasoning – A mix of herbs and spices bursting with flavor that’ll totally give your dish a kick of heat.(see my Homemade Creole Seasoning HERE)
- Salt – of course you’ll add salt, it’s essential.
- Pepper – Salt always goes with pepper. See more about Pepper Here.
- Low sodium Chicken Broth or Water – Since you already have salt, it’s important to control the salinity of the dish so we’ll be using low sodium liquid.
- Evaporated Milk – this gives the dish it’s milky taste which can actually counter balance any excessive heat. (check out my Homemade Evaporated Milk HERE) or whole milk
- Mozzarella (freshly grated) – You want that iconic stringy cheese pull right? This ingredient does just that.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese (Freshly Grated) – That rich iconic color mainly comes from this cheese.
- Gouda (Also Freshly Grated) – This makes the texture of the dish even more delightful.
I told you it’s a no-fuss recipe.
Pro Tip: If the cheeses aren’t available, you can try to mix and match different variants. The ones above are my recommendation for the best instant pot mac and cheese.
Since the macaroni that you’ll be using would most likely be store-bought, you can opt for a gluten-free variant. It wouldn’t really have much difference except that it’s healthier.
As you can see the ingredients are mostly cheese. You can add bits of bacon to make it more irresistible. If you don’t have bacon, you can use sausages or diced ham.
What to Serve with Instant Pot Mac and Cheese?
This cheesy goodness goes well with a variety of dishes; from bread to proteins, anything is possible. To narrow it down a bit, I’ve listed a few recipes that will blend well with their cheesiness.
Of course, you can try mixing other dishes but I should remind you that this dish has its own flavor. The cheeses used for this instant pot mac and cheese recipe have a distinct saltiness and milky flavor. I suggest going for something plainer such as steamed broccoli or mini sausages.
If in the rarest of cases, you have leftover instant pot mac and cheese, you can fridge it the right way. Put all the leftovers in one container and let it cool down, uncovered, ‘till it reaches room temperature. Seal the container and place it in the fridge. This will last for about 2 to 3 days.
On the other hand, you can also freeze this tasty dish in the same container. This will give it a shelf life of about 1 to 2 months.
You can reheat your mac and cheese in your Instant Pot easily. Just place it in the sauté setting and let it heat through for a bit. You might want to give it a splash of milk to reactivate the starch and loosen it up a little.
More Macaroni Comfort Food
- Trinidad Macaroni Pie
- Homemade Hamburger Helper
- Stove Top Mac and Cheese
- American Goulash
- Chili Mac and Cheese
How to Make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
Cooking the pasta
- Add in the ingredients – Add uncooked pasta, butter, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, creole seasoning salt and pepper, and chicken broth (or water) to the instant pot. (see photos 1-4)
- Cook the pasta – Place the lid on the pot and set to sealing. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes then do a quick release. (see photo 5-6)
Make the sauce
- Add the dairy – Add milk (warm) and then add the cheeses in about 4 handfuls, stirring in between each addition until it is smooth and creamy. (see photo 1-3)
- Mix, garnish, and simmer – Adjust seasoning to taste, sprinkle with parsley, and serve hot. (See photo 4)
Watch How To Make It
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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound uncooked pasta , elbow or cavatappi
- 3 tablespoons (44.36 g) butter
- ½ -1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 tablespoon (7 g) onion powder
- 1 tablespoon (7 g) garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) creole seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth or water
- 12 ounces canned evaporated milk, or 1 ½ cups of whole milk (warm)
- 1 cup (100 g) freshly grated mozzarella cheese
- 2-3 cups (226 – 339 g) freshly- shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup (100 g) freshly grated gouda cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
Cook the pasta
- Add uncooked pasta, butter, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, creole seasoning salt and pepper, and chicken broth (or water) to the instant pot.
- Place the lid on the pot and set to sealing.
- Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes then do a quick release.
Make the sauce
- Add milk (warm) and then add the cheeses in about 4 handfuls, stirring in between each addition until it is smooth and creamy.
- Adjust seasoning to taste, sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.
Tips & Notes:
- Turn off your Instant Pot. This will prevent any possible overcooking due to the “keep warm” function of the Instant Pot.
- You can also use provolone and parmesan cheese.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.