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instant pot mac and cheese in a white bowl
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4.41 from 10 votes

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Forget the boxed stuff, this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is just as fast, almost as easy, and so much more delicious. Made in just a few minutes in the Instant Pot / pressure cooker, these perfectly cooked noodles are wrapped in a creamy sauce that uses real cheese.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Dish, Vegetarian
Keyword: instant pot, mac and cheese, pressure cooker, vegetarian meal
Servings: 4
Calories: 394kcal
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $2.50

Equipment

  • 6-quart Instant Pot

Ingredients

  • 8 oz Pasta, any shape
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Milk, any type
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 tsp Dijon Mustard (optional)
  • Dash Hot Sauce (optional)
  • 4 oz Cheese, cheddar, grated (see note)

Instructions

  • Combine pasta, water, and salt in the bowl of an Instant Pot. Give everything a stir to combine.
  • Close and lock the lid.
  • Set the vent to Sealing.
  • Pressure cook on High, using the time appropriate for the pasta you are using. (See the chart below.)
  • At the end of cook time, leave the Instant Pot on natural release for 5 minutes. Then manually release any remaining pressure. Unplug the Instant Pot or make sure all heating / warming functions are turned off.
  • Combine milk, butter, mustard, and hot sauce in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat just until the butter is melted and the milk is warm, ~1 minute.
  • Remove the lid from the pressure cooker and whisk in the milk mixture. Add the grated cheese in 4 portions, whisking well between each addition.
  • Place the lid back on the machine (no need to seal it, just set it on top). Let the mac and cheese sit, covered, for 5 minutes more. (This last rest time will allow the cheesy sauce to thicken up a bit more and the pasta to finish cooking.)
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

Cheese: Buy a block of cheese and grate it yourself for the creamiest result. Pre-grated cheese includes additives that can cause the mac and cheese to be grainy or clumpy. White or yellow cheddar cheese is classic, but feel free to mix it up. If we have gruyere, I like to mix that in with the cheddar. 
You can use any shape of pasta to make this mac and cheese, but it’s important to make sure the pasta cooks for the right amount of time. This will vary depending on the pasta shape you use. Check the box / bag for the recommended cook time. Use the lowest, even number in the range. (If only one time is given and it’s odd, round down. So, 7 minutes becomes 6.) Then use this chart to determine how long to cook the pasta under high pressure. (For more details, check out How to Cook Pasta in the Instant Pot.)
pasta in the instant pot

Nutrition

Calories: 394kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 543mg | Potassium: 194mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 508IU | Calcium: 255mg | Iron: 1mg