Natural Food and Recipes

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is creamy, mouthwatering and hands off family comfort food. Made healthy-ish with only 1 cup of cheese and any kind of noodles, this pasta dinner recipe is ready in 15 minutes.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

Instant Pot mac and cheese is not exactly instant but rather hands off macaroni and cheese. My stovetop healthy mac and cheese recipe requires constant stirring.

Where as if I really need dump and go pasta meal, mac and cheese in Instant Pot wins. It comes out creamy, saucy, cheesy and with perfect texture pasta. I use healthier whole wheat macaroni and gluten free ones will work just as well.

I usually make easy Instant Pot macaroni and cheese during kids pro D days for lunch because they love it fresh, often have friends over and I win extra 10 minutes working.

So, this recipe serves 6 as I’m not a fan of macaroni and cheese leftovers. You can also cut ingredients in half and keep same cooking time to make less.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese inside the pot with a wooden spoon

Ingredients You Will Need

  • Pasta: Traditional elbow shape pasta is the classic. Any other small shape pasta that can hold the sauce like shells works. Whole wheat, white or gluten free.
  • Cheese: I use marble or Tex Mex cheese because it melts well, adds colour and is available organic. I recommend to buy a block of cheese and grate yourself as it is not coated in anti caking agents that prevent cheese from melting.
  • Milk: We always have 3.25% on hand so that’s what I use. 1% or 2% will work. Just keep in mind, higher fat -> creamier mac and cheese. Also taste will change with plant based milk.
  • Spices: A touch of mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper is all, I think, macaroni and cheese needs.

How to Make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

New to Instant Pot? Check out Instant Pot guide to answer many of your questions. Don’t have one yet? See which Instant Pot I recommend to buy.

  • Add pasta, butter, spices and water to any size Instant Pot. Most Instant Pot recipes do not require stirring but here I prefer to stir to make sure pasta cooks through.
  • Cook for 3 minutes on high pressure with lid closed and valve set to Sealing. It will take your pressure cooker about 5-7 minutes to come to pressure. The smaller the pot, the faster it pressurizes.
  • Wait 8 minutes before releasing pressure. If you turn valve to Venting right away pasta water will splatter everywhere.
  • Open the lid and stir pasta. If you see some is stuck together, just separate it gently with a spoon.
  • Add cheese in portions stirring in between. Mac and cheese might look stringy but once you start adding milk and stirring, it will become creamy.
  • Add milk. We like creamy macaroni and cheese, so 1 cup is perfect amount for us. You can add less and in portions. Keep in mind pasta soaks up liquid by the minute.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese ingredientsInstant Pot Mac and Cheese step by step
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese step by stepInstant Pot Mac and Cheese step by stepInstant Pot Macaroni and Cheese in a bowl

More Tips, How to Store and Reheat

  • Mustard: You can add more mustard, use Dijon instead of yellow mustard or skip all together. We like just a tiny touch.
  • A touch of hot sauce adds flavour without prominent hot sauce flavour.
  • Gluten free pasta: I would cook it for 1 minute with same 8 minute pressure release.
  • If pasta appears uncooked due to altitude or whatever other reason because it is Instant Pot, close the lid and let it sit for 5 minutes. It will get there.
  • You can press Keep Warm but keep in mind pasta absorbs liquids fast. And the longer you heat it, the faster sauce dries out and pasta becomes mushy. You can rehydrate dish by adding a splash of milk or don’t keep warm and reheat leftovers before serving.
  • To reheat mac and cheese right in Instant Pot, press Sauté and add a splash of water. Stir gently until heated through. Milk burns in a pressure cooker easily, so that’s why I recommend water.
  • As I mentioned before, I like fresh mac and cheese and pasta doesn’t freeze well. You can refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days and then reheat on a stove .
  • To make less, you can cut recipe ingredients in half but keep same cooking time.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese garnished with black pepper

Healthy Mac and Cheese Serving Suggestions

Obviously, we like pasta and cheese on its own. I mean, what not to like?! 🙂 But to make it healthier and a complete meal, here are a few ideas:

Please enjoy without the guilt! 🙂

More Healthy Instant Pot Pasta Recipes

Did you know we have entire Youtube channel dedicated to healthy Instant Pot recipes and tips? My goal is to help you become confident with your Instant Pot by demonstrating each delicious foolproof recipe in step-by-step videos.

Make sure to subscribe and hit the Bell icon not to miss new videos.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe

Print

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is creamy, mouthwatering and hands off family comfort food. Made healthy-ish with only 1 cup of cheese and any kind of noodles, this pasta dinner recipe is ready in 15 minutes.

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 11 minutes
  • Total Time: 16 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: North American

Ingredients

  • 13 oz elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 2 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 tsp mustard, from a bottle
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup milk, 2% or 3.25%
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 oz) cheddar or marble cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. To any size Instant Pot, add pasta, butter, mustard, garlic powder, salt, pepper and water.
  2. Close the lid, turn pressure release valve to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 3 minutes.
  3. After allow pressure come down naturally for 8 minutes to prevent splatters all over your counter. Then turn pressure release valve to Venting to release remaining pressure.
  4. Open the lid and stir pasta gently.
  5. Add cheese in portions, stirring in between. It might look stringy.
  6. Then add milk in 1/4 cup portions until desired consistency, stirring in between. Mac and cheese will become creamy.
  7. Serve immediately.

Notes

More Tips, How to Store and Reheat

  • Mustard: You can add more mustard, use Dijon instead of yellow mustard or skip all together. We like just a tiny touch.
  • A touch of hot sauce adds flavour without prominent hot sauce flavour.
  • Gluten free pasta: I would cook it for 1 minute with same 8 minute pressure release.
  • If pasta appears uncooked due to altitude or whatever other reason because it is Instant Pot, close the lid and let it sit for 5 minutes. It will get there.
  • You can press Keep Warm but keep in mind pasta absorbs liquids fast. And the longer you heat it, the faster sauce dries out and pasta becomes mushy. You can rehydrate dish by adding a splash of milk or don’t keep warm and reheat leftovers before serving.
  • To reheat mac and cheese right in Instant Pot, press Sauté and add a splash of water. Stir gently until heated through. Milk burns in a pressure cooker easily, so that’s why I recommend water.
  • As I mentioned before, I like fresh mac and cheese and pasta doesn’t freeze well. You can refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days and then reheat on a stove .
  • To make less, you can cut recipe ingredients in half but keep same cooking time.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

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