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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

This Instant Pot mac and cheese is extra creamy, super cheesy, really easy, and is ready in minutes.

It all cooks in just one pot; including the pasta with no draining or straining.

plated Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with a spoon

Easy Cheesy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

  • Creamy, cheesy, and delicious it’s made in just one pot, making fewer dishes to wash.
  • Super easy to prepare – no roux, no strainer, and no baking required.
  • A pressure cooker makes this so fast, this may even be quicker and easier than boxed.
ingredients to make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with labels

Ingredients for Instant Pot Mac & Cheese

Pasta Elbow macaroni noodles are my first choice but you can use other small varieties of pasta.

Water and Seasonings – Season the cooking water in this recipe as it is absorbed by the pasta, adding great flavor. Do not drain the water; the starches from the pasta help thicken it and make a creamy sauce.

Cheese – Sharp cheddar and Parmesan cheese make a rich cheese sauce. You can replace some or all of the cheddar with gruyere, gouda, fontina, or even Monterey jack. Skip the mozzarella cheese in this recipe, as it isn’t bold enough.


  • Replace half of the cooking water with reduced sodium chicken broth & skip the salt.
  • Add seasonings like garlic powder, cayenne pepper or a dash of hot sauce.
  • For some extra nutrition, stir in vegetables like spinach or steamed broccoli.
  • Replace the milk with half and half or evaporated milk if desired.
  • Add rotisserie chicken, diced ham, or even ground beef or sprinkle with crisp bacon.

How to Make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

The leftover pasta water from cooking adds starch to thicken it and help it stick to the pasta.

  1. Add elbows, water, & seasonings to the Instant Pot and cook on high.
  2. Quick-release the pressure (per the recipe below) do not drain.
  3. Stir in cream cheese, cheddar and parmesan.
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Storing & Reheating Leftovers

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • When reheating, add a splash of milk or heavy cream (about 1 tbsp per cup of mac and cheese) to keep it creamy.

More Mac and Cheese Favorites

Did you make this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Instant pot mac and cheese takes all of the creamy goodness of homemade mac and cheese and turns it into an easy one pot meal.

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 6 minutes

Pressure Preheat 10 minutes

Total Time 26 minutes

  • In a 6qt Instant Pot, add uncooked elbow noodles, water, butter, dry mustard, onion powder, seasoned salt, and pepper.

  • Add the lid and turn to seal. Select MANUAL – HIGH PRESSURE for 6 minutes.

  • Once completed, turn or press the valve to release any pressure (quick release). There will be cooking liquid in the Instant Pot – do not drain it.

  • Stir in the cream cheese until melted. Add ¼ cup milk slowly until blended.

  • Add the cheddar and parmesan cheeses and stir until melted, adding additional milk if needed to reach the desired consistency. You may not need all of the milk.

  • Serve immediately.

This recipe can be made with other types of cheese, ensure you use a bold or sharp cheese for the best flavor.
Shred the cheese yourself for the best results, pre-shredded cheeses have additives and they don’t always melt well.
Other shapes of pasta can be used, but depending on the shape, cooking time may need to be adjusted slightly.
You may not use all of the milk; add just a little bit at a time.
6 minutes on high should be just right for most brands of pasta, if you use another small shape and find it isn’t cooked through, put the lid back on and let it rest for a few minutes.

Calories: 327 | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 375mg | Potassium: 155mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 595IU | Calcium: 317mg | Iron: 0.7mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Lunch, Pasta, Side Dish
Cuisine American
pot full of Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with a title
bowl of Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with writing
close up of creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with writing
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese in the pot cooked and plated with pepper and a title

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