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This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is an over-the-top cheesy take on a family favorite. Rich, creamy, cheesy, and made in under 30 minutes.
WHY MAKE MACARONI AND CHEESE IN THE INSTANT POT?
Macaroni and cheese is one of those recipes that can be made with minimal effort on the stovetop. So why go through the trouble of making it in the Instant Pot?
Well, I’ll tell you. Kids.
I love my boys, but it’s inevitable that the time I need to make dinner every night seems to be when all three of them need attention at the exact same time. Whether it’s giving my oldest a ride to theatre rehearsal, watching my middle son’s new basketball move, or helping the littlest read a challenge on Fortnite, it’s always a chaotic couple of hours after school.
So, while I spread myself thin trying to make everyone happy, I know I can always pop some noodles in the Instant Pot, press a button, and know that they will come out perfect every time without another thing to “babysit”.
No stirring. No worrying about a pot boiling over. No burners to keep little hands away from while my back is turned.
INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED
Did I mention that you only need SIX ingredients to make this crazy delicious and super creamy Instant Pot Mac and cheese?
Here’s what you need to grab before you get started:
Elbow Macaroni– You can use any pasta that you happen to have in your pantry, but I keep elbow macaroni as a pantry staple because of how many family-friendly dishes you can make with it.
Butter– Adds an extra layer of richness to the macaroni and cheese.
Milk– Helps create the perfect creamy texture in this recipe.
Velveeta– This is one of those “love it or hate it” ingredients. I can tell you that our family happens to love it, so this was a cheap and easy way to get a super cheesy macaroni and cheese recipe without whipping out my cheese grater.
Salt– Helps enhance the flavors of the other ingredients.
HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT MAC AND CHEESE
Step 1: Add the noodles to the Instant Pot liner. Dump your macaroni noodles into the bottom of your Instant Pot liner. Spread them out across the bottom so they cook evenly.
Step 2: Pour water over the top of your pasta. Add water. I’ll give you an exact amount in the recipe below, but if you’re short on time, just fill the liner until the water is slightly above where the pasta stops. I’m sure cooking should be an exact science, but sometimes I still struggle with following a recipe.
Step 3: Get to cooking. Put the Instant Pot lid on and adjust your valve to seal the pot. Cook under pressure and when the cooking time is complete, quickly release all remaining pressure from the Instant Pot.
Step 4: Add in milk and cubed butter. Carefully remove the lid. While the macaroni noodles are still hot, add in cubed butter and milk
Step 5: Go crazy with the Velveeta. Press the saute button, and add in the Velveeta. Again, I’ll give you specific measurements below– but let’s be honest. You measure Velveeta with your soul, not a measuring cup. My kids like their Instant Pot Mac and Cheese EXTRA cheesy, so add it gradually while stirring until you get the perfect amount for your family.
Step 6: Serve and enjoy! Hit your finished macaroni and cheese with another pinch of salt to finish and dig in. Keep the serving dish on the table. Your kids will beg for seconds (or thirds!)
Step 7 (optional). Sprinkle on some shredded cheddar and panko. Add some toppings and bake for a few minutes for a crispy and cheesy crust.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- Make this recipe even creamier by adding in a couple of ounces of cream cheese. Cut it into cubes and add it to your Instant Pot when you’re adding in the Velveeta.
- Split it up for meal prep. I rarely want to eat the same thing day after day. So, if you want to use this for meal prep, split it up into multiple food storage containers and try one of the different variations listed below in each bowl to keep it exciting.
- Try different noodles. Just because it’s called macaroni and cheese doesn’t mean you have to use macaroni noodles. Grab bowtie, ziti, rigatoni, or shells to mix things up a little.
- Spicy mac and cheese– Add some hot sauce and a dash of cayenne for an added kick.
- Baked mac and cheese– Make the recipe as directed and then sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top. Bake for 3-5 minutes at 400F for a crispy crust.
- Bacon mac and cheese– Stir in some real bacon bits for an extra pop of protein and flavor.
- Broccoli mac and cheese– When you’re adding your butter and milk, throw in some broccoli florettes. Broccoli and cheese are an epic flavor combination and it’s a great way to sneak in some extra veggies.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH INSTANT POT MAC AND CHEESE
All you need to make sure you have when you’re serving this macaroni and cheese recipe is a hearty appetite. Just like any other pasta dish, it is over-the-top filling. There are nights where a kid (for one reason or another) can’t be bothered to eat whatever I’m serving, and this recipe was plenty of food to satisfy them alone.
If you need a little more than some cheesy noodles to satisfy your appetite, here are a few of my favorite things to serve alongside this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese:
- Cream Cheese Smothered Chicken
- Pork Chops
- Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwiches
- Air Fryer Brats
MEAL PREP AND STORAGE
This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe is one of my secrets to successful meal prep for the week. It just might be even better reheated. When I know I’m going to have a busy night playing taxi, popping a bowl of this macaroni and cheese in the microwave is a quick way to get food on the table with minimal effort.
Macaroni and cheese stays just as good (if not better) than the day you made it for 3-5 days in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.
To reheat this recipe, simply add a splash of milk to the noodles, pop it in the microwave for about 90 seconds, and stir.
If you love this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe as much as our family does, make sure you share it with your friends and Pin it so you can make it again soon!
Hi! I'm Ashley.
Welcome to my corner of the internet!
I'm married to my high school sweetheart and we have three amazing sons.
I love carbs, cheese, and all things spicy and deep fried. There's nothing that makes me happier than a full kitchen table and a family with a full belly!