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My easy and creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese has layers of flavor you won’t find in a stovetop or boxed version. You can make this recipe in under 30 minutes when you’re low on groceries or need an easy dinner recipe! It’s the perfect comfort food for the whole family,
This one’s for my dairy lovers. Creamy, smooth, and stretchy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese uses super simple ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes to come together. Make this for dinner the next time you need to please picky eaters or just aren’t in the mood to make something more complicated.
Why is this recipe so different and more delicious than stovetop macaroni and cheese? Because the noodles are cooked in broth for extra flavor, a little mustard gives each bite a zing, and there are not 1, but 3 types of cheeses! No overly processed cheese included (see ya later, Velveeta!).
Try it for family meals, when you need something quick and easy when you’re low on groceries, and enjoy it for lunches all week long. It would also be delicious as a side dish next to my Pork Chops or Baked BBQ Chicken.
Why This Recipe Works
The dry pasta is cooked in chicken broth which adds an extra layer of flavor that would normally be missed as the pasta water is drained. Plus, when the cream is added at the end, you get to tailor the level of creaminess to your liking.
How to make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
Instant Pot recipes don’t get much easier than this. Once you’re done making this delicious and family-friendly dinner, you’ll marvel at how creamy and delectable it is! Here’s how to make it:
Turn your Instant Pot on “Sauté” mode and add in the chicken broth, butter, mustard, and seasoned salt. Bring to a simmer. Finish by stirring in the pasta noodles.
Turn off Saute mode and lock the lid in place, making sure the venting valve is sealed. Set the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. When it’s done, carefully turn the venting valve to release the pressure and remove the lid once the pressure pin drops.
Stir the pasta, add half of the cheese, and stir again. Let it melt before adding the remaining cheese.
Finish by stirring in the cream until it’s blended with the cheese. Add salt to taste and enjoy!
How to cook on the stove
If you don’t own an Instant Pot, this recipe can easily be made on the stovetop instead. Just follow my recipe for Homemade Mac and Cheese!
Heather’s Tips for Recipe Success
- Don’t add all of the cheese at once. Adding the cheese into the cooked macaroni a little at a time will prevent it from becoming too stringy. You can even alternate between adding in the cheese and the cream to make sure the batch is as creamy as possible.
- Is the sauce looking a little thin? Be patient and allow the macaroni and cheese to sit (covered) for a few minutes. It will naturally thicken as it cools.
- Add an extra layer of deliciousness! Place the finished batch in a baking dish and add more cheese, some seasoned breadcrumbs, and a drizzle of melted butter on the top. Then, place under a broiler and cook until browned and bubbly.
There’s plenty of wiggle room available in this cheesy recipe to fit your taste and preferences. Just think of it as a blank canvas! Add or substitute as many flavors as you want:
- Swap the macaroni for any pasta you have at home. Bite-sized is best!
- Mix in broccoli, tomatoes, bacon, or shredded chicken for more texture.
- If you don’t have chicken broth at home, veggie broth or water will work just as well.
- Don’t use canned or evaporated milk in this recipe. For best results, follow the recipe and use heavy cream.
- Pre-shredded cheese is fine to use, but I highly recommend shredding it yourself. Storebought shreds contain additives, which could make the sauce clumpy.
- Mix up the cheese if you wish. Mozzarella, Gouda, Gruyere, Havarti, or sharp cheddar are all great options.
- Stir in hot sauce and a little garlic powder before cooking for even more flavor.
- Want to use gluten free macaroni instead? Best to stick to the stovetop version, otherwise they may turn to mush in the Instant Pot.
Leftovers will make for a yummy snack the next day or for lunches throughout the week. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 or 4 days.
The leftovers may need an extra splash of milk or cream upon reheating. Just add a teaspoon at a time while reheating the leftovers in a microwave until it’s super creamy and warmed through.
What to serve with mac and cheese
Serve the mac and cheese on the side of any of these tasty, family-friendly dinner recipes:
Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon seasoned salt more to taste
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese shredded
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- ½ -1 cup heavy cream Add enough to reach desired creaminess
- Turn Instant Pot on "Sauté" mode. Add chicken broth, butter, mustard and seasoned salt to the pot and bring to a simmer.
- Stir in the pasta and lock the Instant Pot lid in place making sure the venting valve is sealed.
- Set Instant Pot to cook at high pressure for 4 minutes, or half of the time the pasta package directions recommends.
- When the cooking time is up, carefully turn the venting valve to release the pressure, starting slowly with little bursts to make sure no cooking liquid spews out. When the pressure pin drops, remove the lid.
- Stir the pasta and then add ½ of the cheese and stir. Let it melt before adding the remaining cheese.
- Add the cream and stir until creamy and blended with the cheese.
- Adjust salt to taste.
- Cover and let sit for a few minutes. The sauce will be thin but will thicken as it cools.