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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese – 2 Ways

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is even easier than making it from a box but we’ll show you a homemade recipe plus how to make Instant Pot boxed mac and cheese.

Mac ‘n’ cheese is loved by kids and adults but most kids are partial to the simple boxed mac and cheese while adults are looking for something more elevated. Below we’ll show you how to make Boxed Instant Pot Mac and Cheese plus an easy Adult Mac and Cheese recipe!

How fast do these recipes go? Once you have the Instant Pot up to full pressure, prep time is about sixty whole seconds and cooking time is only 4 to 5 minutes!

Adult Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Instant Pot Mac & Cheese Ingredients

This adult version is made with whole milk and sharp cheddar which lends to a more velvety, decadent feel. Yes, you can substitute the whole milk for 2%, but if you really need the protein, that whole milk is a great source along with the cheeses.

  • Macaroni
  • Sharp cheddar cheese                                         
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Whole milk
  • Yellow mustard
  • Coarse salt
  • Water
  • Hot sauce (optional)

You can opt for no hot sauce or even substitute with chili powder, Sriracha, Sambal Oelek, Harissa or any other similar hot sauce ingredient. Buffalo sauce in mac and cheese is a tasty alternative too!

How to Make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

If you have never used an Instant Pot, it’s basically a pressure cooker and it can make amazing pasta and rice dishes that are perfect every time once you learn how fast this gadget cooks even the thickest, sturdiest noodles.

You literally just dump it in the pot, set the timer, wait until the timer goes off, stir in some cheese and milk, and some people find they don’t even have to strain the macaroni first! Add to that the fact that making your own mac and cheese without the additives and preservatives you’ll get in those little cheese dust pouches the store-bought versions often come with.

Occasionally I’ve had a bit too much water left in the pot, but I just tilt the pot, hold the macaroni in with my spatula and let that small amount of water go into the sink. Takes 20 seconds, tops.

(Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe card with exact measurements and recipe instructions.)

How to Make Instant Pot Kraft Mac N Cheese

You can make Kraft Mac and Cheese or your favorite boxed macaroni and cheese in your pressure cooker in just a few minutes!

  1. Add the macaroni, pinch of kosher salt, 1 1/4 cup water in the Instant Pot. Do not stir.
  2. Seal lid, and set to Pressure Cook or High/Manual mode, depending on your Instant Pot model. Set timer for 4 minutes.
  3. Once done quick release the pressure (turn steam release from Sealing to Venting position)
  4. Stir in the package recommended amounts of milk, butter, and cheese packet until smooth and creamy

No need to drain or babysit the pasta while it cooks and everything simply mixes together in one pot.

Best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Hacks

The first hack is to know that your Instant Pot will need time to come to full pressure, and you can’t get to full pressure until all the ingredients are in and the lid is locked down. The prep times listed here don’t include the pressurization time. But while you wait, you can clean up from the prep.

When it comes to the ingredients themselves? Sometimes I’ll add a little extra cheese and broil it for a few minutes for a crispy top. You could do some buttery bread crumbs, too (that might be my favorite version). Some will add some cooked sausage, hot dogs, chicken or even veggies.

Vegan-Friendly

This recipe can be made vegan-friendly, but as always you will need to experiment with your cheese and milk substitutes to get the right texture and consistency.

Some vegans know their alternatives well–if you struggle to find replacement cheese, for example, it may be a question of buying a larger amount of a lesser cheese substitute, and a smaller amount of a pricier, really GOOD vegan cheese, and putting the best on top, and last–the first impression factor of the really good cheese will make the not-so-awesome variety less noticeable.

Easy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

I am completely Instant Pot obsessed. NO ONE is more surprised by that than me. This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is just the latest in a long list of dishes I’ve made that absolutely amaze me.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp hot sauce (optional)
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 lb box macaroni
  • 1-2 cups whole milk
  • 1 lb sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup shaved parmesan

Instructions

  1. Mix the hot sauce, mustard, salt and water in your Instant Pot. Pour in macaroni and make sure it's all submerged. Close and lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Press “Manual” and immediately adjust the timer to 4 minutes (or half the time on the package cooking directions if different). Check that the cooking pressure is on “high” and that the release valve is set to “Sealing”.
  2. When time is up, open the IP using “Quick Pressure Release”. Stir the pasta to break it up (tilt the pan to drain any excess liquid; you can leave a small amount). Add 1 cup the milk and cheese; stir until completely incorporated the and cheese has melted and coated the pasta, adding the remaining milk in increments, if desired, until sauce is as thick and creamy as you like.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then serve immediately.

Notes

If desired, you can transfer to a baking dish, top with more cheese and broil a few minutes until the cheese has browned. NOTE: Cook time does not include the time it take the IP to come to pressure and release it.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 773Total Fat: 47gSaturated Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 135mgSodium: 1659mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 42g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

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Kristy Bernardo
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