A delicious recipe for creamy Instant Pot mac and cheese. Made in minutes with only simple, wholesome ingredients. No processed cheese required!
When I first got my Instant Pot for my birthday last summer, I instantly knew one of the first recipes I wanted to master: mac and cheese! My entire family loves this Instant Pot macaroni and cheese, which is super creamy and contains only real, wholesome ingredients and no processed cheese. This macaroni and cheese recipe really is every bit as easy as making the stuff from the box. You will love it!
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Growing up, my comfort food was always mac and cheese. Every time I would stay home sick from school, that is what my mom would make for me. I’ve been on a quest for a couple of years now to find a creamy macaroni and cheese recipe that didn’t require processed cheese, and when I got my Instant Pot last summer, I set to work developing a macaroni and cheese recipe to add to my arsenal. It took me a few months to perfect this recipe, but I have to say that it is–hands down–the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had.
And the best part, y’all? This Instant Pot mac and cheese is so easy to make!
Start by measuring out one pound of dry elbow macaroni into the metal bowl of your Instant Pot.
I have tweaked and re-tweaked the seasonings used in this recipe, and I think I’ve come up with the very best flavor combo: salt, pepper, dry mustard, garlic power, and (my latest go-to seasoning) dried green chile powder. Although the green chile powder is totally optional, it really makes the flavors pop and gives this mac and cheese just the right amount of pleasant spice.
Combine all of the spices in a small bowl, and then sprinkle over the dried noodles in the Instant Pot. Pour in 4 cups of water, and stir to combine. Place a dollop of 3 tablespoons of butter on top of everything, twist on the Instant Pot lid, and twist the vent to the “sealing” position. Turn on the pot on to the Manual setting and set the pressure to high, setting the timer for 6 minutes.
While the pasta cooks, grab your box grater and set to work grating 2 cups of sharp cheddar and 2 cups of monterey jack. Freshly grated cheese really is a must here, so I highly recommend using some elbow grease to grate the cheese yourself instead of opting for the pre-shredded version. The end result will be so much creamier–I promise! To make this step go a bit faster, I sometimes use my food processor to get the job done in a flash!
When the cooking time is up, cover the lid of the Instant Pot with a clean towel, and twist the vent knob to “venting” to quick release the pressure. When all of the pressure is released, remove the lid. At this point, you will notice that all of the water has been absorbed into the pasta, and there is no need to drain. How awesome is that?
…and then stir until cheese melts and everything is ooey, gooey and perfectly cheesy. Yum!!
This macaroni and cheese makes a perfect side dish with barbecue ribs, and our family loves to eat it alongside our favorite oven-fried chicken strips. Or, mix in some steamed broccoli, and turn it into a hearty main dish!
One bite of this delicious and perfectly creamy instant pot mac and cheese, and you will never crave the boxed stuff ever again!
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound dried elbow macaroni
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon green chile powder optional
- 4 cups water
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 ounces cream cheese cubed
- 2 cups freshly shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cups freshly shredded monterey jack cheese
- 1 cup milk
- Place the macaroni in the Instant Pot. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, ground mustard, garlic powder and green chile powder (if using). Sprinkle the seasonings over the dried noodles. Pour in water, stirring to combine. Add the butter. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, and adjust the vent knob to "sealing." Turn the pot on Manual at High Pressure, and set the timer to 6 minutes.
- When the timer goes off, quick release the pressure by flipping the vent knob to "venting." Remove the lid and add the cubed cream cheese, stirring until cheese melts and coats the pasta. Add the shredded cheddar and monterey jack cheeses and the milk, stirring well until cheeses melt and all ingredients are fully incorporated. Serve immediately.
Still a little intimidated by your Instant Pot and needing some tips to get started? This post is brimming with great tips for beginners!
Having grown up in a home brimming with sewing notions and paintbrushes, Amy has a deep love for all things creative. On any given day, you’ll find her knee-deep in her latest creative endeavor, with projects ranging from sewing and crafts to home decor and kid-friendly ideas. Amy believes that everyone, regardless of skill level or experience, possesses the ability to create something beautiful, and Positively Splendid was born of her passion for helping others harness their innate creative potential.