If you could make homemade mac and cheese in less time than it takes to make that stuff from a box, would you? This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is so quick and easy and uses REAL cheese and will certainly become your go-to recipe from here until forever!
No disrespect intended toward boxed Mac and cheese here, it certainly has it’s place and time in our lives. But, if you were holding back from making homemade Mac and cheese because you thought it would be too difficult or time consuming, I just want to be here to reassure you that if making homemade Mac and cheese is important to you and you have an Instant Pot, then nothing could be easier. My Instant Pot Mac and Cheese uses a minimal amount of ingredients with no pre-cooking required, so it’s basically throw it in and turn it on! Even easier than boiling water.
What kind of cheese to use for mac and cheese?
You’ll want to use more of a hard cheese, at least for the main cheese in this dish. The most important thing will be to grate it from a block rather than buying shredded cheese. Shredded cheese in a package has an anti-caking agent that makes it more difficult to melt smoothly. These are the cheeses I’d recommend based on the flavor you want:
- Colby Jack – for a mild mac and cheese perfect for pairing with a bold side dish (pairs well with blueberry chipotle ribs)
- cheddar – for a little more flavor and will pair with a milder side dish (pairs well with air fryer potato chip chicken)
- sharp cheddar – for a big kick and tons of bold flavor (pairs well with air fryer pork chops)
How do you make mac and cheese in the Instant Pot?
First you’ll cook up the noodles with some broth. When cooking noodles, you can use any shape you like, but I do love shells or elbow noodles for the way the hold the cheese in their nooks and crannies.
The important thing to remember is that you will need to adjust the cooking time for the noodles. In general, it takes half of the time on high pressure from what is listed on the box for stovetop.
Once the pasta is cooked, it’s simply a matter of stirring in the cheese and evaporated milk until smooth.
I love this mac and cheese for a quick side dish or kid lunch! Stay tuned for more versions of mac and cheese that make a great grown-up main dish!
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker
- 8 oz elbow noodles
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 oz shredded colby jack cheese
- 6 oz evaporated milk
- Add noodles, broth and seasonings to Instant Pot
- Cover, seal and set to high pressure for 3 minutes
- Once cooking is completed perform quick release
- Add cheese and milk and stir until melted and smooth
- You can sub out the noodles for shells or other favorite shapes. Cooking time should be adjusted to half of what is listed in the stove top directions. For partial minutes, round down.
- Cheese should be shredded from block rather than using bagged shredded cheese for best results. Other varieties may be used, see blog post for more suggestions.
- Make this dish vegetarian by subbing out the chicken broth for veggie broth or water
- If an excessive amount of water remains after noodles are cooked, be sure to drain. Only 2-3 tablespoons should remain.