Super cheesy and ready in just three steps! Learn how to make super easy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with this super easy recipe!
|Pressure Building||High Pressure||Quick Release||Final Steps||Total Time|
|10 minutes||4 minutes||5 minutes||8 minutes||27 minutes|
👍🏻 Recipe Features
- Super easy. Just three super simple steps is all it takes to make super cheesy macaroni and cheese in the Instant Pot (affiliate). This one is so easy my 6-year-old daughter makes it with me each time!
- Extra cheesy. The Instant Pot method provides super cheesy mac without having to slave over a stove making a cheese sauce. Simply stir in the cheese at the end and watch the cheesiness come together.
- Versatile! Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese can be made a number of different ways. For our base recipe, I mix in some sliced kielbasa and a standard cheddar cheese mix. For more options check out the variations section below.
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Find and scale measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of this page.
- Macaroni pasta. Macaroni comes in many forms, and pretty much all of them work. I opt for Cavatappi, but elbow macaroni or small shells work great as well. Any small, curved pasta does just fine.
- Butter, salted or unsalted.
- Whole milk. I opt for full-fat milk because it helps give us a creamier result.
- Chicken stock. Make sure this covers the noodles well, as it will basically disappear as the noodles cook.
- Kielbasa, cut into chunks or thin slices. This totally optional, but I like to think of it as a slightly-grown-up version of hot-dogs with mac and cheese.
- Salt & pepper. A simple blend to boost the flavor.
- Sharp cheddar cheese and gouda cheese, both shredded. You can play with your cheese choices, but I like the classic sharpness of cheddar and creaminess of the gouda.
- Ground turmeric. This optional spice doesn't do much for the flavor profile, but helps turn turn everything that bright yellow we're used to with mac and cheese.
In Instant Pot, add macaroni pasta, butter, whole milk, chicken stock and sliced kielbasa. Close lid make sure vent is set to "sealing". Set Instant Pot to Manual: High for 4 minutes.
When timer goes off, follow your manufacturer's instructions for a quick release, to avoid overcooking the pasta. I usually hold a paper towel above the vent using long tongs in order to keep butter and milk from spraying out.
When the pressure has released, carefully open the lid. Add in salt, black pepper, shredded cheddar cheese and shredded gouda cheese. Stir everything together. It may look soupy at first, but after 2-3 minutes, your cheese should melt together into a nice creamy cheese sauce. Let rest 5 minutes to thicken before serving.
Pro tip: If the mix is still too soupy, simply keep stirring it while keeping the Instant Pot (affiliate) on the "Keep Warm" setting. The soup will thicken gradually as you stir.
The are many ways to jazz of your mac and cheese. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Southern Smoked Gouda: Sub shredded smoked gouda cheese for your cheeses. Instead of kielbasa, stir in some crisp bacon along with some already cooked collard greens after the pasta has cooked. Pure southern comfort.
- Holiday Style Baked. Holiday style mac and cheese is a staple in the south. But you can easily transform this recipe to suit that style. After completing the three steps above, transfer the mac and cheese to a baking pan. In a side bowl, mix together 1 cup of Italian bread crumbs and ½ cup grated parmesan cheese. Spread evenly overtop the macaroni and cheese. Drizzle everything with olive oil and broil in the oven on high until bread crumbs are golden brown (about 2-5 minutes depending on your broiler, watch it carefully!).
- Gruyere. For an extra creamy and unique flavor, sub out the mozzarella in this recipe for shredded gruyere cheese.
- Pizza mac and cheese. This one's for the kids. Go with 100% mozzarella cheese, then mix in cubed or sliced pepperoni. Keep going with any of your other favorite, like sausage, mushrooms, chopped peppers and more.
💭 Top Tip
This tip is an absolute lifesaver! The downside to this recipe is that your pot can winds up with cheese stuck to all the sides, and cleaning can be a chore. That's where this super simple cleaning tip comes in handy.
To clean your pot easily, fill the pot with enough water to cover the stuck cheese or other foodstuff. Add in 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Close the lid and set the vent to “sealing”. Set the Instant Pot to Manual: High pressure for 4 minutes.
Let the Instant Pot naturally release until all pressure is gone, then open the lid. The stuck stuff should fall off and the pot should be easily cleaned.
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⚠ How to use an Instant Pot
Before you start this recipe, make sure you are familiar with the instructions and safety manual for your model of Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker). Instant Pot itself offers a nice set of videos on How to use an Instant Pot.
While pressure cookers are awesome tools, they have to be used correctly. Take the time to be familiar with how to use yours before you begin to avoid injury and give you the tastiest results.
Store leftover Instant Pot Mac and Cheese in an airtight container in the fridge. It keeps well in the fridge for 3-6 days and can be simply reheated in the microwave when needed. For best results, reheat 2-3 minutes with the power set to half.
🥘 Related Recipes
Instant Pot Goulash gives you a similar recipe with more of that traditional meat and tomato sauce style we all love. An awesomely easy family meal. Or, maybe try Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo or Instant Pot Chicken and Yellow Rice for other super easy dinner ideas. For more ideas, check out our catalog of Instant Pot Recipes.Print
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Total Time: 27 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
Super easy and super cheesy. Instant Pot Mac and Cheese delivers an awesome meal or side dish in just a few simple steps.
- 1 lb macaroni pasta (elbows, small shells or cavatappi all work great)
- 3 Tbsp butter
- ½ cup whole milk
- 4 cups water
- 14 oz kielbasa, cut into small chunks
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 8 oz gouda cheese, shredded
- 1 tsp ground turmeric (optional)
- In Instant Pot, add macaroni pasta, chicken stock, milk, butter and kielbasa. Make sure the pasta is submerged in the chicken liquid so that it cooks properly. Close lid and make sure vent is set to "sealing". Set Instant Pot to Manual: High for 4 minutes. When timer goes off, perform a quick release.
- Open Instant Pot and add salt, pepper, shredded cheddar cheese, shredded gouda cheese and ground turmeric. Stir everything together until it becomes a nice, smooth cheesy mix. Let sit five minutes to thicken before serving.
- Cook Time: 27 minutes
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, Easy Side Dish, Potluck Recipes
How much cheese?
One 8oz package comes out perfect (I edited the recipe to make that clear, thanks!)