This recipe is so easy and makes the absolute best mac and cheese! How easy is it? My four-year old makes it when we’re at home! Learn how to make the easiest, best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with this awesome recipe.
Mike’s Recipe Rundown
- Taste: Cheesy and gooey with a hint of salt, pepper and smoked paprika to wake things up a bit. It’s the classic you’ve known and loved your whole life!
- Texture: Super creamy and gooey. The real cheese texture you’ll get out of this with minimal effort is amazing!
- Difficulty – WAY Easy! Seriously, the most novice of Instant Pot users can kill it with this super simple recipe. With minimal help (and of course, checks for safety), my four-year-old daughter pulls this off with no problem.
- Pros: The only thing better than how easy this is, is how good the final product is. This will give you the same great mac and cheese that would take you tons of effort on the stove.
- Cons: This alone won’t give you a browned top, baked mac and cheese if you’re looking for that. But getting to there is easy. Simply dump the finished mac and cheese into a greased baking dish and bake until brown and bubbly for an awesome Thanksgiving or potluck recipe!
- Would I make it again? For sure! This is an awesome, quick, worry free way to whip up mac and cheese on a weeknight!
What do I need to make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese?
Well, an Instant Pot , obviously. This recipe was made in an 8qt, but would also work in a 6qt as is. It could work in a 3qt also, especially if you cut the portion size in half.
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Tips and Tricks
- I suggest allowing your Instant Pot naturally release for this one. If you pull a quick release, milk and butter will spray from the valve about halfway through. Give it 10 minutes before flipping the valve to avoid that messy spray everywhere.
- Remember to add in the time it takes for everything to come to pressure. Give your Instant Pot about 10 minutes to come to pressure, then the 10 minutes to release. So, in total, this will take about 30 minutes to make (but with very little work during that time).
- The two choices you have here is noodle type and cheese type. I like a nice sharp cheddar for my cheese, as it lends more flavor. Colby would give you a more mild cheese taste, as well. For noodles, I recommend small shells, rotini or classic elbows. You want to make sure your noodles have some texture, so the cheese sauce can cling to something.
- If you pour your cheese in and it’s still a little wet, turn the heat off and simply let it rest and thicken up. The sauce will slowly solidify as it sets.
- Conversely, if your cheese milk is not creamy enough, simply pour in a little bit of milk and stir in.
How to make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
Super simple, two step recipe here. To begin, pour noodles, butter, whole milk and water in an Instant Pot. Close lid and set valve to “sealing”. Set timer to four minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for your Instant Pot to reach pressure before the four minute timer begins.
When timer goes off, give the Instant Pot ten minutes to naturally release. At that point, flip the valve to “venting” and carefully allow the remaining steam to release. Open and dump in cheese along with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Stir everything together.
Allow mix to set for about 5 minutes to thicken up and serve warm!
Goes great with…
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork for a super easy dinner. You can even top the mac and cheese with the pork directly for a true southern fav.
- Homemade Sloppy Joes for a kid pleasing dinner.
- 15 minute Parmesan Crusted Chicken for a quick and delicious family pleasing meal.
What to do with leftovers
Store leftover mac and cheese in an airtight container in the fridge. Simple reheat in the microwave when needed. It can be frozen and reheated as well, but with something this easy and cheap, it’s not worth the trouble to me.
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Super easy, creamy and cheesy, this is the best mac and cheese recipe with minimal effort. A super easy side dish recipe.
- 1 lb rotini noodles (or elbow macaroni or small shells)
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- In Instant Pot, add noodles, water, milk and butter. Set Instant Pot to sealing and timer to Manual->High for 4 minutes. Allow Instant Pot to naturally release for 10 minutes before flipping valve back to “sealing” to release remaining stem. Only open once pressure valve on top has gone down.
- Open Instant Pot and add cheese, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Stir everything together until it becomes a nice, smooth cheesy mix. Let sit five minutes to thicken before serving.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, Easy Side Dish, Potluck Recipes