Raise your hand if Macaroni & Cheese is one of your ultimate comfort foods! I mean a real, deal Macaroni & Cheese, made with a blend of cheeses you love. And what if you can get it on the table in minutes, with no heavy pots of boiling water to heat up your kitchen, constant checking for the perfect al dente on the noodles and the steam bath you get when draining that pasta? Step up to Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese. It’s a game-changer.
This Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese is not only my answer to the boxed stuff, but it’s also seriously delish and packed with flavor. It’s perfectly luscious, creamy, very cheesy and it’s even faster & easier to toss together than any of the boxed products out there.
About Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese:
If you follow me, you know I’m just back from my daughter’s wedding in Georgia. It was gorgeous and a little hectic, so I took over a few of the food chores. And would you believe I had a couple of failures? Yup, me, a food blogger! I thought I could simplify Jessica’s life by showing her how to use the Instant Pot she hadn’t yet unboxed. I made green hard-boiled eggs and awful ribs – I think it might have an attention span thing because I’ve made both many times in my IP. So that’s a lesson to us all, especially me, to follow any IP recipe (even my own!) exactly for stellar results – it cooks so quickly there’s no room for error.
When cooking for a blended family of different ages, different backgrounds, different tastes, it can be hard to find family-friendly recipes everyone will eat. There’s a total of seven children, now, between Jess and Brandon, ranging from toddler to teenager and I’m thinking I’m too young to be a Grandma seven times over! They’re all delightful and fun and well behaved. I’m so proud of both Jess & Brandon. But they are faced with a lot of challenges, that’s for sure! Dinner shouldn’t be one of them!
Everyone loved my Easy Cheesy Chili Mac – Instant Pot or Not, which I’ll post soon, but I’m kicking myself for not thinking about making Mac & Cheese. I mean what kid doesn’t love it? I did think about it when I got back home because I’m determined to post out a few easy, family-friendly IP meals that Jess can toss out in minutes for lunch or dinner for her always hungry hoard. Normally, I’d serve this with a veg of some sort, probably broccoli, but I made it on a day Kraig (my son) came over to help me catch up with yard work. The cupboard was bare, we were starving and we inhaled it as is!
Making Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese:
When you make Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese, all you do is cook the macaroni in the Instant Pot, then add in the milk and cheese, stir and wait until the cheese melts. Seriously easy. You also have a great opportunity that you don’t have (at least without spending a lot more money on chicken broth) with a stove-top version.
Since you only need as much liquid as the macaroni needs, there’s no bringing a pot of water to a boil, no excess liquid to drain and dump, and it makes sense to use a little broth to infuse even more flavor into your mac & cheese. And while you’re at it, it doesn’t hurt to add in a few other basic flavors. A little garlic or onion powder, one of my fave Top Secret Stealth Ingredients, mustard powder, the salt and pepper and anything else you’d like to jazz things up a bit.
Just a couple of quick notes: In the Instant Pot, when cooking any pasta, your timing will be 1/2 the stated cooking time on the package and the liquid amount will usually be just enough to cover the pasta. The butter in the recipe, added to the pasta, tastes great and helps prevent sputtering when releasing pressure. I like a melty cheese and a sharper cheese when I make Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese. You can use anything you’d like, including American or Velveeta or a good Cheddar, but I particularly like Colby/Jack and a little Parmesan. I buy the block stuff and grate it myself; the shredded always has anti-caking agents and is never as smooth, but do what ya gotta do. The best dairy to use is whole milk, but it’s not so particular you can’t feel free to use anything you’d like, even a non-dairy version.
Saving Money on Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese:
Watch the sales for any pasta, stock up at a low, and often, unless coupons are available, the larger bags or boxes are less per pound. With pasta or any product that contains flour, I always toss in the freezer for 3 days or the fridge for 30 when I bring it in the house That prevents any little peskies invading my cupboards.
And since I sometimes use a bit of macaroni here or there in different recipes, I never know how much I have left in my box or bag so I’m all about measuring amounts with my kitchen scale. They’re so affordable now and can be picked up almost everywhere. Two cups of macaroni will do perfectly, though, for this recipe if you don’t have a scale; other kinds of pasta will have a different volume measurement.
The cheese I use is this recipe is the standard grocery store stuff, bought on special. I stock up when there’s a great deal because it keeps for weeks, unopened in the fridge and can be frozen if need be. After freezing, it’s always a little crumbly. Fine for recipes like this but you won’t want to try to slice it for eating or sandwiches. This recipe, four hearty servings of the cheesiest Macaroni & Cheese, ever, ran well under four bucks.
Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese
- 8 ounces (2 cups) uncooked macaroni
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- a dash or two of Tabasco sauce
- 2 cups (8 ounces) of a meltable shredded cheese, or a combination of cheeses
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- about 1 cup milk, whole preferred
- If chicken stock is salty, adjust salt level to taste.
- Sometimes I like to cut about 1/4 of the cheese into small chunks, maybe about 1/3 to 1/2 inch. They will give you little ooey, gooey surprise pockets of cheese throughout the mac & cheese.
- May be doubled. Cook time remains the same but it may take a bit more time to come up to pressure.