Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese

Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese

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.

Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese

Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese


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!

Easy Cheesy Chili Mac - Instant Pot or Not

Easy Cheesy Chili Mac – Instant Pot or Not. Coming soon!

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.

Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese

Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese

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

Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese

Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 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
Into the Instant Pot liner, add the macaroni, chicken broth, butter, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt, and pepper. Stir once, then push any macaroni sticking up over the surface of the broth down so it is covered, as best as you can, with liquid.
Add lid and seal. Set to High Pressure, time 5 minutes. When finished, quick release. If anything other than steam comes out of the valve or if it sputters, wait a minute and then continue releasing.
Open the pot and stir in the cheeses and milk until smooth; start with 3/4’s cup of milk, then add the rest if necessary.  Season as necessary to taste. Serve immediately.
  • 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.


I’ll be sharing Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese at Fiesta Friday number 279, hosted this week by Liz @ Spades, Spatulas & Spoons and Jenny @ Apply To Face Blog.

Jessica & Brandon – this is one of my favorite photos so far from the wedding!

Instant Pot Mac & Cheese


36 thoughts on “Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese

  1. Congrats to your daughter! I am going to have to make this. I have made a shells and cheese version in the instant pot a few times, but I definitely need to do one with “real” cheese too!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Thanks Carlee! I am still waiting to see more photos! I have made a recipe like that with the “other” cheese and shells and it tasted just like childhood! My Mom would never buy or serve the Kraft so I always thought it was a real treat when I had it at friend’s houses; that backfired, on her, didn’t it, lol!!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      That’s so sweet, thank you Angie! Like most parents, I’m a bit in awe of how my children turn out – and I gotta say, better looking than their parents!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hard to say because as it cooks there is the heat up time the cook time and then a minute or so as it releases and then you stir in milk and cheese. You set the pressure for half the cooking time on the package, and it turns out perfectly al dente.

  2. It’s a wonderful wedding picture. I’ve pinned this as another way to use the Instant Pot. Mac and cheese is one of my guilty pleasures. My best friend often makes it for her vegetarian children when she gives a BBQ. I am all about the mac and cheese, forget the tri-tip.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      I don’t make or eat mac & cheese often, but this was so good and so easy. I was too busy to be taking any photos, so I’m dying to see the photographer’s…I’m on pins and needles!

  3. Ron

    I recently (skeptically) made IP mac cheese and was amazed how well it turned out and our young guest devoured it. The recipe I used didn’t have the secret ingredient that your recipe does, so I’ll be giving your recipe a try.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      I love using mustard powder in so many things! I was skeptical, too, and to tell the truth, being an old stovetop pressure cooker user (and I have a pressure canner, too) I was skeptical about the Instant Pot! itself! I can’t tell you how much I love using it compared to the stove top pressure cooker which always took some fiddling, some finageling and close watching! That stove top pressure cooker is now one of my favorite pots, pressure lid tucked away, and it’s nice and heavy and great for old fashioned cooked fudge, lol!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Lori, thanks! It was beautiful! I worried about all those sparks and all that fabric, but it worked out just fine!

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