2 bowls of creamy instant pot mac and cheese on a blue background
Dinner, Instant Pot, Recipe Video, Sides and Veggies, Thanksgiving, Vegetarian

Creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

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Is there anything truly better than creamy lick-your-lips-worthy mac and cheese? Yes, actually. This creamy mac and cheese comes together in 10 minutes thanks for the instant pot! This is going to become a go-to in your house!

Listen. We all need a little carb and cheese action in our life every now and then. Creamy instant pot mac and cheese is going to do just the trick!

I am not sure I know anyone who doesn’t like mac and cheese. It is like the ULTIMATE comfort food! The king of them all. My mom made the best mac and cheese growing up and I talk all about my preference in this dish over HERE when I made Southern Cheddar Mac and Cheese.

Can we also count how many times I may say mac and cheese in this post lol. Sorry, not sorry!

We are taking this dish to the instant pot and letting it do its thing is magic! It comes together in 10 minutes!

  • No more making a roux
  • No more boiling the noodles separately
  • Fewer pans
  • Less mess
  • Less clean up

WIN-WIN!!

1 bowls of mac and cheese with instant pot in the background

How to Make Mac and Cheese in an Instant Pot

Step 1: Place your box of pasta and 4 cups of water in the instant pot.

NOTE – you can use any shape pasta shells you have on hand. Doesn’t matter – shells, elbows, bow ties, penne…heck if “worse comes to worse” use spaghetti noodles. Just a pound of any dried pasta you have on hand. Make it easy.

Step 2: Place the lid on and set the custom pressure cooking time to 5 minutes and press start. Note, that it will take about 5 or so minutes to come to pressure before the cooking time starts. While this is cooking shred your cheese.

Step 3: Once the 5 minutes are up, manually release the steam immediately. If you wait any time the noodles will continue to cook and be overcooked and potentially fall apart.

Step 4: Add in the butter, cream cheese, salt, and pepper. Begin to stir to break up the noodles that are stuck together and start melting the butter and cream cheese.

Add in all of your grated cheese and stir. The heat from the bowl and noodles will slowly start to melt everything together into a luscious creamy sauce. This takes a little while to melt. At first, you will think you have ruined it and it won’t work. You haven’t! Keep stirring….it will come together!

Step 5: Once the cheese is almost completely melted (after 2-3 minutes of stirring) then add in 1/4 cup of milk. This will help loosen everything up and complete the creamy sauce this dish has. If the mac and cheese is still too thick you can add an additional 1/4 cup of milk until it is the consistency you prefer. I love mine ultra-creamy and more on the saucy soupy side!

NOTE – as the mac and cheese sits for a while (or when it is stored for leftovers) it will absorb the liquid. If at any time it seems to be thicker, just add a splash of milk to loosen everything back up.

What Cheese is Best for Mac and Cheese?

My motto for cooking is always use what you have!

You can use any combo of cheese you would like. In this recipe, I used 8 ounces of mild cheddar and 8 ounces of white cheddar. You can use different types of cheese or just all one kind. Use whatever you have or like.

Note, if you use mozzarella or provolone you will get a stringy cheese sauce which is totally great if you like that!

Cheese combos to try:

  • Cheddar
  • Mild Cheddar and White Cheddar
  • Mild Cheddar and Gruyere
  • Cheddar and Colby Jack
  • Cheddar and Pepper Jack (for a bit of a kick)
  • Cheddar, Mozzarella, Parmesan
  • Goat cheese would be a STELLAR addition too and add even more of a creamy bite to this

Can I Use Pre-Shredded Cheese?

Using pre-shredded cheese for mac and cheese is not recommended. The bags of pre-shredded cheese have a powder coating on them that does not melt well in a sauce. The sauce will turn grainy and have a weird texture to it. It is much better to just take the extra 2 minutes and grate your own.

What If I Do Not Have an Instant Pot?

If you do not have an instant pot macaroni and cheese can be made on the stovetop. I have made mac and cheese my entire life up to this point without one. lol 🙂

Check out my Southern Cheddar Mac and Cheese that is basically the stovetop version of this recipe.

2 bowls of Southern Cheddar Mac and Cheese with the pot in the background

Where Can I Buy the Instant Pot You Use?

I love my instant pot! You can find them almost everywhere nowadays but you know Amazon is our BFF. This is the one (affiliate link) that I have.

noodles and cheese inside of an instant pot before it is melted

What Can I Serve with Creamy Mac and Cheese?

Listen, the bigger the bowl the better 😉

But seriously, you can eat this alone and it is 100% an appropriate dinner option! I support all the cheese and carb cravings that are needed!

You can also have a smaller portion served alongside a side salad. BBQ Cobb Salad would be a great option! Or this Italian Chop Chop Salad.

You can also serve this with some sort of protein – baked chicken, crispy bacon, or salty ham. Jazz it up with some veggies too – sweet peas, spinach, and roasted red peppers would be delicious!

The options are endless to bulk this up. Have fun with it! Be creative! This is perfect on its own or a great base for a hearty, comforting meal that will feed an army and make great leftovers for the week.

How Do I Reheat Creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese?

To reheat instant pot mac and cheese, scoop out whatever portion size you prefer into a bowl and add a splash of milk. Place in the microwave for 1 minute. Remove and stir together. Place back into the microwave for a couple of minutes or until hot. Add more milk if needed to reach the desired consistency. As the mac and cheese cools, it will absorb all of the liquid and lose the “soupiness”. Adding milk back in and slowly reheating it will bring it right back to life!

How to Store Leftover Creamy Mac and Cheese

Place any leftover mac and cheese in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

close up of a bowl of mac and cheese

More Pasta Recipes

More Side Dish Recipes

More Instant Pot Recipes

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one bowl of creamy instant pot mac and cheese with blue napkin and blue background

Creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese


  • Author: Heather
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 68 1x

Description

Is there anything truly better than creamy lick-your-lips-worthy mac and cheese? Yes, actually. This creamy mac and cheese comes together in 10 minutes thanks to the instant pot! This is going to become a go-to in your house!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 Pound of Pasta (your preferred shape – shells, elbows, etc.)
  • 4 Cups Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt +more to taste if needed
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper +more to taste if needed
  • 16 Ounces Cheese – shredded (see notes for cheese instructions)
  • 4 Ounces Cream Cheese
  • 1/41/2 Cup Milk

Instructions

  1. In an instant pot, add your noodles and water. Place the lid on and seal.
  2. Set to a custom pressure cook time of 5 minutes (note that it will also take 5-7 minutes to come to pressure before cooking times begins).
  3. While the pasta is cooking shred your cheese.
  4. As soon as the 5 minute cooking time is up, manually release the steam. You want to do this right away and not wait so that the noodles don’t overcook.
  5. Remove the lid and add butter, cream cheese, salt, and pepper. Gently stir to start melting.
  6. Add in the rest of the cheese. Stir for 1-2 minutes. As you stir, the heat of the noodles and pot will begin to melt the cheese. It will turn into a luscious, thick, and creamy sauce.
  7. Add in 1/4 cup of milk and stir. Taste to see if more salt is needed. Add if so. Feel free to add more milk if preferred or needed to loosen and make more creamy and “soupy”. 
  8. This will be ready when all of the cheese is melted into a creamy sauce. 

Notes

  • You can use any combo of cheese you would like. In this recipe video I used 8 ounces of mild cheddar and 8 ounces of white cheddar. You can use different types of cheese or just all one kind. Use whatever you have or like. Note, if you use mozzarella or provolone you will get a stringy cheese sauce which is totally great if you like that!
  • Cheese combos to try
    • Mild Cheddar and White Cheddar
    • Mild Cheddar and Gruyere
    • Cheddar and Colby Jack
    • Cheddar and Pepper Jack (for a bit of a kick)
    • Cheddar, Mozzarella, Parmesan
  • Any shape noodle can be used that you have. I usually use shells, bowties, cavatappi, radiatori, etc.
  • If you do not have an instant pot, check out this recipe here for a Southern Mac and Cheese made on the stovetop
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 scoop
  • Calories: 525
  • Sugar: 3.9 g
  • Sodium: 436.1 mg
  • Fat: 27.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 46.4 g
  • Fiber: 1.8 g
  • Protein: 22.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 78.7 mg

Keywords: Creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

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Disclosure. Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you click on a product link, I may receive compensation. This compensation comes at no additional cost to you, and as always I only recommend products I trust! Heather Bilyeu is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
 

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2 Comments

  1. It was perfect the first time. I learn so much from you as well! Keep it up great post.

     

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