Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese + Video

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Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese is so creamy and can be made in less than 15 minutes using your electric pressure cooker! Using chicken broth instead of water makes this the best Instant Pot mac and cheese — even more flavorful and creamy than other recipes!

Titled Image: Instant Pot Mac & Cheese


Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

Homemade Mac and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food that the whole family will love! There are SO many different ways to make it, too!

Baked, on the stovetop, in a crockpot, and now in an electric pressure cooker!

Cooking macaroni and cheese in the Instant Pot saves you a few steps — no need to drain the pasta and everything can be made in one pot.

It’s perfect for dinner on busy weeknights, as a potluck dish, and for holiday dinners!

Recipe Video

To see us make this easy Instant Pot mac and cheese from start to finish, watch the video in this post!

dry elbows in instant pot

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Noodles – You can use either elbow macaroni or corkscrew macaroni for this Instant Pot macaroni and cheese recipe.
  • Chicken Broth – An easy way to add loads of flavor and creamy texture to this dish!

    If you don’t have any at home, simply use the same amount of vegetable broth or even water.
  • Milk – Many recipes for mac and cheese in the Instant Pot call for evaporated milk.

    I prefer to use regular milk instead because I always have it on hand and find that it tastes better.
  • Cheese – To get the best flavor and texture, use a combination of cheeses — one for flavor (Parmesan) and one that melts really well (cheddar).

    Gouda, Gruyère, or Monterey Jack are great alternatives for the cheddar.

    You can also substitute mozzarella for 1 cup of the cheddar, but don’t use more than that or the dish will be very stringy.
  • Seasonings – These are optional, but I find they make a big difference in flavor.

    Use a combination of dried onion and garlic powders, plus some dried mustard or a little Dijon.

    For heat, try black pepper or a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.

    If you’ll be using low-sodium chicken broth, you may need to increase the spices and add a pinch of salt.
elbow macaroni, spices, water and butter in instant pot

Tips for Making the Best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

  • Prevent sticking or the dreaded “burn” notice.

Once everything is in the IP inner pot, stir well and scrape along the bottom and sides to ensure the ingredients are well combined.

This guarantees the best Instant Pot mac and cheese results and ensures that the pasta will be evenly cooked.

  • Get the creamiest texture with freshly grated cheese.

I know, I know… bagged shreds are super convenient. However, the anti-caking additives create a waxy texture and prevent the cheese from melting down nice and smooth.

Take a few extra minutes to shred the cheese by hand.

Plus, this gives you more flexibility if you want to play with different flavor varieties and combos. You’ll thank me later!

  • Avoiding overcooking the pasta.

Since the noodles will continue to soften even after the cooking cycle ends, stick to the 5-minute timer followed by a quick release of pressure.

If you lose track of time and accidentally do a natural pressure release, the pasta may turn to mush.

Prep Ahead

  • Shred cheese
  • Measure out spices

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Instant Pot – This recipe works in a 6-quart or 8-quart pressure cooker. If you are using the larger size, it is possible to double the recipe with no adjustments to the cooking time!
  • Cheese Grater – Fresh cheese makes this recipe even better! Like I always say, skip the bagged shreds and buy a block to grate yourself.
  • Heat-Resistant Spoon – Perfect for cooking, stirring, and serving.

Serving Suggestions

adding cream to instant pot

I love to serve this easy Instant Pot mac and cheese with crispy bacon bits or chopped ham on top.

With a side salad, it’s great for a main dish, but it also makes the perfect side dish for so many different meals!

Add a heaping scoop to your plate with fried chicken, smoked ribs, or homemade pretzel dogs.

This is a great recipe for the holidays too, freeing up precious oven space and requiring very little extra time.

stirring instant pot mac and cheese

Storing and Reheating Easy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

This creamy dish tastes best fresh — the longer mac and cheese sits, the dryer it will become.

If you have leftovers, transfer to an airtight container before they cool completely and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Reheating is possible but don’t expect it to taste as creamy and smooth as before.

Warm individual servings in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding splashes of milk or broth to loosen it up.

Mac and Cheese In Instant Pot FAQ

How long does it take to make macaroni and cheese in the Instant Pot?

This will vary by recipe, but my version cooks in just 5 minutes.

You will also need to account for the time it takes to come to pressure, which could be anywhere from 5-10 minutes, plus another minute or so to release pressure at the end.

Can I add meat or veggies to this recipe?

Yes, but stir those in just before serving Instant Pot mac and cheese. Adding them to the pot beforehand may prevent the pasta from cooking properly.

I already mentioned that I love to toss bacon or ham on top, but shredded rotisserie chicken would be tasty too!

As far as veggies, saute some mushrooms or steam broccoli or cauliflower while Instant Pot mac and cheese is cooking. They’ll be ready at the same time!

Why is the macaroni and cheese in my Instant Pot watery?

Every appliance cooks a bit differently and pasta can absorb liquid at different rates depending on the size and brand of the noodle.

If there is extra liquid left after cooking, give everything a stir, put the lid back on, and let it sit for a few more minutes until the pasta has absorbed all the liquid.

Alternatively, sometimes mac and cheese in the Instant Pot comes out a bit dry. In that case, stir in an extra 1/2 cup of milk and let it sit covered until absorbed.

top view of a bowl of creamy instant pot mac and cheese

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bowl of instant pot mac and cheese

pressure cooker mac and cheese in bowl

Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese + Video

Donna Elick
Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese is super creamy and quick to make! This recipe takes just 15 minutes using an electric pressure cooker!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Main, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Method Instant Pot
Servings 4


  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 16 ounces dry macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried onion powder, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried garlic powder, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard, or 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk


  • In the inner pot of an Instant Pot, combine chicken broth, macaroni, butter, dried onion powder, dried mustard, hot sauce, and black pepper.
  • Put the lid on the pot and set the valve to the sealing position. Set to pressure cook on high for 5 minutes.
  • After the time is up do a quick release. Have a towel ready because there might be some liquid spraying. If there is extra liquid, put the lid back on and let sit for 2 minutes.
  • Add 1/4 cup of milk, then stir in handfuls of cheese at a time and stir until smooth and melted. Add more milk if needed. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve immediately.



Serving: 1 | Calories: 906cal | Carbohydrates: 91g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 1735mg | Sugar: 6g | Fiber: 4g | Calcium: 785mg | Iron: 2mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Titled Image: Instant Pot Mac & Cheese - PIN

Originally published May 2019. Updated and republished March 2024

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    This mac and cheese always comes out perfect no matter what cheese I use! The family raves about it so it’s never missing from the dinner table.

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