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Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot

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Making super cheesy mac and cheese in the instant pot is so quick and simple. This recipe only requires a few simple ingredients and almost no effort.

Close bowl of creamy macaroni and cheese with curly noodles.

Creamy macaroni and cheese is one of those dishes that is perfect in almost any occasion. It makes a great side dish for pretty much any entrée or it works as a main dish itself.

This recipe makes getting homemade mac and cheese on the table an almost hands off event. The instant pot and a spoon are the only tools you will need.

Of course you will need some pasta, milk, cheese and a little sour cream as well. That’s really about it!

The resulting pasta is going to be coated in tons of flavorful cheese. Serve it as a meat free main during Lent or anytime or make it a side dish for BBQ, sandwiches and more.

What kind of pasta should you use?

Of course elbow macaroni is a great pasta shape for macaroni and cheese, but you don’t have to stop there. Any pasta shape that has some shape and texture to it will work.

Using flat shapes can create a dense finished product. So it’s best to use either shapes with holes or big ridges so there are plenty of spots for that cheese sauce to cling.

I love using corkscrew shaped cellantini. It is extra fun with the curly cue and the it has the hole in the middle too.

Rotini would be another great option or pasta shells as well. Feel free to experiment with your favorite shapes.

Cheese choices

Feel free to use your favorite mixture of cheeses in the macaroni and cheese. It is fun to use a combination for the best flavor and texture.

Using all sharp cheddar can make for a really strong flavor. So we like to add gouda, mozzarella, colby jack or Monterey jack to the cheddar for balance.

Just make sure you use a good melting cheese. Otherwise let your taste buds be your guide.

Close up of serving bowl filled with creamy macaroni and cheese by pressure cooker.

Why add sour cream?

Adding some sour cream to macaroni and cheese helps give it a rich and creamy texture. It adds a little background tang and depth of flavor as well.

The sour cream also helps to keep your mac and cheese creamy if you are going to hold it a while.

We made a double batch of this macaroni and cheese in my 8 quart instant pot for Little Dude’s Lego birthday party. It was still creamy after being on the keep warm setting for over an hour.

White bowl filled with curly pasta and cheese sauce.

More great macaroni and cheese recipes

Creamed spinach macaroni and cheese is a fun combination of two favorite side dishes. It is a great way to get them to eat their greens!

Try making no boil baked macaroni and cheese for a firmer version of mac and cheese. The oven does the work for you!

If you like your macaroni and cheese super cheesy and over the top creamy, instant pot shells and cheese is the recipe for you. It’s inspired by the boxed shells and cheese and is made easily in the instant pot.

Yield: 8 Servings

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Close up of serving bowl filled with creamy macaroni and cheese by pressure cooker.

Making super cheesy mac and cheese in the instant pot is so quick and simple. This recipe only requires a few simple ingredients and almost no effort.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 16 Ounces Uncooked Elbow Macaroni
  • 4 Cups Water (or chicken broth)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Cup Shredded Gouda
  • 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
  • 3/4 Cup Milk

Instructions

  1. Add the uncooked pasta, water, butter, garlic powder, pepper, and salt to the Instant Pot. 
  2. Place the lid on the pot and set to sealing.  Cook on manual function, high pressure for 5 minutes.  Then, do a quick release.
  3. Add the milk and sour cream, stirring to combine. Then add the cheese one cup at a time, stirring in between each addition until smooth and creamy. let sit on keep warm for 5 minutes to thicken the sauce. Adjust seasoning as necessary to taste.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 318Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 406mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 14g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

Making super cheesy mac and cheese in the instant pot is so quick and simple. This recipe only requires a few simple ingredients and almost no effort.

Share with your friends!

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