Instant Pot mac and cheese is an extra quick and effortless way of whipping up some creamy and cheesy macaroni! Shredded cheddar and Velveeta combine to make this dish gooey and delicious! This recipe is so simple that it will quickly become one of your new favorite ways to prepare mac and cheese!
I love comfort food almost as much as easy and convenient recipes. So why not combine the two?
This macaroni and cheese recipe is made in your Instant Pot, which means it is extra simple!
This recipe is my go-to when short on time, in a pinch, or looking for a simple one-pot side dish! You'll still be able to enjoy some gooey and cheesy macaroni in just a fraction of the time of some other recipes.
Make sure you pick up a block of cheese and grate it yourself. Prepackaged shredded cheese has added preservatives to keep the cheese from sticking to itself (which affects how well it melts).
- Elbow Macaroni - 8 ounces of dry elbow macaroni. Of course, you can swap this out for shells, cavatappi, bowtie, or any of your other favorite short varieties!
- Water - 2 cups of water.
- Salt - 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Pepper - ⅛ teaspoon of pepper.
- Garlic Powder - ⅛ teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Evaporated Milk - 5 ounces of evaporated milk.
- Butter - 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter for extra richness. If you use salted butter, reduce the amount of salt in the recipe.
- Cheddar Cheese - 1½ cups of freshly grated cheddar cheese.
- Velveeta - 4 ounces of cubed Velveeta cheese.
*Be sure to see the free printable recipe card below for ingredients, exact amounts & instructions with tips!*
🔪 How To Make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
This recipe is completely beginner-friendly! All you need to get started is your Instant Pot or pressure cooker, some measuring cups, and a wooden spoon!
You'll have about 4 servings of macaroni and cheese ready to go in no time!
- Add ingredients. In your Instant Pot, add the 2 cups of water, 8 ounces of elbow macaroni, 1 teaspoon of salt, ⅛ teaspoon of pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon of garlic powder. Stir to combine.
- Cook. Lock the lid of the Instant Pot and set the valve to 'seal'. Set to manual pressure and cook on high for 4 minutes. It will take about 8-10 minutes for the pot to come up to pressure before the timer starts.
- Vent. Once the cooking time has finished, turn the valve to 'vent' to perform a quick release. Be very careful, as hot steam can shoot out the top of the pressure cooker while the pressure is released.
- Saute. Carefully unlock and remove the lid, then set your Instant Pot to the 'saute' setting.
- Add milk and butter. Add 5 ounces of evaporated milk and 2 tablespoons of butter, and then stir until well combined.
- Melt the cheese. While constantly stirring, gradually add 1½ cups of shredded cheese and 4 ounces of Velveeta cubes until all of the cheese is melted.
- Serve. Turn off the Instant Pot and serve immediately while hot.
💭 Tips & Notes
- Pressure Build-Up Time: While the cooking time is set for 4 minutes, remember to account for the 8-10 minutes it takes for the Instant Pot to reach pressure.
- Releasing Pressure Safely: Exercise caution when turning the valve to 'vent' to release pressure, as hot steam will escape rapidly.
- Cheese Choice: Opt for freshly grated cheddar for smoother melting instead of prepackaged shredded cheese, which may not melt as evenly.
- Pasta Varieties: While elbow macaroni is traditional for mac and cheese, experiment with other short pasta types for variety.
- Creative Leftovers: Transform any leftover mac and cheese into tasty homemade baked mac and cheese bites for a delightful snack.
🥡 Storing & Reheating
Store any leftover mac and cheese in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Use small bursts in the microwave to reheat your leftovers. Of course, you can put it back into the instant pot and use the saute setting.
The best cheese for macaroni and cheese really depends on your taste preferences. I really enjoy classics like cheddar and Monterey Jack as well as more unique varieties like gouda! For more information, take a look at my guide to the best cheeses for macaroni and cheese!
You can stir in your favorite vegetables like peas, sundried tomatoes, or carrots. If you want to add some protein, mix in some cooked chicken, hot dogs, bacon, or sausage.
Unfortunately, gluten-free pasta doesn't hold up well in the Instant Pot. It easily breaks down and turns mushy and gummy.
🧀 Mac & Cheese Recipes
- Velveeta Mac & Cheese - This recipe features Velveeta for an extra gooey and cheesy dish!
- Crockpot Mac & Cheese - You can make macaroni and cheese in the crockpot for a hands-off side dish!
- Cauliflower Mac & Cheese - Add some cauliflower to your macaroni and cheese for a nutritious twist!
- White Cheddar Mac & Cheese - I love how sharp and flavorful white cheddar cheese makes macaroni and cheese!
- Southern Baked Macaroni & Cheese - If you are looking for an extra cozy and comforting dish, try out this recipe!
- Lobster Macaroni & Cheese - For a more sophisticated twist, add some lobster to your meal!
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📖 Recipe Card
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- 8 oz elbow macaroni
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- 5 oz evaporated milk
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1½ cup cheddar cheese (grated)
- 4 oz Velveeta cheese (cubed)
- In your Instant Pot, add the 2 cups water, 8 oz elbow macaroni, 1 teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder. Stir to combine.
- Lock the lid of the Instant Pot and set the valve to 'seal'. Set to manual pressure cook on high for 4 minutes (*see note).
- Once the cooking time has finished, turn the valve to 'vent' to perform a quick release (*see note).
- Carefully unlock and remove the lid then set your Instant Pot to the 'saute' setting.
- Add in the 5 oz evaporated milk and 2 tablespoon butter and then stir until well combined.
- While constantly stirring, gradually add in your 1½ cup cheddar cheese and 4 oz Velveeta cheese cubes until all of the cheese is melted.
- Turn off the Instant Pot and serve immediately while hot.
- While the cooking time is 4 minutes, the actual amount of time may vary since it does take a few minutes (about 8-10 minutes) for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure.
- Be very careful when switching your valve to 'vent', as hot steam can shoot out while the Instant Pot releases the pressure.
- I prefer to use freshly grated cheddar, as it melts better than prepackaged shredded cheese.
- Of course, elbow macaroni is the classic pasta type for macaroni and cheese. But you can feel free to use your favorite short pasta variety!
- Use any leftovers to make some delicious homemade baked mac and cheese bites!
- To store: Store any leftover mac and cheese in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- To reheat: Use small bursts in the microwave to reheat your leftovers. Of course, you can put it back into the instant pot and use the saute setting as well.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!