This is the BEST Instant Pot Mac and Cheese! Made extra creamy with evaporated milk plus delicious cheddar & parmesan cheese. It’s the ultimate comfort food and can be made in just 4 minutes with your electric pressure cooker.
This post was originally published in 2019. It was updated in 2022 to add new information. The recipe remains the same. Enjoy!
I’m obsessed with my Instant Pot… I can honestly say that I use it at least a few times a week.
- I use it to make bone broth (much quicker than my previous slow cooker bone broth).
- I use it to make quinoa (I love how the process is so hands off!).
- I even use it to reheat leftovers, since we don’t have a microwave.
But, my excitement reached a new level when I found out that I could make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese in under 15 minutes from start to finish!
This is a great recipe for first time instant pot users since it’s super simple and easy! This mac n’ cheese cooks up even easier and in less time than the boxed version.
And this creamy instant pot mac is good!
I’m just going to throw the statement out there…
This is the most perfect mac n’ cheese ever.
🙌🏻 Why is this the BEST Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese?
- I’m using a secret ingredient in this recipe – evaporated milk. Evaporated milk is essentially thickened milk, which means there’s less liquid in your dish and instead it’s just really, really creamy.
- I love how it blends right in and thickens this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese to the perfect consistency, along with the medium cheddar and parmesan cheese that lend the perfect tangy, cheesy flavor.
Other than that, I kept the seasonings really simple… I added in a couple teaspoons of yellow mustard (we all have some of that sitting in the refrigerator door, right?) and some nutmeg. The flavor is really subtle and I made it that way for a couple reasons:
- I wanted the flavors of those amazing cheeses to shine through – You can really taste the delicious cheddar and the parmesan in this dish.
- I figure that a lot of you may be cooking this dish for your kids. They won’t be able to pick out any crazy flavorings going here and they’re going to love it. This is just plain and simple (and the BEST) Instant Pot Mac and Cheese.
One of my brother’s favorite dishes, and basically the only thing he ate growing up (besides my Nana’s Sunday Gravy) was mac and cheese from the blue box. But, sneak some black pepper in there and he wouldn’t even touch it.
So, I say, if you’re cooking this for kids, feel free to mix things up a bit. Maybe they won’t like the parmesan… So use all cheddar instead. Maybe they’ll even balk at the mustard and nutmeg. You can totally leave them out too.
But, for my adults eating (and loving) this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, be sure to pour yourself a glass while you’re diving into this mac & cheese. Elevate your occasion – Even if it’s only a Tuesday night on the sofa with a good Netflix series.
The boxed stuff has got nothing on this delicious recipe!
🛒 Ingredients needed
- Macaroni – Or, use your favorite shaped noodles (more on that below ⬇️).
- Yellow Mustard – This gives the cheese sauce a good tang, but it’s totally optional.
- Evaporated Milk – Evaporated milk is most often sold in the grocery store in the baking aisle. It’s sold in cans.
- Cheddar Cheese – I most often use medium cheddar cheese. But sharp is also delicious. Or, change up your cheese and swap in gruyere, fontina, gouda, etc.
- Parmesan Cheese – You can also leave this out and use only cheddar cheese.
- Nutmeg – Optional. But, I love the warmth it gives to the dish. You could use other spices too, like garlic powder, onion powder, or cumin.
- Salt + Pepper
📋 How to make it
- Add macaroni, water, mustard and salt to the inner pot.
- Lock lid and set the valve to the sealing position.
- Cook on MANUAL high pressure for 4 minutes (or half the time of the cooking time on the box instructions).
- When time is up, quick release the pressure and stir in evaporated milk, cheese, butter and nutmeg.
- Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!
ℹ️ Can I use another pasta shape?
- Yes! You can use any shape of pasta for this mac & cheese. The traditional recipe is made with elbow macaroni, but I like a pasta with lots of nooks and crannies like shells, bowties and rotini. You will want to adjust your cook time based on the pasta cooking directions on the box. Simply set your Instant Pot for half the amount of time of the pasta cooking directions.
Tip: Feel free to play around with any combination of cheeses. Mozzarella cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, monterey jack and pepper jack are all great options.
Evaporated milk is essentially thickened milk, which means there’s less liquid in your dish and instead it’s just really, really creamy.
I love the combination of cheddar and parmesan in this recipe. But there are so many great options! Try gruyere and fontina for a nuttier dish. Or, use pepper jack cheese and cream cheese for a spicy and ultra creamy version.
If you find that your mac & cheese becomes too dry, you can add a splash of chicken stock or milk and reheat it over low heat.
- Veggies: Add in some small chopped broccoli or cauliflower before cooking. Or, after your mac and cheese is finished, stir in some frozen peas.
- Spicy: Stir in some chopped chipotle peppers, hot sauce or cayenne. Or, use pepper jack cheese in place of the cheddar cheese.
- Meat: Stir in some browned ground beef, Italian sausage, or kielbasa sausage. Or, top your dish with some crumbled bacon.
🍷 Wine pairings
- Try a Sauvignon Blanc. Its tart flavor balances out the salty cheese and its bright acidity refreshes your palate.
- Looking for red wine to pair with mac and cheese? Try a Red Blend. Look for a light-bodied red wine. They won’t overpower this dish, and their ripe, juicy flavors, make a great match for this rich, cheesy dish.
🍽 Side dishes
- Blistered Shishito Peppers Recipe
- Smashed Brussel Sprouts with Lemon Tahini Sauce
- Grilled Broccolini with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- Roasted Miso Cauliflower
- More → 30+ sides for mac and cheese
✔️ More instant pot recipes
- Instant Pot Lentil Soup with Sausage & Kale
- Instant Pot Spaghetti
- Instant Pot Salsa Chicken Taco Lettuce Wraps
- Instant Pot Lentil Bolognese Sauce
- Instant Pot Chicken Pho
- Instant Pot Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice
- How to Cook Perfect Rice in the Instant Pot
⭐️ More mac & cheese recipes
Did you try this instant pot mac & cheese?
If you loved this instant pot macaroni and cheese I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe
- Mix the macaroni, water, mustard, and salt in your Instant Pot.
- Close and lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Press “Manual” and adjust the timer to 4 minutes (or half the time on the macaroni cooking directions). Check that the cooking pressure is on “high” and that the release valve is set to “Sealing”.
- When time is up, open the Instant Pot using “Quick Pressure Release”.
- Stir the pasta to break it up. Add the evaporated milk, cheese, butter and nutmeg; stir until completely incorporated the and cheese has melted and coated the pasta.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, then serve immediately.
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