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AddInstant Pot Mac and Cheese is a game changer. Ready in less then 15 minutes with the same level of cheesy creaminess that we all love but with half the effort and time.

Making Mac and cheese is a favorite in our home! Try these delicious ways of creating a cheesy pasta with these fun recipes: Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese or Mac and Cheese Cups.

Instant pot mac and cheese served in a bowl with a fork

Best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Who else agrees that the Instant Pot is the future? Its hands down my favorite kitchen gadget especially when it comes to easy, one pot recipes like this mac and cheese. You won’t believe how hands free this recipe is. It’s literally dump and cook which is how I wish dinner would be every single day.

Everybody loves a good mac and cheese but every mac and cheese is not made the same. This one has everything right — pasta cooked to perfection, creamy cheese sauce without any floury aftertaste, flavor, flavor, flavor and its ready in less time than it takes to boil pasta!

Homemade Mac and Cheese

We have all the usual suspects for mac and cheese plus a little extra to make this taste really really good.

Here’s a complete list of what you’ll need:

  • Dried Pasta: any small variety of pasta will do
  • Stock and Water: For flavor and to cook the pasta
  • Butter: to keep things from sticking to each other and to add flavor
  • Paprika and Mustard Powder: to balance out the cheese
  • Garlic and Onion Powder: both these are flavor bombs
  • Heavy Cream: to create the creamy sauce
  • Lots of Cheese of course!
Prep for Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Creamy Mac and Cheese

It starts with dumping everything except the cream and cheese in the Instant Pot. We want most of the pasta to be submerged in the liquid to help it cook well. And then the Instant Pot does its thing.

After a lot of testing, we’ve figured that short pasta takes 4 minutes to cook with immediate manual pressure release. Any longer and the pasta starts to over cook. I bet this is one dinner that’ll make everyone happy. Trust me when I say, you’ll never make mac and cheese any other way again!

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese ready in the pot with a ladle mixing it

Top Tips for Creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

We’ve eaten a lot of mac and cheese in our time, and tested many many bowls in the Instant Pot, and here are our top tips for the best bowl of comfort food:

  • Use the ratios we’ve listed in the recipe. For every 4 ounces of short pasta, you’ll need 1 cup of liquid
  • Paprika and Mustard powder help balance the cheese and cut through the saltiness and the creaminess, so we highly recommend you use them
  • There will be some extra liquid in the pot when you open it, and thats what will help create that nice silky sauce for the pasta so don’t be tempted to drain it. You’ll see how things come together as you mix in the heavy cream and cheese
  • DO NOT use pre-shredded cheese because it usually contains a substance that prevents it from clumping and melting well. Its worth it to shred your own cheese for this recipe
  • This is one of those dishes that is best served immediately. It doesn’t do very well as a leftover as the pasta keeps soaking up the sauce as it cools
Closeup of Instant pot Mac and Cheese

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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

By: Richa Gupta
This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is the best kind of comfort food. Incredibly easy and ready in less than 15 minutes!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings



  • Add pasta, chicken broth, water, butter, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder and black pepper to the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Press the pasta gently with a spoon to submerge it, but don't mix it.
  • Secure the lid and set the valve to sealing. Manually set to pressure cook for 4 minutes.
  • Once the timer goes off and beeps, release pressure immediately by carefully turning the valve from sealing to venting. Let all the pressure release and open the lid.
  • You'll see a little residual liquid in the pot which is normal. Mix in heavy cream and cheese in batches till you get a smooth, creamy sauce. Serve immediately.


Calories: 563kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 22gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 918mgPotassium: 219mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1035IUCalcium: 437mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

About Richa Gupta

I’m Richa, the cook, writer and photographer behind this little blog. I’ve grown up in the kitchen along side my mum and grandmothers and conversations in my family are always about the next meal. I’ve picked up their love for food along the way, and with this blog, I share my food story with you.

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1 Comment

  1. We made this tonight and it was delicious! I was a little worried at how much liquid was left in the pot after releasing the pressure but it thickened up after adding the cheese and letting it sit for a minute. I made some breadcrumbs with rosemary and red pepper flakes to sprinkle on top for some crunch. Can’t wait to make it again!