This instant pot mac and cheese is so creamy and flavorful, and it’s ready in under 15 minutes!
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is just one of those recipes that’s great all year long, and that’s exactly why I love it. It’s a great side dish at Thanksgiving. It is the perfect side dish at your Fourth of July BBQ. You can really jazz it up and add protein and veggies for the perfect one-pot weeknight dinner meal. It’s so versatile. When it comes to mac and cheese, the simpler, the better…in my opinion. This instant mac and cheese recipe is just that: simple, quick, and classic. It combines three cheeses: sharp cheddar, mozzarella, and asiago. It is cooked in the instant pot and is ready in under 15 minutes. Afraid of cooking of pasta in the instant pot? Don’t be! When it comes to mac and cheese, this one tops the list. Read below for some frequently asked questions!
What about pressurization? Why the increase in time of 25%?
I have made it my goal to tailor these pressure cooker/instant pot recipes to the time it takes to cook at 7220 feet (the elevation I live at), but I always add a note for the time it takes to cook at sea level. At 7220 feet this pasta takes about 6-7 to cook under high pressure, but at sea level, the pasta will take about 5 minutes. Be sure to check out a chart if you live at different elevation, because it does make a difference! Trust me!
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
What will I need to make this recipe?
Ground Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Black Pepper
Sharp Cheddar Cheese (block)
Mozzarella Cheese (block)
Asiago Cheese (block)
Can I change up the cheeses?
That’s what is so great about this recipe, you can! Within reason…This recipe calls for cheddar, mozzarella, and asiago. I like to throw in parmesan sometimes or get crazy with pepper jack. The most important thing here is to always shred the cheese fresh. While I do think bagged cheese comes with it’s advantages, it is typically coated with a flour mixture so that it doesn’t clump together (SCIENCE FOR THE WIN!). That flour clumps together and creates a weird texture when you add it to this mac and cheese, so take the extra few minutes and grate your own cheese.
Can I bake this mac after I cook it in this instant pot?
Yes! We do this often. I tend to prefer stovetop-style mac and cheese: creamy and cheesy, but it is really great topped with bread crumbs and butter. 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes should do the trick, or a quick pop under the broiler (watching closely of course) will also work well.
Can I just make this on the stovetop if I don’t have a pressure cooker?
Yes! This recipe is merely adapted from a stovetop recipe. Simply cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain. Add it back to the pot, add the spices (skip the vegetable broth), and follow the instructions below for adding the cheese and milk.
Are you looking for more great pasta recipes on Cooking and Beer? Well, we have a ton of them! Check out some of my favorite pasta recipes!
- 1 lb dry cavatappi pasta
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp hot sauce I used Cholula
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded (NOT from the bag)
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded (NOT from the bag)
- 1 cup asiago or parmesan cheese shredded (NOT from the bag)
- 3/4 cup milk I used whole milk
- Add the pasta, butter, vegetable broth, hot sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper to your instant pot or similar pressure cooker. Place the lid on and cook on high pressure for 6-7 minutes. Immediately after, perform a quick release.
- NOTE: This recipe is adjusted for high altitude pressurization (we live at 7220 feet). Please decrease time on pressure cooker by 25% for those that live at sea level.
- Remove the lid, and add the cheeses, 1 cup at a time. Stir until fully melted after each addition. Add the milk and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Add more milk if you like a "saucier" mac and cheese. Enjoy immediately! This mac and cheese with keep in the fridge for 3-4 days and reheats well in the microwave.
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