Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is rich, creamy, and so easy! Let your pressure cooker do all the work. Perfect for a family dinner or a side for Thanksgiving when you’re short on oven space. Evaporated milk makes this pasta extra rich and creamy.

Mac and cheese in the Instant Pot with text overlay

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • Medium Shell Pasta
  • Butter – I prefer unsalted so I can control the salt, but you can use salted butter as well.
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Sharp White Cheddar Cheese – you can substitute a different cheese as well! I buy the blocks and grate it myself because it melts better than buying the pre-shedded bags.
  • Paprika, Onion Powder, and Garlic Powder – adding these simple spices adds just the right amount of flavor and elevates this Mac!
  • Salt and Pepper
Elbow macaroni noodles in pressure cooker

Tips and Frequently Asked Questions:

What type of pasta should I use?

I prefer to use regular, white pasta. I used medium shells but you could also use a different short noodle such as elbow macaroni, mini penne, or farfalle.

What is evaporated milk? What does it do in this recipe?

Evaporated milk is an easy thing to keep in your pantry. Evaporated milk is essentially milk that has been heated so some of the water evaporates. The result is a dense, creamy, concentrated milk. Using it in this recipe results in a rich and creamy Mac & Cheese.

Creamy Mac and cheese in bowl

I’ve never used my Instant Pot, how do I start?

Using a pressure cooker for the first time can be SUPER intimidating. I recommend first doing a ‘water test’ to learn how it works and what to expect during the pressure cooking process. Here is a great step by step. The ‘test’ does not make your Instant Pot work better, but it will allow you to get comfortable before actual food and ingredients are involved.

Can this be made in a slow cooker?

Yes! I actually have a separate post with instructions but it uses similar ingredients. Recipe linked here.

Print
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is the perfect comfort food. Uses just 4 ingredients (plus a few basic spices) and comes together in less than 30 minutes. Using evaporated milk makes this pasta extra rich and creamy. Recipe at KathleensCravings.com

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese


  • Author: Kathleen
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is rich, creamy, and so easy! Let your pressure cooker do all the work. Perfect for a family dinner or a side for Thanksgiving when you’re short on oven space. Evaporated milk makes this pasta extra rich and creamy.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 lb medium shell pasta, or other short noodle
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 12oz can evaporated milk
  • 16 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, see note
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook Pasta. Add pasta, water, and salt to your Instant Pot. Give everything a stir. Close the lid and set to sealing then cook on Manual High Pressure for 3 minutes. When done cooking, allow to Natural Release for 5 minutes before doing a controlled Quick Release.
  2. Stir in Milk. With the Instant Pot on warm, stir in the butter and evaporated milk.
  3. Stir in Cheese. When the butter is almost or fully melted, stir in the cheese, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and a few big cranks of fresh ground pepper. Stir until cheese is melted and combined. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, if needed.
  4. Enjoy!

Notes

Sharp Cheddar Cheese – I used 2 8oz blocks of sharp white cheddar that I shredded myself. You can also use pre-shredded cheese in bags, but it doesn’t always melt as smoothly. I like to use my food processor’s shredding disc to make quick work of shredding cheese. Feel free to use a different cheese of your choice!

Controlled Quick Release – A controlled quick release is where you slowly press the valve to the venting position, starting by only going about halfway. Instead of just quickly moving to the venting position. By letting the steam escape slower, it helps prevent any water or pasta foam from shooting out.

I use the 8qt Instant Pot Duo and love it!

  • Category: Instant Pot, Main Dish, Pasta
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, Pressure Cooker Mac and Cheese, Thanksgiving Mac and Cheese, Thanksgiving Side Dish



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