This creamy instant pot mac and cheese is easy to prepare and on the table quickly. It’s a one pot meal that is creamy, cheesy and absolutely delicious.
Macaroni and cheese is one of those classic comfort foods that everyone is familiar with.
While there are many varieties that come in a box and are quick to make, they don’t compare to the hearty goodness that comes from making it from scratch.
This instant pot Mac and cheese is quick, easy and the perfect balance of creamy and cheesy.
This recipe sticks to using cheddar cheese, along with Velveeta, for a rich, creamy sauce that isn’t overpowering.
It is hearty enough that you could eat it on its own, or you can serve it as a side dish.
Why this recipe works
This recipe uses simple, easy to find ingredients and is a classic favourite with both kids and adults.
Cooking this meal in the instant pot is quick and easy and because everything is done in one pot clean up is a breeze.
- Elbow Macaroni – this recipe calls for plain, semolina elbow macaroni and has been proven to work the best and most consistently.
- Butter – for flavour and helps keep the noodles from sticking together while cooking
- Dried mustard – adds great flavour and a bit of zing. If you don’t have dried mustard you can use dijon instead.
- Onion powder – provides flavour without being too strong. You could use garlic powder if you prefer.
- Paprika – paprika goes perfectly with cheesy dishes, it adds just a wee bit of spice.
- Salt – a bit of salt helps to enhance all the other flavours in the dish. You can leave this out if you prefer, or increase if you like your meals a bit saltier.
- Heavy cream – forms the base of the sauce. The heavy cream makes it extra thick and creamy, you can use milk if you don’t have any cream on hand, but the sauce will be thinner.
- Egg – helps make the sauce extra thick, rich and creamy. If you have an egg allergy you can leave this out and increase the cream.
- Velveeta – melts really well and helps to smooth out the sauce
- Sharp cheddar cheese – the main component of any good cheese sauce. Sharp cheddar gives the Mac and cheese that great, rich, cheesy flavour.
- Place the water, spices and butter in the pot and add the noodles.
- Close the lid, turn the valve to seal and set on high pressure for 4 minutes.
- When the timer is complete allow the pot to naturally release for 2 minutes, then turn the valve to vent to release remaining pressure.
- Whisk the egg with 1/2 cup of the heavy cream and add to the pot, stir to combine with the noodles.
- Add the Velveeta and cheese and stir, then place the lid back on the pot for 5 minutes to allow the cheeses to melt.
- Remove the lid and stir well to blend the cheese with the noodles. Add more cream a little at a time until you reach your desired creaminess.
Scoop the Mac and cheese into bowls or plates, garnish with parsley if desired and serve.
You will want to allow about 25 minutes of cook time.
You will set the timer for only 4 minutes, however, it takes time for the pot to reach pressure before the timer will start. The amount of time it takes to reach pressure depends on a few things, and varies among individual pots.
Generally, it takes just over 10-15 minutes for my pot to reach pressure and start counting down.
Once the timer is complete you need to allow another 2 minutes for the pot to naturally release pressure before you turn the valve to vent allowing the rest of the pressure to release.
In total, it takes about 25 minutes for the instant pot to complete the full cycle for this recipe.
What to serve with Mac & cheese
While I believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with Mac and cheese as meal all by itself, there are times when you may decide it’s better as a side dish.
In that case, I like to serve it with a protein that goes well with a rich, cheesy side dish.
Some other recipes that go great with this Mac and cheese are:
Tips & FAQS
You can reheat leftovers either in a pot on the stove or in the microwave.
I always find that mac and cheese gets a bit dry after being in the refrigerator. You can help make it creamy again by adding a bit of milk or cream to the pot when you reheat it.
If you have a larger pot and want to double the recipe you can. You will double all of the ingredients, however the cook time will remain the same.
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Creamy Instant Pot Mac & Cheese
- 4 Cups Elbow macaroni
- 4 Cups Water
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 2 tsp Dried mustard
- 1 tsp Onion powder
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 Cup Heavy cream divided
- 1 Large Egg
- 4.5 oz Velveeta cut into thin slices
- 3 Cups Sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- Add the noodles, water, butter and spices to the pot and give it a quick stir.
- Close the lid and turn the valve to seal, set to high pressure for 4 minutes.
- When the timer is complete allow the pot to naturally release for 2 minutes then turn the valve to vent to release remaining pressure.
- Whisk half cup of the cream with the egg and add to the noodles. Stir to coat the noodles.
- Add the Velveeta and cheddar and give it a quick stir. Then place the lid back on the pot for 5 mintues to allow the cheese to melt.
- Remove the lid and stir, mixing the noodles and cheese until all the cheese is melted. Add the remaining cream a little at a time until you reach your desired level of creaminess.
- Scoop into bowl or plates and serve, garinsh with fresh parsley if desired.