Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

138 reviews / 4.3 average

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese – made with 5 real food ingredients. This is SO MUCH BETTER than any mac and cheese I’ve ever had!


This is exciting. On so many cheesy and delicious levels, this is exciting.

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I’ve had my Instant Pot* for a few years now, and let’s be real – I’m definitely not the ultimate Instant Pot expert, but I use it regularly enough to have a few recipes that are worthy of YOU, my favorite internet people.

Friends, this Mac and Cheese is at the top of the list. Top spot, position one, gold medal winner. It could not be easier or cheesier. I love this recipe so much.

And yes, I love our other Instant Pot recipes, too, and you can find them here.

But today it’s all about the cheese. Nostalgic, creamy, simple elbow macaroni and melted cheese is just a golden meal that makes life better.

In This Post: Everything You Need To Know For Homemade Mac and Cheese

Prefer To Watch Instead Of Read?

Close up of mac and cheese in a bowl.

How To Make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Step 1: Put noodles, water, and salt into the Instant Pot, plop the lid on to seal it, and push a few buttons. Let the whole thing pressure cook in the Instant Pot under high pressure.

Step 2: Stir in butter, cheese, and milk until it all melts to make your cheese sauce.

Step 3: That’s it. There is no step 3. Grab your bowl and start scooping!

But seriously: my number one goal with Pinch of Yum is to connect with you and share recipes that you’ll actually make and actually love, and THIS! I am confident that this is one that you can and will actually make.

And absolutely one that you will love, assuming you’re into cheese?

Also: my specific Instant Pot is the Instant Pot DUO60* but I have made this in several types (“the old ones” and “the new ones” both) and it’s great all around.

Let’s Discuss The Cheese Selection

The type of cheese you use really does matter here. We’re going for high meltiness factor and big flavor factor.

One of our favorite combos is part sharp cheddar cheese, part Italian blend shredded cheese. Use about 2 cups of the cheddar and 1/2 cup of the Italian blend. This mac and cheese is super flexible though and almost any smooth-melting cheese will be incredible in this pasta. Gouda, gruyere, fontina, and Monterey jack would all be solid cheese choices. Mozzarella and provolone get a little tricky to work with since they’re a bit stringier. We’re going for major cheese bomb here, people.

Mac and Cheese Extras

You’ve made delicious Instant Pot Mac and Cheese and want to level it up even more? May we suggest some of the following to go on top?

  • A sprinkle of black pepper
  • A dash of hot sauce
  • Crumbled bits of salty bacon
  • Maybe even more cheese on top? You do you.

The Magic Of Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

We need to identify the brand of mac that is Instant Pot mac and cheese.

This is: you’ve graduated from mac and cheese in a box, but you are not interested in the commitment required for a big fancy baked deal. You want something that falls somewhere in the middle of the tastes-like-Velveeta to truffle-baked-mac spectrum. Friends, you are in luck. This is the perfect in between. This is your mac and cheese for when you want REAL FOOD mac and cheese that has a velvety, creamy, sauce with 5 ingredients in 15 minutes.

It is hangry mac and cheese.

It is I-have-no-other-groceries mac and cheese.

It is even-if-I-did-I-would-still-make-this mac and cheese.

It is FEED ME NOW AND LOVE ME FOREVER mac and cheese.

Scooping mac and cheese out of Instant Pot.

Why Use The Instant Pot For Mac and Cheese?

Obviously Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is pretty straightforward and simple and that’s kind of the point, in my opinion? I creep around on the internets and lately I’ve seen people chatting about how frustrating it is when people just use the Instant Pot for “basic recipes like Mac and Cheese.”

Excuse me but I’d like to respectfully disagree. There’s a reason why people use the Instant Pot for basic recipes like mac and cheese, and it’s because, especially in this case, the mac and cheese your Instant Pot can give you is NEXT LEVEL GOOD. I am not food-sciencey enough to tell you how or why this works, but the texture of the creamy sauce that you get a little melted butter, and cheese, and milk?

It just works differently in the Instant Pot! You cannot replicate this on the stovetop with the same ingredients and I do not know why. Starch? Pressure? Does it matter? The IP holds the magic.

The Instant Pot is so good to us.

Mac and cheese piled high in a bowl.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese: Frequently Asked Questions

Does this work with gluten-free noodles?

Not really. I tried this with gluten-free noodles and did not have great results – they just turned to mush.

What kind of cheese do you recommend?

My favorite cheese combo is 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup Italian blend shredded cheese. Really, any kind of cheese you like will be good here. I lean towards smooth-melting cheeses such as cheddar, gouda, gruyere, Monterrey jack, etc. Stringy cheeses (i.e. Mozzarella or Provolone) might be tricky to work with (think ooey gooey cheese bomb) but would obvi still taste awesome.

Any extra seasonings I should add?

I often add a pinch of garlic salt or a swish of hot sauce when serving. I can’t not.

Can this be made vegan?

A totally vegan mac and cheese recipe can be found here!

Click here to see the step-by-step web story instructions for this recipe!

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Creamy elbow macaroni and cheese in a white bowl.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 10 minutes (+ 10 minutes resting)
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x


Instant Pot Mac and Cheese – made with just 5 real food ingredients. This is SO MUCH BETTER (and easier) than any mac and cheese I’ve ever had! Unreal.


Units Scale
  • 1 pound uncooked elbow pasta
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheese
  • up to 1/2 cup whole milk


  1. Noodles: Put the pasta, water, and salt into the Instant Pot. Cook for 4 minutes using the manual function. Quick release the steam so your noodles don’t get overcooked. 
  2. Cheese: Gently stir in the butter until melted. Add the cheese and milk (use 2-3 tablespoons of milk at a time, as needed, up to 1/2 cup). Add more seasoning or liquid if necessary. For best results, let it sit for 5-10 minutes to let it thicken up a bit. MWAH! Enjoy. It’s so, so good.


  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: instant pot mac and cheese, mac and cheese, easy mac and cheese, instant mac and cheese

More Comfort Food We Love

One More Thing!

This recipe is part of our collection of easy pasta recipes. Check it out!

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  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    mac and cheese is an all time favorite comfort food of mine! I like to make it in the crock pot, but I’m sure an instant pot would be delicious as well!

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo

          I had to add a lot more milk to get a creamy sauce. Made this instead of buying the chemical filled grocery store versions. Going to freeze in lunch size portions, so my family can heat and eat.
          Hopefully that works.
          Thank for the delicious recipe

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I finally got an instant pot and tried this. I’m sold. Who knew you could make mac and cheese with so little fuss?
      I added some fried smoked sausage as and added it with the other stuff. I put the milk in the Vitamix with one dried guajillo chili. Not spicy but excellent flavor.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hello, delicious fall comfort food! I received my Instant Pot as a gift last year and it’s amazing! I use it multiple times each week for meal prep or fast dinners.

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    You have no idea how excited I am about an Instant Pot series!!! YAY! And THANK YOU!

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Excited for this series! I got an instapot for our wedding 5 months ago and while I was super excited for it – I’m also a little scared of it. I think it senses my fear. Anyway, looking forward to some (vegetarian?) instapot recipes to try!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi, what brand of Gf noodles did you try? I don’t want to recreate the wheel but I do want to try this recipe. Very excited for the Instant Pot series. It is my favorite kitchen toy.

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This series could not come at a better time. I finally jumped on the instant-pot train and it should be arriving in the mail today! Looking forward to trying these recipes! THANK YOU!!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks amazing! Off to order an instant pot right now but I really need those gorgeous bowls too. Would you please tell me where you got them?

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Love my Instant Pot so I am super excited about this series! It’s off to a great start! Mac and Cheese- yum!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. It looks so creamy and delicious. I’m really excited to see your new series of Instant Pot recipes. I got mine only a few months ago and instantly loved it. I can’t wait to see the other recipes you share. Thank you!

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Very excited about the new Instant Pot series! I bought one on Prime Day but have yet to use it! This sounds delish. I’ll have to try it 😉

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This series could not have come at a better time for me! I just received an instant pot as a gift and I have no idea what to do with it. I’m realizing how ridiculous that sounds as I type this, given that were in the age of Google and all, but still. I have no idea. I’m excited. I also wanted to tell you that I have been profoundly moved by Afton’s story, his life. Your writing gave me the courage to ask a friend about her son, Nathan, at a dinner party last week. He passed away at 24 weeks and I remembered his birthday was approaching. I was nervous but I asked anyways and I’m so glad that she had a chance to talk about him and hear his name and feel seen for a few minutes in a crowd. I am joining the many whose hearts have been captured by Afton and who pray for you all the time. Love from California!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    OMG! You read my thoughts! Like yesterday I was searching mac n cheese versions on ur blog! Thanks for this one love ur blog! xx

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I know I need to jump on the instant bandwagon. Until then, do you have any suggestions on how to cook this in a slow cooker? By the way, I LOVE all your recipes and stories.

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    WOOHOO!!!!! So pumped that you’re doing an Instant Pot series! I have one and love the few things I’ve made in it but really need to branch out. Can’t wait to have more POY Instant Pot recipes!

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I am a crock pot mac and cheese junkie…but you’ve convinced me…I’ll give this a try. But I just CAN’T do the whole wheat pasta thing, sorry!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Have you tried this with regular dried pasta? I’m not GF and I’m too fat/old to change now. 🙂

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    YES! I have been looking for new instapot recipes, thank you!! I cant wait to try this (and all the other recipes you post!)

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo

    So I am trying to make this tonight but there is no way I am ever going to be feeding 6-8 people mac and cheese!

    Do you think t can easily be scaled down? I am particularly concerned about timing…