MAC-AND-CHEESE! MAC-AND-CHEESE! (that’s me chanting)
This is exciting. On so many cheesy and delicious levels, this is exciting.
But first, a quick introduction.
This is the first in a new series I’m going to be doing throughout the month of October: Instant Pot Recipes!
I have been wanting to do this series for a while, but I needed some time to get acquainted with how it worked before I went out there and just did a whole series on it. I’ve had my Instant Pot (affiliate link) for about a year 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.
How to make our Instant Pot Mac and Cheese (1 MIN):
Enter Recipe Number One: Instant Pot Mac and Cheese.
Obviously Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is really basic, right? I creep around online on different blogs sometime, and lately I’ve seen people internet-talking about how annoying it is when people just use the Instant Pot for “basic recipes like Mac and Cheese.”
Excuse me, friends. 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 why this works, but the texture of the creamy sauce that you get by pressure cooking your noodles with water and butter, and then gently stirring in cheese and milk? It is incredible and unlike any mac I’ve made from scratch and just whyyyy is the Instant Pot so good to us like this.
Let’s 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.
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 will actually make. And absolutely one that you will love, assuming you’re into cheese? Which, obviously you are, right? Because otherwise you would be on a different blog right now. Duh. Cheesers unite!
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.
- 1 pound uncooked whole wheat pasta
- 4 cups water
- 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups shredded cheese
- 1/2 cup whole milk (add more if you want it saucier!)
- Noodles: Put the whole wheat pasta, water, butter, and salt into the Instant Pot (affiliate link). Cook for 4 minutes using the manual function. You can release the steam in two ways: 1) Quick release the steam using the valve on top immediately after the timer goes off (note: this can cause some butter to spray out, so be prepared with a towel); or 2) Do natural release for 10 minutes – there will still be a little bit of steam, but it will avoid the butter spray. When it’s done, the noodles should have a thin layer of starchy, buttery sauce on them.
- Cheese: Gently stir in the cheese and milk. Add more seasoning or liquid as necessary. MWAH! Enjoy. It’s so, so good.
Butter Spray: After some feedback about the butter spraying out during the quick release, we re-tested the recipe and found that doing a natural release for 10 mins avoids the buttery spray. There will still be a little bit of steam to release when you turn the valve, but will be much more minimal of a mess.
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.
I tried this with gluten free noodles and did not have great results – they just turned to mush. Sad face. I am writing the recipe to include whole wheat noodles because they kept their shape the best.
I often add a pinch of garlic salt or a swish of hot sauce when serving. I can’t not.