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A picture of the insert of an instant pot filled with Mac and cheese with a serving spoon inside of it.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe cooks in only 4 minutes in a pressure cooker. Homemade mac and cheese is way better than any box, it's quick & easy to make at home, so creamy, and your family is going to love this easy Instant Pot recipe for dinner. 
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword instant mac and cheese, instant pot mac and cheese, mac and cheese instant pot
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 525kcal
Author Jessica - Together as Family


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 box (16 oz) elbow pasta
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon dried mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups shredded mild or medium cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • ½ cup heavy cream


  • Into the insert of an Instant Pot add the water, chicken broth, elbow pasta, butter, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, hot sauce, mustard powder, and black pepper. Add the ingredients in the order listed.
  • Do not stir! Instead, gently push down on any pasta that is not in the liquid.
  • Secure the lid and set the valve to the 'sealing' position. Manually set the cook time for 4 minutes on high pressure.
  • Once done, do a quick release of the pressure.
    Which means that you immediately move the valve to the 'venting' position and let the pressure release. When the pressure is released, you will be able to take off the lid.
  • Stir in the heavy cream.
  • Add the shredded cheese, one handful at a time, stirring and mixing it in well after each addition.
    * If you add the cheese all at once it will clump up and have a stringy texture. Make sure you add it, a little at a time, stirring it in well until it's melted before adding more cheese.
  • Serve & enjoy!


Make It Spicy : I cook mainly for kids so this recipe, as is, is yummy but not spicy (even with the hot sauce). If you want more flavor don't worry cause it's so easy. Add more hot sauce (1 teaspoon or more). Add chili powder or ground cayenne pepper in with the other dried seasonings. Instead of Colby Jack cheese use Pepper Jack Cheese. 
Chicken Broth : I like the reduced-sodium chicken broth in this recipe but feel free to use the regular salted chicken broth instead. 
Elbow Pasta : This is the preferred pasta to use in this recipe. A 16 ounce box is equivalent to 4 cups of dried pasta (if using pasta from a larger package)
Cream/Milk : If you want a thinner mac and cheese then use less heavy cream or you can use whole milk. Add more or less cream depending on preference. I have found ½ cup is perfect. Other milks can be substituted but I would stick with higher fat ones like whole milk or half & half. 
Cheese : I love the combination of the mild or medium cheddar cheese + Colby Jack cheese. Feel free to switch up if you want. Freshly grated parmesan cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, mozzarella cheese, are all great options. 
Tips : As the Mac and cheese sits it will thicken up. Don't be alarmed if it looks like there is too much liquid when you take the lid off. As you add the cream, cheese, and stir it, it will thicken up and come together nicely. 


Calories: 525kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 558mg | Potassium: 250mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 873IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 435mg | Iron: 1mg