This Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese is made with just 5 ingredients for an easy, one pot meal the whole family will love! This super creamy macaroni and cheese will have you coming back for seconds!

macaroni and cheese in a bowl

Why I Love This Recipe

This Instant Pot macaroni and cheese recipe is about as easy as it gets! You cook the pasta in the Instant Pot, then stir in milk, butter, and cheese. That’s it! The end result is super creamy macaroni and cheese with only one pot to wash! It’s ready quickly, so it’s definitely going to be a weeknight favorite.

Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese Ingredients

  • Macaroni – I’ve made this with regular macaroni and chickpea macaroni. The chickpea macaroni has a tendency to clump a little bit, but it works if you want a gluten-free option or you want to make this dish a little healthier. You do need to adjust the cooking time, as noted below.
  • Evaporated milk– Evaporated milk is a more concentrated form of milk. Part of the water has been removed, so it gives you a creamy texture without using actual cream.
  • Broth or Water– You can use vegetable broth, water, or a combination of both. I like using 2 cups of broth and 2 cups of water so it adds flavor without being too salty.
  • Butter– A little butter makes this macaroni and cheese extra creamy.
  • Cheese– I’ve used shredded sharp cheddar cheese or a combination of half sharp cheddar, half gouda. That’s my favorite combination!
instant pot macaroni

What is Evaporated Milk?

You may be wondering, “What is evaporated milk?” Evaporated milk is a more concentrated form of milk where part of the water has been removed. It gives you a creamy texture without using actual cream. It’s sold in a can so it’s shelf-stable. You can usually find it near the baking ingredients with sweetened condensed milk. Be sure to use evaporated milk and not sweetened condensed milk in this recipe!

How to Make Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

Add the macaroni, water, and/or broth to the Instant Pot.

instant pot macaroni

Seal the lid of the Instant Pot and set it to manual cook for 4 minutes. Quick release the pressure and once the pressure is released, remove the lid and turn off the Instant Pot.

macaroni and cheese in an instant pot

Add the evaporated milk and butter and stir until incorporated. Then add the cheese and continue to stir. Once the cheese is melted, it’s ready to be served!

Tips for Perfect Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

For the best results, use a block of cheese and shred it yourself using a box grater or food processor. Packaged shredded cheese contains anti-caking agents that help prevent the cheese from clumping in the bag. Unfortunately that means it can alter the texture of your macaroni and cheese and leave you with a grainy texture in your cheese sauce.

Don’t be afraid to try different cheeses! Try a combination of sharp cheddar + gouda or get fancy with a combination of cheddar + gruyere. Nearly any creamy cheese will work beautifully in this recipe! Keep in mind that a low-quality cheese will result in low-quality flavor. Spring for high-quality cheese! Some of my favorite brands are Tillamook and Cabot.

I like to use a combination of half broth and half water to add more flavor to this dish. But keep an eye on the sodium content. I recommend a low-sodium broth so the final result doesn’t end up being too salty.

Be sure the Instant Pot is turned off before you add the milk and cheese. If the macaroni and cheese is too hot, the cheese sauce can break apart and become grainy.

Macaroni and Cheese Variations

Spice up your macaroni and cheese with some of these mix-ins!

  • Steamed broccoli- Add some steamed broccoli to the mix. Trust me, there’s plenty of cheese sauce to go around!
  • Frozen peas– Thaw the peas in the microwave, then stir them in with the cheese. Again, they will easily be covered in cheese!
  • Chickpea pasta– I’ve made this recipe with chickpea pasta for extra protein and fiber. It does have a tendency to clump, but just be patient with your stirring when adding the rest of the ingredients! Reduce the Instant Pot cooking time to 2 minutes.

What to Serve with Macaroni and Cheese

Need some side dish ideas to pair with this macaroni and cheese? Since this recipe is quite rich, I recommend pairing it with vegetables to balance out your plate. Try this air fryer roasted broccoli or these stovetop Brussels sprouts!

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. To reheat, microwave on 50% power for 1-minute intervals, stirring each time, until heated through. I do not recommend freezing this recipe.

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instant pot macaroni and cheese

5 Ingredient Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Time to Pressurize: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 19 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese is made with just 5 ingredients for an easy, one pot meal the whole family will love! This super creamy macaroni and cheese will have you coming back for seconds!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 16oz macaroni
  • 4 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 16oz can evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or half sharp cheddar, half gouda)

Instructions

  1. Add the macaroni, water, and broth to the Instant Pot.
  2. Cover with the lid and turn the release valve to the sealing position.
  3. If using regular pasta noodles, set to manual pressure cook for 4 minutes. For chickpea pasta, set to manual pressure cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Once the pasta is done cooking, quick-release the pressure by turning the pressure valve to vent. Then remove the lid once the pot has depressurized. Turn off the Instant Pot.
  5. Immediately add the evaporated milk and butter, and stir.
  6. Add the cheese and continue to stir until the cheese is melted.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste, if needed.

Notes

I like to use 2 cups vegetable broth and 2 cups water. If using broth, be sure to use low-sodium broth so the end result isn’t too salty.

Keywords: Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

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