Did you know you can make rich, creamy macaroni and cheese using your rice cooker? It’s quick to make and perfect when you don’t have access to a stove!

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I love playing around with different kitchen appliances and after discovering that cooking quinoa in my rice cooker works like a charm, I’ve wondered what else I can make in my rice cooker! From cilantro lime rice to Mexican rice, I find myself reaching for my rice cooker quite often. But I wanted to see what I could cook outside of quinoa and rice. I thought, why not pasta?

It turns out, a rice cooker can be a great, easy way to make mac and cheese! And I know you might be thinking, “Why would you make it in a rice cooker?” but the simple answer is that not everyone has access to a stovetop. Maybe you’re doing a kitchen renovation or maybe you’re living in a dorm room without access to a stove. I thought it would be fun to have another option for making creamy, cheesy, macaroni and cheese!

I don’t have a fancy rice cooker. Mine is about 10 years old and it just has a cook/warm option that automatically turns on and off based on a sensor that determines if there is still liquid in the pot. It’s very simple but it works great! If you have a fancy rice cooker, this recipe will still work fine. If you’re using an Instant Pot, I’d recommend following my Instant Pot directions instead.

Ingredients and Substituions

  • Macaroni– You’ll need macaroni pasta. I don’t recommend using a different pasta shape as the ratios might differ. I used regular pasta. I don’t recommend using chickpea pasta, as it foams too much.
  • Water– I used water, but you could use broth for even more flavor.
  • Milk– A splash of milk helps create the perfect saucy texture. Almond milk would work fine.
  • Cream cheese– This helps create a rich and creamy sauce.
  • Cheese– I used extra sharp cheddar cheese. I recommend using a block of cheese and shredding it with a large box grater. Pre-shredded cheese doesn’t melt as well.

How does a rice cooker work?

A rice cooker works by utilizing a heating element to bring the water in the cooker to a boil, which then cooks the rice through the process of steam. Once the water has evaporated, the rice cooker’s built-in sensor detects that the rice is done and automatically switches to a “keep warm” setting to prevent overcooking and keep the rice warm until it is ready to be served. Because the macaroni pasta cooks similarly to rice, we can use it to make this macaroni and cheese!

How to Make Macaroni and Cheese in a Rice Cooker