Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is the easiest way to prepare homemade creamy, cheesy macaroni and cheese. Ready in less than 30 minutes, this simple recipe for Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese is sure to become a family favorite.
This recipe for Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is so easy to make, it is often a go-to recipe for a quick lunch at our house. However, I also love to whip it up and serve as a side dish along with Instant Pot Ham, at the holidays.
The Best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese has quickly become a staple at our house. Not only do my kids adore this easy meal, but it is also easier to make than boxed mac and cheese--and tastes a MILLION times tastier!
In fact, this easy recipe for Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese has one ingredient that truly makes this the creamiest, dreamiest mac and cheese ever!
That may sound crazy, but the sour cream adds to the creaminess of the pasta and helps to balance the rich, sharp cheeses. It is one ingredient you don't want to leave out!
Notes on Ingredients
- Noodles: This recipe calls for 16 ounces of dried elbow noodles, which is about 4 cups of noodles. You can use whole wheat or regular elbow noodles without changing anything to the recipe. I don't recommend using gluten-free noodles unless using the Barilla brand. That is the only gluten-free brand I have used with success.
- Cheese: For the cheese, a combination of white or yellow sharp cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan is best for flavor. But no matter what cheese you select, it is extremely important to use freshly grated cheese. Pre-grated cheese has anti-caking agents and therefore will not yield as smooth of a melt.
- Broth: I recommend using broth over water to really flavor the noodles as they cook. You can opt to use Chicken Stock or Vegetable Broth--both work well.
- Milk: While whole milk will make the macaroni and cheese much creamier, any fat percentage of milk can be used.
- Sour Cream: Use low fat or full fat, not fat free sour cream for the creamiest results.
How To Make Macaroni and Cheese in the Instant Pot
- To the inner pot of the instant pot, add in the broth, seasonings, and and noodles. Gently tap the down the noodles so that they are submerged in the liquid and then close the instant pot, being sure the vent knob is sealed.
- Cook on high pressure for 3 minutes.
- Once cook time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, do a quick release of any remaining pressure. Just be sure to stand back from the vent knob, so you don't get burned from the steam.
- Stir the noodles to separate them and then add in ¼ cup of milk and a handful of cheese.
- Stir well, adding cheese by the handful, until all the cheese has been stirred into the pasta, adding additional milk if needed.
- Once the cheese has melted, stir in ¼ cup sour cream.
- Taste test to determine if additional salt is needed and serve.
You can store macaroni and cheese in your fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. While it can be frozen, it does not have the same texture when reheated--so keep that in mind if you choose to freeze this recipe.
To reheat mac and cheese, reheat in 1-minute intervals in the microwave, adding 1-2 tablespoons stock or milk if needed to add moisture to the pasta. I also like to add in a tablespoon or so more of sour cream after reheated.
I also love to use leftovers to make Macaroni and Cheese muffins for a perfect lunch on the go!
More Easy Instant Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
- Instant Pot French Dip Sandwiches
- Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff
- Instant Pot Spaghetti
- Instant Pot Chili
If you tried this recipe for Instant Pot Mac and Cheese I would love for you to leave a comment and rating below.
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese grated
- 1 cup Swiss cheese grated
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- 16 ounces elbow noodles whole wheat or regular (or 4 cups of elbow noodles)
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup sour cream
- Place stock, seasonings, and noodles in the inner pot of the pressure cooker and gently push down the noodles to submerge in the stock.
- Put lid on pressure cooker and set to seal.
- Cook on HIGH pressure for 3 minutes.
- When cook time is finished, let pressure release naturally for 5 minutes. Then do a quick release of pressure.
- Add in ¼ cup milk and stir well.
- Add cheese, one handful at a time, stirring to melt in between each addition.
- Add in the sour cream and stir well. Add up to ½ cup more milk to loosen up macaroni and cheese if needed.
- Taste and add in more salt if needed and pepper if desired.
- Use any type of milk you like. I personally prefer 2% or whole milk for this recipe.
- Whole wheat and regular elbow noodles work equally well for this recipe.
- Gluten free noodles are a bit tricky in the Instant Pot. Barilla brand has been successful for me for other recipes, but other brands give off too much starch when pressure cooked.
- See Instant Pot High Altitude Conversion if cooking 2500+ feet above sea level.