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The Speckled Palate
April 26, 2019

Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

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Comfort food just got easier, thanks to the electric pressure cooker. Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese is a new family favorite that takes very little time! Dress it up with seasonal ingredients like spring peas or toasty bacon and serve for the easiest, most comforting meal. Makes 8 servings.

A bowl of Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese is served on a grey background

It wasn’t until I became a mother of two that I realized the importance of the quick and easy dinner.

Yeah, I know I’m a wee bit ridiculous. And I should have definitely realized this before I had two children.

Gone are the days where I’ve got afternoon naptime to put together an extravagant dinner.

These days, I’m all about the quick and easy and scrumptious for the whole family. The Instant Pot has become my best friend. And if a recipe isn’t easy, it isn’t happening for us on a weeknight.

And when it comes to weeknight wins, Debra from Bowl Me Over is my kind of person, and I’m so, so, so thankful she was my chosen blogger for this season’s Freaky Friday collaboration!

More easy weeknight dinner recipes: Pear BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Pear SlawChicken Cordon BleuInstant Pot French Onion MeatloafPork Tenderloin Sliders with Red Wine Reduction SauceBaked Steak

Ingredients to make Macaroni and Cheese in the Instant Pot, from above

Debra is the soup queen, and she has tons of easy weeknight meals!

In fact, I struggled with what to make from her blog because holy cow, there’s so much deliciousness to choose from.

Some recipes I’m looking forward to trying are Deb’s Instant Pot Meatloaf, her Chicken Caprese Pasta Bowl and Potato Soup with Ham in the Instant Pot (and perfect for Easter leftovers!).

I can’t wait to make her Instant Pot Corn on the Cob this summer, too, because that’s brilliant.

Pop on over to Bowl Me Over and tell me which dish you’d make first!

Freaky Friday Spring 2019 banner, on top of tulips and decorated eggs

So… what is Freaky Friday?

It’s an old-fashioned blog hop.

For those of y’all who haven’t been around the blogosphere for a zillion years like I have (hello, I’m basically an Internet dinosaur with TSP and my previous personal blog), a blog hop is a collaboration between bloggers where everyone brings something to the table, then you link to one another when the posts go live.

Michaela from An Affair from the Heart, the lady who founded this quarterly hop, secretly assigns everyone another blogger.

What happens next is we make a recipe from that person’s blog, photograph it as if it were our own and write a post about it with our own personal anecdote!

You can check out these Boozy Bacon Pretzel Peanut Butter Bars, the recipe I made for the Winter 2019 Freaky Friday collab.

Then, on the selected Friday, our posts go live at the same time so we can share them with y’all and with each other.

We hope that this collaboration helps you discover some amazing new recipes, as well as find new bloggers to follow!

Close up of Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese, served with steamed peas

What you’ll need to make Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

Disclaimer: The links below are affiliate links. If you click through and take action, I will receive a small commission. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about the affiliate programs The Speckled Palate participates in.

Ingredients for mac 'n cheese are poured into the Instant Pot before pressure cooking

How to make Instant Pot Mac ‘n Cheese

Cook the macaroni.

In the Instant Pot, measure out the chicken stock, mustard, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Whisk until combined.

Add the macaroni noodles.

Close the lid, and set the valve to seal. Set on manual for 5 minutes.

When the cooking is complete, quick release the pressure. Once the pressure has been released, remove the lid.

Cooked pasta sits in the Instant Pot, awaiting the dairy ingredients to make macaroni and cheese

Finish with the dairy products.

If you haven’t already, shred the cheese using a box grater. You can also use pre-shredded cheese, though I find the block cheese melts easier.

When the macaroni has cooked, stir in the butter, cheese and milk until the cheese is melted and the macaroni is creamy.

Cheese, butter and milk are added to the cooked macaroni to finish the macaroni and cheese in the Instant Pot

Serve the mac ‘n cheese.

For springtime flair, add fresh peas (or frozen peas that you’ve steamed.) You can stir them into the Instant Pot after the cheese has melted or serve them on the side for family members to mix into their bowls.

For a chillier weather addition, crumbled bacon works beautifully and adds a lovely crunch. (I bake my bacon in the oven, then crumble it when it’s cooled slightly.)

For any season, you can serve the macaroni and cheese by itself. We also like to occasionally add chicken or broccoli, too.

Whatever you decide to do, have your add-ins ready so you can stir them in and enjoy the mac ‘n cheese warm!

Bacon and peas are added to bowls of Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese to give seasonal variety

FAQs about this one pot Macaroni and Cheese

How can you reheat this macaroni and cheese without it becoming gross?

Macaroni and cheese is notably challenging to reheat.

If you’re going to make yours in advance (or reheat leftovers), I advise adding a little more milk before reheating and stirring after it’s been in the microwave.

Bowls of Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese are served

Quick tips for making Instant Pot macaroni and cheese

  • Make the mac ‘n cheese vegetarian by using vegetable stock (and not adding bacon.)
  • Make it seasonal by adding steamed veggies like broccoli and peas, proteins like bacon or chicken, etc.
  • If you don’t like sharp cheddar cheese, use a milder variety. If you don’t like Monterrey Jack cheese, use mozzarella or a mild Italian blend.

A close up of a bowl of Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese is shown with Pinterest text

Take a look at all of our Spring 2019 Freaky Friday Recipes:

Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese
Yield: 8 servings

Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Comfort food just got easier, thanks to the electric pressure cooker. Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese is a new family favorite that takes very little time and doesn't need babysitting. Once the macaroni cooks in the Instant Pot, add the cheese, milk and butter to make the creamiest mac 'n cheese imaginable. Dress it up with seasonal ingredients like spring peas or toasty bacon and serve for the easiest, most comforting meal.

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. elbow macaroni
  • 4 cups chicken stock (can use vegetable stock to make this recipe vegetarian)
  • 1 tablespoon stoneground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 2 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Garnishes

  • Peas, steamed
  • Bacon pieces

Instructions

  1. First and foremost, shred your cheeses if they’re not already shredded.
  2. In the Instant Pot, add the chicken stock, mustard, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir until combined.
  3. Add the macaroni noodles.
  4. Close the lid, and set the valve to seal. Set on manual for 5 minutes.
  5. When the cooking is complete, quick release the pressure.
  6. Once the pressure has been released, remove the lid.
  7. Stir in the butter, cheese and milk until the cheese is melted and the macaroni is creamy.
  8. Serve immediately with garnishes like peas or bacon pieces (or by itself because it’s delicious alone!), and enjoy.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 574 Total Fat: 38g Saturated Fat: 21g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 107mg Sodium: 999mg Carbohydrates: 29g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 4g Protein: 30g

30 Comments

  1. Lisa@Lisa's Dinnertime Dish

    I have a serious weakness for mac and cheese! I love how easy the instant pot makes it!!

    • Erin

      I have a serious weakness for mac and cheese, too! The Instant Pot seriously makes it SO easy. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

  2. debi at Life Currents

    I have an IP that I really haven’t learned to use much yet. This recipe makes me want to learn to use it!

    • Erin

      Oh, you’ve gotta learn how to use the IP because it is magical! I hope if you learn it (or give it a try) that you try this recipe out. 🙂

  3. Michele

    Im a newbie to the instant pot but Im loving the Mac and cheese idea… especially with the customizations with the veggies and bacon you mentioned! Definitely going to try this!

    • Erin

      I feel like I’m still a newbie to the Instant Pot, as well, but it’s so wonderful to have in my kitchen. The customizations are great for family members who enjoy different things, too! I hope you enjoy this!

  4. Sandra Shaffer

    Quick and easy is always on my mind when trying to make a home cooked meal. How easy is macaroni and cheese and love the idea of adding some toppings…bacon would be delicious. Great recipe choice!!

    • Erin

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who wants quick and easy when it comes to a home cooked family meal. Macaroni and cheese will always be a family favorite, and I’m glad you like the idea of adding toppings. We really enjoy switching it up with that!

  5. Madi

    Making mac and cheese in an instant pot is brilliant! I have to try it ASAP!

    • Erin

      Deb’s recipe is so, so, so good. I wouldn’t have thought to do this before this collaboration!

      I hope you enjoy this recipe!

  6. Jennifer Stewart

    I’m really loving the different add-on’s for these. Switch it up for your mood too.

    • Erin

      Thank you! I love being able to switch up things based on my mood and on my family’s preferences.

  7. Michaela Kenkel

    You are right – every family needs to have a back pocket full of tried and true easy dinners the whole gang can enjoy!! This Mac n Cheese is going on the menu plan this week!!

    • Erin

      We all really do need that! Thank you! I hope you and yours enjoy this mac ‘n cheese as much as we did!

  8. Deb

    I’m thrilled that you chose this recipe to share for Freaky Friday! Macaroni and cheese is life in my world, I love all this cheesy goodness! I hope your family really enjoyed this meal!

    • Erin

      YAY! Macaroni and cheese is life in ours, too, so we’d get along like a house on fire. 😉

      Thanks so much for making this delightful recipe and sharing it with the world. I’m so excited I got to showcase it here for Freaky Friday!

  9. Julie Menghini

    What a delicious recipe! I love my instant pot but haven’t tried cooking pasta in it yet! This recipe looks amazing and can’t wait to expand my IP skills!

    • Erin

      Thanks, Julie! Deb is a genius. 🙂

      I’d never tried cooking pasta in my IP before, either, and I was amazed with how easy it was. You’ve gotta try this!

  10. Brandi Burgess

    I love my instant pot pressure cooker! I have never made mac and cheese in it before, but what a GREAT IDEA!! It’s one of our favorite meals too!

    • Erin

      Isn’t the IP the best, Brandi? So excited that you love yours AND that macaroni and cheese is one of your favorites, too. 🙂

  11. Amy Nash

    I am just amazed at how things turn out in the instant pot! It’s such a great gadget! And this macaroni and cheese looks awesome! Going to try it this week!

    • Erin

      You and me both, Amy. It’s seriously so fantastic!

      I hope you and your family enjoy this mac and cheese as much as we did!

  12. Angela

    WOW! Its really that easy? What a great busy weeknight meal that my whole family will love

    • Erin

      It really is that easy! SUPER wonderful for a weeknight because it requires no babysitting and is so so so delicious.

  13. Kylee from Kylee Cooks

    I never really appreciate how much time I had before I had 2 kids either!! Nowadays, the instant pot is a lifesaver on activity nights – get home at 6pm and if dinner isn’t already prepped and ready to eat, we’re in trouble!

    This looks perfect for my family!!

    • Erin

      Isn’t it funny that it takes a few kids to make you realize how much time you had before? 😉 I’m glad that I’m not the only one leaning on the Instant Pot to help make dinner on busy weeknights. It’s totally the same for us, and if it hits 6 without a game plan for dinner, we are for sure getting takeout. Which is lovely, but not something I want to do every night.

      I hope you enjoy this mac and cheese and that it makes dinnertime easier for you and your family!

  14. Lori V

    I really love that you can customize this recipe to suit the tastes of your family. The Instant Pot has changed my life, love mine so much.

    • Erin

      Thanks, Lori! We love customizing everything for everyone’s tastebuds since every member of our family is a little different.

      So glad that you love your Instant Pot, too!

  15. Deanna

    Mmm I love mac and cheese and you made it in an Instant Pot??? Yes please!!!

    • Erin

      Yes, ma’am! Instant Pot mac ‘n cheese is a thing, and it’s magical! 😉

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