Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

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.

Love mac and cheese? Don’t miss Chicken Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese, as well as Three Cheese Mac and Cheese!

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.

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    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:

    Bowls of Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese are served

    Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

    Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate
    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.
    5 from 9 votes
    Servings 8 servings
    Calories 574 kcal
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 5 minutes
    Additional Time 15 minutes
    Total Time 30 minutes


    • 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


    • Peas steamed
    • Bacon pieces

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    • First and foremost, shred your cheeses if they’re not already shredded.
    • Add the chicken stock, mustard, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes to the basin of the Instant Pot. Stir until combined.
    • Add the macaroni noodles and give them a stir.
    • 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 completely released, remove the lid carefully.
    • Stir in the butter, cheese and milk until the cheese is melted and the macaroni is creamy.
    • Serve immediately with garnishes like peas or bacon pieces (or by itself because it’s delicious alone!), and enjoy.


    Serving: 1gCalories: 574kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 30gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 21gPolyunsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 999mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4g
    Keyword bbq side dishes, bbq sides, easy macaroni and cheese, easy side dish, Instant Pot, Instant Pot Side Dish, one pot mac 'n cheese, quick side dish, side dish, side dish recipe
    Course Entrees
    Cuisine American
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
    A woman with dark curly hair wearing a black tank top in front of a white wall

    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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

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

      1. 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. 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!

      1. 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. 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!!

      1. 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!

      1. 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!

    5. 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!!

    6. 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!

      1. 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!

    7. 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!

      1. 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!

    8. 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!

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

    9. 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!

      1. 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!

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

    10. 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!!

      1. 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!

    11. 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.

      1. 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!

    12. I made it tonight in a pinch. I usually do the from scratch recipe and bake but was short on time. I had about 1/4 box of macaroni left from a 2 lb box so estimated. I reduced the chicken stock to 3 cups and the milk by 1 cup. I didn’t have ground mustard so I just used a couple squirts if Dijon when I added the butter, milk and cheese. Turned out perfect and super easy

      1. So glad to hear this one worked for you in a pinch, Joanie! I love how easy this recipe is, too, and honestly, you can’t go wrong with the combination of ingredients. I hope that it helps you in the future, too! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review — I appreciate it.

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