This is The BEST Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese EVER! Seriously folks! In fact it is also the BEST mac and cheese EVER, period…literally the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had! You won’t believe how flavorful and absolutely amazing it is. My kids are obsessed and quite frankly so am I. We’ve been making it pretty much weekly for months now. Every time I serve it to friends, they ask for the recipe, and it’s high time I get it up on the blog so all of you can enjoy it too.
About a year ago, someone posted this recipe for Instant Pot Mac and Cheese on Facebook when a friend asked for ideas for Instant Pot Recipes. About that same time, I had finally tried making pasta in my Instant Pot and found out how perfect it comes out…before that, I was avoiding pasta recipes for the Instant Pot because I was so sure they would come out mushy and disgusting. WRONG!
Here are a few of my favorite Instant Pot Pasta Recipes:
- Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff
- Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Pasta with Mushrooms and Asparagus
- Instant Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
Anywho, I gave the recipe a try. I didn’t have elbow macaroni so I used medium-sized shells and I didn’t have garlic powder either so I used some onion powder and garlic salt instead. When I saw that it called for hot sauce, I almost left it out because I thought it would make it spicy, but it didn’t. I’m so glad I added it, it really gives it something extra. The half teaspoon of pepper made me nervous too, but again, just add it, I promise it won’t be spicy and you will love the flavor of this mac and cheese.
Something to note: Next time I made the mac and cheese I used elbow macaroni. Don’t get me wrong it was still good, but I’m telling you, making it with shells is the way to go. SO GOOD. We only make it with shells now. The cheese has a nice little place to land in and the texture is just perfect. Promise me you will make it with medium shells. Promise!
Oh boy, I’ve been so focused on telling you how delicious this stuff is that I haven’t even told you the best part, it cooks soooo fast! This will be your new go-to recipe for crazy nights when dinner just creeps up out of nowhere. I keep the cheeses I use stocked in the freezer and plenty of Medium Shells in my pantry, so this can literally be thrown together in minutes on crazy nights when we need something super quick!
Seriously, listen to how easy this recipe is:
- Put shells, butter, and spices in the Instant Pot.
- Add chicken broth and stir.
- Put a lid on and set for 5 minutes.
- Release steam (quickly).
- Stir in milk and cheese.
Are you kidding me? EASIEST DINNER EVER!
I’m so excited to hear how you like this recipe, don’t forget to comment and leave a review, and I would love to connect on Instagram. Tag me in a picture of your mac and cheese. I can’t wait to see it!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I cook macaroni and cheese in the Instant Pot?
Five minutes. Easy Peasy and so fast!
What kind of cheese is best for macaroni and cheese recipes?
In this recipe, you could technically use almost any cheese, depending on your taste. We prefer a mix of cheddar, mozzarella, and Parmesan. We typically use about 1 1/2 cups of mild cheddar, 1 cup of MOZZARELLA, and about a half cup of Parmesan.
Does the Parmesan need to be fresh grated or can it be that stuff in the canister?
I have used both and they both work as far as flavor goes, but the fresh shredded definitely melts better and keeps the finished mac and cheese nice and creamy.
Can I use pre-shredded cheese or should I shred my own?
Pre-shredded is my go-to because of “time”. Shredding it yourself, if you have time, makes it a little better though. Pre-shredded cheese typically has a little cellulose (anti-caking) substance on it to keep it from clumping in the bag and it can make melting a little ehhh, sometimes. Honestly, though, if you stir the cheese in quickly and add the milk to the cooked noodles first to cool it down a little, you shouldn’t have trouble with clumping if you use pre-shredded like me. I’ve only had it come out a little clumpy once and it was still delicious.
- 1 16oz Box of Medium Shell Pasta (you can use elbow or spiral, but I highly recommend the medium shells)
- 1 tsp Hot Sauce (I use Texas Pete or Buffalo Sauce, I do not recommend Tabasco or Sriracha)
- ¾ tsp Garlic Salt
- ½ tsp Onion Powder
- ½ tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 4 cups Chicken Broth (I use chicken bouillon and water.)
- ½ cup Milk
- 1½ cups Cheddar Cheese
- 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese
- In a 6- or 8-quart Instant Pot add uncooked noodles, hot sauce, garlic salt, onion powder, black pepper, butter, and chicken broth.
- Stir and pat down noodles as best you can so as many as possible are covered with the liquid.
- Secure lid on instant pot and set at high pressure for 5 minutes.
- When Instant Pot is finished, do a quick release. I put a hand towel or something over mine when I do this to keep the moisture from going everywhere.
- Remove lid and add milk first. Stir it in. Then add the cheese and stir quickly until cheese is evenly and smoothly distributed. If needed, you can add a little more milk, but I have never needed more than a half-cup.
- Serve immediately.
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 5 days...but if you are like us, they will never last that long. My kids fight over the leftovers.
- Don't forget to tag me on Instagram if you make this. I can't wait to see it!
....and for your sweet tooth