If you’re anything like me, creamy pasta dishes can work you up into a frenzy! Yes I have Italian blood running through my veins, but I strongly believe even if I didn’t, I’d still be crazy for pasta. Especially comfort food pasta like this Instant Pot creamy macaroni and cheese. This is an easy Instant Pot pasta recipe that the whole family will LOVE and this mac and cheese recipe is always a hit. Don’t worry about making too much, because this macaroni Instant Pot recipe is terrific as leftovers the next day.
I love my Instant Pot. It makes cooking easy and also cooks food in record time! So if a pasta craving suddenly hits you, this easy Instant Pot pasta recipe is the one to pick.
Best Mac and Cheese: What You Need
I used elbow noodles to make this, which are the typical choice for such a dish. In addition, onion and garlic add flavour, and the cream cheese, butter and Half & Half (or milk) make it lusciously creamy. The sharp cheddar works well and I also like to add a secret ingredient. A splash of hot sauce! Just to add another layer to the flavour.
This is the best macaroni Instant Pot recipe I’ve made to date. And there is no doubt I’m going to make it again. So is this Instant Pot creamy macaroni and cheese a main dish or a side dish? You know what, it can be either! Enjoy it with a steak or fried chicken, or indulge yourself by enjoying a bowlful of this wonderful comfort food.
How to Make Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot
Rather than sweating over steaming saucepans, you can make the whole dish in the Instant Pot. You need to add the macaroni, water and seasonings then cover the pot and close the ‘sealing’ ring.
Now you can cook the pasta using high pressure. After only 4 minutes, you can stir the macaroni and then add the other ingredients. Once everything is warmed through it’s ready to enjoy.
I like to add a little fresh parsley to mine, which you might like to do too. You can also get freeze-dried chopped parsley in the grocery store, and that thaws instantly when you sprinkle it on to hot food. Plus it keeps for months and months in the freezer.
Macaroni Instant Pot Recipe Variations
There are plenty of variations to consider with this Instant Pot creamy macaroni and cheese. You might want to mix in some cooked chicken or another favourite protein, at the end, and just let it warm through. That would work well if you wanted a more substantial meal.
Another idea is to use sliced jalapenos instead of the hot sauce. Of course you can also omit that if you don’t want the spice. This easy instant pot pasta recipe can be tailored however you wish.
Try adding cooked crumbled bacon or a little truffle oil. Canned beans and salsa can give it a south of the border vibe. Chicken, panko breadcrumbs and buffalo sauce is another possibility. In fact there are too many mac and cheese variations to mention here!
What’s the History of Mac ‘n Cheese?
It’s believed that this dish comes from Northern Europe and the first written recipe dates back to 1769. Thomas Jefferson loved this dish in France and brought a pasta machine and noodle recipes back to the United States.
Mac and cheese was served at the 1802 state dinner. Of course that would have been quite different from Instant Pot creamy macaroni and cheese, but maybe not too much since the main ingredients don’t differ.
Kraft Foods came up with boxed mac and cheese in 1937, in the middle of the Great Depression era. 8 million boxes of this product were sold in one year, largely because it would serve four people for just 19 cents. Boxed macaroni cheese mix, or the ‘Kraft dinner’ is popular with students everywhere.
This is a versatile dish though. It might be considered a cheap budget food and a mainstay of students, but chefs are also elevating its status to fine dining. They are experimenting with expensive add-ins and different cheeses, and even trying new variations such as figs and rosemary.
Paula Deen uses bacon to wrap her mac and cheese, and then breads it and flash fries it. The 1953 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook calls for a mushroom soup, onion and Velveeta mixture for the sauce.
Today we have more ideas than ever, and this Instant Pot creamy macaroni and cheese is so good. I love that it only takes 5 minutes to make. Stove top macaroni and cheese would take four times as long.
If you like this easy instant pot recipe, you might also like Easy Beef and Potato Bake – One Pot Meal, Fresh Greens One Pot Pasta, Quick & Easy One Pot Pasta with Mediterranean Meatballs or Chicken Pot Pie Soup.
Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
- 1 Pound elbow noodles
- 1 Tsp. onion powder
- 1 Tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 Tsp. salt
- 1/4 Tsp. black pepper
- 3 3/4 Cup water
- 2 Ounces cream cheese
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 Tsp. hot sauce
- 1 1/4 Cup half and half
- 8 Ounces sharp cheddar
- 1 Tsp. parsley fresh and minced for garnish
- Add the elbow noodles, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and water to the Instant Pot. Give it a quick stir.
- Put the lid on the Instant Pot and set it to “Sealing”. Cook on “Manual, High Pressure” for 4 minutes.Once it’s finished, carefully release the valve.
- Stir the noodles. Don’t worry if there’s a little bit of water in the pot, the noodles will absorb it (don’t drain the noodles).
- Add the cream cheese, butter, and hot sauce and stir until incorporated.
- Stir in the half and half, and then the cheese. It will form a creamy, cheesy sauce.
- Sprinkle the parsley on top. Serve.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
This macaroni Instant Pot recipe is well worth adding to your regular meal rotation. You can make this easy Instant Pot pasta recipe slightly different each time for brand new flavour combinations.
Let me know if you try out this Instant Pot creamy macaroni and cheese. This is an easy Instant Pot pasta recipe that the whole family will LOVE. This mac and cheese recipe is always a hit. Don’t worry about making too much, because this macaroni Instant Pot recipe is terrific as leftovers the next day.
Bella Bucchiotti is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for food, dogs, fitness, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.
yum! I love mac and cheese. I have never made it in the instant pot yet
Oh my goodness, this mac and cheese recipe is so delicious, and seeing this makes me hungry.
It’s been so long since I’ve treated the kids to mac and cheese. This post is a calling haha.
yes to macaroni and cheese, i love it!!! I didn’t a few weeks ago but it wasn’t the best tbh!!! I can’t wait to try your recipe.
Oooo I never thought about making macaroni and cheese in the crockpot. I am definitely going to be making this for dinner one of these days.
This is so timely! I have been craving for mac and cheese for days and would love to try this recipe. Thank you for sharing. I am going to have one tomorrow.