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Creamy Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

January 4, 2021 (Last updated February 10, 2023) · Nicole Triebe

Creamy Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese –the ultimate comfort food pasta recipe made quick and easy in the Instant Pot!  You can have dinner in 15 minutes!

We’re heading into the coldest part of the year here in Chicago and that means I’m craving all the comfort food! With baby dinner fairy giving me a run for my money on a daily basis, I don’t have a ton of time to cook dinner! My Instant Pot has been a lifesaver in getting meals on the table in under 30 minutes. Today we’re making our family favorite – instant pot macaroni and cheese! I’m adding a couple of optional ingredients that makes it fun for both adults and kids, too!

How long does it take to cook instant pot macaroni and cheese?

I love how the Instant Pot makes this macaroni and cheese in half the time a normal recipe would take! The pasta itself takes about 10 minutes to cook in the instant pot, and then you can add the cheese and milk right in the same pot! That also means less dishes!

You’ll program the Instant Pot to cook for 4 minutes, but it takes about 5 minutes for it to come up to pressure.

creamy instant pot macaroni and cheese in bowl with panko breadcrumbs on top

Why should I use broth to cook my pasta?

Pasta cooked in an Instant Pot comes out way more flavorful (thanks to broth, or pasta sauce!) And you can keep the pasta warm a little longer while preparing other dishes for your dinner.

What is the secret to creamy gouda macaroni and cheese?

The secret to making a creamy gouda mac and cheese is shredding your own cheese at home! The store-bought shredded cheeses contain preservatives like potato starch and natamycin, that are added to keep the shreds from clumping together in the bag. Unfortunately, that also means they don’t melt together as well when cooking! Freshly grated cheese doesn’t have those additives so your Macaroni and Cheese will be smooth and creamy!

What kind of cheese should I use in my Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese?

When choosing cheese for creamy Instant Pot Macaroni and cheese, you’ll want to pick cheeses that melt creamy. Some examples are: Asiago, Cheddar, Colby, fontina, Gouda, Gruyère, Havarti, or Muenster. Avoid Feta and Monterey Jack, and remember, don’t buy pre-shredded! I’m using Gouda and Vermont Cheddar in today’s recipe!

Still hungry? Check out my Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup or start the meal with a strawberry and spinach salad!

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Creamy Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

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  • Author: Nicole Triebe
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American


Creamy Instant pot macaroni and cheese takes just 15 minutes to make! 



16 oz uncooked Elbow pasta

2 cup water

2 cup chicken or vegetable stock

2 cups shredded gouda

2 cup shredded Vermont white cheddar

3 tbl butter, cut into small pieces 

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup whole milk, warmed

1 tbl cream cheese

2 tsp Frank’s hot sauce (optional)

1/4 cup Italian panko bread crumbs, toasted


Start by toasting Italian panko bread crumbs in the oven until golden brown.  Set aside.

Add broth, water, elbow pasta and salt to a pressure cooker or Instant Pot and place the lid on and in the sealed position.  Cook on high for 4 minutes (manual mode).  Do a quick release.  

While the pasta is cooking, warm up 1/4 cup of milk and shred cheese.  

After a quick release, add the butter and stir until melted.  Add 1/3 of the cheese at a time, stirring until completely melted and follow with 2 tbl of milk.  Add hot sauce if desired. 

Stir until well incorporated.  Repeat until all the cheese has been added.  Add cream cheese and stir until completely melted.

Plate and serve, adding panko breadcrumbs to the top.  


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