Some evenings you just want to curl up with a childhood favorite comfort food. What seems to satisfy that urge best is creamy, cheesy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese. My oh my, how we love our macaroni and cheese!
Can you cook macaroni in the Instant Pot? The answer is Absolutely and I'm going to show you how quick and easy it is! You may be wondering why use the Instant Pot since it is easy to make on the stove. Well, the Instant Pot is not only easy but it is hands off cooking. I also have never had to worry about water boiling over and leaving me a salty starchy mess on my cook top.
If you want even more ideas for cooking noodles in the Instant Pot, you can also see some more of my other tips on how to cook pasta in the Instant Pot.
Time to get started on the creamiest Instant Pot Mac and Cheese that will wrap your tummy in pure comfort food.
Ingredients for Instant pot mac and cheese
Macaroni is the most common pasta used for mac and cheese. Generally, the best noodle for mac and cheese is elbow pasta or any shorter pasta that has nooks and crannies to hold all that wonderful cheesiness in every bite. Besides elbow macaroni, more great noodles for this recipe are; shells, Campanelle, Casarecce, Cellentani, Gemelli, Farfalle (bowtie pasta), and Rotini.
Evaporated Milk makes this the creamiest mac and cheese recipe ever! You can use low fat (2%) evaporated milk if you prefer. The total calories will be reduced by approximately 45kcals and the fat will be reduced by approximately 5g.
Chicken Broth adds a depth of flavor, but most importantly healthy dose of minerals to your diet. And if all the stories about the benefits of chicken noodle soup are correct, then I'm all for using chicken broth or Instant Pot Chicken Stock in my mac and cheese.
Cheddar Cheese is the most frequently used cheese in mac and cheese. I occasionally will use sharp cheddar for a deeper cheese flavor. I would recommend using a block of cheese and shredding it at home. Packaged shredded cheddar often has added flour or starches to keep it from sticking together. That affects how easily the cheese melts and how much it thickens the sauce.
You may even want to shred extra cheddar cheese to sprinkle on the finished mac and cheese!
If you want to save the extra time by buying shredded cheese, be prepared to take a little more effort to blend in the cheese or add a little more liquid as you are stirring the cheese sauce.
Ground Mustard is a great addition because it is an emulsifier that holds all the ingredients together nicely. The slight tang also mellows the richness just enough to make this dish so tasty.
Sides to Serve with Mac and Cheese
While Macaroni and Cheese can be satisfying all on its own, it's always nice to have a few easy side dish ideas in mind that balance nicely with the cheesy pasta. A few excellent side dishes are Cucumber with Tomato Salad, Sautéed Broccoli with Garlic, or a mixed green salad with an Italian Vinaigrette made with Avocado Oil. Mac and Cheese is also served as a side dish, particularly at Thanksgiving.
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- 2 cups elbow macaroni
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 can evaporated milk 12 oz
- 2 ½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese from a 10 oz block of cheddar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In the inner pot, combine macaroni, ground mustard, 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, and broth. Close and lock the lid and turn the steam release handle to Sealing. Set your Instant Pot to pressure cook on Low for 3 minutes.
- When the cooking time is done, press Cancel and turn the steam release handle to Venting. When the float valve drops down, remove the lid. The pasta should be al dente. (If more cooking time is necessary, close and lock the lid and let stand for 1 minute.)
- Stir in milk. Set your Instant Pot to sauté on Less. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until sauce has thickened and pasta is done to your liking. Press Cancel. Add cheese, ½ cup at a time, stirring until melted and combined before adding more. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.