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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pound uncooked pasta
  • 3 2/3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (or 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk (or evaporated milk or half and half)
  • 4 cups freshly-grated sharp cheddar cheese* (or see other cheese options below)
  • 1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Prep the pasta. Add pasta, water, butter, mustard, garlic powder and 1 teaspoon salt to the bowl of an Instant Pot, and briefly stir to combine.
  2. Pressure cook. Cover and set lid to “Sealing.”  Cook on high pressure (“manual”) for 4 minutes, followed by a quick release.  Remove lid.
  3. Add the milk and cheeses. Add in the milk and stir briefly to combine.  Then add in the cheeses and gently stir and stir until they have completely melted into a creamy sauce.  The sauce will continue to thicken as it sits, so if it seems too thin, just let it rest for an extra minute or two.  Taste the dish and season with extra salt and black pepper, if needed.
  4. Serve warm.  Serve warm and enjoy!


Notes

Pasta options: I have only tested this recipe with traditional semolina pasta.  Different shapes/types of pasta (such as whole-wheat or gluten-free pastas) may have a slightly different cooking time.

Milk options: You can decide how creamy you would like to make this mac and cheese!  We are quite content with using whole milk in our house, but evaporated milk or half and half would make things extra-creamy and delicious.

Cheese options: Cheddar, Fontina, Gouda, Gruyere, Havarti, Monterey Jack, Provolone — or a combination of any of these cheeses — all melt well into mac and cheese.

Why “freshly-grated” cheese: Most pre-shredded cheeses that you can purchase at the store have a coating on them that prevents the cheeses from melting well.  It’s best to purchase cheese in blocks and then grate it yourself just before adding it to the recipe.  (If you happen to have a food processor with a disc attachment, this will make grating even easier!)

Recipe update: Some readers were reporting that the cheese sauce was too thin, so we reduced the amount of water in the recipe by 1/3 cup.  If you find that the sauce is too thick, just add extra milk or water after the pasta has cooked and you have stirred in the other ingredients.