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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese just warms me to my very soul. I’m not even picky when it comes to mac and cheese either. From a box, from the microwave, from the oven, one kind of cheese, 3 kinds of cheese… The list of mac and cheese options are literally endless and I love ’em all!

I typically make a stovetop mac and cheese, a process involving making a rue in one pan, which turns into a delicious, thick, and creamy cheese sauce, and cooking the pasta in another large pan on the oven.

This method is delicious and definitely a classic in my arsenal. However, this option takes up a large portion of the stove, which tends to heat up the kitchen. Having a hot kitchen in a North Carolina summer is no fun, speaking from experience…

Let’s talk about cheese for a bit! One of my favorite topics! For this recipe, I just used 12 ounces of cheddar cheese, so one and a half blocks of cheese. However, my sister made a recipe like this using 6 ounces of gouda and 6 ounces of cheddar. Or you could add in provolone, colby jack, brie, parmesan, or whatever other cheeses you’d like! The one requirement that this recipe is to grate your own cheese! I know it’s easier to just use a bag of pre-shredded cheese and to be honest, I’ve used it before. However, it really doesn’t melt as smooth and creamy as grating it yourself. Pre-shredded cheese has certain preservatives added so the cheese doesn’t stick together and ball up in the bag, which causes the cheese to melt a little differently in a mac and cheese!

On a little sidenote, the recipe and water ratio was designed for elbow noodles, so if you use another kind of pasta, you might have to adjust the water and cooking time. For example, if you use a hearty, thicker noodle, you might have to cook the pasta for an extra 3-5 minutes!


1 box of elbow noodles

4 cups of water (Can be substituted for chicken stock for extra flavor)

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

1/4 teaspoon of mustard powder

4 tablespoons of butter

1/3 cup of heavy cream

2/3 cup of milk

12 ounces of cheese

In the bowl of your pressure cooker, add in the uncooked pasta, water, garlic powder, onion powder, and mustard powder. Stir together. Cut up 3 tablespoons of butter into small cubes and dot the top of the pasta. Close the lid of the pressure cooker, and set to high pressure for 4 minutes. Please note that it will take the pressure cooker about 10 minutes to come up to full pressure before the timer starts.

While the pressure cooker is working away, grate the cheese, and combine the heavy cream and milk into a measuring cup.

When the timer is done, using a spoon, gently push the pressure tab to quick release, until the little tab has dropped, indicating all the steam has been released.

Then, add in half of the milk mixture with half of the cheese. Stir together. Add in the last tablespoon of butter and the remaining milk and cheese mixture. Adding the milk mixture slowly allows plenty of time for the milk to get mixed into the cheese and create a creamy, luscious cheese sauce.

Once the cheese is fully melted, spoon up a delicious helping, and dinner is served!

Gather ingredients! Minus the mustard powder, I ran out 1/2 teaspoons for the picture…
In the pressure cooker, ready to be cooked!
All served up! Seriously, I could eat this mac and cheese for the rest of my life and be completely satisfied!

This mac and cheese comes together so fast! I think this dish would be the perfect side item for a busy holiday because you don’t have to worry about taking any stove or oven space! Plus, it comes together so fast, you don’t even have to think twice about it!

The pasta is perfectly cooked and I love the creamy cheese sauce that just coats each little piece of pasta! Seriously, maybe I should think about doubling the recipe next time…

-Holly Michelle

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