If you have been with me for a while, this will come as no surprise. You guessed it! I called Instant Pot customer service for advice on How to Make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese—the Right Way!

I learned SO much valuable information, and I share it all with you in this video with step-by-step instructions. So get ready to make the creamiest Instant Pot Mac and Cheese ever!

Watch the Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Video

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Ask the Professionals How to Make Mac and Cheese

I was hesitant to make Macaroni and Cheese in the Instant Pot because I had read on many food blogs that it was nothing like the stovetop version. Instead, it came out stringy and “gloopy.” Basically, it was just a big mess, and that sounded very unappealing to me!  But it made sense.  How can you make macaroni and cheese without a béchamel sauce?

But I decided with the popularity of these new pressure cookers that there had to be a better way to make Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot. And I was right! I called the manufacturer’s customer service line and learned that there are specific techniques for creating the perfect creamy Mac and Cheese.  And just in one pot!  And no béchamel sauce required!  Genius!!

What’s the Secret to Creamy Mac and Cheese?

I go over everything in the recipe in this detailed video, so be sure to watch my step-by-step instructions. I share many important tips to successfully making the creamiest Mac and Cheese, including:

  • What type of cheese to use, and how much?
  • Do you need cream?
  • Should you add cream cheese?
  • And most importantly…should you do a quick pressure release, or is natural release the way to go for perfectly cooked pasta?

All great questions. And I answer them all!

What About Pre-Shredded Cheese?

One important tip that I want to alert you to right now is DO NOT use packaged pre-shredded cheese. These types of packaged cheeses are coated with ingredients—such as corn starch—to prevent the shreds from sticking together. Problem is, these ingredients can also contribute to creating a very dense and stringy cheese sauce that will be the opposite of the creamy result you are hoping to achieve.

So be sure to buy a block of cheese, as specified in the recipe, and grate it yourself. You will be glad you did.

Easiest Clean-Up Ever!

Now making the most perfect creamiest Mac and Cheese ever is easy! And the best news? No stovetop or boiling pasta required. No béchamel to make. And even better…no multiple pots to clean up!

And when you are ready to deep clean your Instant Pot, I show you how in the following video.

More “Right Way!” Instant Pot Recipes

Now that you’ve learned how to make the perfect Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot the “Right Way”, try your hand at making the perfect “Rotisserie” Chicken in the Instant Pot—The Right Way. And once you’ve mastered that recipe, it will be time to make the perfect Instant Pot Chicken Bone Broth…that Gels Every Time!

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Mac and Cheese Instant Pot

5 from 5 votes
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 4 minutes
Pressure Rising Time and Pressure Release Time: 15 minutes
Total: 21 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
This creamy side dish will come out perfect every time.


  • 6-Quart or 8-Quart Instant Pot


  • 4 cups Water
  • 4 tablespoons Butter 1/4 cup or 1/2 stick
  • 1 teaspoon Sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons Dry mustard powder
  • 1 pound Elbow macaroni or other small shaped pasta
  • 1 cup Sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (Don't use pre-shredded packaged cheese)
  • 1 cup Monterey cheese, shredded or Colby cheese (Don't use pre-shredded packaged cheese)
  • 1 cup Heavy cream
  • 2-4 ounces Cream cheese, optional


  • Pour water into Instant Pot liner.
  • Add butter, salt, and mustard to water and stir to dissolve the salt and the mustard powder. (Butter will remain in its solid form.)
  • Pour elbow macaroni into the water mixture. DO NOT STIR! Simply tap down pasta gently to make sure that it is submerged under the water.
  • Put the lid on the Instant Pot. Lock it into place, and set the steam valve to "Sealing." Press the "Pressure Cook" or "Manual" button on the Instant Pot panel. Next, set the pressure time for 4 minutes, and set the pressure level to "High."
  • Once the Instant Pot has finished cooking the macaroni, DO NOT QUICK RELEASE THE PRESSURE. Allow the pressure to come down naturally. This will allow the macaroni to finish cooking to the perfect "al dente" stage and completely absorb all the water. Plus, this will prevent the "foamy" steam from sputtering out the pressure release valve creating a mess.
  • Once the pressure has released naturally, remove the lid from the Instant Pot. The Instant Pot should have switched to the "Keep Warm" stage. If not, press the "Keep Warm" button on the front panel. DO NOT USE THE SAUTE OPTION. This will cause the pasta to stick to the bottom of the Instant Pot liner and potentially burn.
  • With the Instant Pot on "Keep Warm," begin to add a small handful of each cheese with a few ounces of the cream to the macaroni. Stir and allow the cheese to melt before adding additional cheese and cream. Once all the cheese and cream have been incorporated, the mac and cheese is ready to serve.
  • Optional: Once all the cheese and cream have been incorporated, and you would like to add some cream cheese for a bit of additional "creaminess," start by adding two ounces of cream cheese, working up to 4 ounces of cream cheese, until you achieve the desired consistency.



Find this recipe and video at https://marysnest.com/instant-pot-mac-and-cheese/
Copyright © 2019 Mary’s Nest, LLC, All Rights Reserved
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Americana
Keyword: Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese, Mac and Cheese, Macaroni and Cheese
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  1. 5 stars
    A great basic Mac Dish. B4additional. ingredients such a : Veggies like Broccoli & real Bacon bi ts. or HM burger bits.❤

    1. Hi Kenn, So happy you liked this. And yes, love the ideas for your “add-ins”. Love and God Bless, Mary

  2. 5 stars
    This is the only recipe I will make from now on! Was a huge hit with the family. I’ve made it with both 2 oz of cream cheese and 4 oz. Delicious either way! I like to add some shredded cooked chicken and a bag of frozen peas and carrots or mixed vegetables to make it a complete meal.

    1. Hi Debbie, WOW!! So happy you like this method. And I love your ideas for turning it into a complete meal! Love, Mary

  3. 5 stars
    I made one small tweak by adding a small amount of chicken bouillon paste to the water. It turned out perfect! I’m not sure why but my 6 qt IP took 50 minutes to naturally release pressure. Noodles were perfect though – nicely al dente even after the long release time. I did not add the cream cheese.

    1. Hi Elcee,

      That sounds like a great addition! I’m so glad that the noodles came out perfect.

      Love and God bless,

  4. 5 stars
    You have a typo with your Monterey Cheese. I haven’t made this yet but have made one similar to this, was looking for a Natural Release recipe so thanks for this!!

    1. Hi Cheryl,

      Thanks for your comments and for letting me know about the typo. I updated the recipe. I appreciate your help!

      Thanks for being a subscriber and a sweet friend!

      Love and God bless,

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