Everybody loves mac n’ cheese, whether you’re 7 or 77! It’s great comfort food for a cold or rainy day, or a quick weeknight meal that even the pickiest child will devour! Boxed mac and cheese is a processed convenience food (that’s not a bad thing, but let’s call it what it is!) while this simple recipe is made with real ingredients that you can feel good about serving. The best part? It doesn’t take any longer than that boxed macaroni because of your Instant Pot and it’s far more rich and flavorful!

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This mac and cheese is ooey, gooey and only requires five ingredients (plus a few more if you want to garnish it before your family devours it!). In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you already have everything you need to make it in your kitchen already! That means you can whip this up when the craving hits without a trip to the grocery store, during which you may talk yourself into something healthier (and we can’t have that, can we?!).

While the actual cook time is very quick, it’s important to remember that the pot takes time to come up to pressure. We found our 6-Quart Instant Pot Duo took about 6 minutes, but times may differ slightly depending on what size and model you’re using. The best part of using an Instant Pot to make mac and cheese is that you can set it and forget it and not worry about it boiling over. Plus you don’t have to drain any water, so it truly is a one pot meal! Minimal mess and minimal cleanup is definitely my type of dinner.

You have quite a bit of control over what the final product tastes like, as you can mix and match whatever cheeses you want! Think, mild, medium, or old cheddar, white cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey jack, pepper jack – the list goes on! Every combination will result in a slightly different taste. Just make sure you choose cheeses that melt well. We used marble cheese with a little bit of fresh Parmesan in our recipe!

When you’re ready to eat, serve it up hot from the pot or garnish it with Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, or freshly ground pepper, depending on your tastes. Or ketchup or hot sauce –  we don’t judge!  Now without further ado, let’s get cookin’!

Servings: 6


  • 1 pound uncooked macaroni noodles
  • 4 cups water or broth
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheese of your choice
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • Parsley, for garnish


  • Instant Pot


  • Put the water/broth, pasta, butter, garlic, and salt into the Instant Pot. Secure the lid and close the pressure valve. Cook on Manual HIGH for 4 minutes.
  • Once cook time has elapsed, quick release the pressure with a dish towel handy, as the spray can be a little bit buttery.
  • Once pressure is released, remove the lid and add the cheese and milk, stirring until melted and mixed in. Garnish with parsley, ketchup, hot sauce, or whatever you normally eat your mac n' cheese with! Enjoy!


If you want to cut the calories a bit, use milk instead of heavy cream or half and half.

You can always use water, but we find that a vegetable or chicken broth makes the final product more flavorful! Since you’re not dumping any excess liquid, water can leave the dish tasting a little lacklustre. If you don’t have broth, go ahead and use water, but consider upping your spices including garlic, salt, pepper, and perhaps even a dried Italian seasoning to give it more flavor.

Rhiannon Ball

Rhiannon loves to cook and bake but has also never said "no" to a takeout burrito (see, she's just like you!). Despite slowly running out of room in her cabinets, she continues to expand her collections of cookbooks and kitchen gadgets and is deeply jealous of people who can just "whip something up" without a recipe. When she's not in the kitchen, you can find her camping and hiking with her husband and rescue dog, Waffles.

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