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Quick Instant Pot Mac & Cheese Recipe

A quick homemade Mac & Cheese recipe can be easily made in half the time with an Instant Pot or Electric Pressure Cooker. When time is short and the family is hungry you can have dinner on the table in no time at all.

I love my electric pressure cooker,  Instant Pot especially for Mac & Cheese as I can set the timer on pressure for 4 minutes and then do a quick release, mix in the cheese, and have dinner ready in just a few minutes.

My mother-in-law taught me how to make Mac & Cheese the old-fashioned way. Her method required making a homemade white sauce and adding cheddar cheese.  It is a fabulous recipe that the whole family loves, but it requires me to stand at the stove for almost an hour. And you know me, I like to be hands-free.  I want to be with my family in the evening after work not babysitting the stove.

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For other quick & Easy Instant Pot Recipes check out my group of recipes with more information here!

How Mac & Cheese Can Be Unbelievably Easy

Quick Instant Pot Mac & Cheese Recipe

When I first saw the TV presentation of making homemade Mac & Cheese in the pressure cooker/Instant Pot I couldn’t believe it.   If it was true, I could serve my little ones their favorite Mac & Cheese, homemade without any artificial ingredients, and not stand over the stove.  I quickly ordered one without hesitation.

All my three children love Grandma Grace’s homemade Mac & Cheese.  It tastes wonderful but I have become tired of making it week almost every week. I even made large batches of the cheese sauce and frozen it in individual containers.

By freezing the sauce maybe I might have a week or two without having to stand over a beautiful homemade white sauce. I want to spend my time, talking, hugging, and making crafts with my kids (oh yes homework too).

The Buonpane Traditional Stove Top Mac & Cheese

Jimโ€™s mother Grace Buonpane made Mac & Cheese the old fashioned way with a slow simmer white sauce. Grace’s recipe used 4 tablespoons of butter, 4 tablespoons of flour, and 4 cups of milk.  She showed me how to heat the butter and flour in the saucepan over low heat to make a roux.  After the butter and flour are cooked for 2 minutes, you slowly add 2 cups of milk, stirring all the while to make sure it does not burn. 

I would at the stove staring for a good 20 minutes while the roux turns the milk into a creamy smooth white sauce.  At this point, I add 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese into the sauce stirring all the while and this makes the cheese sauce. 

At the same time, I would be cooking a box of elbow macaroni.  At that point, I would pour the cheddar cheese sauce over the cooked macaroni and put it in a casserole dish topped with plain breadcrumbs, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. 

A fabulous dish, but takes forever and you have to stand over it the whole time.  If you forgot to shred the cheese or forget to put the macaroni on the stove you have to yell for someone to stir while you prepare these ingredients. 

Instant Pot Mac & Cheese

When my electric pressure cooker/Instant Pot arrived the first thing I made was Mac & Cheese. When it was done and came out of the Instant Pot and was devoured by my family. No one criticized grandma’s recipe, however, the Instant Pot recipe has been our favorite ever since.

You won’t believe it till you try it. You put the liquid and the noodles in the Instant Pot and cook for 2 minutes on high pressure with a fast release. (I have found that releasing the pressure after 2 minutes gives you a more al dente noodle)  Next, quickly have your cheddar cheese shredded because the 2 minutes happens in a flash, and as soon as you open that pressure cooker dump in whatever cheeses you like in your Mac & Cheese recipe. 

I use sharp cheddar and if the kids are not home and I am making it for Jim, I add a half cup of mozzarella. This makes the dish stringy.  He remembers from his childhood his mother taking him to a downtown Cleveland cafeteria and the Mac & Cheese was stringy.  

Quick Instant Pot Mac & Cheese Recipe

No standing over the stove for an hour. What could be better for a busy mom with little kids in the kitchen and then not having to stand over the stove for an hour? With this quick and easy recipe, you also have total control over the ingredients in your dish.

If you have little ones at home like I do (they are not little anymore but I still think of them that way) that love Mac & Cheese and if you only make Mac & Cheese with your Instant Pot your purchase will be well worth the price. You will soon find that you can make so many of your family favorites in half the time. 

Check Out These Budget Friendly Instant Pots

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Electric Pressure Cooker Mac & Cheese Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Crafting a Family Dinner
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 14 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American


Traditional Mac & Cheese in less time.


Units Scale
  • 1 Box of Elbow Noodles (or any small spiral noodle)
  • 4 cups Water
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 TLB Butter
  • 1/2 cup of warmed milk
  • 3 to 4 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 cup of Mozzarella Cheese if desired


  1. Place theย  Water, Salt, & Noodles in the inner pot of the Instant Pot.
  2. Place the lid on and Seal
  3. Set the timer for 2 minutes for the elbow noodles.
  4. Have the Cheese ready
  5. When the timer is done, turn the valve to fast release.
  6. Open the lid
  7. Stir, (I take my insertย pot off of the heating element so the bottom does not burn)
  8. Add the Cheeses, milk, butter, and stir


You need to add the salt to this recipe or the liquid tends to bubble out the top of the release valve.

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A quick homemade Mac & Cheese recipe that can't be possible even with an electric pressure cooker. You can have with the Electric Pressure Cooker quick Mac & Cheese and the recipe is unbelievably easy.

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Quick Instant Pot Mac & Cheese Recipe

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  1. Just made this! It is very good….and easy! I used Colby Jack cheese which made it have good cheese pull (stringy). Thank you for sharing.

  2. Something new, something to try. I have a IP.
    Thanks – Friday Fiesta rocks.
    Have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. I and my family love mac and cheese but your recipe sounds a blast and so delicious!How does it thicken without the flour?? Magical! Thank you for sharing with #FiestaFriday

    1. There is usually a little bit of the starchy water left at the bottom. That, mixed with the cheese and butter makes the sauce creamy and thick.

  4. Mac and cheese is definitely a favorite as you can use any cheese or even milk you want. Make it rich with cream and lower fat with 2% milk. Then the toppings or additions are fun to add. It’s a great side for any meal. Thanks for sharing your family mac and cheese in the insta-pot with Fiesta Friday.

  5. Sounds so easy! Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party! Have a great week and hope to see you again next week. Just a side note, you might want to edit the instructions. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Great recipe and so easy to make. I have never used a pressure cooker but this one looks easy to use. Thank you for sharing at Dishing it and Digging it link party.

  7. This looks really good. The next time the grandkids are here I will have to try making a big pot! Thanks for sharing at the Family Joy Blog Link Party this week!

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