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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How Mac & Cheese Can Be Unbelievably Easy
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
Jim’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, 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 baked 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 the 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.
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.Print
- 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
- Place the Water, Salt, & Noodles in the inner pot of the Instant Pot.
- Place the lid on and Seal
- Set the timer for 2 minutes for the elbow noodles.
- Have the Cheese ready
- When the timer is done, turn the valve to fast release.
- Open the lid
- Stir, (I take my insert pot off of the heating element so the bottom does not burn)
- 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.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 minutes
- Category: main dish
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Instant Pot Mac & Cheese Recipe