This Instant Pot macaroni and cheese is perfect for a last minute kid friendly meal that takes literally five minutes to prepare.
Unexpected company or kids home from school any minute, this will come to the rescue time and again. The kids all love it and you get to skip the packet of artificial from the boxed varieties.
Macaroni and cheese from a box was one of the first meals I learned to make as a kid. I loved it because it was so easy and always hit the spot.
At the time I felt it couldn’t be simpler.
Enter Instant Pot.
Now it’s even easier to make. Basically, all you do is pour in a few ingredients, push a button to start the pressure cooking and let the Instant Pot work its magic. When the cook cycle is complete, remove the lid, add milk and cheese and stir.
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Ingredients Used in Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Elbow macaroni — Elbow macaroni is typical, but you can try small shells or other small pasta shapes for a variation.
- Chicken broth — We use chicken broth from a carton for convenience.
- Marbled cheddar cheese — Or regular cheddar cheese, shredded. You can shred the cheese meanwhile the Instant Pot is cooking.
- Butter — We use salted butter for our mac and cheese. If you use unsalted you can add a little more salt to the recipe, to taste.
- Milk — 3.25% homogenized milk makes an extra creamy sauce.
- Hot sauce — optional, we use Frank’s red hot, just a shake or two provides a flavor boost without overpowering the dish. I like to stir it into the water in the Instant Pot before cooking to make sure it is well dispersed.
- Salt — Himalayan salt, ground. If you are using salted butter there will already be salt in this dish from that as well as the chicken broth, you might want to skip the extra salt or you can taste it and add if you like.
Equipment Needed for Macaroni and Cheese
For this Instant Pot macaroni and cheese recipe, we use a 6 quart Instant Pot. You could also make this in a 3 quart. If you plan to double the recipe, then be sure to use a 6 quart or 8 quart Instant Pot.
What to Serve With Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese
Other Favorite Kid Friendly Meals
Some tried and true recipes that kids love:
- Almond Flour Parmesan Chicken Nuggets
- Instant Pot Lasagna
- Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Instant Pot Pasta Sauce
- Margherita Pita Pizzas (for kids, omit garlic and sub shredded mozzarella cheese for fresh mozza)
- Mini Crêpes
- Mini Waffles
Time Saving Tips for Large Family Cooking
In our family, we love to cook meals with plenty of flavor, but for every spicy dish we make, there’s at least one other mild dish for the kids.
Instant Pots make it easier for us to cook for both children and adults.
If you have a large family and don’t always like to eat mild food, and also need to save time, check out our article about the Benefits of Owning Two Instant Pots.
This has worked very well for us and may be a good solution for you if you need ways to get food on the table quickly, while satisfying the whole family.
While the two Instant Pots are working their magic, you can manually prepare salads and chop veggies, and use the stove top or oven in addition, to round out the meals, if necessary.
Leftover macaroni and cheese can be stored in the refrigerator and is best consumed within a day or two.
My kids much prefer it at the time it’s made and two cups of dry macaroni make enough for about four or five kid sized servings. If your kids are older or have larger appetites, you may need to double the recipe. I purposely make just enough so as to avoid having to refrigerate, since they like it fresh.
It can be reheated in the microwave, but will be drier than when it was first made. I like to stir in a teaspoon or so of milk and butter into each bowl of mac and cheese after reheating to make it creamy again.
I don’t believe it would be a good dish to freeze but have never tried it.
Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese
- 2 Cups Elbow Macaroni
- 2 Cups Chicken Broth
- ¼ Cup Butter, salted
- ½ teaspoon Salt, Himalayan
- ½ teaspoon Hot Sauce, Frank's red hot
- 1.5 Cup Marble Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- 1 Cup Milk, 3.25% homogenized
- Place elbow macaroni into the instant pot.
- Pour in chicken broth.
- Add salt, butter and hot sauce.
- Fasten lid securely and set to High pressure for 5 minutes. While the Instant Pot is cooking, you can shred the cheese.
- Once complete, let natural release pressure for 2 minutes.
- Open the lid. Add milk and shredded cheddar cheese. Mix well to combine.
The above nutritional values are estimates and should only be used as a guide. If you are following a specific diet or have dietary restrictions, please use your preferred nutritional calculator. If you have a food allergy please ensure that none of the listed ingredients are part of your restrictions. As well, always use a food thermometer to ensure safe cooking temperature of the food items.