Instant Pot Creamy Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Lunchtime can be a hit or miss but with this Instant Pot macaroni and cheese, it will always be a hit! It is also super easy and quick to throw together! You’ll be coming back for seconds, it is just that good.

In our house, we LOVE macaroni and cheese! All of the different kinds. Even the box kind if my husband is making it. 😉

When we came up with this amazingly simple Instant Pot idea for macaroni and cheese, I fell in love! It’s so great that I can just pour the noodles in, set the timer and no draining is required.

By making the macaroni in the Instant Pot you cut down on not only the amount of time, but also the dishes to make macaroni. Both are wins in my book!

If you want to try out some more awesome macaroni recipes take a look at our Ground Beef and Macaroni Tomato Soup recipe, or our super delicious Cheeseburger Macaroni (my kid’s favorite meal!) recipe, and another favorite, our Cheesy Macaroni Casserole recipe.

Everything is laid out below that you will need for this beginner Instant Pot recipe!

Easy Instant Pot mac and cheese ingredients:

  1. Elbow macaroni noodles
  2. Chicken broth
  3. Butter
  4. Salt
  5. Whipping cream
  6. Sharp cheddar cheese
  7. Mozzarella cheese
  8. Parmesan cheese
  9. Garlic salt
  10. Parsley
  11. Dry Mustard

Related recipe: Don’t have an instant pot? Try our Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese!

Don’t put Dairy in an Instant Pot!

When cooking dairy ingredients in the Instant Pot, it is a lot different than cooking them on the stove top, oven, microwave or in a slow cooker.

If a recipe calls for dairy ingredients, make sure to add them once you have cooked your food and depressurized your Instant Pot. The high heat and pressure can cause dairy and milk ingredients to scorch or to turn clumpy. No one likes clumpy food.

So for this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese make sure you add your milk AFTER your noodles have already cooked!

If you are new to the Instant Pot, read our list of 9 Instant Pot Don’ts HERE!

Related recipe:
Instant Pot Cheesy Penne Pasta (it’s so easy!)


You will also need these items for this recipe for Instant Pot macaroni and cheese:

  • Instant Pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Knife


Related Article: Do you have picky kids too? Check out these 20 Recipes for Picky Eaters


What Instant Pot Should You Get?

I have the Instant Pot LUX 6 Quart 6-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker. It’s basically 6 appliances in 1 – pressure cooker, rice cooker, saute, steamer, cake maker, and warmer. It is awesome!

I know there are so many different versions and sizes of the Instant Pot now that it can make it hard to choose “the right one”.

  1. If you are cooking for 1-2 people I would suggest the 3 Quart Instant Pot.  If you are cooking for more, I would suggest the 6 quart or 8 quart.
  2. This is the Instant Pot I have. I have a family of six and the 6 quart feeds us just fine! It is even the cheaper one and I love it! Find it HERE
  3. If you want to make big meals or big cheesecakes, etc. I would highly suggest getting the 8 quart!

Let’s begin making this popular Instant Pot recipe below!

Begin by having your Instant Pot on the counter and plugged in. Pour in the whole 16 oz box of macaroni noodles and then pour in the chicken broth over top.

TIP #1: If you do not have chicken broth, you can use water, it just won’t have quite as much flavor. 

Then, take the butter and cut it into small pieces and place it in the Instant Pot with the pasta and broth.

Now add in the salt with everything else in the Instant Pot.

Once you’re finished with that, place the top on the Instant Pot and turn the valve to the “SEALING” position.

Next, press the “MANUAL” button and set the timer for 4 minutes and let the Instant Pot do it’s thing.

When the timer runs out, let the Instant Pot sit for another 5-minute natural release of the pressure. After that 5 minute mark, move the valve to the “VENTING” position to release the remaining pressure from the inner pot.

TIP #2: There might be some foam that comes out of the top. Just place a paper towel over top and wipe it off when it’s done.

Now, remove the lid and add in the whipping cream, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese.

Then add in the garlic salt, parsley, and dry mustard and then mix everything together! Keep mixing until the cheese is melted and smooth.

Now just serve it up and enjoy!

Tasty toppings

You can always add some protein to the macaroni and cheese. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Chopped bacon
  2. Sliced up hotdogs
  3. Cooked sausage

All of the macaroni recipes you’ll need:


Serves: 6

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

5 minPrep Time

4 minCook Time

9 minTotal Time

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  • 1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teapsoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard


  1. Place macaroni in Instant Pot. Pour chicken broth over macaroni so that all macaroni is covered by liquid.
  2. Cut butter into small pieces and place on top of pasta. Add salt.
  3. Place lid on top of Instant Pot and secure in place.
  4. Move vent to SEALING position.
  5. Press MANUAL button and set timer for 4 minutes.
  6. When finished cooking, allow for a 5 minute NATURAL RELEASE, then move the venting to VENTING to quickly release the remaining pressure. (Some foam might come out of the vent, just use a paper towel to quickly wipe it off)
  7. Remove lid and add whipping cream, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Add in seasonings and mix together until the cheese is all smooth and melted.
  8. Serve warm.


Just be sure your noodles are covered in the broth before you cook it!


Instant Pot
egg free
soy free
seafood free
treenut free
sesame free



279 cal


13 g


26 g


15 g
Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info

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Comment on this Recipe

67 Responses to “Instant Pot Creamy Macaroni and Cheese Recipe”

  1. Thanks for this recipe! I made it last night for my son and husband because I was going out (I am gluten and dairy free so this was a treat for them to get the real stuff haha), and not only was it super easy, it was really delicious. I did follow the suggestion above and let it cook for 6 minutes and found that was a good idea. Thanks for the easy Monday night dinner - will definitely make again (and might even try a gluten free/dairy free version one day ;)
    • Jamie Lowe
      I am having a problem with the recipe. I have made it twice now, and the first time I used the liquid that it called for. I got the burn notice. The pasta was done but scorched on bottom. The second time, I added an extra 1/2 cup of water. I got the burn notice and it scorched on bottom. What am I doing wrong? TIA
    • I did this with bow tie pasta. Used more broth than called for to get the pasta covered, maybe if I used elbows it wouldn't have taken so much broth. Also, I used 1/2 and 1/2 instead of milk. I did not drain the pasta. This was so good! Very creamy but not gobs of sauce. Served with a scoop of bbq pork over the Mac n cheese. Yummy! I'm not saying these changes were necessary, just how I happened to make it.
  2. Kristy D.
    This. Stuff. Was. Awesome! I cooked the pasta for 5 minutes on HP then quick release. I used 3c sodium-free chicken stock; the noodles were just covered. (I like sodium-free stocks so I'm able to control the salt.) The elbow noodles were perfectly cooked! Closer to al dente...definitely NOT overcooked. I do take pasta and rice dishes out of the cooking insert to limit the cook over time as they will get soft. The only extra thing I added was 1/4 c of low-fat sour cream which I just like to add to my mac and cheese. :) Winner for sure...the fam is already asking when I'll make it again.
    • Kristy D.
      I'm not feeling well tonight (Thank you elementary school! LOL) and was going to just order pizza until I realized I'd have this on the table long before pizza would be delivered. I think tonight is the 4th time I've made this mac and cheese in the past 3 weeks. :) It's a fast, yummy meal each time. To add a protein, I just put some organic nuggets or some type of marinated chicken breasts in the oven before I start the IP. By time the IP reaches pressure, noodles cook, I set the table and mix in the cheese and stuff, the chicken is cooked and ready to serve at the same time. (I have it down to a science now. LOL) At 5 mins. HP then quick release, the noodles are perfectly cooked; I've not had any problems with them being mushy or having to drain.
  3. Kelli
    Made this in an 8qt IP with roughly half of a macaroni noodles, 1block of sharp cheese, and about 3 cups of broth. So good! I added a little more milk and a sprinkle of salt. Will definitely make this again!!
  4. I'm confused, I this post you tell us not to put dairy before the food is cooked and that matches the recipe however, in the video, you double the amount of the butter and put it in with the water, salt and pasta. Also, should the mustard go in at the beginning with the uncooked pasta or after with the milk. Thanks in advance
  5. Jill Worlton
    Hmmmm....The youtube video and the recipe are two different things. That is confusing and misleading. In the video they use water. In the recipe, they call for chicken broth. In the video, she uses parsley and in the recipe, they use dijon mustard? I am probably going to be one of those people who missed an obvious detail in the post that would help me understand....If so feel free to correct me nicely. I am not intentionally trying to be an idiot. :)
  6. Not asking to be negative - I'm really curious. Is there an advantage to doing mac and cheese in an instant pot? It seems like it would take less time to boil the noodles on the stovetop, then add in all the ingredients as usual, versus waiting for the instant pot to build pressure, cook the noodles, then depressurize. Is there an advantage to using the instant pot instead? Again, legitimately curious!
    • I have always used ground mustard in my mac and cheese. I still did this with this recipe instead of the dijon mustard and it turned out great! I may have added extra cheese too. I didn't really measure but one can never have too much cheese. Just thought I would share in case you wanted to try again with ground mustard instead.
  7. monica johnson
    I made this and my boys loved it! My box mac n cheese enthusiast told me that "it barely tastes like homemade". Of course, I had to leave out the hot sauce and mustard for my picky eaters. Also, I drained the pasta before adding the rest of the ingredients. I am going to try it again with just enough broth to cover the pasta. Thank you for a much healthier alternative to the boxed stuff!
  8. Bernie Pulliam
    I have used this recipe three times with great success. The last time I added a can of evaporated milk after the dish was done I also omitted the hot sauce and mustard. Everybody had two helpings and enjoyed the meal. Looking forward to the next time and another variation. I have made other recipes from Six Sisters and all have come out great. Tomorrow is Orange Chicken!
  9. Little confused as the video I originally watched on your Youtube channel say 4 minutes, water and here in the print it says chicken broth and 5 minutes. I'm making it now as per the video. Next time I'll try it with the broth. I gather the broth gives it a better taste? I'm a newbie to cooking and the Instant Pot. Thanks
  10. Thank you for the tip about not pressuring milk in the instant pot! That would explain why my cheesy broccoli potato soup always gives me the burn warning. I will try making it with just the chicken broth and stir in milk at the end. About this macaroni recipe, would it work the same with a good gluten free macaroni like Tinkyada fusilli? Or would the pasta need to be cooked longer?
  11. Danielle
    Ahhhh... did this recipe get changed? I always make this but I don’t have it memorized, sadly. My family loves the version with the hot sauce. This is the same web page with the same comments and everything, but a different recipe. Where is the old recipe?

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