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White bowl of mac and cheese with fork
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4.91 from 60 votes

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is ultra creamy and rich with a velvety smooth sauce! 
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time9 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: creamy mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, stovetop mac and cheese
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 608kcal
Author: The Chunky Chef


  • 16 oz dried elbow pasta
  • 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp dried mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (mild, medium, or sharp - use personal favorite)
  • 1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
  • 1/2 - 1 cup heavy cream


  • Add the dried pasta, chicken broth, water, butter, hot sauce, salt, garlic powder, pepper, smoked paprika, dried mustard, and onion powder to the liner of an Instant Pot.  Use a wooden spoon to gently press down to make sure all pasta is submerged in the liquid. Don't stir.
  • Secure Instant Pot lid, making sure the valve is set to "sealing". Press the Pressure Cook or Manual button and use the +/- buttons to set the timer for 4 minutes.
  • Once the timer beeps, let out the pressure by carefully moving the valve to “venting" to perform a quick release. Be aware, this recipe is starchy, and can sputter quite a bit when venting. I usually place a folded paper towel loosely over the vent to prevent any kitchen messes.
  • When the pin drops, remove lid and set aside. Turn the Instant Pot OFF to avoid overcooking your pasta. There will be some water left in your pot - don't drain it. This helps create the smooth, cheesy sauce.
  • Add heavy cream and stir. Add in cheeses, a handful or so at a time, stirring after each addition. Keep stirring until they have completely melted into a creamy sauce. 
  • As a side note, this mac and cheese does thicken as it sits, so if it seems on the thin side - just let it sit for a minute or so, and it will thicken up. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.



  1. Other cheeses may be used - Gruyere, Gouda, Fontina, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Colby, or all Cheddar.  These are all good melting cheeses and will give you a smooth sauce.
  2. You may need slightly more or slightly less heavy cream.
  3. Prep time does not account for the time your pot takes to come up to pressure or the time it takes to stir your cheese/cream into a sauce.  These will vary a bit from individual to individual.  For reference - my pot took about 10 minutes to come up to pressure and it took about 2 minutes to turn into a creamy cheese sauce.


Calories: 608kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 544mg | Potassium: 266mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1293IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 413mg | Iron: 1mg