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November 7, 2023

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

It’s easier—and way better—than box mac and cheese. It’s our rich, creamy, homemade Instant Pot mac and cheese!


Instant pot mac and cheese in a bowl sprinkled with pepper with a spoon and linen.

Looking For Great More Instant Pot Recipes?

A Truly Instant Recipe For Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Thank goodness for the Instant Pot, because that handy pressure cooking tool, plus our super easy Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe equals perfect mac and cheese just about anytime the craving strikes. Just how fast is it? Grab a bowl, because this mac and cheese is ready in about TEN MINUTES. Dinner can be just this instant mac and cheese, or you can add Perfectly Roasted Broccoli or Pesto Green Beans to the mix.

dried macaroni, grated parmesan, heavy cream, shredded cheddar cheese and salt for instant pot mac and cheese

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5-Ingredient Instant Pot Mac and Cheese? You Betcha.

Using an Instant Pot means that this mac is ready quick, and relying on a few basic ingredients means it’s easy, too. Here’s everything you’ll need to whip up a batch of our super cheesy macaroni:

  • Macaroni noodles

  • Salt

  • Heavy cream, it’s the only way

  • Parmesan, for a little umami balance to the creaminess of cheddar cheese

  • Cheddar cheese

cooked macaroni noodles in an instant pot
cooked macaroni noodles in an instant pot with shredded cheddar cheese and parmesan

How to Make Macaroni and Cheese in the Instant Pot

We’re still having a hard time believing this recipe is actually ready in about 10 minutes. But it is! Because it’s the future, apparently. And a future in which homemade mac and cheese is ready in 10 minutes is our kind of future.

  1. Add the ingredients to the Instant Pot. The pasta, water, and salt go into the Instant Pot.

  2. Lock the lid and pressure cook for 4 minutes.

  3. Quick release the steam so the macaroni noodles don’t overcook.

  4. Add the cheese + cream. Open the lid and stir in the cheeses and heavy cream.

  5. Eat up! It’s really that easy.

Instant pot mac and cheese with cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese and heavy cream

How to Store Leftovers + Tips

  • Leftovers are good in the fridge for 3-4 days. We don’t recommend freezing leftovers.

  • What Is the Secret to Creamy Macaroni and Cheese? Heavy cream. That’s it.

  • Our main recommendation is to buy an Instant Pot. If you’re still on the fence, here’s the 20 Best Instant Pot Recipes to help change your mind.

Instant pot mac and cheese with cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese and heavy cream being stirred with a wooden spoon
Instant pot mac and cheese in a bowl

More Instant Pot Basics From The Modern Proper

Instant pot mac and cheese in a bowl with a spoon

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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  4 min
  • Calories: 385


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar

Optional Toppings

  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Peas or other cooked veggies
  • Sriracha


  1. In an Instant Pot, combine the macaroni, 4 cups water, and salt. Secure the lid, close the vent valve, and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Manually release the steam to prevent the noodles from overcooking. A very small amount of water should remain in the pot; drain if needed.

  2. Add the cream, Parmesan, and cheddar. Stir to combine until the cheese is melted. Add pepper, peas and sriracha if using. To serve, scoop into individual bowls.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories385
  • Protein15 g
  • Carbohydrates26 g
  • Total Fat26 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol82 mg
  • sodium529 mg
  • Total Sugars0 g

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • sam

    how many servings is this recipe

    6. Hope you enjoy!

  • Lisa B

    This was the 2nd recipe I tried when I got my IP. I love this recipe and made it in my 6qt IP. I’d like to make this for my mom, but she has an 8qt IP. Will this recipe still work if I follow it exactly? Please help!

    Should be fine!

  • Regan Brown

    This sounds amazing! Could I sub cauliflower florets for the pasta?

    You probably could but we have never cooked our cauliflower in the instant pot yet so that would definitely change the cook time. We'd love to hear if you give it a try.

  • trenton

    why is there so much salt

    Hi Trenton, the salt seasons the pasta from the inside out while it is cooking.

  • Nikki Wolfe

    If I were to double this recipe in the instant pot would the cooking time remain the same? If not, what would the new cooking time be?

    Hi Nikki, we haven't tried cooking 2 lbs of pasta in our instant pot before. We wouldn't imagine you needing more time but you would probably need double the water. If you are worried about cook time we recommend not adding any more than one extra minute. Hope it urns out well, we'd love to hear how doubling it goes! Good luck!

  • Andrea

    Soooo easy and tasty! I added a bit of garlic powder and ground pepper. What a great dinner option now that the weather is cooler.

    Thanks Andrea, we are so happy you loved it!

  • K A

    I teach an after school cooking class for middle school students and had to run this session 3 times because your Instant Pot Mac and Cheese was so popular. Great recipe.

    YAY! That is so fun to hear our recipe was used in your class and that they all loved it. Thanks K A!

  • Slava Kostrubin

    I have never cooked anything besides an omlette, nevermind used a pressure cooker. Followed this recipe, made great mac and cheese, and my parents loved it. Very happy with it.

    Thanks Slava, happy you loved it! Great job making something new!

  • Ashley

    The macaroni and cheese I made from your recipe I followed was delicious! I made this for a friend and they enjoyed it very much!

    Thanks Ashley, so happy you all enjoyed it!

  • JT White-Floyd

    A few months back, I found a brand new, but dented, Instant Pot down by my local mall. After reading all the stories of people just absolutely in love with theirs, I was definitely wanting to start falling in love with ours, but was intimidated like so many others at first.
    However, this Mac & Cheese is a PERFECT first dish to try!!! It's soooooooooo goooood!!! As well as easy! Like, as easy as the boxed stuff with powdered "cheese", if not easier!!!
    I made it for the wife and we both loved it!
    I used a bigger, thicker pasta than traditional elbow, which needed to sit for a minute before QRing the pressure (thankfully I thought to let it sit), but probably could've used an extra minute of actual cook time. I also had a LOT of water left, so my IP was spitting more than just steam... Not sure if that's normal..?
    We used an Italian 6 cheese blend (Kroger brand) and Sharp Cheddar... It was soooo cheesy!!!!
    The ONLY part that wasn't completely awesome, and that I would caution others to be aware of... You want to eat it when it's just finished, before it cools. The fresher, the better! Just because cheese gets... like cheese gets as it cools.
    My wife made her delicious caramelized onions for it, and of course she had to have her ketchup, but we're both totally done with the boxed crap FOREVER!
    Best Mac & Cheese ever!!

    Thanks JT! We are so happy you loved this recipe! Different noodles have different cook times in the Instant Pot. You can check on their site for a chart about cook times for the specific noodles you are using so you don't end up with too much water at the end. Great job tackling your first Instant Pot recipe!