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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

What’s easier—and way better—than instant mac and cheese? Rich, creamy, homemade Instant Pot mac and cheese!


Instant pot mac and cheese in a bowl with pepper and a spoon

Our Very Best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

When a mac and cheese craving hits, it usually hits hard and fast. Like, we *need* that first creamy, piping hot, savory macaroni and cheese bite ASAP. 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 your little heart—our ours, or your kids’—might desire. Just how fast is it? Grab a bowl, because this mac and cheese is ready in FIVE MINUTES.

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

What Is the Secret to Creamy Macaroni and Cheese?

The “secret”—if you can call it that—is simple. Make your Instant Pot mac and cheese with heavy cream! We know, we know. Heavy cream!? What is this, Thanksgiving? But here’s the thing. If you’re making macaroni and cheese, it’s pure, unadulterated, 100% soul-soothing comfort food you’re after. And creamy, cheesy mac and cheese is best when you make it with good old fashioned heavy cream. There’s just no substitute! Splurge! You won’t regret it.

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

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
  • Salt
  • Heavy cream
  • Parmesan
  • Cheddar cheese
homemade macaroni and cheese cooked in an instant pot

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 three minutes. But it IS! Because it’s the future, apparently. And a future in which homemade mac and cheese is ready in three minutes is our kind of future.

  1. The pasta, water, and salt go into the Instant Pot.
  2. Lock the lid and pressure cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Quick release the steam so the macaroni noodles don’t overcook.
  4. Open the lid and stir in the cheeses and heavy cream.
  5. Eat up!
Instant pot mac and cheese with cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, heavy cream stared with a wooden spoon
Instant pot mac and cheese in a bowl

Tools You’ll Need

More Instant Pot Recipes to Try

Instant Pot makes dinner not just fast, but the fastest. In other words, it is a weeknight BFF. Here are our favorite Instant Pot recipes right now:

Instant pot mac and cheese in a bowl with a spoon

Mac and Cheese For Dinner!

If you make it, they will come. Especially when the “it” is mac and cheese that’s as rich and creamy as this one is. If you make it, let us know how you like it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  5 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 veggies
  • Sriracha


  1. In the Instant Pot, combine the pasta, 4 cups water, and the salt. Stir to incorporate. Lock the lid in place, being sure to close the vent valve, and cook on high pressure for 3 minutes. Quick release the steam. A small amount of water should remain in the pot; drain if necessary.

  2. Add the cream, Parmesan, and cheddar. Stir to melt and combine well, then serve.

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.

  • 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!

  • Marn

    What kind of cheese do you recommend?

    1 cup Grated parmesan (whatever brand)
    2 cups Shredded cheddar cheese (we like Tillamook)

  • 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!

  • Jenn

    I have to say, I have made ALOT of Mac and cheese recipes and this was probably the easiest one yet--probably easier than the gross boxed stuff due to the "hands off-ness" of the instant pot. I will DEFINITELY be making this again--maybe adding some cayenne and dry mustard next time ;)

    Oh that sounds good! Thanks for the review!

  • Kyla

    Made this last night - it was phenomenal! Thanks for a great recipe. So easy and delicious. Will definitely be making it again many times in the future!

    Thank you Kyla! So happy you'll be making it again and again! We LOVE how easy and delicious this one is!