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white bowl with cheesy instant pot mac and cheese.
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5 from 2 votes

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe

This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is rich, incredibly cheesy, creamy and delicious. This easy Mac and Cheese recipe requires only one pot, no draining and it's ready in about 12 minutes!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 508kcal


  • 1 pound dry short pasta such as macaroni or small shells (uncooked)
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup whole milk (you can also use half and half)
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (freshly-grated)
  • 2 cups medium cheddar cheese (freshly-grated)
  • ground black pepper to taste


  • Add the uncooked pasta, water, 2 tablespoons of butter, mustard, garlic powder and 1 teaspoon of salt to the Instant Pot. Stir to combine.
  • Cover and seal the pot. Select the "manual" function and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes (see notes). Then do a quick release and remove the lid.
  • Add in the milk and stir to combine. Immediately, add the cheese in three batches, gently stirring until the cheese has completely melted. Add the remaining butter and stir until the butter has melted and is mixed into the creamy sauce.
  • Season with ground black pepper to taste and add additional salt if needed. The sauce will continue to thicken as it sits in the pot. Serve warm.



  • Cooking the noodles on high pressure for 4 minutes, produces "al dente" pasta. If you like your pasta a little softer, cook it on high pressure for 5 minutes instead. 
  • This recipe has been tested with regular semolina pasta in two different shapes - elbow macaroni and small shells. Other types of pasta like gluten-free, veggie noodles, lentil noodles, etc - and other shapes of pasta may need different cooking times.
  • Make sure you stir in the cheese in three batches (about  1/3 of cheese per addition but you don't need to be exact).
  • Feel free to use any type of cheddar cheese you prefer (mild, medium, sharp, extra sharp or even white cheddar).
  • Add 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese for additional cheesiness! Do not use pre-grated Parmesan cheese, as it makes the sauce grainy.
  • You can use other types of cheese like Fontina, Grouyere, Gouda or a combination of any of the cheeses listed.
  • Mozzarella cheese is also a good option but beware that it is a stringy cheese that will produce a stringy cheese sauce (lots of cheese action like when eating pizza). Yum!
  • Cooking and prep time does not include the time the pressure cooker takes to come to pressure.


Calories: 508kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 714mg | Potassium: 222mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 790IU | Calcium: 459mg | Iron: 1mg