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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

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If you’re looking for the ultimate Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe, look no further. Made with three types of cheese, this mac and cheese is super creamy with amazing depth of flavour. It’s an easy, crowd-pleasing one-pot dish!

You may also be interested in these easy Instant Pot no-drain mashed potatoes with 3 flavour options!

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Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese in a white bowl next to a blue linen.

There’s so much to love about this recipe. It’s perfect as a holiday side dish or when you want a step up from regular boxed mac and cheese.

  • One pot is all you need! Pasta is one of my favourite things to make in the Instant Pot, because there’s no need to drain the water.
  • Never fail to get the creamiest cheese sauce.
  • Wow your family and friends with the flavour of the sauce. The three cheeses and seasonings give this Instant Pot macaroni a “definitely homemade” taste.


Here’s what you’ll need to make creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese. Be sure to check out the recipe card below for the detailed quantities and instructions!

  • Elbow noodles – or your favourite short noodle. See the tips below for substituting different pasta varieties, as your noodles may have a different cook time.
  • Water
  • Garlic powder – for flavour
  • Dry mustard – also called mustard powder, this ingredient really improves the taste!
  • Salt
  • Butter
  • Cheddar Cheese – freshly grated for the best melted texture
  • Sharp Cheddar – freshly grated; sub more regular cheddar cheese if you don’t have this on hand, but I highly recommend using sharp for the tangy flavour!
  • Cream – we use half and half, but you could use milk for a lighter option.
  • Boursin cheese – this makes the sauce, in my opinion. It gives even more creaminess to the sauce and adds another layer of flavour (we use the Shallot and Chives variety). If you’re unable to find this ingredient, you can substitute regular cream cheese.
Ingredients for Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese viewed from overhead.

How to make it

Pressure cook the noodles. Place the noodles in an even layer in the Instant Pot insert, then pour in the water and add the garlic powder, dry mustard and salt. Pressure cook on High for 3 minutes (or the appropriate time for your specific noodle – see below for calculation).

Quick release and stir in the butter. At the end of cooking time, quick release the pressure, give the noodles a stir and add the butter. Stir until it’s melted.

Add the cheeses and cream. Add the grated cheeses in batches (it melts more easily this way), then add the cream and Boursin. Stir until creamy and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve!

Frequently asked questions

Can I use store-bought grated cheese?

No, do not use pre-grated cheese in this recipe. These cheeses have preservatives that prevent the cheese from clumping in the package, which prevents them from melting nicely into the sauce. Freshly grated will give you a much better result; you don’t want gritty or grainy sauce!

Do I need to use sharp cheddar?

Sharp cheddar adds a stronger, more complex flavour to the sauce, but you can substitute for more regular cheddar if that’s what you have on hand.

What can I use instead of dry mustard?

If you don’t have dry mustard on hand, you can use 1 tablespoon of regular prepared Dijon mustard. It’s also fine to skip it completely.

What can I use instead of Boursin cheese?

Regular cream cheese is a good substitute – use the same amount. I like to soften regular cream cheese a bit to make stirring it in a bit easier. Twenty seconds in the microwave does the trick, or you can leave it out at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.

Can I use a different type of noodle?

Yes! To substitute a different noodle, use the same amount of pasta by weight (one pound) and adjust the cook time according to this equation: lowest cook time on package divided by two. For example, if the cook time on your package is 10-12 minutes, pressure cook on High for 5 minutes (10 divided by 2).

How do I reheat mac and cheese in the microwave?

Place a serving in a bowl and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk to revive the sauce. Cover with a plate and microwave for one minute. Stir, cover again and continue to heat it in 30 second intervals, until it reaches your desired temperature. Use oven mitts to remove the plate, it gets hot!

How do I reheat mac and cheese on the stovetop?

In a sauce pan, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk per cup of leftover mac and cheese. Reheat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until it’s warmed through. Add more milk as necessary to reconstitute the sauce.

Macaroni and cheese in an Instant Pot being scooped with a wooden spoon.

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Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese in a white bowl next to a blue linen.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Laura Lawless, BASc
If you're looking for the ultimate Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe, look no further. Made with three types of cheese, this mac and cheese is super creamy with amazing depth of flavour. It's an easy, crowd-pleasing one-pot dish!
4.60 from 5 votes

Click stars to rate now! ↑

Servings 8
Calories 525
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Inactive time 17 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 lb small elbow noodles
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (plus more to taste after cooking)
  • 3 tablespoons butter (43g)
  • 2 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar (or sub more regular cheddar cheese)
  • 1 package Boursin cheese (5.3 oz / 150 g) (I used the shallot and chives flavour. You can also sub same amount of cream cheese. )
  • 1 cup half and half cream (or whole milk for a lighter option)
  • Ground black pepper (to taste)


  • Place the uncooked noodles in the Instant Pot insert in an even layer, then add the water, garlic powder, mustard powder and sea salt.
  • Close the lid and set the vent to sealing. Pressure cook on Manual High pressure for 3 minutes, or half of the lowest cook time on the package of your particular noodle (see note 1). Your Instant Pot may have a "Pressure Cook" button rather than a "Manual" button, depending on the model. It will take about 15 minutes to come to pressure.
  • At the end of cooking time, quick release the pressure. Give the noodles a stir, then add the butter. Stir until the butter has melted.
  • Mix in the grated cheese in batches, until melted, then add the cream and Boursin. Stir until creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator and eat within 4 days.


  1. Check your pasta package to be sure you’re using the right cook time. Cook time is the lowest time on the package, divided by two. For example, my package has a suggested cook time of 6-8 minutes, so my cook time is 6 minutes divided by 2 = 3 minutes. 
  2. This recipe was tested in both 6-quart and 8-quart Instant Pot models. 

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 525kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 563mg | Potassium: 212mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 823IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 343mg | Iron: 1mg

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If you’re looking for easy meals and Instant Pot recipes, you’re in the right place! I use my nutrition degree to create simple, approachable recipes that will help you find your happy place in the kitchen.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is insanely good. Rich and creamy and easy to make! Going into the rotation for sure. Thank you!

  2. 4 stars
    This was the first time that I tried to make macaroni and cheese in my Instant pot. Your recipe was so easy, creamy, and delicious. I will never do it my old fashioned way again.

  3. Hi , can this be frozen/ does it freeze well?

    1. Laura Lawless, BASc says:

      Hi Tina, yes, mac and cheese freezes well for up to 3 months. You may need to reconstitute the sauce with more milk or broth as you reheat it.

  4. 4 stars
    The flavor of this recipe was so good! My only issue was that there was still about a cup of water left in the bottom of the pot when it was done. Not sure if that was a recipe error with too much water or an error on my end. It was my first time using the instant pot but definitely will make again!

    1. Laura Lawless, BASc says:

      Hi Andrea! Congrats on your new Instant Pot! There’s a bit of a learning curve, but you’ll get the hang of it quickly 🙂 No error in the recipe – whenever you’re cooking pasta, you’ll want 1 cup of thin liquid (broth or water) for every 4oz of pasta. This recipes uses 16oz (1 lb), so the 4 cups is correct. Just be careful with the weight of pasta and you’ll have success with recipes like this! Also, it’s totally fine if there’s a bit of liquid left in the pot after pressure cooking. The starchy water will help bring the sauce together. Hope this helps!