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This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe takes just 18 minutes from start to finish, dirties only one pot, and tastes creamy and delicious! Plus, it’s made with all real food ingredients.
It was 5:30 p.m. and my kids were starving. I was finishing up a work project and hadn’t even given dinner a thought when I began hearing the low-grade whines from the next room. “I’m hunnngrrrreeee!” The Instant Pot to the rescue. I happened to have some whole wheat pasta in the pantry, along with the other few ingredients in this recipe.
In fact, we love the Instant Pot so much around here, that our second cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker, is filled entirely with Instant Pot and slow cooker recipes! We tested 100s of recipes over the years and can confidently say that you can trust this mac and cheese recipe, along with all our other Instant Pot recipes on Thriving Home.
Woo hoo, this recipe only requires only a handful of ingredients! That means this dinner is cheap, easy, and fast. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Whole wheat elbow pasta (I prefer whole wheat because it’s healthier but the kids will never know)
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Yellow mustard (just a little bit!)
- Half and half
You’ll also need some salt and pepper out of the pantry and water from the tap.
How to Make Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot
How Long Does It Take to Cook Mac & Cheese in the Instant Pot?
Within 2 minutes I had dumped in my beginning ingredients and locked the lid. It took about 10 minutes to come to pressure, 2 minutes to cook, and another 2 minutes to release the pressure. I ended by stirring in the milk and cheese for another 2 minutes. Voila! An 18 minute recipe from start to finish!!!
Side Dish Ideas
Serve up one of these simple and healthy side dishes for a well-rounded dinner.
- Oven Roasted Broccoli (or steamed broccoli)
- Simple green salad with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
- Sweet and Savory Roasted Carrots
- Veggie sticks and Simple Blender Hummus
More Healthy Instant Pot Recipes You’ll Love
If you like this simple recipe, we think you’ll love these other recipes…
- Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan Sliders
- Instant Pot Beef Stew
- Instant Pot Tomato Soup
- 4 Ingredient Instant Pot Spaghetti
P.S. If you’re wondering the best way to clean your pot after making this dish, follow these instructions from Clean Mama.
This super easy recipe is a perfect, no fuss weeknight meal and makes enough to serve an army. Plus, it’s a little healthier than traditional mac and leftovers make a Great Packed Lunch Idea for Kids!
Did you make this? Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram at @thrivinghome so we can see your creations and cheer you on!
- 1 pound whole wheat elbow pasta
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 cups water
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup half and half
- 3–4 cups shredded Colby Jack or Cheddar cheese (or Gruyere for something fancier!) (Here’s how to shred your own cheese.)
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- Add pasta, butter, mustard, salt, pepper, and water to the pot and stir.
- Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for half the pasta cooking time on the package, minus 1 minute. (So, if the directions say 6 minutes: Half is 3 minutes, minus 1 minute, means you’ll cook it for 2 minutes total.)
- Use a quick release of the pressure when cooking time is through. Be sure to cover the spout with a dish towel to minimize splatters.
- Stir in the milk and half and half. Then, slowly stir in the cheese 1 handful at a time. Taste and adjust salt and pepper amounts, if needed. Enjoy!
- If you shred your own block of cheese, it will melt more evenly than the pre-shredded kind from the store. Here’s how to shred your own cheese