The Best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

The Best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is a one pot, 20 minute (or less) dinner your whole family will love! The Instant Pot makes the easiest, creamiest homemade mac and cheese ever! 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword dinner, instant pot, Mac and cheese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6


  • 4 cups water
  • 3 1/2 cups macaroni (a little less than 1 lb*)
  • 2 teaspoons sea or Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter (I use unsalted) cut into tablespoons
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • dash cayenne (optional)
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated or 1 lb
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup water, milk or half and half as needed*
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine 4 cups cold water, macaroni and 2 teaspoon salt in the Instant Pot.

  2. Set Instant Pot to the MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK or HIGH PRESSURE setting, placing timer to 3 minutes. Make sure the plastic seal is in place inside of the lid before placing lid on the Instant Pot and the valve on top of the lid is set to the SEALING position. While pasta is cooking, grate cheese and set aside. 

  3. After the timer goes off, carefully release the steam from the Instant Pot using the VENTING position on the lid. This is also referred to as quick or manual pressure release. There will most likely be some water left in the Instant Pot, but that will mix into the sauce. 

  4. Add the butter to the hot pasta inside of the pot and stir. Add dry mustard, paprika and cayenne. Stir until combined. 

  5. Turn the Instant Pot to the Sauté setting and add evaporated milk and cheddar and stir until smooth.  Immediately turn pot off after adding milk and cheese so it won't burn or overcook. 

  6. Add additional 1/4 cup of water, or milk, or half and half to the mac and cheese  if it is too thick and fold in. Serve immediately. 

Recipe Notes