How To Make Instant Pot Boxed Mac N Cheese
What to know how to make Instant Pot boxed mac and cheese? This is crazy simple to do, and with just a 4 minute cook time, you can have your favorite macaroni and cheese to serve up your family. No straining required for this recipe.
The instant pot has really opened up my cooking options. I dont usually make a lot of boxed foods but I know some people need to so they can stretch the budget. I have used boxed mac n cheese many times when my kids were small. Now I will show you how to make Instant Pot Boxed Mac N Cheese.
Why This Recipe Works
We love a good ol batch of boxed mac and cheese in our house, but Ive been on a quest for years to create a version that far exceeds that easy meal. A few years ago I perfected a slow cooker mac and cheese recipe and I make this version OFTEN, especially on holidays.
Recently Ive become mildly obsessed with my Instant Pot and knew I had to create a perfect mac and cheese recipe made in its magical walls. I cannot even tell you how perfectly cooked the pasta turns out and how cheesy and delicious this recipe is.
In standard Instant Pot fashion, this mac and cheese recipe turns out perfectly every single time with total consistency. NO burned or clumpy pasta, no pre-cooking necessary and this pot of perfection is done in 20 minutes from start to finish. Its a cheesy, comforting miracle!
Variations Of This Recipe
- PROTEIN Feel free to add in some shredded chicken, pulled pork, or some crispy bacon for an extra protein punch.
- VEGGIES Trying to get your veggies in? Stir in some steamed broccoli or cauliflower.
- TOPPINGS If you love a topping on your mac and cheese, transfer the cooked cheesy mac to a baking dish and top with either some extra cheese, buttered panko breadcrumbs, or buttered crushed Ritz crackers. Broil a few minutes until crispy.
- COOKING LIQUID If you prefer to use all chicken broth, or all water feel free to do that. Just make sure there are 4 total cups of liquid.
- DIFFERENT CHEESES Gruyere, Gouda, Fontina, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Colby, or all Cheddar. These are all good melting cheeses and will give you a smooth sauce. However, feel free to play around with different combinations that you like!
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More Delicious Macaroni And Cheese Recipes
- Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Healthify Mac and Cheese by adding cauliflower! Kids wont suspect a thing and youll secretly be adding nutrition to a favorite comfort food.
- My Crockpot Mac and Cheese recipe is one of my all-time favorite recipes to make for holiday meals because you can set it and forget it until dinner is ready to serve.
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The Best Instant Pot Macaroni And Cheese
If you love good ol comfort food, you wont want to miss out on this Instant Pot Mac & Cheese!
I may have found the best way ever to eat Macaroni & Cheese. My entire life Ive cooked it a million different ways, but this recipe opened up my eyes to the most perfect and simple option there is. If you own an Instant Pot, then you need tono, you HAVE to make this Instant Pot Mac & Cheese.
The cheesy goodness is mouth-watering to even think aboutbut letting the Instant Pot do all the hard work is seriously the best thing ever. If I could hug my Instant Pot for creating this delicious Mac & Cheese dish, I would.
With the winter months here, having a nice warm bowl of Instant Pot Mac & Cheese can turn any bad day into a good one after one simple bite.
You can make a large batch and even share some with your family and friends if want! Or, you can keep some for leftovers because it tastes just as delicious the next day as well!
Give your tummy and taste buds and treat and serve up a bowl of this Instant Pot Mac & Cheese!
Cooking Tips For Instant Pot Mac And Cheese
1. How to Avoid Graininess in Macaroni and Cheese?
- Freshly Grated Cheese: Use freshly grated cheese instead of pre-shredded cheese. Yes, itll be more work but itll be worth it Pre-shredded cheese contains cellulose powder that doesnt break down nor allows smooth melting.
- American Cheese: Replace mild cheddar with American cheese. American cheese acts as an emulsifier to ensure a smooth finish.
- Low Heat: Use low heat to melt the cheese, as high temperature may cause lumps in the cheese sauce.
2. Is the Mac and Cheese Spicy?
Dont worry! This Dreamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe has been loved by many kids and its not spicy at all! The Sriracha serves to balance the overall flavor of the dish.
3. Which Hot Sauce to Use?
- Sriracha Sauce thicker consistency, more sweet & spicy
- Frank’s Hot Sauce thinner consistency, tastes sour & not sweet at all
4. How to Reheat Leftover Mac and Cheese?
- Place macaroni and cheese in a cold pan, pour in some milk and reheat over low heat.
- Stir constantly with a silicone spatula. Then, enjoy the yumminess all over again!
5. Is it Hot Enough to Cook the Eggs?
Egg pasteurization starts at 140°F and keeping them at that temperature for three and a half minutes will kill any bacteria. The full pot of Pressure Cooker Mac and Cheese should be between 158°F 170°F and the eggs will be fully cooked and pasteurized in it!
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Instant Pot Mac And Cheese Ingredients
- Elbow Pasta: You can use white pasta or whole wheat pasta in this recipe. I recommend using elbow macaroni pasta, but other short pasta shapes, such as shells, will also work.
- Water: The pasta absorbs all of the water as it cooks. For extra flavor, you can substitute all or part of the water with chicken broth.
- Seasonings: A few simple seasonings flavor the pasta as it cooks. I use paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper in this recipe. You can also add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard or 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard, if desired.
- Butter: A little butter adds richness. Some recipes call for adding the butter before cooking the pasta, but this can lead to a mess during the quick release process. Youll stir the butter into the hot cooked pasta and it will melt right in.
- Cheese: I have found that a combination of sharp cheddar cheese and sharp white cheddar cheese makes the best mac and cheese. The sharp white cheddar gives the best flavor to mac and cheese!
- Milk: This recipe is for Instant Pot mac and cheese without evaporated milk. I prefer to make mac and cheese with whole milk because it is less processed than canned milk. Plus, you cant beat the flavor of fresh milk and real cheese.
Find the full printable recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.
Macaroni & Cheese Ingredients
1 BOX ELBOW NOODLES: 1 box of elbow noodles.
EVAPORATED MILK: 1 can evaporated milk.
CREAM CHEESE: just 2 ounces of cream cheese.
BUTTER: 3 Tablespoons of unsalted butter.
SHREDDED SHARP CHEDDAR CHEESE: 4 cups of shredded cheese, freshly grated is the BEST!
GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE: 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, again freshly grated is the best to use.
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How To Reheat Mac And Cheese
When you are saving macaroni and cheese to have leftovers, the starches in the macaroni noodles will suck up some of the moisture in the dish. The longer your macaroni and cheese sits, the dryer it will become!
Some dishes are better the next day but sadly this one isnt one of them. This dish is truly best enjoyed when its freshly made.
Of course it can be reheated but its not quite the same. When you reheat Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, its a good idea to add a splash of milk or cream while heating. In the microwave, just add it to the bowl and remember to stir everything together halfway through the reheating process.
Regardless, once you try this Instant Pot Mac & Cheese recipe, its going to become a frequent side on your table! Fresh ingredients made into a simple side
How To Make Instant Pot Macaroni And Cheese
Instant Pot macaroni and cheese takes about the same time to make as a store-bought box but the quality in on par with traditional recipes like mom made. Creating a smooth, flavorful sauce is key for that authentic, homemade taste. When it comes to choosing which type of cheese to use, consider both flavor and texture. Cheddar cheese and Swiss cheese have a sharp, savory bite while provolone, mozzarella, and American cheeses melt evenly for that perfect pullchoose a couple to combine together for the ultimate gooey sauce. Whole milk is best for creating a thick, creamy consistency, but you can swap out for a can of evaporated milk for more decadence without extra fat. When it comes to spice, freshly grated nutmeg is a classic gratin ingredient that mimics the flavor of a fancy French sauce without all the fuss.
Once your basic Instant Pot macaroni and cheese is made, the add-ons are endless. Mix in grilled chicken or barbecue pulled pork for a hearty, protein-packed entrée, or broccoli and jalapeno peppers for crunch and a spicy kick. You could also transfer the macaroni and cheese to a baking dish, top with more cheese and breadcrumbs, then broil in the oven for an extra crispy finish.
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Preparing The Velveeta Recipe
If you do not have an instant pot, you will need to improvise when preparing this velveeta recipe. You can boil the pasta in water and add chopped mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then, add the milk, one-third cup of chopped tomatoes, and 1 tablespoon of fresh basil. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat while continuing to simmer. Remove from the pot once the cheese mixture begins to set and remove the pasta from its shell.
The mac and cheese can be baked in a smaller oven if desired. As a matter of fact, I even like to set it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up a bit before serving. However, this is not necessary. If you wish to use a conventional oven to cook this dish, just follow the recipe precisely. This is because the noodles and vegetables are cooked separately so that the flavors do not clash with each other.
Tips To Make It The Best
- Only use elbow macaroni pasta for consistent results.
- Use freshly grated cheeses for a smooth sauce. Pre-grated cheeses are coated in starches and dont have the best flavor anyway.
- Use boldly flavored cheeses so it doesnt taste bland.
- Cook pasta for just 3 minutes for the perfect, non-soggy texture. If you like them a bit softer past al dente you can do 4 minutes but no more than that.
- Use quick release option to release remaining pressure once time is up. Otherwise if pressure releases naturally it will be too slow and pasta will become too soft.
- Add cheeses without heat on so they dont separate but rather melt smoothly. If needed you can heat gently but be careful not to overdue it and scald the cheese.
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The Best Cheese To Use In Mac And Cheese
Choosing the right cheese is essential to a delicious mac and cheese. Ive found a combination of yellow and white cheeses is the best combo out there.
Choose a cheddar that has a bite to it, such as medium or even better, sharp cheddar cheese. This is the key for the signature cheese flavor.
For the velvety quality, add a meltable white cheese like:
- 1/2teaspoongarlic saltoptional
- 1 5-ouncecan evaporated milk
- 4cupsshredded medium or sharp cheddar cheese
- 2cupssoft white cheese such as goudaSwiss, fontina, or provolone
Get Ready For The Best Instant Pot Mac And Cheese
Since I got my Instant Pot, Ive discovered its really good for making comfort food those warm, cozy dishes that used to take all day to cook. After using it for my favorite beef stew and for corned beef and cabbage, I decided it was time to put this thing to a real test. I wanted to use the Instant Pot to make the most classic comfort food of them all, mac and cheese.
Well, I dont mind telling you, this wasnt that easy. I had to do a little tinkering to get the amounts and the timing just right. But at last, I finally came up with a version that delivers truly perfect mac and cheese: rich, creamy, and incredibly comforting.
The key turns out to be using a combination of different cheeses, plus milk and BUTTER. That way, all you have to do is cook the pasta with seasonings in the Instant Pot, let off the steam, and then stir in the rest of the ingredients. The heat of the pasta is enough to melt the cheeses and cream together into a perfect, creamy sauce in no time.
With this Creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, you can go from dry pasta to rich, cozy mac and cheese in just 10 minutes. Thats less time than it takes to mix up instant mac and cheese from a box and this stuff is soooooo much better.
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A Little Dairy Goes A Long Way
A classic stovetop macaroni and cheese often has you make a cheese sauce that requires at least two cups of milk or half-and-half. But in this Instant Pot version, the pasta and cooking water do most of the sauce work, so just a little half-and-half is added along with the cheese.
Speaking of cheese, Ive made this comforting pasta dish with everything from bagged shredded blends to blocks of sharp cheddars with great success every time. Our favorite combination has been sharp cheddar for flavor and Monterey Jack for creamy body. Choose your favorite cheese, and you really cant go wrong.
Instant Pot Mac And Cheese
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese – This macaroni and cheese is every family’s favorite comfort food pasta recipe made easy in the Instant Pot! You can have creamy, mouthwatering, homemade mac and cheese for dinner in about 10 minutes!
Have I mentioned lately that I’m kind of in love with my Instant Pot? If you have been following me on you’ll know that I’ve documented my daily trials and errors using the thing. I was so skeptical of even getting one in the first place, and now, it’s pretty much all I want to use for cooking at all! It takes a lot of the in-between steps out of making simple recipes. Like this mac and cheese, the pasta cooks in just enough liquid, with no need to drain! If you’re looking for more amazing Instant Pot dinners definitely try out this Instant Pot Jambalaya it’s out of this world!!
My family absolutely LOVED this macaroni and cheese. Well, I did too. The flavor was absolutely perfect and it was super creamy, just like a good mac should be.
I made this recipe in my 8 quart Instant Pot, and it will definitely work just fine if you have a 6 quart as well. It makes a whole lot by the way. Yay for leftovers!
There was enough for my family of four to eat this as a main dish with a side salad for supper. Then, my kids took some for lunch in their thermos to school the next day. Even after that we had enough left to use up as a side dish later in the week!
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