This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese comes together in less than 15 minutes for the ultimate quick and easy comfort meal! This recipe includes a vegetarian option, vegan option and gluten-free option so everyone can enjoy this dish!

a bowl of mac and cheese with a gold fork in it

Easy mac and cheese in under 15 minutes

This mac and cheese recipe is seriously the ultimate comfort food there is. I love a good mac and cheese recipe. And this one definitely does not disappoint!

I often like baking a baked mac and cheese, like this baked Jalapeno popper mac and cheese or this buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese, but today I wanted to make a quick & easy mac and cheese recipe that can be made in an Instant Pot.

The best part about this recipe is it’s just about as quick as it is to make boxed mac and cheese, but trust me, it’s WAY better. The pasta itself takes about 5 minutes to cook up in the Instant pot, and then it takes about another 5 minutes to mix everything together.

So ultimately this mac and cheese can be done on 10-15 minutes and can serve up to 8 people!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is so comforting and tastes classic with ingredients like dry mustard and a touch of garlic powder in it.
  • It can be made vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free so you can adjust the recipe to suit your dietary needs.
  • It’s the perfect recipe for a busy night where you want to have dinner on the table, fast!
two bowls of mac and cheese on a taupe coloured napkin

How long do you cook macaroni in an Instant Pot?

Elbow Macaroni can be cooked on the manual setting of your Instant pot for 4-6 minutes. You’ll want to use about 4 cups of water or broth for every 1 pound of noodles.

I find 5 minutes is the perfect amount of time for cooking elbow macaroni. If the noodles you use are larger, you may want to cook them for an additional minute.

How to make mac and cheese in the Instant pot

Add the water, broth, butter, salt and macaroni to the Instant pot. Cook it on manual for 5 minutes with a lid on sealing. Once done do a quick release then remove the lid.

macaroni noodles in an instant pot

Pour in the milk and seasoning and mix it all together until incorporated. Remember it’s best to leave your Instant Pot on warm mode during this time.

mac and cheese in an instant pot with milk being poured in it

Next, it’s time for cheese. Start by adding one handful at a time and keep mixing it in until all the cheese is completely melted into the sauce. Once all the cheese is mixed in you should have a super creamy mac and cheese!

Serve immediately with a sprinkle of parsley. If you can’t eat it right away leave the instant pot on warm mode to keep the mac and cheese warm and melty.

What cheese is best for mac and cheese?

Depending on your taste, there are different types of cheese are great for Mac and Cheese. You can pretty much use any type of cheese you like! A combination of a sharper cheese and a softer cheese complement each other well.

I personally like a mix of old cheddar and Havarti. Parmesan cheese is a great option if you like that sharp kick, or mozzarella if you like a mild cheese. You can also use any dairy-free cheese if needed to make this recipe vegan-friendly.

Tips for making this recipe perfectly

  • Make sure to use elbow macaroni or pasta that is a similar size for this recipe. If you use a larger pasta like rigatoni, it may need longer to cook and you’ll end up with noodles that are undercooked.
  • Use a mix of water and broth to cook the pasta. The macaroni noodles on their own don’t have much flavour, so using some broth will help season the noodles and make for a delicious mac and cheese!
  • Keep the instant pot on warm when mixing in the cheese. You can also keep it on a saute (on low setting). You want the Instant Pot to be warm when mixing in the cheese so it will melt evenly.
  • Don’t substitute dry mustard powder with a squeeze of dijon mustard. This won’t give the same taste to the mac and cheese.
  • Enjoy right away. Mac and cheese is best straight out of the pot, and won’t be as good if you prepare this recipe hours in advance. It’s so fast to make anyways!
two bowls of mac and cheese on a marble board with a small bowl of parsley on the side

More pasta recipes to try

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a bowl of mac and cheese with a gold fork in it

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

  • Author: Jess
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American


A delicious classic mac and cheese that comes together in less than 15 minutes in your instant pot!


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth (can sub more water)
  • 3 tbsp butter (can sub vegan butter)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 16 oz elbow macaroni (I use gluten-free macaroni
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (regular, whole, or dairy-free)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheese of choice (sub vegan cheese)


  1. Turn the Instant pot on Saute, then add the water, broth, butter and pinch of salt and macaroni noodles. Gently mix together to make sure the macaroni is covered.
  2. Put the lid on and set it to sealing.
  3. Using the manual setting, set the Instant pot to 5 minutes. Then turn the lid to venting to do a quick release.
  4. Once it’s done releasing add the milk, garlic powder, onion powder and dry mustard and mix together.
  5. Next with the Instant Pot on warm mode, add the cheese, one handful at a time and continue to mix in until smooth and creamy.
  6. Serve immediately.


To make this recipe vegan, substitute vegan butter and your favourite vegan cheese. 

Make sure to use elbow macaroni or pasta that is a similar size for this recipe. If you use a larger pasta like rigatoni, it may need longer to cook and you’ll end up with noodles that are undercooked.

For a super tasty mac and cheese, use a mix of water and vegetable broth as suggested. This will help flavour the noodles. 

If storing leftovers, add a splash of milk when reheating to help loosen the noodles. Though I recommend eating mac and cheese the same day it’s made. 

Keywords: how to make mac and cheese in an instant pot, easy mac and cheese recipe, instant pot mac and cheese recipe

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