Let’s face it. The iconic Mac & Cheese is one of those recipes that has a zillion different ways to make it. Baked or out of the pot? Which cheese? How creamy? There really is no right or wrong.
One thing I know is that, while I LOVE making a béchamel style Mac & Cheese, it takes many pots and a good hour. Sometimes, I just want to make it quick. One pot, NO separate pasta boiling/straining and in TEN MINUTES! Yes, YOU TOO can make magic in the Instant Pot.
Here’s How I Made It! (scroll to the bottom for the fully-written recipe):
We begin with a macaroni-type noodle of your choice added to the Instant Pot.
Then we’ll pour in some chicken broth…
…add a little butter…
…and stir. Secure the lid and cook at high pressure.
When done cooking, switch to the “sauté” setting and give it all another good stir.
Now it’s time to cheesify it up. Let’s take some cheese of your choice (use one that melts well)…
…and add it to the pot.
And we’ll take some cream cheese…
…and add that in too.
Mix everything up super well. It’s going to take a few minutes for the cheese and cream cheese to meld with the broth. So just keep stirring and setting.
Once it begins to thicken, add in a little yellow mustard (this is optional but trust me, mustard haters, you won’t even taste it and it marries the flavors).
Turn the heat off and continue to stir as the sauce thickens up into a glorious, thick, creamy, cheesy richness.
And there you have it. A thick & glorious Macaroni & Cheese in just minutes!
- 1 box (1 lb) Cellentani/Cavatappi (it’s like if Shirley Temple’s hair were a pasta)
- 4 cups chicken broth (I used 4 cups of water + 4 teaspoons of Chicken Better Than Bouillon) or vegetable or garlic broth
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 16 ounces (4 cups) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese or any kind of cheese you like that melts easily
Optional, amazing touches:
- 2-4 ounces (1/4-1/2 brick) of cream cheese, diced into cubes and at more of a room temperature level (start with 2 oz and then, once blended in, you can choose to add more if you want it SUPER thick OR go with my spin on it (SECRET INGREDIENT!) and use a 5.2 ounce package of Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs Cheese (or Boursin Shallot & Chive Cheese), cut into small crumbles (this is usually always found in the deli/cheese/cured meat section of any market and Costco sells it in packs of 3. If you cannot find it, 5 oz from a brick of cream cheese will do)
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard (you don’t have to use this but I assure you you can’t taste any mustard flavor once added – it just really enhances the cheese flavor)
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional, and it won’t be spicy once added – also just enhances the flavor)
- A few splashes of milk, half & half or cream to thin it out to your desired consistency
- Add the macaroni, broth, and butter to the Instant Pot. Stir well
- Put the lid on the pot, sealed, and hit “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” High Pressure and set for 6 minutes
- Quick release and open lid when finished. When the lid comes off, there will be a lot of liquid in the pot but this is exactly what we want as it will serve as the base for the sauce!
- Add the Parmesan, cheddar, cream cheese or Boursin, mustard (if using), and hot sauce (if using). Stir until it gets creamy – a few minutes! It may appear a bit runny at first, but once you let it set for a few minutes after stirring, it will really begin to thicken up good.
NOTE: I’ve updated this from the video for a 4-6 serving amount as well as slightly changed some steps to make it even more amazing!
Want it even thicker? Your wish is granted. Add another cup or two of cheese and another 1/4 brick of the cream cheese! It’s gonna get VERY thick once it cools down a bit!
Top it off with some bacon bits for a nice touch!
Want to set it over the top? Make a Ritz Cracker crust! Instead of transferring the finished product to a serving bowl, transfer it to a casserole dish, top with a sleeve of mashed Ritz Crackers mixed with 3-4 tbsp of melted butter and bake for an additional 5-10 mins on 400 degrees.
Want it vegetarian? Use vegetable or garlic broth instead of chicken broth.