Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

by Heather

In the world of comfort foods, few dishes hold the power to evoke warmth and nostalgia quite like macaroni and cheese, affectionately known as mac and cheese or more notably “mac ‘n’ cheese.” This timeless classic has found a special place in the hearts and stomachs of people around the globe. What makes mac ‘n’ cheese the perfect comfort food? Join us on a delectable journey exploring the rich history, diverse variations, and the undeniable magic that makes this dish a culinary hug in every bite.

The Irresistible Comfort of Mac and Cheese: A Culinary Hug in Every Bite

  1. A Trip Down Memory Lane:

To understand the allure of mac ‘n’ cheese, it’s essential to take a trip down memory lane. For many, this dish is synonymous with childhood; a comforting presence at family dinners and a reliable companion during late-night study sessions. The simple combination of pasta and cheese sauce is more than just a meal – it’s a cherished memory that transports us to simpler times.

  1. Versatility at its Finest:

One of the remarkable qualities of mac and cheese lies in its versatility. From the classic elbow macaroni with cheddar to gourmet variations with truffle oil and lobster, there’s a mac ‘n’ cheese for every palate. This adaptability has allowed the dish to transcend cultural boundaries, making it a beloved comfort food across diverse communities. Whether baked to perfection, served in a creamy bowl, or turned into crispy bites, mac ‘n’ cheese can cater to various tastes and preferences.

  1. The Science of Comfort:

Scientists and psychologists have long studied the connection between food and emotions. Mac ‘n’ cheese, with its creamy texture and cheesy goodness, triggers a release of endorphins – the feel-good hormones. The combination of carbohydrates and fats, often referred to as “comfort food,” has a scientifically proven ability to elevate mood and provide a sense of well-being. In the case of mac and cheese, it’s not just about satisfying hunger; it’s about feeding the soul.

  1. Nostalgia in Every Bite:

The power of mac ‘n’ cheese extends beyond its taste and nutritional value. It’s a dish that carries the weight of memories, bringing back moments of joy, laughter, and shared experiences. Whether it’s the aroma wafting from the oven or the sound of a spoon scooping up the creamy goodness, each bite is a nostalgic journey back to the comfort of home. In a fast-paced world, mac ‘n’ cheese offers a delicious pause, allowing us to savor the flavors of the past.

  1. Comfort in Simplicity:

At its core, mac ‘n’ cheese is a celebration of simplicity. With just a handful of ingredients – pasta, cheese, butter, and milk – this dish achieves greatness. It’s a testament to the idea that comfort often lies in the uncomplicated. In a world filled with complex flavors and culinary experiments, the humble mac ‘n’ cheese stands as a reminder that comfort can be found in the straightforward and familiar.

  1. Cultural Significance:

Mac ‘n’ cheese isn’t just a popular dish; it’s a cultural phenomenon. In the United States, it holds a special place as a quintessential comfort food, often associated with holidays, celebrations, and family gatherings. Its popularity has even led to national events and competitions dedicated solely to finding the best mac ‘n’ cheese. This cultural significance showcases the universal appeal of a dish that transcends generations and borders.

In the ever-evolving landscape of culinary delights, mac and cheese remains a constant – a timeless comfort food that continues to bring joy and solace to people of all ages. Its simplicity, versatility, and ability to evoke cherished memories make it the perfect culinary companion for those seeking a taste of nostalgia and a comforting embrace in every bite. So, whether you’re enjoying a classic rendition or exploring gourmet twists, remember that mac and cheese is more than just a dish – it’s a heartwarming experience that feeds both the body and the soul.

Like many families, our family has created a number of mac and cheese recipes over the years. We have also made a number of edits to each one of those recipes. A couple of years ago, my husband and I created a mac and cheese recipe that has held as a staple anytime we have a family gathering. Today, we are excited to share with you our Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe!

INSTANT POT MAC AND CHEESE 

Mac and Cheese SPOONED

WHAT YOU NEED

Elbow Macaroni

Water

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper

Heavy Cream

Mustard Powder

Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Mild Cheddar Cheese

Swiss Cheese

Parmesan Cheese

WHAT YOU DO 

Add macaroni, water, salt and pepper to Instant Pot and stir to mix.

Noodles

Close lid, close vent. Set to High pressure for 4 minutes. When finished cooking, let Instant Pot natural pressure release for 10 minutes. Stir cooked macaroni. Stir in mustard powder. Pour in about 1/4 of the heavy cream, stir to mix. Stir in about 1/4 of the cheese, stir to mix.

CHEESE

Continue to alternate heavy cream and cheese, about 1/4 of each, until all cream and cheese is incorporated. You can turn on Saute if you need more heat to continue the melting process, but watch out for scorching.

COOKED

Once all cheese is incorporated, turn off Instant Pot and serve.

Enjoy! 

HERO

What is your favorite way to dress up mac and cheese?

HERO

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Print
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )

Ingredients

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 8 ounces mild cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 8 ounces Swiss cheese (shredded)
  • 4 ounces Parmesan cheese (shredded)

Instructions

  1. Add macaroni, water, salt and pepper to Instant Pot and stir to mix.
  2. Close lid, close vent. Set to High pressure for 4 minutes.
  3. When finished cooking, let Instant Pot natural pressure release for 10 minutes
  4. Stir cooked macaroni.
  5. Stir in mustard powder.
  6. Pour in about 1/4 of the heavy cream, stir to mix.
  7. Stir in about 1/4 of the cheese, stir to mix.
  8. Continue to alternate heavy cream and cheese, about 1/4 of each, until all cream and cheese is incorporated. You can turn on Saute if you need more heat to continue the melting process, but watch out for scorching.
  9. Once all cheese is incorporated, turn off Instant Pot and serve.
  10. Enjoy!

Notes

If reheating the next day, add a splash of heavy cream before heating. Stir before serving.

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20 comments

Natalee Clark January 26, 2024 - 12:24 pm
This looks easy and delicious!
Reply
Denise Low January 27, 2024 - 1:07 pm
Thank you for sharing your recipe. To me Kraft mac and cheese does not taste the same anymore.
Reply
Terri Quick January 27, 2024 - 5:01 pm
This looks so yummy
Reply
Maria Egan January 27, 2024 - 6:06 pm
I appreciate a good mac and cheese recipe. It is my go-to meal for my grandkids.
Reply
Melissa Storms January 29, 2024 - 5:01 pm
This looks nice and cheesy, my favorite kind of mac n cheese. I love any recipe that lets me use my instant pot, thank you for sharing.
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Lauryn R February 9, 2024 - 5:29 pm
There is nothing better than homemade macaroni and cheese, it is so comforting! This recipe sounds delicious, and so quick thanks to the instant pot! Thank you so much for sharing.
Reply
Brittany Gilley February 21, 2024 - 5:21 pm
love the different cheeses here- I like to experiment with different cheeses, favorite is gouda
Reply
Jennifer Hedden February 24, 2024 - 11:20 pm
I love macaroni and cheese! This looks easy and delicious!
Reply
Denise Low March 29, 2024 - 5:27 pm
This looks very delicious. Thank you for sharing.
Reply
Amber Myers May 9, 2024 - 5:35 pm
I need to make this for sure. My family loves their mac and cheese. This looks so good.
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Tara Pittman May 9, 2024 - 7:59 pm
My boys love mac and cheese. This recipe makes it so much easier to make.
Reply
Agnes May 9, 2024 - 8:50 pm
That looks cheesy and yum, will check this and copy the cooking instructions. Thanks!
Reply
Peter May 9, 2024 - 9:40 pm
That's some delicious-looking mac and cheese! Great idea cooking it in the Instant Pot!
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Krystle May 9, 2024 - 11:24 pm
This is so rich and creamy! Our new go to way to make mac and cheese!
Reply
Lavanda Michelle May 10, 2024 - 3:11 am
Thank you for sharing both the recipe and the heartfelt sentiments behind this beloved comfort food. Can't wait to try it out for our next family gathering!
Reply
LisaLisa May 10, 2024 - 10:39 am
I haven't tried this method of making Mac and cheese, now I'm going to have to give this recipe a try. As much as my family love Mac & Cheese I'm sure they would enjoy the instant pot recipe.
Reply
Beautiful Touches May 10, 2024 - 11:26 am
This instant pot mac and cheese looks simple to make and delicious- I love mac and cheese! A great set and forget side for a busy day for sure!
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Marysa May 10, 2024 - 5:24 pm
Such a convenient recipe. I could definitely use this for our busy weeknights! A great crowd pleaser for sure.
Reply
Melissa Cushing May 10, 2024 - 5:53 pm
I make a homemade version of my grandmothers Southern Mac & Cheese but don't make it as much as I used too. Trying to be good LOL. I still make it for Holidays and get to enjoy it some of the time but I used to make it often. I love Mac & Cheese so much! This recipe looks delicious and my family will enjoy it for sure plus I love that it is made in the Instant Pot! Thanks for sharing.....
Reply
Nancy at Whispered Inspirations May 15, 2024 - 11:01 pm
Wow, I have never seen such cheesy mac and cheese before. It's mouthwatering.
Reply

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