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+ servings
close up shot of macaroni and cheese on spoon, lifted above instant pot
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5 from 1 vote

Creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

This Instant Pot mac and cheese is creamy, rich and delicious. Made with cheddar and gruyère cheese, with a dash of smoked paprika for depth of flavor. An easy week night meal that comes together quickly in the Instant Pot!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time6 mins
Time to pressurize10 mins
Total Time31 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Servings: 6
Calories: 549kcal


  • 1 lb dried elbow pasta roughly 3 cups; see note 1
  • 3 cups water
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter salted or unsalted
  • ½ cup cream or milk; add extra as needed; see note 2
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • teaspoon smoked paprika see note 4
  • 1 cups Gruyere cheese packed gently; see note 3
  • 1 cups medium sharp cheddar cheese packed gently


  • Pressure cook - In the stainless steel inner pot of an Instant Pot, combine the elbow pasta, water and salt. Stir to combine, and ensure all pasta is submerged in the water.
    Place the lid on the Instant Pot, set the valve to the 'sealing' position, and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. When the cooking cycle has completed, perform a quick pressure release- carefully transition the valve to the 'venting' position until the pin drops.
    macaroni and water in the instant pot before cooking through
  • Mix cream sauce - Remove the lid from the Instant Pot, keeping the pot on the 'keep warm' setting, and add the butter. Stir until completely melted, then add ½ cup cream, the pepper and paprika. Stir until completely combined.
    macaroni and cheese in instant pot with wooden spoon
  • Add cheese - Add the cheese, stirring until melted. Use oven mitts to remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot so that the sauce doesn't dry out, and serve mac and cheese immediately.
    overhead view of cheese added to macaroni in the instant pot



1- we used regular elbow pasta to test this recipe. Whole wheat pasta should work as written, however gluten-free or other alternatives have not been tested. When substituting other types of pasta, use half the cook time indicated on the package (+1 minute). 
2- you can use 18% or 36% cream in this recipe, or you can swap for milk. If you find the sauce is too thick, add up to ½ cup extra milk.
3- the Gruyère adds a stronger flavor to this recipe, but can be replaced with mozzarella or cheddar cheese if desired.
4- the smoked paprika adds a subtle smokey flavor to the mac and cheese, but can be omitted.
5- If you find that the 'keep warm' setting is not hot enough to melt the cheese, select the 'sauté' function, but be very careful not to heat too vigorously, as the cheese can become ropey and the sauce can dry out. 
This recipe is best served immediately, as the sauce can dry out a touch. With that being said, it's still delicious reheated, and can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. 
Heat in the microwave until steaming hot. Adding a splash of milk (~1 tablespoon) helps rehydrate the sauce a touch.


Calories: 549kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 533mg | Potassium: 223mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 826IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 392mg | Iron: 1mg