Creamy mac and cheese on a wooden spoon held over a teal instant pot
Instant Pot, Sides, Vegetarian

Creamiest Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

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Tastes Just Like A Giant Hug

I promise you I didn’t have a kid so that I would have an excuse to keep mac and cheese on hand at all times. I pinky promise I didn’t, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a pretty wonderful perk. Now that the mac and cheese needs of the house are bigger than me, the boxed kind simply won’t cut it. I just care too much about my little one ; ) This instant pot mac and cheese is still super simple to make and tastes only about 10,000 times better than what you’ll get from a box. So creamy. So cheesy. So so delicious!

A Couple Notes…

Say No to Pre-Shredded Cheese!

This mac and cheese tastes so much better when the cheddar is freshly shredded with a box grater. Extra sharp and cheesy is what we are going for here! Pre-shredded cheese is so easy I know, but it tends to have so much less flavor. If it is all you have on hand and you need some mac and cheese immediately, go for it for sure. If you are planning ahead, stick with blocks of cheese that you can shred yourself. This little bit of extra effort is more than worth it.

Can I Skip The Flour?

Absolutely! If you don’t feel like making a quick roux, simply skip the flour, and stir in your butter at the end when the elbows finish cooking. Easy as that. I’ve made instant pot mac and cheese this way in the past, and the result was still a delicious bowl of mac and cheese. Can you really mess up mac and cheese? That being said, it really is pretty simple to cook the flour and butter together in the beginning. This will thicken up your cheese sauce and make for a delicious creamy coating for your macaroni. Totally worth it in my opinion!

What to Serve?

Of course you can always eat a giant bowl (or two) of this creamy mac and cheese by itself for any reason or no reason at all. No judgement here! It also goes great alongside my Nashville Hot Chicken or Instant Pot Cheerwine Pulled Pork Sandwiches. No Instant Pot? Try my Nana’s Baked Macaroni – a foolproof childhood favorite.

OK, I’m literally off to make a batch right now. If you decide to give this a try, leave me a comment to let me know how it goes! I’d love to hear from you 🙂

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creamy mac and cheese on a wooden spoon

Creamiest Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

  • Author: Katelyn
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


Nothing says comfort like a giant, warm bowl of creamy mac and cheese! This instant pot version uses a little flour to create the ultimate thick and cheesy sauce. So good!


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 116 ounce box dried elbow macaroni
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Texas Pete
  • 3 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese (Avoid pre-shredded packaged cheese if you can, buy a block and shred it yourself!)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk 


  1. Select the sauté (normal) function on your instant pot, and add butter. Swirl it around with a large spoon or rubber spatula until it is completely melted. 
  2. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute. Hit Cancel on your instant pot. 
  3. Add the dried elbows, water, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Texas Pete and stir everything together. 
  4. Cover with instant pot lid, lock it, and set the instant pot pressure valve to the “sealing position”; pressure cook on the high manual setting for 5 minutes. 
  5. Manually release the steam and stir everything together. 
  6. Add the shredded cheese one cup at a time along with 1/4 cup of milk, mixing in between additions until all the cheese and milk have been added and your mac and cheese is perfectly creamy and delicious.
  7. Add additional salt/pepper to taste. 


  • Use whatever kind of cheese you like here! I love to throw in some habanero cheddar for an extra kick when I’m not making this for my toddler. Anything that melts easily – parmesan, gouda, gruyère are all great. Get fancy with some brie! Pepperjack is delicious, but a little stringy when it melts. Not a problem, just good to know. Throw in a bit of cream cheese when you are looking for something extra rich! When it comes to melty, creamy cheese, you really can’t go wrong.
  • Feel free to add an extra touch of milk if needed. Only you know how you best love your mac and cheese! Additional salt and pepper to taste at the end will make for the perfect bowl.
  • This mac and cheese has a bite to it. If you want your macaroni super soft, increase the cooking time to 6 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cheese, instant pot, easy, sides, vegetarian, creamy

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  1. This really is delicious and sooooooo easy. Thanks for another great recipe, Katelyn!

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