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The Best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that the Instant Pot is the new must-own kitchen gadget. This appliance is so popular, I knew I wanted to try it for myself… even though I was far from sold on it. I borrowed an Instant Pot from a co-worker for a couple of days and tried a couple of different recipes, but still wasn’t loving it. I started to wonder: am I the only one?

‘You can’t knock it until you try it’ is something I stand by, and I often will try something a couple of times before I totally knock it. I figured I’d try a classic mac and cheese recipe. Ooey-gooey, stringy mac and cheese always seems to hit the spot, especially when it’s miserable outside. I thought, this tool can do anything and I’m a good cook so let’s wing it! Well, that far from worked. It took me three attempts (and lots of cheese and pasta) before I found a combination that gave me what I wanted. The first attempt was a massive fail (can you say #failblog?). There was nothing good about it. There was no flavor, despite a large amount of cheese, and the texture was off. I started playing with my recipe, and nothing made it better. I made a second batch with frozen peas and adjusted the amounts of cheese and milk, and still something was not right. At this point I thought, okay, either the Instant Pot doesn’t work or I’m not as good of a cook as I thought.

Determined to create something delicious, I decided to give my mac and cheese one last try. I started fresh and lo and behold, it worked! The winning recipe is creamy, flavorful, gooey, and stringy - everything you want in a good mac and cheese recipe.

I love recipes that give you a good base and let you play around with different options later. This is one of those recipes.

Try a couple of these variations or make up your own:

  • Hot sauce

  • Sautéed mushrooms

  • Tuna

  • Frozen veggies

  • Different cheese combinations

After many failed attempts, I’ve learned one thing: the Instant Pot takes some getting used to, and it might take some trial and error before you fall in love with it, but the potential is there! I learned one thing for sure, though. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese


  • 1 box (375 g) macaroni pasta

  • 3 cups (750 ml) water

  • ½ tsp. (2 ml) salt

  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) butter

  • ½ tsp. (2 ml) garlic powder

  • ¼ tsp. (1 ml) dry mustard

  • ½ tsp. (2 ml) ground pepper

  • 2 cups (500 ml) shredded cheese (cheese blends work best)

  • ½ cup (125 ml) evaporated milk

Combine pasta, water, salt, butter, garlic powder, mustard powder, and ground pepper in your cooker pot of the Instant Pot.

Seal and turn to manual for 4 minutes.

When cooking is complete, use the quick release until the pin drops.

Stir pasta and add evaporated milk. Add cheese, stir until cheese is melted. Adjust seasoning as desired.

Prep time: 2 minutes. Cook time: 15 minutes. Servings: 6. 
Nutrients per serving - Calories: 431 kcal. Protein: 19 g. Fat: 17 g. Carbohydrate: 49 g. Fibre: 1.9 g. Sodium: 473 mg. Calcium: 324 mg.

Kelsie is the School and Agriculture Program Coordinator at Alberta Milk. She is a recent graduate of the University of Alberta, and a Professional Human Ecologist (think Home Economics). In her spare time, Kelsie enjoys trying new workouts at the gym, training with her Dragon Boat team, getting outdoors with friends and family, and experimenting in the kitchen.

Alberta Milk is a not-for-profit farmer-driven organization, guided by a board of directors and delegates that represent all of Alberta’s dairy producers. The Dairy Divas are on Facebook! Visit Alberta Milk’s Facebook page,, to stay up to date on dairy, nutrition, and more!

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