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The Best-Ever Pressure Cooker Mac and Cheese Recipe

Updated on June 28, 2017

Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

I was very reluctant at first to get a pressure cooker. I didn't know how to use it and I was afraid! However, after my mom got one I decided that maybe I should give it a second thought. Afterall, I am working full-time and doing a second job after my first. Cooking dinner was becoming more and more difficult. (I am also famous for forgetting to take something out of the freezer and therefore getting home and not having anything to cook without going to the store!)

The best thing is that even after working two jobs, I have been able to make quick dinners in 10-25 minutes! Simple, fast, and delicious. I found some great recipes online but the best recipe came from my mom. This is a recipe she got from a friend and it has turned out to be my favorite. A true comfort food which can be turned into a dinner or just a simple and delicious side dish, this macaroni and cheese will be one of your go-to recipes. Bring it to a pot luck dinner, a friend who needs some cheering up, a luncheon, a BBQ, or just make a bunch for yourself. It will be gone very quickly, that I promise!

  • Prep time: 5 min
  • Cook time: 7 min
  • Ready in: 12 min
  • Yields: approximately 4-6, depending on portion size
3 stars from 1995 ratings of The Best Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups elbow macaroni (you can use other types but cooking time may need to be adjusted), uncooked
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzerella cheese

Instructions

  1. Place the macaroni, chicken stock, cream, salt, and pepper into the pressure cooker. Set your pressure cooker to high and set timer to 7 minutes. (I think this time is perfect but you may want to adjust it depending on how "done" you like your macaroni). Once the timer goes off, let the steam out of the pressure cooker according to your machine's directions. Add the butter, milk and cheeses to the pot and stir. Voila . . . best macaroni and cheese ever!!
  2. Substitutions: If you only have milk handy, you can substitute the following: melt 1/3 cup butter in the microwave and add 2/3 cup milk in place of the cream. For 2% milk, just add a tablespoon of flour plus the above ingredients. Comes out perfect!

How can you resist?

How can you resist?
How can you resist?

Choosing a Pressure Cooker

I did some research and found out that the electric pressure cookers today are very safe and have a lot of safety features. This made me feel so much better about using mine. Once I took the plunge and bought my pressure cooker, I was still a little nervous to use it. I followed the instructions to the tee and kept my fingers crossed. With each use I became more and more confident in using it and now I am a pro!!

If you are looking for a pressure cooker or want to replace your old one, there are many options. They make a perfect gift for a busy cook who wants a homemade meal in minutes!

Amendments and Adaptations People Have Made

Some people like more peppers, other people like less! While it's not an exhaustive list, here are some suggestions that you might tweak.

  • Made it with 3 cups of sharp cheddar because that's the cheese I had on hand. Turned out great. Will absolutely make again and try adding some bacon or sausage. Thank you. - Jim

  • This is delicious. Used swiss instead of mozzarella. Better than Mom's. - susan

  • The stringiness is mostly from the mozzarella cheese. You could cut back on the amount and just add more cheddar. It also gets less stringy when it cools. Hope that helps! - savenlives

  • I just made this! You are right...this is the best pressure cooker recipe ever! The whole thing was done in half the time it takes to make a stove top cheese sauce! So delicious! One pan! The taste of the cheese really stands out. Yum! - Jeannine

  • I've made this at least 15 times by now. A favorite and so much better than the boxed orange powder stuff! So rich and creamy - AMAZING. I made a "healthier" version for my baby using gluten free noodles, goat cheese, raw heavy cream, and grass fed butter...she LOVES it (although it was very expensive doing it with these ingredients). I had enough to fill 30 small jars and put them in the freezer. Thanks again for sharing. - C

Comments...

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    • profile image

      2 weeks ago

      Did anyone else have the cream that is called for before pressure cooking curdle?

      Is there a trick to that?

      Maybe just substitute more chicken stock and skip the cream?

      I don't want to lose any of the creamyness if there is a trick around this problem.

      TIA

    • profile image

      Laura F 4 weeks ago

      I tried this recipe the other night!!! Yummmmmm is all I can say!!! This is the best Mac and cheese recipe that I’ve found for the Instant Pot!! And easiest!!! Ty for posting!!

    • profile image

      Liana W. 8 weeks ago

      I have a habit of never following a single recipe, but making a mash-up of a few different versions. This mac & cheese recipe is good without any changes, but I just can't help myself. I added some additional spices (ground mustard, dill, Old Bay), used a mix of cheddar and jack cheeses, and included about 2 oz of cream cheese (makes it super creamy). Since I typically make mac & cheese as a stand-alone meal, with only a side veggie, I like to add tuna, chicken breast, or some braised pork. My small kiddos prefer the chicken, so that's the usual, but this is one of few dishes where they literally lick their plates clean, so I don't usually deviate. Mom win!

      One of these days I'm going to try a version with some pepper jack cheese and sauteed poblanos.

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      Toni 3 months ago

      I love this recipe. I just tweak it a little. I use Better Than Bouillon so I can adjust to taste. I agree that the chicken stock is over powering, but without it, it is not as good. I also add a little powdered mustard to the bouillon. Otherwise, this is the best recipe I've tried. I've made it quite a bit too, always top it with some buffalo chicken on BBQ chicken. Awesome!

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      Braanjeli 3 months ago

      Very good! Used only cheddar. Was a hit at a work luncheon.

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      Jenny 5 months ago

      I made two batches of this for Christmas dinner and it was the hit of the night. You must use heavy cream for best results.

    • profile image

      Pat 5 months ago

      I'm sorry, I wish I liked it but the chicken broth just ruined it for me.

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      Roxanne 5 months ago

      Print option??

    • profile image

      Leigh 8 months ago

      I just don't understand why not do it on the stove, it took me roughly 7-12 minutes that way and it was excellent. I used unsalted butter, light cream cheese and sharp cheddar along with raw cream. Salt/pepper. Thanks for sharing I'm gonna have to try it in the pressure cooker.

    • savenlives profile image
      Author

      savenlives 8 months ago

      Kihran...you can try copying and pasting the ingredients section into Microsoft Word and then printing. I don't think you can print just the recipe part, sorry. Or sometimes I just screen shot the sections I need with my phone and use my phone or iPad as I cook. Hope this helps!

    • profile image

      Kihran 8 months ago

      How can I just print the recipe? I don't want to print the whole article.

    • profile image

      Tina Marie 8 months ago

      I have made this soo many times!! My family loves it with Bacon in it. When I am making it just for me I add Broccoli!! such an awesome recipe Thank you!!

    • profile image

      Toni 9 months ago

      I have Mae this a million times this is the best mac and cheese ever for sure and mac and cheese is my favorite!!!

    • profile image

      Janet G 9 months ago

      I have made this three times in the last 2 weeks. Yummy. To now make it grainy you must use heavy cream. 1/2 and1/2 or just milk will not work because the sauce will break.

      I also tried a recipe using all the ingredients and cheese at the same time. It did not turn out as well as adding cheese after pasta is cooked.

    • profile image

      Sarah 9 months ago

      Well, I tried it...twice, since the first time was a disaster (seal on IP failed). I agree with other posters that the texture turned out grainy. I tried to add the flour, whisked into the mix quickly to help thicken the sauce and it still was too soupy (I didn't even add the extra 1/2 cup sauce). Not sure what went wrong....

    • profile image

      Laurie 10 months ago

      Made this last night and it was delicious! I used it in my Philly Cheesesteak Pasta and it was delicious. Made the Pressure Cooker Mac and cheese and at the same time I cooked up the beef, onion, roasted red peppers mixture. When both were done I mixed them together before serving. It was delicious and no processed cheese was used.

      I will use the Pressure Cooker from now on for Mac & Cheese.

    • profile image

      dana 10 months ago

      Cut the pepper in half and there was more than enough. I might even 1/4 the pepper. I cooked my macaroni for 9 minutes. Once done it was good.

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      Heather 10 months ago

      What happened to Maisy? I hope she's okay! ;)

    • savenlives profile image
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      savenlives 11 months ago

      How did it turn out?

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      Maisy1947 11 months ago

      7:18 pm. Starting a pot of mac and cheese. I will check back in about 30 minutes and let you know how it turned out. Wish me luck. I've only used my pot twice since I purchased it.

    • savenlives profile image
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      savenlives 11 months ago

      Oh no, so sorry to hear that :( What cheeses did you use?

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      Jen 11 months ago

      Ugh wrong cheeses I think :( was not good

    • savenlives profile image
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      savenlives 12 months ago

      Thanks for the great tip!

    • savenlives profile image
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      savenlives 12 months ago

      I'm sorry I haven't tried that. If you do please report back!

    • savenlives profile image
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      savenlives 12 months ago

      Thank you so much for that great tip!

    • savenlives profile image
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      savenlives 12 months ago

      Thanks! So glad you liked it!

    • ehagensmith profile image

      ehagensmith 12 months ago

      I look forward to trying this. As a mac and cheese aficionado, I wanted to reply to the person who said hers was somewhat grainy. I used to have this problem. The key is to stir in the cheese off the heat. If the sauce is to hot when incorporating the cheese, it will get grainy.

    • profile image

      Carolyn 12 months ago

      This recipe was wonderful. Everything about this mac & cheese was perfect, especially the ease and speed to make it. Thank you.

    • savenlives profile image
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      savenlives 13 months ago

      To answer a couple of questions: I put my pressure cooker on the high setting. The pasta goes in uncooked and it cooks while under pressure. The time is for when it comes to pressure, my electric pressure cooker will count down once it gets to pressure.

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      Shauna 18 months ago

      High altitude cooking takes longer because atmospheric pressure decreases the higher you are. When cooking in a pressure cooker, it is sealed and the pressure is independent of altitude so there is no need to adjust cooking times.

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      donna 19 months ago

      Have you tried doubling the recipe? I am wondering if I have to adjust the time if I doubled the recipe? I love this and want to make a bigger batch for a gathering. Thanks. d

    • savenlives profile image
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      savenlives 20 months ago

      That sounds great, never heard of it actually! I'm so glad you liked it! It really is now my go to mac and cheese recipe!

    • savenlives profile image
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      savenlives 20 months ago

      That sounds delicious Jan!

    • savenlives profile image
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      savenlives 20 months ago

      Sorry to hear that! Make sure you use a full fat cheese and not a low-fat or fat free.

    • profile image

      Shoni 20 months ago

      New to pressure cooking, these ingredients turned out perfect for the cook on the pasta. I used cheddar and Cougar Gold cheese (because Cougar Gold is freaking delicious) and it is SO good! Usually make homemade with roux so I was apprehensive about this method, but I must say this is the most awesome easy mac and cheese ever. I'm veggie so substituted chicken stock for vegetable broth. Thank you!

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      Jan 23 months ago

      Thank you for posting this recipe. It was very tasty but next time I will increase the time to 8 or 9 minutes as the noodles were chewy for some reason. Tasted good anyway. I threw some garlic bread crumbs on top afterward and put it under the broiler to brown. Yummy.

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      Crafty Cat 23 months ago

      Not sure what I did wrong. Came out kind of grainy for me. Will definitely try again.

    • savenlives profile image
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      savenlives 2 years ago

      Thanks Holly for those suggestions! Glad you found it as easy as me!

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      Holly 2 years ago

      I made this today and it turned out really well! I used the Instant Pot and 7 minutes is perfect for the consistency of the pasta. I would suggest cutting down the salt OR using low sodium chicken broth. Also, for my own taste preference I will use half water and half chicken broth next time. Seriously an easy recipe!

    • savenlives profile image
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      savenlives 3 years ago

      Shauna, I am so sorry...I have no idea!! Forgive me but I have never lived in a higher altitude area so I'm not really sure how that works!

    • savenlives profile image
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      savenlives 3 years ago

      Approximately 4-6 depending on your serving size.

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      shauna 3 years ago

      Do I need to add more time due to higher altitude?

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      anonymous 3 years ago

      how much does it serve?

    • savenlives profile image
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      savenlives 3 years ago

      So glad you enjoyed it! This is definitely a go-to recipe at our house! Thanks for leaving a review :)

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      The C 3 years ago

      I tried this recipe and followed it exactly. The mac and cheese was absolutely delicious. Noodles were perfect consistency, and the sauce was devine. My mac was "whiter" in appearance though, and my black pepper was more visible than the picture you provided. Made no difference though, as the flavor was out of this world. Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe.