Ok, stop what you’re doing. Pin this Instant Pot Southern Macaroni and Cheese before you forget. It’s the cheesiest, easiest recipe for dinner or as a side.
Whether you’re serving up Turkey, Ham or even a perfectly cut Steak, Instant Pot Southern Macaroni and Cheese is a crowd pleaser every single time.
Don’t you love that macaroni and cheese is one of those dishes that kids go crazy for, but it’s still awesome enough for adults too? I mean, no offense, but I don’t really have any desire to eat fruit snacks, but you throw gooey, cheesy pasta on my plate and it’s almost embarrassing how much I don’t remember that you’re even in the room with me.
Did you eat macaroni and cheese from a box or homemade as a kid?
We for sure ate it from a box and I don’t at all feel bad about that. My parents have 5 children and all of us were super spread out. That means that Mom was running one kid to choir practice, picking up another for soccer, sending a care package to one in college and helping one learn to tie her shoes all in the same day.
That’s kind of a lot.
Really, it’s quite awesome that we always had a clean house and we always had dinner on the table. Even when it was boxed macaroni and cheese.
My First Homemade Mac and Cheese
However, my grandpa did not eat macaroni and cheese.
I don’t know if you remember this, but I was the most terribly picky eater in the history of the world growing up. This is also why all of my children are picky as well.
That’s not true, our oldest is growing out of it way more than I ever was at her age, our middle child is doing better but not there yet and our youngest hates to eat. Like, always.
When does that change? Right now, it’s eat to survive but at some point you grow up and get to enjoy the next level of flavorsI – like Deep Fried Strawberry Shortcake.
At one point we were at Grandpa’s house and I wanted mac n cheese for lunch. My mom made it from scratch because Grandpa doesn’t eat macaroni and cheese and a light bulb went on in my head.
Food is so good when it’s made from scratch!
Homemade Is Always Better
It’s hard for kids to recognize that good, fresh, homemade recipes are better than a box because you get all of that flavor and texture that is missing, but despite this keep making them homemade food. Eventually they come around and you’ll be so glad you taught them how to eat so they aren’t that annoying 40-year-old picky eater who can’t cook.
It’s the same thing with good quality cheese. Ever notice that at some point you realize that cheese in plastic wrappers just is not cheese at all?
When I visited Tillamook recently and shared our Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Bacon Grilled Cheese it was so fun to sample all of their new cheeses and see the farmers, the cows and the dairy experts who are creating real products that taste better, melt better and live up to the best standards.
Is Macaroni and Cheese a Side Dish or Main Dish?
I’m going to ask this on social media as well, so I’m sorry for any duplicates, but do you consider Macaroni and Cheese to be a side dish or main dish?
It’s totally a side dish to me. I’d never think of it as a main, but lately Cade has been insisting that you can eat it as your main dish too, so what do you think?
I guess his Southern Mac N Cheese is often served at parties and potlucks so wouldn’t that be considered a side dish?
However you choose to serve Instant Pot Southern Macaroni and Cheese, just make sure you snap a pic and share it in our VIP Oh Sweet Basil Facebook group so we can see how it turned out and hear how you served it up!
Instant Pot Southern Macaroni and Cheese
Alright, let’s do this thing!
How to Make Macaroni and Cheese in an Instant Pot
The absolute most important thing to know about making mac n cheese in an instant pot is that you do not add the cheese until the pasta is cooked.
This is a one pot meal, but unlike other pastas where you throw it all in and let the noodles cook in the sauce you can only cook the noodles in water with seasoning.
Adding those seasonings in right away is a great tip too though. This allows the flavor to go right into the pasta.
- Throw the elbow pasta, water, butter, and seasonings in the instant pot to cook.
- Quick release and stir in the remaining ingredients.
That’s it!! Check out our Instant Pot Cheat Sheet for a little help for all your favorite Instant Pot basics!
What Cheese to Use for Macaroni and Cheese
What cheese to use for macaroni and cheese all depends on what kind of macaroni and cheese you’re making.
For Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese not only are you going to use a combination of cheeses but we have a certain kind. This is for a specific reason as well.
- Types of Cheese for Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese
Because instant pot macaroni and cheese doesn’t get baked in the oven you can’t get that crust on top. But, you also can’t go totally creamy because you’re not making the sauce in the separate saucepan. Although, you could, but then what’s the point of the instant pot?
Don’t worry though, this pasta totally ends up creamy and crazy cheesy. Like something you’d find in a good southern restaurant for sure.
- Tillamook Sharp Cheddar– Sharp cheddar is always the best cheese to start with for macaroni and cheese. The flavor isn’t lost like it is with medium cheese, however it brings great balance.In other words, it’s a bridge cheese between the mild mozzarella and extra sharp cheese.
- Tillamook Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar– Ever feel like macaroni and cheese is missing something? That’s because it is. All macaroni and cheese recipes need a bold, extra sharp cheddar. Even if you tend to like things a little more easy
- Tillamook Farmstyle Cut Mozzarella Shredded Cheese– Ahhh yes, the captain of the cheese pull. There’s nothing like a mozzarella cheese to create that stretchy, get in my mouth right now cheese pull. Mozzarella is creamy and gooey and the perfect cheese for the ultimate mac.
Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli
I want to try mixing things up a stitch next time. How would you all feel about a perfect Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli? It seems like if we throw in broccoli you’ve technically got your entire meal covered in one pot.
Oh, and one dish for serving! No plates, no salad plates, just one bowl and dishes are done!
In fact, I bet we could try out a lot of versions.
- Ground Beef
- Lobster (I totally don’t know how to cook lobster and it kind of freak me out, but I’d learn it for all of you!)
Hot Sauce and Nutmeg in Mac and Cheese?
It may seem a little odd to see hot sauce and nutmeg in mac and cheese, but this is one of those things that totally makes you wonder why a specific recipe is so good compared to the others.
- Hot Sauce
Hot sauce does NOT make the mac and cheese spicy at all. In fact even if you tried you wouldn’t be able to guess it was in there. But it does enhance the cheese flavor and takes your mac and cheese to the next level.
We learned this trick years ago for a béchamel sauce. A dash of nutmeg adds a level of depth and heartiness to your mac and cheese. It elevates the flavor in the most understated way. Don’t skip the nutmeg!
This Instant Pot Southern Macaroni and Cheese uses both ingredients!
Instant Pot RECIPES
Looking for more quick and easy instant pot recipes?
- Smoky Instant Pot Ribs
- Award Winning Chili
- Instant Pot Homemade Yogurt
- Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff
- Instant Pot Potato Corm Chowder
- Instant Pot Honey Chicken
More MACARONI RECIPES You’re Going to Love:
- Cheesy Chicken Bacon Ranch Macaroni and Cheese
- Ham and Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese
- Southern Macaroni and Cheese
- Healthy One Pot Chili Macaroni
- Sweet Pork Macaroni and Cheese
- Roasted Red Pepper Macaroni and Cheese
- Easy Southern English Pea Pasta Salad
- Easy Italian Pasta Salad
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Southwest Pasta Salad
- All our PASTA RECIPES here!
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Instant Pot Southern Macaroni and Cheese
It’s so easy to use an electric pressure cooker, or instant pot to make pasta! 6 minutes is all you need!
Instant Pot Southern Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 Cup Farm Style Cut Tillamook Mozzarella Shredded Cheese
- 1 Cup Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese Loaf
- 1 Cup Tillamook Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese Loaf
- 1 Ounce Cream Cheese softened
- A Dash of Hot Sauce
- A Dash of Nutmeg
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Dry Mustard
- 1/4-1/2 Teaspoon Salt to taste
- 14.5 Ounces Chicken Stock
- 2 Cups Water
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Tillamook Sweet Cream Unsalted Butter
- 1 lb Elbow Macaroni Noodles
- In an instant pot (ours is a 6qt) add the water, butter, stock, salt, ground mustard, nutmeg and hot sauce.
- Add the noodles and stir to combine.
- Close the lid, making sure that the valve is set to seal.
- Cook on high pressure for 6 minutes.
- Do a quick release by turning the valve to vent.
- Open the lid and add the cream cheese along with all of the cheeses.
- Stir to combine and serve immediately.