Simple Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

I guess technically this isn't "mac" and cheese since I use penne and not macaroni noodles, but there's no convincing my kids of that, and "Mac and Cheese" just has so much more meaning. The stuff out of the blue box was a commonly requested meal in my home, and just the name feels nostalgic. I wanted to keep this recipe just as simple to make as the boxed kind, but keep the ingredients themselves even simpler. It has become a favorite in our home, and I hope it becomes a favorite in yours!

Mac and Cheese

Yield: 6 servings | Prep Time: 15 min | Cook Time: 15 min | Total Time: 30 min


16 oz whole wheat penne

4 cups water

1/2 heaping tsp sea salt

2 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese

3 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese

2 T cream cheese

1 garlic clove

Olive oil

  1. Set to saute mode on medium

  2. Add a splash of olive oil

  3. Once it's hot, add finely chopped garlic cloves, and stir constantly for 1 minute.

  4. Then add noodles and stir for 1 more minute

  5. Switch to pressure cook mode, and add water and salt, making sure to deglaze

  6. Cook on high for 5 minutes, then NPR 5 minutes (I usually use this time to grate my cheese)

  7. Once the pressure has completely released, add in the cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and cream cheese in small batches, and stir until everything is well combined (There should be a little starch water left in the bottom of the instant pot. Don't worry-this helps the cheese become a sauce without having to make a roux). Then serve it up warm.

  8. Pro Tip: When re-heating, stir in a splash of milk to keep the cheese creamy

Print the PDF here

Mac and Cheese
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Hi! I'm Felicia. I believe that food should be simple and the ingredients should be just that: ingredients. I also believe that balance and moderation are essential. So come to my kitchen, and let's make everyday family foods healthier. Or click here to learn more about me.