Normally, I make a roux-based, baked Mac & Cheese. I love the thick sauce that it produces, but unfortunately it can be more involved, intimidating, and time consuming. Mac & Cheese is something I have been looking for a good way to make it easier and a little more like a classic stove-top box. I also wanted to experiment with using my Instant Pot to make pasta since its a use I haven’t tried.
I started by cooking the pasta in the Instant Pot itself. Thankfully, I think it actually worked really well. The pasta was perfectly cooked with only a little residual moisture and took less time than normal. The only thing that didn’t really go well was that we added butter. This led to an interesting result when releasing the pressure: a buttery geyser. Thankfully we reacted quickly to minimize the mess.
In doing my research, I found a lot of recipes that used condensed milk in an attempt to make it like a boxed version. I didn’t really want to do that, I was aiming for more of creamy sauce. Building on that, I also like a subtle cheese blend so I went with gruyere and fontina. I really did not want a bright yellow mac and cheese like the boxed stuff. That yellow color is just pretty off-putting to me now, I have gotten really used to white cheeses. The yellow just seems so fake.
One trick that helped make the sauce come out really well was to put the lid back on and retain some of the heat. This helped to make the sauce a good creamy texture instead of a stringy cheese. Make sure to leave the pressure release valve open, you just want some heat not really pressure.
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- 1 Lb Macaroni
- 4 Cups Water
- 4 Tbs Butter split in half
- 1 Cup Half & Half
- 1 Cup Fontina grated
- 1 Cup Gruyere grated
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1/2 Tsp Cayenne
- Add the water, half the butter, and salt to the Instant Pot. Heat the mixture using the SAUTE function on NORMAL.
- When boiling, add the pasta, press CANCEL, put the lid on, PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for 4 minutes.
- Allow for a 2 minute natural release, then quick release. Be careful as the butter may come out the valve.
- Add the cheese, half & half, cayenne, and remaining butter. Once stirred in, add the lid with the valve open and let sit for 4-5 minutes.