Some days me and Vj crave for cheesy pasta. I do make a quick version in a short cut method by using cheese spread and cream cheese spread. But very rare to make the classic one with béchamel sauce.
I wanted to try in Instant Pot and this is the third time I am making and thought of sharing in my blog. Recipe adapted from here.
- Pasta – as this is mac and cheese, the best choice is elbow macaroni. You can also use any tubular short pasta, so that it holds the cheesy sauce in it and turns most tasty one.
I used Durum wheat organic macaroni.
- Cheese – One of the main question I had myself earlier before knowing about the dish is which cheese is best for making mac and cheese.
My choice and easily available to everyone is Cheddar block. I used mild, but have also used sharp or medium cheddar too earlier.
Tastes best when more than one type of cheese is used, like for example Gruyere.
- Cream – According to the fat percentage in the cream, the creaminess of the dish also varies. I used cooking cream which is mild than heavy cream. You can even use half and half / Evaporated milk and make it even more lower in fat. Any one of these is important in the recipe to make the dish saucy, smooth and creamy.
- Other ingredients like Mustard, garlic powder or onion powder, nutmeg are optional. You can make it without these as well.
Yes, you can make ahead and refrigerate mac and cheese. Or even leftovers can be stored in airtight container. It keeps good up to 5 days. Just reheat with a dash of milk or cream to refresh it and serve.
You can also freeze these upto a month. To serve it, just make sure to leave on counter top to thaw for minimum 30 mins and then re-heat it with milk or cream to make it fresh.
I like to make it fresh and serve immediately. Nothing beats a hot macaroni and cheese. As time passes or if you refrigerate/ freeze, pasta absorbs the sauce and gets dried up.
Serve it with a side of a healthy salad, roasted vegetables or potato wedges.
- Use short, tubular pasta types for best results as it could hold the cheese and sauce more.
- Cooking pasta in Instant pot is mess free and you no need to be around, stir or anything.
- Use cheese block instead of pre-grated cheese. It makes the texture grainy. I used some pre-grated cheese though.
- Also, go for non stringy cheese. Big no for Mozzarella, monetary jack as they may result in stringy looking outcome.
Instant Pot timings
To cook any pasta perfectly in Instant pot, refer the package on cooking time. Pressure cook with enough water to immerse all the pasta, half the cooking time in high pressure with salt. I like to add few drops of olive oil or a blob of butter to keep the pasta from sticking.
Once done, let pressure release naturally or atleast 15 mins before opening the lid. First add water and salt (and any other ingredient if adding) and stir well. Add pasta in sprinkle way evenly. Should not mix after adding pasta.
- When you stir in cream and cheese, make sure add little by little and mix instead of adding all together. This gives smoother results, letting the cheese melt and blend well, preventing the cream break or cheese getting lumpy.
- Adding onion powder or garlic powder along a dash of mustard and nutmeg gives a great flavor to the dish.
- You can top it with any one of chilli flakes, black pepper powder, any dried Italian herb. I have also seen restaurants serving with chopped spring onions, though I am not sure if it’s authentic.
- I found 2 cups water for 1 cup macaroni was bit watery, you can choose to drain the excess water a bit and increase cream for more rich outcome.
- Initially some cheese might look stringy, but when you give some standing time, it will be alright. But make sure it gets melted and blended well.
Stove top version
I have another version in which I use a béchamel sauce kind to make the stove top version, check it out.
If video is more your thing, watch the quick video here.
I always look for eggless pasta and cheese with microbial rennet as I am vegetarian. This can also be made gluten free by swapping a gluten free pasta.
Make it vegan by using olive oil, plant based milk, potato, carrot or yellow pumpkin or combination of these, cooked, pureed for cheese alternate and adding nutritional yeast, lemon for the tang, garlic/ onion powder for perfect tasting results.
Instant Pot Mac and cheese recipe
Instant Pot Mac and cheese, creamy, cheesy one pot dish with quick video, step by step photos.
Equipments (Amazon Affiliate links)
- 1 cup Macaroni
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp butter
- ½ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Garlic
- ¼ tsp Mustard
- ½ cup Cheddar grated & measure heaped
- ½ cup Italian cheese mix or use ½ cup cheddar/ Gruyere – grated & measure heaped
Pour 2 cups water in Instant pot. Add butter, salt, garlic powder & mustard powder to it. Stir well to mix.
Add macaroni in a sprinkled way. Make sure all are immersed in water. Do not stir.
Pressure cook in High pressure (Normal) for 3 minutes. Let the pressure go down naturally or wait for minimum 15 mins to open lid.
Immediately add half the cream, half the cheese and mix well to melt cheese and bring a creamy sauce.
Add the rest of cream and cheese and mix well until no cheese is seen.
Give 5 mins standing time and serve.
- Add cheese and cream little by little and mix.
- Do not add mix cheese without cream as it will turn lumpy.
- You can add more cheese for more cheesy results.
- Note that there is no heating after macaroni is done. But do add cheese, cream as soon as you open lid.
- Total time takes around 40 mins to finish the dish though the active cooking time is less, rest is waiting time for Instant Pot
Step by step photos
1. Pour 2 cups water in Instant pot. Add butter, salt, garlic powder & mustard powder to it. Stir well to mix.
2. Add macaroni in a sprinkled way. Make sure all are immersed in water. Do not stir.
3. Pressure cook in High pressure (Normal) for 3 minutes. Let the pressure go down naturally or wait for minimum 15 mins to open lid.
4. Immediately add half the cream, half the cheese and mix well to melt cheese and bring a creamy sauce.
5. Add the rest of cream and cheese and mix well until no cheese is seen.
6. Give 5 mins standing time and serve.
Enjoy mac and cheese hot.