Instant Pot Mac and Cheese


Quick and easy one-pot meal you can make in only 12 minutes.

Delicious kid-friendly recipe you can get easily using your Instant Pot!

If you want to get fancy, There are many upgrade options for this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe.

How to upgrade the recipe

For this recipe we are using ricotta, cheddar and Pecorino Romano cheese. Feel free to add any other cheese you like.

You can also add spinach and pine nuts or any other vegetable you like (or want your kids to like…)

You can also go with fully cooked leftover ground beef and tomatoes.

With a couple of additions, this recipe can be made into a complete well-balanced meal. I love that it’s so adaptable and great for cleaning out the fridge!

Mac and Cheese Recipe Video

Can it be Made Vegan?

This recipe is vegetarian-friendly, but with three different kinds of cheese that are so important to the taste and texture of the recipe, this recipe cannot easily be made vegan.

Can it be Made Gluten-Free?

While macaroni typically contains wheat gluten, you can use gluten-free pasta to make this recipe.

If you use gluten-free pasta, look at the box instructions and alter the cooking time accordingly. You’ll want to cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the directions suggest.

Which type of pasta to use?

For this recipe I recommend using elbow macaroni or pipe rigate like I did in the Instant Pot Pizza Pasta recipe.

Feel free to choose a short pasta variety with a similar cook time.

What Does Pecorino Romano Taste Like?

Pecorino Romano is an aged hard Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk that is very similar to Parmesan in terms of taste and texture.

Use finely grated pecorino wherever you would use freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It makes an excellent topping for any pasta dish, including this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Made with Ricotta

How Can I Add a Breadcrumb Topping?

To add an easy breadcrumb topping, simply combine ½ cup breadcrumbs with 1-2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet and toast until golden brown.

Alternatively, you can bake the mac and cheese after it’s done. Transfer to an oven-safe vessel, top with breadcrumbs, and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the top is beginning to crisp.

How Do I Make Sure it Doesn’t Turn Out Mushy?

Mushy mac and cheese is a direct result of overcooked noodles. This recipe cooks the noodles for 2 minutes less than the packaging suggests for the ultimate final texture.

Also, be sure to use the quick pressure release for this recipe to avoid overcooking the macaroni!

How to make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese 

First of all, get an Instant Pot and gather all the ingredients.

Shred the cheese if needed.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Made with Ricotta

Add oil, pasta, salt and 4 cups of water to cover the pasta.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Made with Ricotta

Cook at high pressure for 6 minutes.. When cooking time ends, do a quick pressure release.

Remove the lid and stir in ricotta and cheddar cheese.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Made with Ricotta

Add parsley as well and stir well.

Garnish with Pecorino Romano cheese and serve.

Side Dishes

I love serving this mac and cheese recipe with baby back ribs or pulled pork sandwiches. For special occasions, you could even serve it with lobster!

Or you could eat it all on its own—it’s filling enough as is, or mix in protein and vegetables for a complete one-pot meal!

More pasta, Please!

We have several different variations of pressure cooker one-pot meals with pasta. Here are some options:

Hamburger mac and cheese

Instant Pot Spaghetti Bolognese

Instant Pot Taco Pasta

Instant Pot Pasta Fagioli

Instant Pot Pizza Pasta

Instant Pot Baked Ziti

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
4.3 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: elbow macaroni, mac and cheese, Mac and Cheese Made with Ricotta, pecorino Romano, ricotta cheese
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Servings: 6
  • 16 oz pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese shredded
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 spring parsley finely chopped
  • ½ cup pecorino Romano grated
  • Add oil, pasta, salt and 4 cups of water to cover the pasta.
  • Close the lid and cook at high pressure for 6 minutes.
  • When cooking time is complete, do a quick pressure release.
  • Remove the lid and stir in pepper, ricotta and cheddar cheese.
  • Stir in parsley.
  • Garnish with Pecorino Romano cheese and serve 🙂
Calories: 221kcal Carbohydrates: 7g Protein: 13g Fat: 16g Saturated Fat: 9g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 49mg Sodium: 1818mg Potassium: 333mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 3g Vitamin A: 753IU Vitamin C: 6mg Calcium: 329mg Iron: 1mg


Vegetarian Instant Pot Mac And Cheese


    Reader Interactions

  1. Arpita Patel

    Made this tonight, though I never find the baked varieties worth the trouble, so skipped that part. Great kid approved cheese sauce! It was super saucy for us though, and next time I'll use a pound of pasta (1 star deduction). When doing any mac n cheese always remember to undercook the pasta by 1-2 min for perfect noodle texture at serving. Yum!

    • Donna

      The recipe does say to use a pound of macaroni.
      16 ounces = 1 pound

  2. Rebecca Sherwood

    How much cheddar cheese do you use, Corrie?

    • Corrie CooksCorrie Cooks

      1 cup

  3. Kevin

    Riccotta cheese cannot be shredded it comes in a 16 or 32 ox tub.

    • Corrie CooksCorrie Cooks

      Ricotta salata is a firmer form of ricotta that can be shredded. But if you are buying tubs of traditional ricotta, you are correct and can just mix that right in.

  4. Kim

    If adding the tomatoes and hamburger meat , when do I do that in the cooking process

    • Corrie CooksCorrie Cooks

      Cook the hamburger meat first, then add the tomatoes with the pasta and water.

  5. elvira Sullivan

    This looks delish, and thank you for sharing with us. Sometimes people are so fast to point out what they think are mistakes, they forget to be appreciative of all the work you do for us. I personally love all your recipes and am very grateful that you done all the hard work for us. Keep upthe good work.

    • Corrie CooksCorrie Cooks

      Thank you, I appreciate your kind words, and I'm glad you love the recipes 🙂

  6. Donna H.

    I made this with Banza gluten free chickpea elbow pasta and it came out great, I just reduced the cooking time to 4 minutes. Some GF pastas don't hold up to pressure cooking but this one does. I also like their Cavatappi and Penne in Instant Pot recipes. This recipe makes a really good mac and cheese and it's so easy! The ricotta makes it so creamy and rich.

    • Corrie CooksCorrie Cooks

      Thank you Donna, I really appreciate your comment. I hope this is helpful to all those who wish to use gluten free pasta in the Instant Pot.

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