Believe it or not, making box mac & cheese is even easier in the Instant Pot! No need to drain or babysit the pasta while it cooks and everything simply mixes together in one pot. Let me show you how!
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I really (REALLY) like homemade mac & cheese, and since I started using the Instant Pot to make it, I make it much more regularly. (I even included a recipe for Super Easy, Quick and Cheesy Macaroni in my cookbook).
Buuuut, as easy as it is to make from scratch, we still like to keep boxes of Annie’s Mac & Cheese on hand. My kids love it and it’s fun to have the different variations to enjoy.
As easy as it is to make a box of mac & cheese on the stovetop…it’s even easier in the Instant Pot.
How to Make Box Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot
The biggest advantages of using the Instant Pot for an already easy process is that you simply combine the macaroni, water, and a pinch of salt in the Instant Pot and then walk away while it does its thing. No waiting for the water to boil, then standing nearby while the pasta cooks. No need to drain the pasta after it cooks.
After you quick release the pressure, add a little butter to loosen up the noodles and then finish the Mac & cheese by adding the cheese pouch and a little milk. I like to turn the Instant Pot on to Saute for a couple of minutes to let the sauce thicken slightly before serving it.
I’ve shared this process several times on Instagram in my stories, and I know many of you have started making your box Mac & cheese this way too. I love to see your tags when you try my recipes, and don’t forget to save this post to your Instant Pot board on Pinterest too!
Box Mac & Cheese in the Instant Pot
- Prep Time: 1 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 minutes
- Total Time: 4 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
- Category: side dish
- Method: pressure cooking
Believe it or not, making box mac & cheese is even easier in the Instant Pot! No need to drain or babysit the pasta while it cooks and everything simply mixes together in one pot.
- 1 box Mac & cheese
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- Combine the dry pasta, pinch of kosher salt, and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of water in the Instant Pot. Place on the lid, turn the valve to sealing, and set the cook time for 3 minutes on high pressure.
- When the cook time is complete, quick release the pressure. Add the butter and stir, breaking up the pasta. Sprinkle on the cheese packet, stir, then pour in the milk. Continue stirring, incorporating the cheese mixture into the noodles.
- Turn the Instant Pot on to Sauté and cook the macaroni for 2-3 minutes until the cheese fully incorporates and the sauce thickens slightly.
You can easily double this recipe and use two boxes of pasta. Double the ingredients, but keep the cook times the same.
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Henry Mast says
Mine didn’t cook quite right, I have an 8 quart instant pot, what adjustment should I make? More water and time?
Hard to say exactly without knowing the specific issue, but I would add about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup more water. You will probably need to drain after cooking.
Meredith Boylan says
Maybe this is a silly question, but if you use three boxes, would you just triple the other ingredients, but leave the cook time the same?
This is an amazing mom hack. I usually let my kids make their own, but I decided to try this. I used Annie’s vegan Mac and doubled it. Used vegan butter and almond milk and it turned out great! Thanks for sharing.
Very easy and quick method! I appreciate not having to drain the pasta. I doubled and was just fine in my 6qrt.
I just tried this method and it worked perfectly! So easy not having to wait for the water to boil, cook the pasta and drain the pasta! I used the same brand and style of mac & cheese that you show, So just out of curiosity, my son loves the Annie’s with the shapes… have you tried doing this with any of the shaped Annie’s (bunnies, trees, etc.)? Do you think any extra cook time is needed for the thicker noodles?
You need to fix this recipe and include water in ur ingredients list and add 2 minutes to cook it mine came out with lots of water when I doubled it I’d reduce it by a half cup instead of 2 cups do 1 -1 /2
I do not typically include water in the ingredient list. You can make adjustments as needed. This is the method and portions that I have used for years. 🙂
I need help! I have followed your recipe to a T several times but my macaroni is SUPER al dente. I’m using Annie’s as well. Should I try cooking it longer, I guess?
That’s strange! If it’s just a little undercooked, that’s fine because it will continue cooking when you add the milk and butter. But if it is really undercooked, I would just try adding another minute or two.
Shelby Rees says
Ive noticed different versions of insta pots cook differently my mom in law has instant pot viva and i have the instant pot lux and mine cooked carrots in 6 minutes baby food soft and hers took 10 mins to make them soft
It looks good I didn’t say it was tasty so good I follow you over sisters he’s are so good
Melissa Bussone says
I added a little extra water and chunks of fresh mozzarella . I let it sit with the lid off after a quick release of pressure. I added cheese hotdogs that I had already cooked in my instant pot for 1 minute. Came out really good!