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Creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe – Impress your guests with this creamy pasta recipe that is quick, easy and has a secret ingredient to amp things up. A sure shot crowd pleaser!
For a family that eats Indian food 90% of the times, we love our mac and cheese. Every time we decide to eat out, mac and cheese is something that my kids can’t get enough of.
In all fairness, macaroni and cheese does taste really good.. creamy, delicious and comforting. While I do like the classic mac and cheese recipe, the Indian in me craves for some spice, a tiny bit of heat and maybe some vegetables or protein to make it a complete meal. This recipe does just that – makes it quicker, faster and so delicious that you may not have to worry about leftovers.
How is this mac and cheese recipe different?
To make homemade mac and cheese you would need
- Elbow macaroni
- Cheese – the kind that melts quickly and is creamy.
- Liquid – water/milk/evaporated milk/heavy cream
- Flavor enhancers – garlic, mustard, sour cream, cream cheese etc.
What’s different about this recipe is that shrimp along with garlic and TABASCO® sauce are added to enhance the flavors. If shrimp is not your thing you can replace it with chicken as well. The beauty of this recipe is that they all cook together in one pot and adding shrimp and garlic to the classic mac and cheese recipe gives it a delicious twist.
Also, you can always saute the shrimp and garlic over the stove top and serve it as a side with mac and cheese. That way you don’t have to cook a different version for the kids or for anyone who prefers the classic recipe.
What kind of cheese is best to make mac and cheese sauce?
The ones listed below are what I normally use but if you want to mix and match make sure you pick two kinds of cheese – one that melts quickly and the other kind for its flavor.
- Sharp Cheddar (white or yellow) – If you want to use only one kind of cheese then it has to be sharp cheddar. It melts quickly and has a smooth flavor. It is the go-to cheese for all macaroni and cheese recipes. You get the best results using white cheddar, the yellow ones can make your mac n cheese grainy sometimes.
- Just like cheddar, Monterey Jack melts quickly giving your pasta a creamy and velvety look.
- The complex and earthy Gruyere packs in a nice punch and combines well with white cheddar.
- Folks love the nutty flavor of Parmesan cheese which tastes great when combined with sharp cheddar.
Irrespective of which kind you pick make sure you buy a block and grate them at home because they melt faster, taste better, last longer and have no additives!
How is this macaroni and cheese recipe quick and easy?
By using a pressure cooker like Instant Pot!
If you are not familiar with the Instant Pot, check out this post – Instant Pot Pressure Cooker – Do you really need one?
Making any kind of pasta in Instant Pot can be life-changing! To cook pasta in an Instant Pot here are the rules I follow –
- Reduce the cooking time of the pasta by half – 1 minute. For example, if the pasta package says that it will take 12 minutes for the pasta to cook over the stovetop, divide 12 by 2 and then subtract a minute from that which equals 5 minutes. That’s how long you need to cook the pasta in an Instant Pot.
- Just add enough water to cover the pasta.
- Do a quick release (i.e – you turn the valve and allow the steam to release quickly) when the cooking cycle is complete.
The same rule applies to elbow Macaroni as well.
What makes this pasta recipe stand out?
TABASCO® sauce! Adding a hot sauce to your macaroni pasta can be a game changer. The quantity you want to add depends on how hot you like your food. We love spicy food – so we used about ¼ cup 🙂
Why TABASCO® sauce?
TABASCO® brand Original Red Sauce is made with just three ingredients: aged red peppers, salt, and distilled vinegar. I love how versatile it is and can be used in just about any food or drink. Also, it is Non-GMO, Gluten-free and has zero calories.
You can use TABASCO® while cooking this mac n cheese or add it at the end to increase the flavor. Though I prefer the Original red sauce for this recipe, you could experiment with the other TABASCO® flavors as well – Green sauce made from Jalapeño peppers or Chipotle pepper sauce to add smokiness to your dish.
We go through a lot of TABASCO® sauce and use Walmart to stock up on our hot sauce supplies. You can find this hot sauce in the salad dressings aisle.
Click on the image below to get $1 off of 5 Oz, or larger, any flavor of TABASCO® sauce.
How to store leftover mac and cheese?
- Freezing Mac and Cheese – Don’t even bother freezing. It doesn’t taste great and it is hard to get that creamy consistency back
- Refrigerating mac and cheese – Homemade macaroni and cheese taste best within a day or two.
- Reheating mac and cheese – To reheat it, add two tablespoons of milk and heat it on slow heat over a stove top. Add more milk as needed. The other option would be to microwave it for 30 seconds at a time, stir and add milk as needed to get the consistency you want.
How to make macaroni and cheese in an Instant Pot?
To make macaroni and cheese in a pressure cooker follow the steps below –
- Set the Instant Pot in the saute mode, adjust the temperature to less. When the Instant Pot reads hot, add butter and allow it to melt. Add shrimp along with garlic and hot sauce, and saute it for a minute or two.
- Add macaroni pasta along with milk, water, and salt. Cancel the saute mode and switch to the ‘Pressure Cook’ or ‘Manual’ mode. Set it for low pressure and adjust the time to 4 minutes.
- Once the cooking cycle is complete, do a quick release i.e move the vent towards venting to release steam. Set the Instant Pot to saute mode again and adjust the temperature to ‘Less’. Add milk, along with the cheese and pepper and mix well.
- Continue to cook until all the liquid has absorbed and this mac and cheese dish is in a consistency that you like.
- Serve immediately.
– Instant Pot pressure cooker review – Do you really need one?
– 10 things to know before using your Instant Pot
– All you need to know about your Instant Pot
Other recipes for you to try on your Instant Pot
- Indian Chickpeas curry (Chole)
- Dal fry
- Kidney beans curry (Rajma)
- How to make yogurt in Instant Pot
- How to ferment Idli batter in Instant Pot
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The Best Creamy Instant Pot Macaroni And Cheese Recipe
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 cups elbow macaroni
- 3-1/2 cups of water, or as needed
- ¼ cup TABASCO® pepper sauce
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup Monterey cheese
- A dash of pepper
- Set the Instant Pot in the saute mode, adjust the temperature to less. When the Instant Pot reads hot, add butter and allow it to melt. Add shrimp along with garlic and saute it for a minute or two [ see note].
- Add TABASCO® sauce and macaroni pasta along with water, and salt. Cancel the saute mode and switch to the 'Pressure Cook' or 'Manual' mode. Set it for low pressure and adjust the time to 4 minutes.
- Once the cooking cycle is complete, do a quick release i.e move the vent towards venting to release steam. Set the Instant Pot to saute mode again and adjust the temperature to 'Less'. Add milk, along with the cheese and pepper and mix well.
- Continue to cook until all the liquid has absorbed and the mac and cheese is in a consistency that you like.
- Serve immediately.
- You can always saute the shrimp and garlic over the stove top and serve it as a side with mac and cheese. That way you don’t have to cook a different version for the kids or for anyone who prefers the classic recipe.
Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to products we love and recommend. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Disclaimer: Approximate Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.