The other day somebody asked on an Instant Pot forum for a Kraft mac and cheese recipe. Derision soon followed. “Why would you waste your time?” “It’s more mess to clean up.” Etc, etc. Hopefully somebody chimed in with some helpful advice. I’m a realist when it comes to cooking. Not everybody has time or the know how, but if one more person cooks a meal at home instead of eating fast food I’m happy. The exchange inspired me to tinker with my Instant Pot. How long would it actually take? Would it be any more, or less, work for something already relatively simple? The results surprised me.
This post may contain links from a trusted partner. Thank you for supporting Wagon Pilot Adventures.
The first step was to test a few variations of water measurements, cooking times, and when to mix in ingredients. Once I created a recipe I was happy with, I tested both the Instant Pot and traditional stove top methods to see the results. Three minutes. That’s right, I shaved three minutes off the cooking time for the classic blue box mac & cheese by using the Instant Pot. I wasn’t expecting such a big difference with the amount of time the IP usually takes to come to pressure. As for cleanup, even that is easier in the Instant Pot since there is no need to drain the pasta.
Traditional Method: 7 minutes to bring water to boil, 7.5 minutes to boil pasta.
Instant Pot Method: 7 minutes to come to pressure, 4-5 minutes to cook. No need to drain water from pot.
The combination I found to work best was adding the butter, pasta, and water into the Instant Pot for the cooking cycle, then mixing in the cheese packet and milk after. I always cook two boxes at a time, so that is the quantity in the recipe. It should be similar if only making a single box or increasing to more boxes. Note: I always eyeball the amount of milk while mixing in the cheese, so I didn’t indicate a quantity here.
- 2 boxes Kraft Mac & Cheese (or similar other brand)
- 3 Tablespoons butter or margarine (add more if desired)
- 2 cups water
- Milk (amount for desired sauce thickness)
This recipe was developed and tested with an Instant Pot 6 Quart ultra model
- Add butter, water, and pasta to Instant Pot
- Lock lid and cook on Manual High Pressure for 4-5 minutes. (4 al dente, 5 soft)
- Quick Release pressure. If possible on your IP model, start with a slower valve release to prevent any foaming.
- Add about half a cup of milk and one cheese packet, stir well.
- Add other cheese packet and enough milk to bring to desired consistency.