Make this Loaded Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe right now! Piping hot elbow macaroni swimming in creamy cheddar cheese sauce. Sprinkled with buttery toasted golden breadcrumbs, smoky crispy bacon bits, and crunchy scallions. Indulge in this ultimate kid-friendly comfort food.
Mac and cheese is one of the most popular cheese recipes in the United States.
My childhood was loaded with “Mac and Cheese”. Our pantry was always stocked up on the little blue boxes.
As it was one of the easiest dish for me to make as an after-school snack.
But, I didn’t take my first bite of a real rich & creamy Mac and Cheese until my teen years.
Gotta be KidDing?!
Mac and Cheese from scratch was the first dish I’ve learnt to make at my first summer job.
So simple yet sooo satisfying to eat.
Right after I got off work the first day, I couldn’t resist going to the grocery store and bought all the Mac and Cheese ingredients home.
Where have you been all my life, Mac and Cheese?
You must think I’m crazy. But, it was pure deliciousness, comfort and pleasure.
You may not be able to make this everyday, but you MUST try this at least once in your lifetime!! 🙂
Enjoy life’s simple indulgence with this Loaded Instant Pot Mac and Cheese.
You’ll Enjoy This Loaded Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Because:
- Packed with rich flavors, creamy cheesy deliciousness, and complex mouthfeel
- Simple & Easy to make
- Accessible ingredients
- Ultimate pure comfort food – very satisfying to eat!!
This Loaded Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is Great for:
- Comforting lunch or dinner
- Holiday dinner’s side dish
- Gatherings, Events, & Parties (including Birthday Parties!)
Tools for Loaded Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe
Tips for Loaded Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe
1. How to Avoid Graininess in Macaroni and Cheese?
- Freshly Grated Cheese: Use freshly grated cheese instead of pre-shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese contains cellulose powder that doesn’t break down nor make for smooth melting.
- American Cheese: Replace mild cheddar with American cheese. American cheese will act as an emulsifier to ensure a smooth finish.
- Low Heat: Use low heat to melt the cheese, as high temperature may cause lumps in the cheese sauce.
2. Got leftovers? How to Reheat Macaroni and Cheese?
- Place macaroni and cheese in a cold pan. Pour in some milk and reheat over low heat. Stir constantly with a silicone spatula.
3. Which Hot Sauce to Use?
- Sriracha Sauce – thicker consistency, more sweet & spicy
- Frank’s Hot Sauce – more liquidy consistency, tastes sour and not sweet at all
4. Serve Immediately!
For the best tasting experience, eat immediately! As the smooth and creamy cheese will cool and harden the longer it sits in room temperature.
Watch: How To Make This Loaded Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe Video
Can’t see the cooking video? Watch it here.
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Recipe type: Dinner, Lunch, Party Food, Pasta, One Pot Meals, Side Dish, Easy
Serving: 4 - 6
- 16 ounces (454 g) elbow macaroni
- 4 cups (1 L) cold running water
- 4 tablespoons (60 g) unsalted butter
- 14 ounces (397 g) sharp cheddar, freshly grated
- 6 ounces (170 g) mild cheddar or American cheese, freshly grated
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 12 ounces (355 ml) can evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) Sriracha sauce or Frank’s hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon (2 g) ground mustard
- 4 – 8 strips bacon
- 2 stalks scallion, finely chopped
- ½ cup (31 g) panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) unsalted butter
- Kosher salt to taste
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- Crispy Bacon Bits: Place bacon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place it on the middle rack of a preheated 400°F oven. Bake bacon until crispy and golden-brown. Set a timer for roughly 18 - 20 minutes. Place them on a paper towel to absorb the excess fat. Cut into bacon bits.
- Pressure Cook the Elbow Macaroni: Add 16 ounces (454 g) of elbow macaroni, 4 cups (1 L) of water, and a pinch of kosher salt into your pressure cooker. Close the lid and pressure cook at High Pressure for 4 minutes. Do a gradual quick release. There is a slight chance that a tiny amount of foam will come out with the steam. Have a towel handy just in case. Open lid carefully.
- Prepare the Crispy Breadcrumbs: While the macaroni is pressure cooking, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon (15 g) of unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil, and ½ cup (31 g) of panko breadcrumbs to the skillet. Toast the breadcrumbs until golden brown. Taste and add kosher salt for seasoning.
- Mix Wet Ingredients: In a medium mixing bowl, beat 2 large eggs and mix in 1 tsp (2 g) ground mustard, 1 tsp (5 ml) Sriracha, and 12 ounces (355 ml) evaporated milk. Mix well.
- Make the Mac & Cheese: Keep heat on low or medium low (Instant Pot: use the keep warm function). Place 4 tablespoons (60 g) of unsalted butter into the pressure cooked macaroni. Mix well with a silicone spatula and let the butter melt.
Pour in the wet ingredients and mix well. Add in the grated cheese ⅓ portion at a time and stir constantly until the cheese fully melt.
If the mac and cheese is too runny, turn the heat to medium (Instant Pot: Use Sauté Less function - Click cancel, Sauté and Adjust button twice) to reduce it down.
- Taste & Season: Taste and season with kosher salt and ground black pepper. You will probably need quite a few pinches of kosher salt to brighten the dish.
- Serve: Generously sprinkle crispy breadcrumb, bacon bits, then scallion over a bowl of macaroni & cheese and serve immediately!
1. Use freshly grated cheese instead of pre-shredded cheese.
2. Replace mild cheddar with American cheese.
3. Use low heat to melt the cheese instead of high heat.
*see above tips in the post for further details
Reheat Instructions: Place macaroni and cheese in a cold pan. Pour in some milk and reheat over low heat. Stir constantly with a silicone spatula.
This recipe was inspired by the Macaroni and Cheese recipe in the cook book – The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J. KENJI LÓPEZ-ALT. His work and dedication to food truly inspires us.