Tag Archive for instant pot mac and cheese

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

When you think about your ultimate comfort food, I’m guessing that it includes cheese. For me, it’s probably grilled cheese, or alternatively, mac and cheese. 

We all probably grew up with it; those horrible orange-coloured, cello-wrapped slices of fake cheese melty between two slices of bread, and, of course, the blue box, with that nuclear-orange-coloured packet of powdered cheese. 

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Photo credit: Jeremy Dyson

But you’re not a kid now! You’re a grown-ass adult, and you deserve a grown-ass adult mac and cheese. 

What I love so very much about this recipe (which I have now been making for ages, but never actually bothered to post) is that it makes your favourite comfort food in about the same amount of time it takes you to make a boxed mac and cheese, except that it’s homemade. 

That’s right, kids. Homemade mac and cheese in the time it would take you to make boxed. 

We owe this amazing feat to that culinary MVP, the Instant Pot. 

Yes, yes, I’m obsessed. Noted. Moving on. 

So, in addition to this mac and cheese being quick, it can also very happily become a party. 

On a regular night, if you just need to feed the kids (or yourself after the bar, no judgement), I would pair this with a nice salad. 

But if you want to party with the mac and cheese, it’s down. Make a double batch (at least) and then break out a bunch of accoutrement. Dish up big, gooey bowls of mac and cheese, and then allow people to top it as they see fit. Kinda like sundaes, but with pasta. How can that be bad? 

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Bar

Photo credit: Jeremy Dyson

Here are some topping ideas: 

  • Toasted breadcrumbs (panko is king if you can get it)
  • Cherry tomato slices
  • Chopped fresh herbs (basil would be especially good here)
  • Arugula dressed with a little olive oil and salt
  • Caramelized onions 
  • Fancy flavoured salts
  • Balsamic reduction
  • Truffle oil (for the most fanciest, grown-up-est mac and cheese)
  • Bacon bits, pulled pork or pork belly for the omnis 

Add a salad and some crusty bread, and you have a mac and cheese party! 

A quick word about cheese: obviously cheddar is traditional. I like to use a mix; gruyere is great, because it has that beautiful stringy consistency when it melts. I also like to throw a little hard cheese into the mix; a pecorino or a parmesan. They have a nice nutty flavour, and add salt as well. I will basically use whatever I have on hand, but if I’m making it to serve to a crowd, I’ll seek out some fancier cheeses. Fancier cheeses = more grownup mac and cheese. 

Finally, it’s easy to adapt this recipe to be gluten free. Because it’s not made in a traditional way with a roux, just swap out your regular pasta for gluten-free, and you’ll be golden. 

Mac and Cheese Instant Pot

Photo credit: Jeremy Dyson

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese 

(serves 2-4)

Ingredients

  • 225 g dried elbow macaroni 
  • 2 cups water 
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 

Method

  1. Place 2 cups of water in the Instant Pot, along with the salt and the macaroni. Give it a good stir. Place lid on, seal, and set to manual pressure cooking for 4 minutes. 
  2. After the 4 minutes are up, open the seal and allow the pressure to release. 
  3. Stir in the butter, milk, and smoked paprika. Stir until the butter is melted. 
  4. Add the cheese and continue to stir until it melts. If the sauce is too thin, turn on the sauté feature on the pot and allow it to cook down until you get the desired consistency. 
  5. Serve immediately. 

 

The Cheesiest! Vegan Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Now, not to sound like I’m totally fawning, but like many of you, I really love my Instant Pot. I got one at Christmas, and I have yet to put it away. It lives on my counter, and I use it a few times a week. It’s especially revolutionized how I cook beans–40 minutes, no soaking and done! It’s kind of amazing.

Vegan Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

I started making Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot a few months ago. The non-vegan kind goes like this:

  1. Water and pasta in the pot with a little butter, cook for 4 minutes.
  2. Release. Stir in milk and shredded cheese, put the lid back on for a few minutes.
  3. Stir, adjust seasonings, serve.

For real, it basically takes the same amount of time that it would take me to make a boxed mac and cheese, yet it’s homemade and soooo much better.

To make a Vegan Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, you could use a similar process, but just swap out the cheese, milk and butter for vegan versions, but I decided to take it one step further.

In my cookbook, Aquafabulous!: 100+ Egg-Free Vegan Recipes Using Aquafabathere’s a recipe for vegan mac and cheese. Basically, you make a “cheese” sauce, cook the pasta, then combine the two. This recipe is a take on that one.

The Cheesiest Vegan Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

The base of the sauce is carrots (sounds weird, but the colour is perfect, plus hidden veggies–WIN) and cashews, with some non-dairy milk and, of course, nooch for flavour. Is there anything nutritional yeast cannot do?

In the cookbook version, you make the sauce on the stovetop, and cook the pasta in a separate pot. You could do that here, as well, but why? If you can double up and cook both at once, you’ll save time. You do, however, need a small pan that will fit inside your IP, so if you don’t have that, just cook the sauce elements first, remove, and then cook the pasta.

The cheesiness of this Vegan Instant Pot Mac and Cheese comes from the fact that it has double cheese–the creamy, cheesy sauce, and shredded non dairy cheese. Because why have one when you can have both, amIright?

Vegan Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups pasta (I like Catelli Smart–not a paid endorsement)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1-2 carrots (about 1/2 cup), peeled and cut into coins
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tapioca flour/starch
  • 1 cup non dairy milk
  • 1 cup vegan cheese shreds

Method: 

  1. Place 2.5 cups of water and 2 cups of pasta, along with the vegan butter in your Instant Pot. Place the trivet on top of the pasta and water.
  2. In a smaller pot (small enough to fit inside your IP), place the carrots and cashews, and add 1/2 cup of water. Cover with foil, and place inside the pot, on top of the trivet.
  3. Place the lid on, ensuring it’s sealed, and set the pot on the manual setting for 4 minutes. After the cycle is complete, release the pressure manually and remove the lid. Remove the carrot/cashew mixture from the pot and place it in a blender. Remove the trivet, and stir the pasta well.
  4. To the carrot mixture in the blender, add the rest of the ingredients. Blend well until smooth.
  5. Pour the cheese sauce mixture back into the pot, and add the vegan cheese. Stir well. Turn the sauté feature on for a few minutes, stirring often, just to activate the flours and thicken the sauce and allow the cheese shreds to melt.
  6. Serve immediately.