Instant Pot 3-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese–creamy, cheese mac and cheese with toasted panko breadcrumbs on top.
Instant Pot 3-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
This mac and cheese is decadent and over the top delicious. It makes a whole lot and is perfect to bring to a potluck or to serve a crowd.
I used my new CrispLid* to toast the panko breadcrumbs and it brought the macaroni and cheese to a whole new level. I made a video to demonstrate this recipe. Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel where I post weekly Instant Pot videos.
More Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipes…
Instant Pot Broccoli Chicken Mac and Cheese
Instant Pot Spinach Artichoke Mac and Cheese
Instant Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni and Cheese
Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash Mac and Cheese
What Pressure Cooker Did You Use?
To make Instant Pot 3-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*. I love this Instant Pot because it has the yogurt making function which I use almost weekly. It has two pressure settings (high and low), and there are also little slots in the handles so that you can rest the lid there instead of putting it down on your counter-top.
Instant Pot 3-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 minutes (plus 5 minute NPR)
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 10 servings 1x
Creamy, cheese mac and cheese with toasted panko breadcrumbs on top.
- 3 3/4 cups water
- 16 oz uncooked macaroni noodles
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp ground mustard
- 1 cup whole milk or half and half
- 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar
- 8 ounces grated monterey jack cheese
- 8 ounces grated colby jack cheese
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (optional)
- Pour the water into the Instant Pot. Add in the macaroni, butter, salt, pepper and ground mustard.
- Cover and secure the lid. Make sure the valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 4 minutes on high pressure. When the time is up let the pot sit for 5 minutes and then move the valve to venting.
- Remove the lid and stir in the milk. Then stir in the cheeses a couple of cups at a time until all the cheese is stirred in and creamy and smooth.
- Optional breadcrumb topping: Unplug your Instant Pot. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the macaroni and cheese. Place your CrispLid on top of the pot. Click the lid into place and set the temperature to 500 degrees and the timer to 4 minutes. When the time is up remove the lid and serve the mac and cheese. If you don’t have a CrispLid then you can scoop the mac and cheese into a 9×13 inch pan. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and broil in your oven until the breadcrumbs are toasted.
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Instant Pot
*Karen Petersen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Dianne Metzar says
This looks good and easy. However, here is my question: On the box of elbow macaroni is says 1lb. or 454g. Is that the same as the 16 oz? Should I measure the dry macaroni in my Pyrex measuring cup to 16 oz. which is 2 cups? Or do I use the entire box of macaroni? thanks,
Yes that’s right. 16 ounces is 1 pound. Use the entire box.
Made this tonight per your instructions, except I didn’t’t have any colby jack to grate. I substituted with half of a leftover circle of cotija cheese instead. It gave it a Mexican kick! Not for everyone I’m sure, but I’m gobbling it up as I type. Finished it off in the oven with panko and I’m very happy with the result. Thanks Karen!
I’d def eat that
Silly question! I’m not familiar with the ounce for measuring. When measuring out he 8oz of cheese is that mass or fluid ounce?
weight not volume…
It was really good, but I made some changes. Everything was the same except I used liquid ground mustard, 1 tsp salt, 4oz of each cheese as I thought 24 oz was a lot (sharp cheddar, colby, monterey jack), 1/2 cup of half and half, and it was cheesy enough for me. Next time, I’ll try a TBSP less butter, and maybe some gouda !
Gouda would be great!
Before I try this, does it freeze well? If I want to cut the recipe in half would it still work ok in the 6 quart IP?
yes it should freeze just fine. Yes you can halve the recipe in the 6 quart!
Thank you for letting me know!
Would I need to change ingrediant amounts if made in a 8 qt pot?
You can keep it the same in the 8 quart.
Help – I made this last evening. Although tasty it was a globby messs. I followed direction but so liquids and cheese globbed together. What did I do wrong.
Perhaps you used grated cheese in a bag? That causes clumping sometimes. I like to grate my cheese off the block for best results.
I made this and it turn out delicious. I used my airfryer lid to brown the bread crumbs. I do need to learn to cut this recipe down there’s just me. I’ll be eating all week and then some. Hugs.
Oh ha. Yes it serves a crowd!
James Goacher says
This looks a possibility for me. I am not anamoured with Maroroni Cheese. I had a bad experience with it 40 od years ago but this version enables me to try it out. Cook the Pasta and then use a small amount to try. I can always use the remaining Pasta with something else.
Hope you like it! 🤞
OMG! This macaroni and cheese is the best. I loved the cheese combination and the flavor was so good, my whole family loved it. I thought there might be too much liquid but there wasn’t. This will be the only instant pot macaroni and cheese I will make from now on. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!
Oh how awesome! I’m glad that you loved it Grace! Thanks for sharing your experience.
Can I use Mexican 3-cheese blend?
Yes it would be tasty I bet!
Could you use cream cheese and cheddar?
Yes I actually think cream cheese would be super amazing!!
Olga Elkis says
Can I add condensed milk instead of regular milk?
Also- would it be a good idea to add cooked seafood to make it a seafood Mac & Cheese? (I have cooked Alaska Pollock strips that I was thinking to add at the end.
If you mean evaporated milk then yes you could do that! And seafood sounds amazing 🙂
I made this for Super Bowl. It was good. There was quite a bit leftover, as well as buffalo chicken dip. I COMBINED the two, added a chopped fresh tomato and reheated on medium in the microwave the first night of leftover usage and the 2nd night on stovetop and it was incredible!!
Thank you for your many delicious recipes.
Wow that sounds so tasty!!!
Very cheesy. I would only do 4 ounces of each cheese. Has great flavor.
Katie Johnson says
Agreed, I just do 8 oz total and that’s plenty of cheesiness for my family.
So in the 6qt pot theres enough room to double this recipe?
At least enough room to 1 1/2 times the recipe. Eyeball it. Make sure not to fill over 2/3 full.
How do I double the recipe?
Double all the ingredients and keep the same cooking time. https://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/how-to-double-instant-pot-recipes/
Carolyn Ratcliffe says
I would like to take this to a church dinner. How do I keep it from drying out? It may have to set for 45 minutes before eating.
I would bring a little milk (like a third cup) and stir it in there right before eating to loosen it up.
Going to make this for thanksgiving. Could I use mozzarella instead of sharp cheddar?
It won’t be as flavorful. And it will be really really stringy and cheesy. I would not use quite so much if using mozzarella.
How would I adapt this for a 3qt mini?
I would halve the recipe and keep the same cooking time.
Sorry – but when do you add the milk?
Sara Brown says
Step 3 says to add the milk
It’s in step 3
What do you think about adding bacon bits to this? How much would you suggest? Thanks
Heck yes. I’d add 1/3 cup
Patricia Braun says
I’m going to try this and add smoked sausage to it for a winter dinner tonight.
Sounds like a great plan!
Cowboy Ken says
At the very least 1/3 cup. I like my bacon!!
Stephanie W says
This is delicious. My daughter who is a Kraft mac n cheese loyalist decided this was her favorite and had multiple helpings and asked for it 3 nights in a row.
I modified to only do 2 bags of cheese as i thought it was cheesy enough, used 1% milk and i didn’t try the panko but it was still amazingly delicious!
So glad she likes it!
Can I add cheddar cheese condensed soup?
Hi Morgan, I think you could. I might stir it in afterwards because it might contain flour that would give you the burn signal. Or you could just plop it on top of the noodles and don’t stir it in (layering it).
Gus Swanson says
Made this tonight in my instant pot. The first thing I cooked Since my mom bought it for me. It turned out good then I put it in the oven on broil and not even one min it caught on file. And it became fail. But did enjoy some that was set aside with out the bread crumbs
Oh no!! I am sorry that happened to you. Next time lower your oven rack so it’s not so close to the burner.
Gus Swanson says
Okay thx. It’s a great dish awesome for my first time using the instant pot. And today I tried it with chicken and broccoli it came out awesome.
Yum that sounds fantastic!
How important is it that the cheeses are grated? My grocer store (Hyvee) doesn’t seem to have a variety of grated cheese.
I just grate my own from the block 🙂
Do you know if this would work with GF pasta?
I personally have not tried it. I would worry that the gluten free pasta would disintegrate.
Gluten free pasta cooks fine. Do it all the time
Which brand do you use? Some are mushier than others but I’m not sure which is the strongest.
When it says it makes 10 servings, are those side servings, or whole 10 entree portions? Might make this for a church dinner and want to make sure I make enough!
I’d say 10-12 side servings. I brought it for a church potluck and it was eaten in no time. I doubled it in the 6 quart.
Angie Phillips says
Do you have any issues doubling this in the Insta pot? Did you do anything different on time? I wanna make this for a birthday party with about 30 people.
I didn’t change anything. I doubled it and it worked great!
So in the 6qt pot theres enough room to double this recipe?
I am wondering the same thing. Need to make for a large get together in my 6 qt.
yes I doubled it in my 6 quart 🙂
Looks like a very very delicious dinner to eat.
A pound of pasta is too much for my family of two. Do I just halve all the ingredients and leave the times the same?
WHAT is a is lid?
The crisplid? It’s just an attachment that can melt cheese, toast breadcrumbs and air fry stuff. It fits on your Instant Pot. It’s made by Mealthy.
looks great BUT i would take out the colby and substitute it with 4oz smoked gouda
I like that idea Linda!
I think I’ll make this for Thanksgiving! Thanks for the recipe!
I made this tonight – so delicious and so easy! I used Monterey Jack, cheddar, and mozzarella since I had those on hand. And I used less cheese than the recipe called for and it was still delicious! Would this freeze well?
I am not sure about freezing. I am always wary of freezing dairy.
Can I use cheddar instead of colby?
Yes that will work.
Could I substitute the water with chicken broth? Thanks!
Pete, female says
Don’t have an instant pot so can this be made for slow cooker or oven?
You could make this on the stove. I would cook the noodles as stated on the package and drain off the water. In a separate large skillet melt the butter, stir in the milk and seasonings. Then add in all your cheeses and melt until it is a smooth consistency. Add in the pasta and fold in. Remove from the heat. Then you can salt and pepper to taste. If you want the panko on top then pour the mac and cheese into a pan and sprinkle the crumbs on top and broil in the oven for 5 minutes.
Shelley Stevens says
When you say “8 ounces” of the cheeses, are you saying 1 cup or 1/2 pound?
Half a pound. I use my digital scale to measure the weight.