Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with broccoli is an easy, hands-off dinner that is made in 20 minutes. All the creamy goodness and taste of the stovetop mac and cheese without the hassle!
Looking for an easy, homemade mac and cheese recipe that doesn't take a ton of effort to make? Agreed, the stovetop version doesn't exactly take a ton of effort, but what if you could simplify it even further?
What if you could do away with the multiple steps (cooking the pasta, draining it, making the sauce and bringing it all together) as well as the number of dishes (two saucepans, colander) to wash after? If you own an instant pot (affiliate link), you can do exactly that. Try this hands-free instant pot version and you'll not go back to the stovetop to make your mac and cheese ever again. I have added broccoli to the pasta but if you're not a fan, you can easily skip it.
While we are on the subject of pasta, here's another delicious pasta recipe: goulash or American chop suey. A hearty one-pot dish with ground lamb, macaroni, tomatoes, broth, spices and seasonings, this is a kid-friendly meal and a crowd-pleaser!
And here's another one: instant pot minestrone soup. This one's the best, most comforting vegan soup I know. It's chockfull of a medley of veggies, beans, and pasta cooked in vegetable broth and ripe tomatoes.
Let's go over the ingredients for making this easy-peasy mac and cheese recipe with broccoli.
- Macaroni (affiliate link)
- All-purpose flour (affiliate link)
- Butter (affiliate link)
- Vegetable broth (affiliate link)
- Garlic powder (affiliate link)
- Black pepper (affiliate link)
- Red chilli flakes (affiliate link)
- Sea salt, to taste (affiliate link)
- Whole milk
- Half and half cream
- Sharp Cheddar cheese
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
Note: Exact quantities of the ingredients are given in the recipe card below.
How to make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with Broccoli
Step 1 - Switch on the instant pot to saute and add the butter and flour. Stir continuously until the flour is slightly browned in the butter. Add a few splashes of milk to keep it from sticking to the pot (2 minutes). Cancel saute.
Add the macaroni, broth, garlic powder, black pepper, chilli flakes, sea salt and rosemary to the steel insert of your instant pot (picture 1). Close the lid, make sure the steam release handle is sealed and press the pressure cooking button on high. Set the timer to 4 minutes. Once the pot beeps, do a quick release and open the pot. Remove the rosemary sprigs.
Step 2 - Add the broccoli and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the broccoli is slightly tender. Add a little broth or water if there is less liquid (picture 2).
Step 3 - Add the milk, half and half, cheddar and parmesan and cook for two minutes or until the cheese has melted (picture 3). Mac and Cheese is ready to be served (picture 4).
This recipe is pretty customizable. These are some of the ingredients you can substitute.
- Broth - I used vegetable broth in this recipe because I wanted a 100% vegetarian pasta, but you can use chicken broth if you want to.
- Herbs - Instead of rosemary, use the herbs of your choice. Thyme, parsley or oregano or anything else that you like.
- Cheese - You can add some mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese in addition to cheddar. But do add cheddar and make it sharp or extra sharp! Using a mild or medium cheddar just doesn't cut it with mac and cheese.
- Milk - Swap with evaporated milk.
- Chilli flakes - leave out the chilli flakes if you don't fancy the bite of chilli in pasta.
- Broccoli - Don't like broccoli? Simply skip it and make a classic mac and cheese instead.
Why this instant pot Mac and cheese recipe works
1. It is made using real ingredients in about the same time it would take to make a boxed mac and cheese on the stovetop.
Ever had a look at the list of ingredients at the back of the box, by the way? You'll be surprised and alarmed at the amount of artificial and processed stuff in there. So then, why not go for the real stuff?
2. It really is a way easier recipe than the stovetop version. The instant pot makes a mac and cheese dinner so simple and stress-free with most of the cumbersome steps eliminated.
Go for it!
How to store and reheat leftover mac and cheese
Unfortunately, mac and cheese is not the kind of dish that tastes better the next day. It is best had fresh when the cheese is all melty and gooey. As it cools, the pasta will absorb most of the cheese and liquid. If, however, you have leftovers and want to store them, use an airtight container with a lid and keep it in the fridge. Don't leave the pasta uncovered or the cheese will become hard and lumpy.
It is best to reheat pasta in a saucepan with a little milk on gentle heat to get it back to a smooth consistency. If you're reheating it in your instant pot, make sure to do it on the saute mode set to LESS. It won't be as good as new but you can still make a good meal out of it.
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with Broccoli
- 1 pound or 450 grams macaroni
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- 1 sprig rosemary or thyme
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup half and half cream
- 2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese optional
- 1 small broccoli head cut into florets
- Switch on the instant pot to saute and add the butter and flour. Stir continuously until the flour is slightly browned in the butter. Add a few splashes of milk to keep it from sticking to the pot (2 minutes). Cancel saute.
- Add the macaroni, broth, garlic powder, black pepper, chilli flakes, sea salt and rosemary. Close the lid, make sure the steam release handle is sealed and press the pressure cooking button. Set the timer to 4 minutes. Once the pot beeps, do a quick release and open the pot. Remove the rosemary sprigs.
- Add the broccoli and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the broccoli is slightly tender. Add a little broth or water if there is less liquid for the broccoli to cook.
- Add the milk, half and half, cheddar and parmesan (if using) and cook for two minutes or until the cheese has melted and coats the pasta. Mac and Cheese is ready to be served.
- Use sharp or extra sharp cheddar for maximum flavor and taste.
- Substitute the vegetable broth with chicken broth if you want to.
- Instead of rosemary, add any other herb of your choice.
- You can sub the fresh milk with evaporated milk as well.
- If you don't want to use Parmesan, add mozzarella or Monterey Jack.
- Skip the broccoli if you don't care for it.
- Store the leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator.
- Reheat the mac and cheese in a saucepan on gentle heat with a few tablespoons of milk added to it to make it smooth again.
Did you make this instant pot mac and cheese? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!
Sakina Husain says
Saima I tried making this macaroni. It turned out to be absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
It was delicious!
What setting do you put the instant pot on after you cancel Sauté in the first step? I am new to the instant pot. I put it on “slow cook hi” but then it wasn’t hot enough and mine ended up super watery. Still tasty though! I’d like to make it again and try to fix the watery consistency.
Hi Kristi. I'm sorry, your question is perfectly legit. It's the pressure cooker setting on high. I'll mention it in the recipe card too.
In steps 3 and 4 does “cook” mean pressure cook on high? So three rounds of pressure cooking?
Hi Katya. In steps 3 and 4 you don't need to pressure cook. Just cook it on sauté.