Instant Pot Kraft Mac and Cheese Recipe is an easy way to make Kraft macaroni and cheese or any boxed mac and cheese in your pressure cooker. This easy recipe takes just a few minutes and is quicker than the stove top method.
Yes, you can make boxed mac and cheese in the Instant Pot or any electric pressure cooker, really. It's super easy and definitely a kid friendly Instant Pot recipe!
I grew up with the blue box of Kraft Mac and Cheese, and it's perfect when you need a quick meal. Since we're home more now, I picked up some boxed mac and cheese to make for the kids' lunches. They love the stuff!
And, if you're wondering why anyone would want to make boxed mac and cheese in the Instant Pot, I'll tell you. Easy clean-up and no stirring! No lifting a heavy pot of water either!
If you're looking for a homemade macaroni and cheese recipe in the Instant Pot try my Creamy Mac and Cheese or Kielbasa Mac and Cheese or Instant Pot creamy mac and cheese with ham or Instant Pot Buffalo chicken mac and cheese .
You only need 3 ingredients plus water for this boxed mac and cheese Instant Pot recipe. They should be easy to find in your grocery store.
- Kraft Mac and Cheese -- Blue box
- Water -- to cook the pasta and build pressure in the electric pressure cooker
- Butter -- for creamy Instant Pot mac
- Milk -- just enough milk to thin out the cheese sauce. Whole milk or 2 percent milk work best.
Optional -- I spray the inner pot with cooking spray before adding the dry macaroni. This helps prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
How to Make Kraft Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
First spray the bottom of the inner pot with non stick spray. Then, add the dry pasta to the pot.
For this recipe, I used 2 boxes Kraft Mac and Cheese so that we'd have some leftovers. I've even made 3 boxes without a problem.
Next, add water, and place the lid on the pressure cooker.
Cook the boxed mac and cheese for 4 minutes on high pressure or manual high pressure. This is the same cooking time for 1, 2 or 3 boxes.
Do a quick release or gradual pressure release when 4 minutes are up. A natural release takes too long for pasta.
After pressure cooking, stir the macaroni with a wooden spoon or silicone spoon. It might be a little sticky, but it loosens up as you stir it. If it seems like there's too much water, don't worry. The macaroni absorbs the extra water as it cools.
Then, add the cheese powder and butter. Stir the mac and cheese until it's all well combined.
Add enough milk for the sauce to get creamy. This is a personal preference at my house, but it is about ½ cup of milk.
The sauce thickens up as it cools down, so I like to transfer it to a large serving bowl.
You can also just let it sit for a few minutes before serving.
How to Store
Store leftover Instant Pot macaroni in an airtight container in your refrigerator. It should keep for up to 4 days.
Basic mac and cheese is awesome on its own, but you can make it even better!
To make Instant Pot Kraft mac and cheese with hot dogs, add some sliced cooked hot dogs after pressure cooking. I make hot dogs in my air fryer, or microwave, slice them up and toss them into the cooked mac and cheese before serving.
If you like cheesier macaroni and cheese, stir in shredded cheese before serving. We like Colby Jack cheese or sharp cheddar cheese or Monterey jack cheese.
Want to spice things up? Add some Buffalo sauce or your favorite hot sauce! Even basic spices like black pepper, kosher salt and garlic powder add flavor.
For extra creamy mac, use heavy cream instead of milk
After testing the recipe with different amounts of water, I found that 3 cups of water is perfect for 2 boxes of macaroni. If you like your mac and cheese with thinner sauce, you can add 3 ½ cups of water.
Use 4 cups water for 3 boxes of mac and cheese in the Instant Pot.
The best way to get creamy boxed mac and cheese without a ton of liquid is to stir in the butter and cheese packet with the macaroni first. Then, add just enough milk to make it creamy or to your desired consistency.
Never add milk and cheese during pressure cooking, as they will curdle. Add milk and the cheese packet and any extra cheese after pressure cooking.
Non stick spray helps prevent the pasta from sticking to the pot.
Always do a quick release with box mac and cheese.
Give the macaroni a good stir after pressure cooking. This will help pasta absorb any remaining water and prevent the elbow macaroni noodles from sticking.
Instant Pot Kraft Mac and Cheese
- 2 7.25 ounce boxes Kraft Mac and Cheese
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 3 cups cold water
- ½ cup milk add gradually and use enough to reach desired consistency
- Spray inner pot with non stick cooking spray
- Pour the macaroni into the Instant Pot, and add water
- Place lid on pot, make sure valve is on sealing position, and pressure cook for 4 minutes on high pressure
- Pot will take a few minutes to pressurize, then will count down and cook for 4 minutes. When pot beeps, do a quick release or gradual quick release to minimize liquid spraying out
- When pin drops, carefully remove lid, stir macaroni, and stir in butter and cheese powder until smooth and creamy.
- Stir in enough milk to reach desired consistency
Nutrition information is estimated. Please do your own calculation to fit special diets.
I hope you enjoy this Kraft mac n cheese recipe as much as my family does. It's a kid's ultimate comfort food around here! It's a also a great option for making mac and cheese if you don't have a stove!
If you do try this easy recipe, please leave a star rating and/or comment.
For more easy Instant Pot recipes and easy family recipes, be sure to sign up for the weekly newsletter and follow on social media.
Recipe first published in 2020 and updated in 2023.