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Cooked in one pot and ready in about 30 minutes, this Instant Pot Mac & Cheese (with bacon) is the perfect meal any night of the week!
An extra creamy and cheesy macaroni and cheese with the addition of crispy bacon. The rich cheddar flavor and salty bacon pair perfectly in this hearty comfort meal.
My family will “roll over and do tricks” for Mac and Cheese. We have it regularly enough that even my kids know if we “have the stuff” to make it or not.
Hot tip: I always have the stuff, I just sometimes prefer to serve my family other things!
If you like homemade mac and cheese, you’ll also love my Skillet Mac & Cheese Recipe!
We start with crisping up some bacon, then removing it from the pot. Then, we add macaroni (there are no laws saying it MUST be macaroni), butter, and seasonings to the pot and set it to pressure cook for FOUR minutes. Yes!! Not a typo!! 4 minutes! (plus a little time to come to pressure, but still!!)
When the timer goes off, we do a quick release and then add butter, cream, and 3 kinds of cheese. Um. YES PLEASE.
W then add bacon and season with a little salt and pepper. And then we devour it.
Since it is all cooked in one pot and ready in about 30 minutes, this is the perfect meal any night of the week!
It’s such a simple process, and mostly hands-off. My favorite kind of meal on a busy weeknight! Another of my favorites to do in the Instant Pot is my Instant Pot Risotto. It’s UH-MAZING, just like my Instant Pot Chicken Chili!
Why this recipe works
- Cooked in one pot. Hello, to not doing a million dishes!
- Ready in about 30 minutes, this is the perfect meal any night of the week!
- Easy to make. Just let your Instant Pot do all the work!
Kylee’s Notes & FAQs
- This recipe was made using a 6qt instant pot duo electric pressure cooker.
- This was made with traditional elbow macaroni and has not been tested with gluten-free or whole wheat varieties.
- The time to come to pressure in my pot was about 10 minutes.
- Be sure to use freshly shredded cheese as pre-packaged shredded cheese will not melt as well.
- Mild or medium cheddar can be used in place of sharp.
- Other cheeses to substitute could be edam, gruyere, asiago, or romano.
- Sour cream can be used in place of heavy cream.
- Milk can be used in place of heavy cream, the sauce will just be thinner.
- Dijon mustard can be used in place of dried.
- Pre-cooked bacon can be used. Add an additional 2 tablespoons of butter in place of the bacon fat.
- Chicken or vegetable broth could be used in place of water
Can I make this ahead of time?
You can make this ahead of time and use the keep warm setting until ready to serve. You may need to add a bit of extra cream before serving as the sauce will continue to thicken as it sits.
What to do with leftovers
Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Add to a baking dish and reheat in the microwave to piping hot!
How can I reheat mac & cheese?
You can reheat this in the microwave or in a pot on the stove. To help the sauce become creamy again simply stir in a few tablespoons of cream before heating.
Can I double the recipe?
Yes, you can easily double the recipe. Simply double all of the ingredients. The cook time will remain the same.
Recipe Ingredients and Possible Substitutes
The full list of ingredients and quantities is found in the printable recipe card below.
How to make this Bacon Mac & Cheese in the Instant Pot:
Full, printable recipe below – just scroll down to the recipe card!
Cook the bacon
Slice the bacon into small pieces.
Set the instant pot to saute, and allow to heat. Add the bacon. Cook until it is crispy, then remove from the pot and drain on a paper towel.
Drain all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the pot.
Add the macaroni, water, 2 tablespoons of butter, onion powder, mustard, paprika, and garlic powder to the pot. Stir to combine.
Place the lid on the pot, turn the valve to seal, and set to high pressure for 4 minutes.
When the timer is complete and turn the dial to vent and do a quick release.
When the pin has dropped remove the lid and stir the macaroni.
Add the remaining butter, half of the cream and 1/3 of the cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and then add remaining cheese. Continue stirring until all the cheese is melted and then stir in ¾ of the bacon, reserving some for garnish.
Add remaining cream a little at a time until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
Serve topped with remaining bacon and sliced green onion or chopped parsley if desired.
INSTANT POT COOKING TERMS EXPLAINED
What is Natural Pressure Release – aka NPR?
A natural pressure release happens when the cooking time is over and the valve is left closed. The pressure decreases without doing anything. Your Instant Pot will automatically switch to the Keep Warm setting.
As soon as it switches to Keep Warm the pressure will begin to drop and will release the pressure by itself. You’ll know it’s done – when the pin drops.
What is Quick Release?
Quick Release means to let the Instant Pot release pressure naturally slowly for a few minutes (usually between 5 and 15 minutes). After the time has elapsed, switch the valve to “venting” to quickly release any remaining pressure. The pressure will release to a point where the pin drops, and you can open the lid.
Instant Pot Bacon Mac & Cheese
- ½ Pound bacon (8-10 Slices, sliced into pieces)
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 4 cups water
- 4 Tbs butter (divided)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried mustard
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 8 oz 3 Cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2.5 oz 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1.5 oz 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- sliced green onion or chopped parsley (optional)
- Slice the bacon into small pieces.
- Set the instant pot to saute and add the bacon. Cook until bacon is slightly crispy, then remove from the pot and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
- Drain all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the pot.
- Add the macaroni, water, 2 tablespoons of butter, onion powder, mustard, paprika and garlic powder to the pot. Stir to combine.
- Place the lid on the pot, turn the valve to seal and set to high pressure for 4 minutes.
- When the timer is complete and turn the dial to vent.
- When the pin has dropped remove the lid and stir the noodles.
- Add the remaining butter, half of the cream and 1/3 of the cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and then add remaining cheese. Continue stirring until all the cheese is melted and then stir in ¾ of the bacon, reserving some for garnish.
- Add remaining cream a little at a time until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
- Serve topped with remaining bacon and sliced green onion or chopped parsley if desired.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.