What’s not to like about creamy Instant Pot mac and cheese with broccoli? With only five ingredients and made in one pan, you can serve delicious homemade mac and cheese in just over a half hour!
This macaroni and cheese is just short of miraculous. Imagine perfectly cooked pasta, smothered in loads of creamy cheddar cheese sauce, and studded with tender green broccoli. Sounds really yummy, doesn’t it? Don’t you want it right now? I do.
Now imagine that you can have this macaroni and cheese on the table in just over 30 minutes. And then imagine that you’ll make it all in one pan, so there will be hardly any cleanup. See what I mean? Almost miraculous!
When you think that it takes about 15 minutes to make plain ol’ boxed mac and cheese, and compare that measly imitation of macaroni and cheese to the real thing, it doesn’t take long to come to the conclusion that the days of boxed mac and cheese may be over for your family. And don’t even get me going on canned cheddar soup (a chemical cocktail).
Bring on the real thing! Try this fast and easy Instant Pot Mac and cheese, with healthy green broccoli. You won’t look back!
(Don’t worry if you don’t care for the “green stuff”. You can omit the broccoli, or sub in something else you do like. I totally get that. I have kids, too. Or try this no frills Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe.)
About this Mac and Cheese
Haul your Instant Pot out of the pantry and let’s get cooking! You’ll need 16 oz. (1 lb. box) of dry macaroni or another kind of pasta you like. I like cavatappi because it’s curly and cute. Hey, don’t mock me, I like cute food. Whole wheat pasta would be great, too.
Dump the pasta into the pot and add 5 cups of water and a little salt. Make sure the pasta is all submerged in the water and seal the lid. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Quick release the pressure and switch the Instant Pot to the sauté function. No need to drain the pasta because the water will have been mostly absorbed.
Pour in a can of condensed milk and a bunch of broccoli florets. Simmer for six or seven minutes or until the broccoli is tender.
Add dry mustard and lots of shredded sharp Cheddar cheese and stir well. Turn the Instant Pot to the Warm setting, cover, and just let it set for a few minutes. Go ahead and set the table, or cut up fresh fruit for a refreshing side dish. Instant Pot broccoli mac and cheese is a satisfying meatless/vegetarian main dish or you could serve it as a filling side dish with chicken, salmon, or steak.
That’s really all it takes to make super fantastic mac and cheese. You will be blown away by how creamy and cheesy it is!
And 5 ingredients? One pan? Can I hear the cheers?
Number one is sharp cheddar. It melts well and adds plenty of flavor. If you’re not a fan, choose another full-flavored cheese such as gouda, Gruyère, or an aged Swiss.
Mac and cheese is pretty high in calories due to the cheese. I like this recipe because broccoli adds extra nutrition and I often use whole wheat pasta. If served as a meatless main dish, it’s pretty healthy.
I try to stay away from prepared foods as much as possible although I have to say, my son loves Kraft Mac and Cheese. When you look at the long list of ingredients, you have to wonder what some of them are and why you’re eating it at all (things like sodium triphosphate, sodium phosphate, calcium phosphate). Allegedly, boxed mac and cheese also has phthalates (DEHP) which are toxic.
Make It Your Own
Like I mention above, feel free to leave out the broccoli or switch in something else. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
- Replace the broccoli with another quick cooking veggie. Sugar snap peas are really good, thawed frozen peas, or corn.
- Add cooked meat: cut-up cooked chicken, ham, bacon, chorizo, or crumbled cooked sausage are tasty choices.
- Replace the sharp cheddar with a different kind of flavorful cheese, or a mixture of cheeses.
- Use whole wheat macaroni or another pasta of your choice.
- Make a baked casserole. See the recipe below for the how-to. Or try this delicious Baked Spaghetti With Spinach, it’s really great!
Storage and Reheating Tips
Instant Pot mac and cheese is best served immediately. If you have leftovers, they’ll keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat, warm gently on the stove or in the microwave. Add a splash of milk if the mac and cheese seems dry.
Reheat the leftovers as a baked casserole. Grease a baking dish and add the leftover mac and cheese. Sprinkle with additional cheese or buttered breadcrumbs and bake at in a preheated oven at 350°F until heated through and golden.
Mac and cheese Recipes
Do you have mac and cheese mania like me? I have more recipes for you! Try:
- Easiest Ever Baked Macaroni and Cheese (with VIDEO)
- Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
- Green Chile Mac and Cheese
- One Pan Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese with Beer
- Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese (one pan!)
- How to Make Mac and Cheese in the Microwave
- Pizza Mac and Cheese Muffins
- Homemade Hamburger Helper (VIDEO) – a cheesy mac and ground beef one pan dinner.
- Meatlover’s Mac and Cheese by This Is Not Diet Food — sounds like a worthwhile splurge!
- Vegan Mac and Cheese by Cookie and Kate
- 1 pound (16 oz) cavatappi pasta, or pasta of your choice
- 5 cups water
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
- 4 cups chopped broccoli florets (about 1 head)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 3 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (see notes)
- coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
- Add pasta, water, and salt to the Instant Pot and stir, making sure that all pasta is submerged in the water.
- Secure lid of Instant Pot, making sure valve is turned to “seal.” Set on Manual high pressure for 4 minutes.
- When cooking has finished, quick release pressure (see note). When valve lowers, remove cover, switch Instant Pot to “saute” mode and stir in evaporated milk and broccoli.
- Simmer, stirring frequently for 6-7 minutes.
- Stir in mustard powder and cheese. Turn Instant Pot to “warm” and place cover on for 5 minutes. Remove cover, stir, taste and season with pepper as desired.
- Serve immediately.
- I prefer to grate my own cheddar cheese because it yields a smoother, velvety result. (Plus it’s cheaper!). Pre-grated cheese works but it doesn’t stay quite as smooth as it cools.
- The Instant Pot tends to sputter a little when you release the pressure. You can place a towel over the valve to prevent a mess. Just be careful when removing towel because it will be wet with very hot water.
- For a baked casserole: Spoon prepared mac and cheese into a greased baking dish. Add additional shredded cheese to the top, if desired. Bake at 350ºF for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and a little crispy on the top.
- If desired, substitute frozen peas or corn, thawed slightly.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.