I love a good baked mac and cheese, but sometimes a mac and cheese craving strikes and I don’t have the time to put all that together. When that’s the case, this Instant Pot Mac & Cheese recipe is the perfect solution.
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Using a blender, the sauce comes together in a matter of moments. It’s a rich mix of butter, cream cheese, milk, cream, garlic, mustard, cayenne, salt
Each bite of this simple dish is rich, creamy and so comforting. The breadcrumbs add contrasting flavor and texture while the parsley provides pops of freshness. If you’ve got an Instant Pot, then you need to give this a try! Continue reading for the recipe.
Aside from the cream cheese, most of the other ingredients needed for this recipe are pretty standard. Just make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature, so it blends nicely into the sauce.
The spices (mustard, cayenne and nutmeg) are not very pronounced in the final mac and cheese. They hang out in the background, amping up the cheese flavor of the dish.
Normally with a mac and cheese recipe, you would start by making bechamel, a white sauce thickened with flour. But we’re skipping that step here. On the plus side, that cuts down on some of the time and effort needed to make the mac and cheese. On the down side, the sauce won’t hold together as well. That just means that this recipe is best enjoyed shortly after it comes out of the Instant Pot. If it sits for too long, the sauce will start to separate.
The breadcrumbs are optional here, but I would highly recommend making them. You can actually prepare the crumbs while the mac and cheese
One last note. When you first open the Instant Pot after the mac and cheese
Instant Pot Mac & Cheese with Lemony Garlic Breadcrumbs
Adapted from here.
For the mac and cheese:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 12 ounces dried pasta
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
For the breadcrumbs:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 4 ounces (about 2 1/2) cups fresh breadcrumbs
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
Chopped parsley, for serving
Using a paper towel, grease the bottom of the Instant Pot with 1 tablespoon butter.
Add milk, cream, cream cheese, garlic clove, 1 tablespoon butter, mustard, salt, pepper and cayenne to a blender, and blend until smooth. Add milk-cream cheese mixture and macaroni to the Instant Pot, stirring to combine. Cover and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes.
While the macaroni is cooking, prepare the breadcrumbs. Warm butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add the breadcrumbs to the skillet along with a pinch of kosher salt and a few turns of black pepper, tossing to coat the crumbs in the butter. Cook until the breadcrumbs turn golden brown (5 to 7 minutes). Take the skillet off the heat, stir in the lemon zest and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Release the pressure manually, then stir in grated cheddar cheese. At this point, check to see if the macaroni is al dente. If it’s still a little too firm, cover and keep the pot on warm for 5 minutes. Stir again before serving.
To serve, divide macaroni and cheese between 4 bowls and top with garlicky breadcrumbs. Enjoy immediately!