Instant Pot Recipe: Chili Mac and Cheese

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Enjoy two comfort foods in one with this chili mac and cheese recipe. Just add the ingredients to your Instant Pot, press a button and dig in​.​ All it takes is 30 minutes of your time. Make it as spicy, cheesy or meaty as you want! Top it off with sour cream and fresh herbs for a wonderfully hearty dish.

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Instant Pot chili mac and cheese

Things You\’ll Need

  • Instant Pot

  • 1 pound lean ground beef, turkey or chicken

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 1 green bell pepper, deseeded and diced

  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons cumin

  • 3 cups broth or water

  • 28 ounces canned crushed or diced tomatoes (or a mix of both)

  • 14 ounces canned red or black kidney beans

  • 12 ounces elbow macaroni, uncooked

  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

  • Cilantro, parsley and sour cream for topping

Ingredients for Instant Pot chili mac and cheese


To make this recipe vegetarian, skip the meat and add another can of beans. Use water or vegetable broth.

Step 1

Set the Instant Pot to sauté. Add the olive oil, onion and green bell pepper. Mix gently with a spatula to coat the vegetables in oil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and tender. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Cook onion and bell pepper

Step 2

Add the ground meat and spices. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until brown and no longer pink. Use a wooden spatula to break up the meat. Once cooked, turn off the Instant Pot.

Cook ground meat

Step 3

Add 1/2 cup of broth or water. Scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot; this will prevent the meat from burning and sticking to the pot.

Add broth and scrape the pot

Step 4

Add the macaroni to the center of the pot. On top of the macaroni, add the kidney beans and canned tomatoes. Try to place these ingredients in the center of the pot, which will also help prevent sticking and burning.

Finally, pour the remaining broth or water. Make sure the macaroni is completely covered with liquid.

Pour the broth

Step 5

Cover the Instant Pot and seal the valve. Set to "Pressure Cook" on HIGH for 4 minutes. The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to reach the correct pressure, then it will start the 4-minute countdown.

After 4 minutes, the Instant Pot will beep. Release the pressure using quick release. Keep your hands and face away from the valve as the Instant Pot releases a stream of pressure. Turn off the Instant Pot and open. The chili will look liquid-like; this is normal.

Cook on high pressure

Step 6

Stir the chili. It will thicken as you mix.

Stir the macaroni

Step 7

While the mixture is still hot, add 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely melted. For an extra cheesy dinner, add even more shredded cheese.

Add shredded cheese

Serve warm. Top with the remaining cheese, sour cream and fresh cilantro or parsley. Enjoy!

Instant Pot chili mac and cheese

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