Cooking Video for Kids: Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe

Mac and cheese is a cinch in the Instant Pot! It comes together so quickly and easily you might think you forgot a step the first time you try it! 😉 You don’t even need to be able to boil water or know when pasta is done for it to come out perfect!

Since my daughter Leah can’t have dairy anymore, we’ve had to let this one go for now, but it’s a great recipe to have on hand for quick lunches or a dinner side. It’s easily made with either gluten-free or regular pasta.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

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This mac and cheese recipe is from our Instant Pot SkillLab which teaches kids how to use an Instant Pot after they’ve completed our Kids Cook Real Food eCourse.

Surprise Veggies Kids Will Eat

I’m not a fan of “secret veggies” (i.e. hiding veggies in your kids’ food!) But I have no problem with surprising uses for vegetables that make them more palatable for kids.

This mac and cheese has pureed pumpkin in the cheese sauce! You don’t have to hide it, go ahead and let them know it’s there, but I bet your kids are more likely to eat pumpkin when it’s mixed into yummy cheese sauce than if they were eating a bowl of roasted squash!

Can’t view the video? Watch it here on YouTube.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe


  • 4 c. sturdy gluten-free or regular wheat pasta (about a 1 pound box)
  • 4 c. water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. cooked and pureed pumpkin or winter squash
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 4 Tbs. butter (half stick)
  • 2 c. grated cheese (any kind, we like half mozzarella and half sharp cheddar)
  • 1 tsp. organic cane sugar (optional – makes it taste more like boxed mac & cheese)
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric (optional, if you really want more of a “boxed mac and cheese” color)
  • Optional veggies you can add:
    • 1-2 cups frozen peas or mixed vegetables (the peas/carrots/corn kind)
    • 1/2 pound frozen broccoli or cauliflower
    • A few handfuls of spinach or other greens
    • Don’t add fresh raw veggies as they might not get all the way cooked


  • Measure the pasta, water, and salt in the Instant Pot. If you’re adding broccoli or cauliflower, you can do so now.
  • Lock the lid.
  • Push “Manual” and use the minus (-) key to reduce time to 3 minutes.
  • Make sure the valve is turned to “sealing.” It will start by itself.
  • Grate the cheese.
  • Measure out the pumpkin, milk, and butter so you’re ready when the Instant Pot finishes.
  • When the Instant Pot beeps after the 3 minutes is up, have an adult open the valve to do a “quick release” of the pressure.
  • Carefully open the lid (adult job).
  • Press the “Cancel” button and then the “Sauté” button.
  • If you want to add frozen peas or small mixed vegetables or greens, put them in at this time.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and cook and stir until the cheese and butter is melted. This may take 2 – 5 minutes. After the first 2 minutes when things are getting hot, press the “Cancel/Keep Warm” button two times to use the “Keep Warm” setting instead of sauté so it doesn’t get too hot and start popping.
  • Let sit for 2 – 3 minutes to thicken before serving.

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Recipe Notes

  • The frozen broccoli and cauliflower will be pretty mushy! If you only prefer al dente steamed veggies, this is not the method for you. 😉
  • A general rule for cooking pasta in the Instant Pot is to follow is to cook in the Instant Pot for half the time the box gives for stovetop instructions.

Find more cooking videos for kids here!

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Instant Pot mac and cheese

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