Instant Pot chili mac and cheese is a super satisfying one pot meal you can make all in one pot. Pasta, seasoned ground beef, beans, tomato, onion and pepper topped with ooey, gooey cheese!
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, I have a stovetop chili mac and cheese recipe here. (Pictured below👇🏻)
I know so many of you Instant Pot crazies (hi, I’m crazy too!🙋🏼♀️) love to find a way to make anything and everything in your Instant Pot.😆 So this is my adaptation.
Also! In the spirit of quarantine, I used what I had on hand.
I did not have quite enough macaroni pasta (see half-used bag above 😩). So I substituted with fusilli, which worked out great.👌🏻
You can use either option, or any other type pasta you have. Penne and egg noodles would likely work well in this recipe.
How to make Instant Pot chili mac
First, I brown the beef and diced onions until the beef gets crumbly, about 8 minutes. I toss in the minced garlic and cook 1 minute more. I hate burned garlic, so I am always careful not to burn it!
As for draining off the excess grease from the ground beef, you have options here. I often skip this step, since I use leaner beef (85/15 or leaner). You could drain it and return it to the pot if you prefer.
From there, just add everything to the pot, except for the cheese. Then, just give it a stir.
Cook on low pressure for 2 minutes, and allow the pot to release naturally (NPR) for 5 minutes more. Then quick release remaining pressure by using the pressure release valve.
When you open it up, the mixture will still have quite a bit of liquid in the bottom, like this.
No worries! Having enough liquid ensures that you do not get the burn error. Give the pot a few good stirs, and allow it to sit with the lid off for about 5 minutes.
Most of that liquid will absorb into the pasta and/or evaporate, which is what you want.👌🏻
Stir it again one more time. Then add your cheese. Just sprinkle it right on top.
Then just put the lid back on your Instant Pot.
You can leave all heat settings off! No extra cook cycle needed. The residual heat will be more than enough to melt the cheese.👌🏻
When the lid comes off it will look like this.😍👏🏻 And there you have it: the BEST Instant Pot chili mac.😋👌🏻
Notes about cheese
If you are one of those people who chooses to measure cheese with your heart, I feel ya! Knock yourself out. If you are more into measurements, I recommend anywhere from a cup to a cup and a half of cheese. I used a cup and a half here.
If you want even more cheesy goodness, feel free to stir some into the mix first (about a half cup, or more if you measure with your heart). Stir that to combine, and then add your cheese topping after that.
Finally, just put the lid back on for another 3 to 5 minutes until the cheese melts.
I sometimes top my Instant Pot chili mac with green onion, but honestly I only do that for blog photos. And I did not have any this time.
So you get to choose if you want to bother with a sprinkle of green. Cilantro would also be good on this.
And I had a ton of avocados ALL ripen at the exact same time. Typical, right?!
So I added some sliced avocado on the side, with a little sea salt sprinkled on top. It was so yummy to scoop some of that up with a bite of the chili mac. Highly recommended!
I hope y’all enjoy my Instant Pot chili mac and cheese! Be sure and let me know if you try it.🙌🏻
Instant Pot Chili Mac Recipe
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Instant Pot Chili Mac
Instant Pot chili mac and cheese is a super satisfying one pot meal you can make all in one pot. Topped with ooey, gooey cheese!
- Cooking spray (optional, I did not use any)
- 1 pound ground beef (I used 85/15)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 onion diced (I used sweet yellow)
- 4 cups beef stock (chicken or vegetable work too)
- 14.5 ounces can diced tomatoes undrained
- 1 can kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 4 ounces green chilies small, 4 ounce can undrained
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 16 ounces elbow macaroni pasta (or other pasta - I used fusilli today)
- 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (Mexican blend, cheddar or Monterey Jack are all great)
Using the sauté setting, Brown the ground beef and onions until crumbly, about 8 minutes.
Add garlic and cook one minute more.
- Drain off grease, if desired. I sometimes skip this step if I use extra lean (85/15 or leaner).
To the meat mixture, add the tomatoes, beans, green chilies, beef stock, cumin, chili powder and pasta; stir together. All of the pasta does not have to be submerged, but I make sure and get all of it wet, at least.
Put the lid on, lock it, and cook on low pressure for 2 minutes.
Allow the pot to release naturally for 5 minutes, and quick release the remaining pressure by turning the pressure release valve.
After the pot is fully depressurized, take the lid off and give everything a good stir. There will still be some liquid. After stirring, allow the pot to sit with the lid off for about 5 minutes.
Give it one more good stir, making sure the beans and pasta are somewhat evenly distributed.
- Top with cheese, and re cover to allow the cheese to melt for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Nutritional information is approximate and was calculated using a recipe nutrition label generator.