Instant Pot Chili Mac and Cheese

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 pepperย  topped with ooey, gooey cheese!

Instant Pot chili mac and cheese

If you donโ€™t have an Instant Pot, I have a stovetop chili mac and cheese recipe here. (Pictured below๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป)ย 

chili mac and cheese on white plate with fork

I know so many of you Instant Pot crazies (hi, Iโ€™m crazy too!๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ) love to find a way to make anything and everything in your Instant Pot.๐Ÿ˜† So this is my adaptation.

Also! In the spirit of quarantine, I used what I had on hand.

Ground beef, tomatoes, pasta and cheese on a gray table

I did not have quite enough macaroni pasta (see half-used bag above ๐Ÿ˜ฉ). So I substituted with fusilli, which worked out great.๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป

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.

stirring Instant Pot chili mac with wooden spoon

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.๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป

Stir it again one more time. Then add your cheese. Just sprinkle it right on top.

Hand sprinkling cheese on top of Instant Pot chili mac

Then just put the lid back on your Instant Pot.

putting lid back on instant pot with pasta and cheese inside

You can leave all heat settings off! No extra cook cycle needed. The residual heat will be more than enough to melt the cheese.๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป

When the lid comes off it will look like this.๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป And there you have it: the BEST Instant Pot chili mac.๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป

serving chili mac from the Instant Pot with a wooden spoon

Notes about cheese

If you are one of those people who chooses to measure cheese with your heart, I feel ya!ย ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป 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 wantย even moreย cheesy goodness, feel free to stir some into the mix first (about a half cup, or more if you measure with your heart๐Ÿ˜œ). 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.

Optional toppings

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!

overhead view of white plate with Instant Pot chili mac and cheese with a side of avocado slices

I hope yโ€™all enjoy my Instant Pot chili mac and cheese! Be sure and let me know if you try it.๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป

Instant Pot chili mac on gray table

Instant Pot Chili Mac Recipe

Did you try my Instant Pot chili mac? Give it a star rating. Pin it and share it if it looks good to you. And be sure and stay connected on social media!ย 

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serving chili mac from the Instant Pot with a wooden spoon

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!

Come to pressure 20 minutes

Author Marjorie @APinchOfHealthy


  • 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)


  1. Using the sautรฉ setting, Brown the ground beef and onions until crumbly, about 8 minutes.

  2. Add garlic and cook one minute more.

  3. Drain off grease, if desired. I sometimes skip this step if I use extra lean (85/15 or leaner).

  4. 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.

  5. Put the lid on, lock it, and cook on low pressure for 2 minutes.

  6. Allow the pot to release naturally for 5 minutes, and quick release the remaining pressure by turning the pressure release valve.

  7. 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.

  8. Give it one more good stir, making sure the beans and pasta are somewhat evenly distributed.

  9. Top with cheese, and re cover to allow the cheese to melt for 3 to 5 minutes.

  10. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Nutritional information is approximate and was calculated using a recipe nutrition label generator.


Nutrition Facts

Instant Pot Chili Mac

Amount Per Serving

Calories 422 Calories from Fat 135

% Daily Value*

Fat 15g23%

Saturated Fat 7g44%

Cholesterol 59mg20%

Sodium 577mg25%

Potassium 579mg17%

Carbohydrates 48g16%

Fiber 3g13%

Sugar 3g3%

Protein 25g50%

Vitamin A 578IU12%

Vitamin C 8mg10%

Calcium 201mg20%

Iron 4mg22%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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