Instant Pot Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is a quick and easy pasta dish that’s ready for the table in less than 20 minutes. Made extra delicious with heavy cream, pumpkin puree, cheese, and nutmeg, it’s sure to be a weeknight dinner favorite!
Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is our favorite comfort food touched up with Autumn flavors! It’s made extra creamy and delicious with heavy cream, sharp cheddar cheese, a generous dollop of pumpkin puree, and freshly grated nutmeg for a pasta treat you’d want to cozy up to this Fall season and all year long.
Plus, it’s cooked in the Instant Pot for an easy weeknight meal option. Just dump all the ingredients in, let this amazing gadget do its magic, and you’ll be looking like a hero at the dinner table with almost zero effort.
This Instant pot macaroni and cheese doesn’t require a complicated list of ingredients to pull together. You probably already have everything on hand to make it tonight!
- Straight or elbow macaroni- feel free to swap with any short pasta such as shells, fusilli, bow ties, penne, or ziti
- Water-replace the 2 cups with chicken broth for a richer flavor
- Pumpkin puree-canned or homemade
- Nutmeg-don’t skip! A 1/3 teaspoon or so enhances the overall taste of the sauce.
- Milk and heavy cream- use all heavy cream if you prefer a creamier consistency or substitute evaporated milk. For a lighter version, use all milk or replace heavy cream with half and half.
- Shredded sharp cheddar cheese- you can also use Colby Jack or Monterey Jack cheeses for variety.
- Salt-season to taste
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
The recipe below uses canned pumpkin puree to keep things simple, but if you’d like to use homemade so much the better! You can make the puree ahead of time and refrigerate in a covered container for up to one week or freeze for up to 3 months.
- Rinse the pumpkin and pat dry. Cut in half and scoop the seeds and pith out. Peel the skin and cut the pumpkin into chunks.
- Place in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Boil for about 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.
- Drain well in a colander to remove excess liquid.
- Mash with a fork until smooth or puree in a food processor or blender.
- If the mixture looks very watery drain excess liquid using a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth.
- Rinse the pumpkin and pat dry. Cut the pumpkin in half crosswise through the stem and scoop the seeds and pith out.
- Arrange the pumpkin halves in a single layer, cut side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake in a 350 F oven for about 35 to 40 minutes or until pumpkin can be easily pierced with a fork.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle. Using a large spoon, scoop the soft flesh and mash with a fork or puree in a food processor or blender.
- If the mixture looks watery, drain the excess liquid using a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth.
- For best flavor and texture, choose the smaller variety that is meant for cooking and baking such as Cinderella and sugar pumpkins. They have smoother flesh and tend to be sweeter.
- Do not mix in the pumpkin purée otherwise, you might get the burn notice.
- Pre-grated cheese contains additives that keep them from melting well. For a smoother and creamier consistency, shred your own cheese!
- Add some bacon bits to add some saltiness and crunch to this ultra-creamy pasta dish.
- For a delicious twist, swap the pumpkin with sweet potato purée.
How to serve
- Enjoy this Instant Pot pumpkin mac and cheese as a side dish with bbq pork ribs or hamburgers. Or serve it as a main entree with your favorite salad or roasted veggies to complete the meal.
- Store leftovers in a covered container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- To reheat, warm in the microwave at 2 to 3-minute intervals, stirring after each interval.
Instant Pot Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound uncooked macaroni
- 4 cups water
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- salt to taste
- 3 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- In the Instant Pot, combine pasta and water, making sure the pasta is fully submerged.
- Add the pumpkin purée, salt. and nutmeg on top of the pasta, but do NOT mix.
- Close the lid and set the valve to the SEALING position. Pressure cook on HIGH pressure for 4 minutes.
- When the cooking time is done, do a QUICK RELEASE, and carefully open the lid.
- Add cheese, milk, and heavy cream and stir until melted and smooth. Serve immediately.