As soon as I tasted this instant pot pumpkin mac and cheese I thought, “this is life-changing.” Seriously. I do believe my husband said the more he ate the more he wanted to keep eating, or something like that.
Let’s just say it’s good. Reeeeallly good.
I’m relatively new to instant pot cooking, but if I can make a mac and cheese this delicious in just one pot with very little effort, well, I’m sold. And with vegetables added in too – even better!
This all came about because I set out to recreate my favorite butternut mac and cheese recipe for the instant pot – time is precious these days, so I figured an instant pot version would allow me more time to run around the house after our son. He’s almost 2 – he moves fast. Only the store where I usually get canned butternut didn’t seem to have any, but they had plenty of pumpkin. So, here we are. I still plan to recreate the butternut mac and cheese for instant pot, but until then, this pumpkin mac and cheese has my heart.
It’s very easy to set up – basically a set it and forget it kind of deal until you add the pumpkin and cheese. And even then, it’s just stirring ingredients in.
Whole wheat past makes this a hearty bowl and filling enough to stand alone as a meal if you choose. I always cook with whole wheat pasta because 1) I’m a dietitian, and…fiber! whole grains! and, 2) it’s just tasty, so that’s what you’ll find here. Then vegetable broth and a little butter goes in, and cooks for a few minutes.
I used a cooking time that divides the package instructions in half, then subtracts one minute. So for example my pasta said to boil for 10-12 minutes, so I went on the upper end (12), divided it in half (6) then subtracted one to get to 5 minutes cooking time in the instant pot.
After that, you add in a can of canned pumpkin, milk, and the cheeses. I used a mix of cheddar and swiss/gruyere that we are able to get at the grocery store, but swiss would work if you can’t find gruyere. Stir it up and that’s it – easy as can be!
This will be so good as we’re moving into fall for a quick weeknight dinner, or just when we need comfort food for a rainy, chilly day.
Instant Pot Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 5 mins
- Total Time: 20 mins
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- 1 lb whole wheat pasta
- 4c vegetable broth
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 can pumpkin puree
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup cheddar cheese
- 1c gruyere or swiss cheese, or a mix of the two (I used a mix of these two, but either would be good mixed with the cheddar)
- Add pasta to instant pot. Pour in vegetable broth, and add butter.
- Close instant pot lid, and set valve to sealing.
- Set to manual high pressure for 5 minutes (or halve the cooking time that the box of pasta says and subtract one – for example if the pasta box says to cook for 12 minutes, halve this and subtract one which is 5 minutes).
- Once the time is complete, do a quick release of the pressure. Be sure to cover the valve with a towel to protect yourself from the steam. (Also the steam will have a lot of starch from the pasta.)
- Open the lid, and stir. Then stir in the can of pureed pumpkin, and milk.
- Next stir in the cheeses. Stir until the cheese is melted.
If you can’t find gruyere cheese, or a mix of swiss and gruyere, swiss will work just fine.
Prep and cooking time: The instant pot takes about 10-12 minutes to come to pressure before cooking at high pressure for 5 minutes, then a minute or two to stir in the pumpkin, milk and cheeses, so your total time from putting in the pasta to sitting down at the table is about 20 minutes.
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