Instant Pot Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese mixed with cauliflower in blue bowl

Looking for a way to add some nutrition to your child's plate? This Instant Pot Cauliflower Mac and Cheese may be just what you need. Not only is the creamy texture amazing, but it's fast and easy, too.

The next time someone wants macaroni and cheese for dinner, add this to your meal planning radar. They may not even know the difference!

Macaroni and cheese mixed with cauliflower in blue bowl

What I love about this simple side dish is that it's loaded with noodles and cauliflower. The kids will want a big serving because it's just that good!

Why This Recipe Works

This one-pot meal recipe contains very simple ingredients with surprisingly easy steps! You just need about 5 minutes as well to make it - does it get any better than that?

  • Fast and simple to make
  • Full of mac and cheese flavor
  • A great way to sneak in some veggies to the kid's daily diet

Recipe Video

Recipe Ingredients

ingredients needed to make instant pot cauliflower mac and cheese

Cauliflower - Clean a head of cauliflower well. You can use the food processor to chop it up.

Butter - I like using unsalted butter at room temperature because it melts better.

Cream Cheese - Adding cream cheese adds creaminess! I typically add full-fat cream cheese because I like the flavor a bit more.

Cheddar Cheese - You can easily cheese up the type of cheese that you want to use as well. Cheddar cheese is my favorite, but Colby Jack and Mozzarella are good.

Whole Wheat Pasta - Wheat pasta is delicious, but any type of pasta is fine.

Evaporated Milk - This helps to add a smooth texture to the mac and cheese.

Spice  - You can literally season with anything that you'd like. Salt, pepper, garlic powder, or even hot sauce to spice it up! 

How to Make Instant Pot Cauliflower Mac and Cheese 

You're going to love not only the taste of these ingredients but the ease as well!

Step One: Clean and cut up the head of the cauliflower. Once you cut it into pieces, you can add it to a food processor and dice it up quickly.

Step Two: Add water to the Instant Pot and then add the chopped cauliflower.

Step Three: Add the pasta shells and salt.

Step Four: Add the butter.

Step Five: Put on the lid and press 'Manual', and cook it at high pressure for 4 minutes.

Step Six: After the cooking time has passed, do a quick release. Add the cream cheese.

Step Seven: Add the milk.

Step Eight: Add the shredded cheese.

Step Nine: Add the seasonings.

Step Ten: Stir with a wooden spoon and let simmer.

Dish out the yummy creamy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese and enjoy!

Variations 

Add meat - Love the idea of adding meat to your mac and cheese? You can add bacon bits, sliced or diced ham, or even leftover chicken from the night before. I also love adding tuna to the dish!

Recipe Notes

  • The texture of the cauliflower is up to you. You can add larger pieces or smaller pieces, so change it up and see what you prefer.
  • Shredded fresh cheese will give you a delicious cheese flavor, better than already shredded store-bought!

How to serve

You can serve this as a side dish or a main dish - totally up to you.

If you want to use it as a main dish, a nice side salad would be a great pairing.

If you serve this as a main dish, pair it up with more steamed veggies or even a side of Instant Pot Carrot Fries!

FAQs

What else can I add to this mac and cheese?

You can change or add other spices like onion powder, mustard powder, chili flakes, hot sauce or grated carrots, or whatever you think would go perfectly with your recipe.

How to store leftovers

Let the mac and cheese cool down all the way before adding it to an airtight container. Keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days, max.

To reheat, warm it up in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir, and make sure that it's heated all the way through. If it needs more time, add a few more seconds and warm it up more.

Can I use broccoli in place of cauliflower?

Yes, you can. Broccoli would be a great addition as well and will cook up perfectly in this dish.

If you don't want to use any veggies at all, you can always make this classic Mac and Cheese.

More Cauliflower Recipes

Love cauliflower? Here are some other delicious cauliflower recipes that you'll love as well!

More Pasta Recipes

Here are some of my other favorite pasta recipes that I think you'll like as well!

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and leave a comment below. Thanks!

Macaroni and cheese mixed with cauliflower in blue bowl

Instant Pot Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Instant Pot Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is the perfect way to get more veggies during dinner! Creamy and delicious!
3.80 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: dinner, lunch, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, easy recipe, instant pot, Instant Pot Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, simple and quick, whole wheat pasta
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Corrie

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head cauliflower thickly diced
  • 16 oz whole wheat pasta
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese grated
  • 12 oz evaporated milk
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ cup water

Instructions

  • Clean and cut up the head of the cauliflower. Once you cut it into pieces, you can add it to a food processor and dice it up quickly.
  •  Add water to the Instant Pot and then add the chopped cauliflower.
  • Add the pasta shells and salt.
  • Add the butter.
  • Put on the lid and press 'Manual', and cook it at high pressure for 4 minutes.
  • After the cooking time has passed, do a quick release. Add the cream cheese.
  • Add the milk.
  • Add the shredded cheese.
  •  Add the seasonings.
  • Stir with a wooden spoon and let simmer.

Nutrition

Calories: 552kcal Carbohydrates: 69g Protein: 27g Fat: 21g Saturated Fat: 13g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 66mg Sodium: 764mg Potassium: 686mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 8g Vitamin A: 624IU Vitamin C: 47mg Calcium: 488mg Iron: 4mg

Video

Notes

  • The texture of the cauliflower is up to you. You can add larger pieces or smaller pieces, so change it up and see what you prefer.
  • Shredded fresh cheese will give you a delicious cheese flavor, better than already shredded store-bought!
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @corriecooksblog or tag #corriecooks!

5 thoughts on “Instant Pot Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

  1. I made this recipe today, and my pasta didn’t get cooked all the way through. I notice that this recipe calls for only 1 1/2 c water, where your regular m&c recipe calls for 4 c. water. I’m thinking next time, I’ll use more water/ chicken broth for this recipe. P.s. the flavor is great, even if the pasta is a little chewy.

  2. Corrie,
    Thank you for sharing all your wonderful recipes. I’m going to try this recipe today. Just wanted to share something I’ve done with my mac & cheese: I add a little Smokey Gouda with the cheddar cheese. I love the smokey flavor on top of the richness of the cheese.

    1. Yes, you can. It might be a little more watery, so maybe reduce the amount of water added by 1/2 cup or so.

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