Instant Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni is a quick and easy family recipe. It's cheesy and beefy and it's even better than Hamburger Helper. In fact, if you're a Hamburger Helper family, you may never go back.
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When I was pregnant, I was on a carb-conscious diet, per doctor's orders. This made pasta a tough cookie for me. This recipe though had just the right amount at less than 30 carbs per serving. I make this so frequently, I've considered creating the spice blend in bulk to make the recipe that much easier.
This was adapted from the Buns in My Oven stovetop recipe. The mix of seasonings is so perfect. I've adapted the recipe to work in the Instant Pot and adjusted the ratio of ingredients. The stovetop recipe is excellent, so head over to Buns in My Oven to check it out.
Too hot to cook? Even ground beef in the Instant Pot? If you're looking for more easy recipes that will keep your kitchen cool, try my Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs or my Instant Pot Italian Meatballs. They don't require browning because they use frozen meatballs.
For more easy weeknight and weekend dinner ideas, try these lazy family recipes.
The ingredient list for Instant Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni may look long, but it's mostly seasoning bulking up the list, so not to worry.
- ground beef
- elbow macaroni
- beef broth
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- mustard powder
- ground black pepper
- shredded cheddar cheese
- heavy whipping cream
See the recipe card for quantities.
Using the saute setting on your Instant Pot, brown the ground beef. When the ground beef is done cooking, scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot liner to make sure there are no burned bits on the bottom. Burned food can cause a Burn error (see my notes below of a Burn notice). Additionally, you can drain the grease off of the ground beef at this point, if needed. Lean beef or turkey won't need to be drained.
Cancel the saute and add the paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt, and black pepper, stirring to coat the ground beef.
Add the elbow macaroni, beef broth, and butter, submerging the macaroni in the broth.
Close the Instant Pot lid and cook on HIGH pressure for 4 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure.
When the cooking time is complete, follow by a quick release. Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese and heavy whipping cream until the cheese is melted.
Burn notice? I've never run into the dreaded burn error on this recipe, but if you do, just do a quick release and test your noodles. The beef is cooked before the rest of the ingredients are added, so the only real goal here is to cook that macaroni. If your macaroni is cooked, there's no need to repressurize the Instant Pot.
There are a few simple substitutions you can make to customize your dish.
- Meat - Instead of ground beef, try ground turkey. You could even use vegetarian/vegan "beef" crumbles, just skip the browning step.
- Broth - Any type of broth works for this recipe, chicken broth, beef broth, bone broth, vegetable broth. You could even use water, but you may want to increase the salt at the end.
- Cheese - Cheddar is my go-to, but mozzarella, colby jack, or even dairy-free shredded cheese would work well.
- Heavy Whipping Cream - I recommend sticking to the heavy whipping cream because it's going to give you that thick, creamy texture you want in this dish. You can use regular milk, but it will not be nearly as creamy.
It's easy to veganize this recipe, but you might also try this one-pot recipe from Simple Sweet Vegan.
I follow the basic recipe most of the time because these are ingredients I usually have on hand. However, if I'm prepared at the grocery store, I like to add a few things to
- Onions - You can add an entire onion to this recipe. Cook it at the same time as the ground beef, adding a tablespoon of olive oil.
- Mushrooms - Think Hamburger Helper cheeseburger macaroni meets beef stroganoff. This variation goes out to my husband who is obsessed with mushrooms. You can add an entire pound of sliced white mushrooms to this recipe to really beef up the portions. I cook them down with the ground beef with olive oil. They let off some moisture but I haven't found it necessary to adjust the other ingredients.
I use an older version of the 6-quart Instant Pot duo for this recipe.
Instant Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1-½ tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1-½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 16 oz elbow macaroni
- 4 cups beef broth
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- Using the saute setting on the Instant Pot, brown the ground beef. When the ground beef is done cooking, scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot liner to make sure there are no burned bits on the bottom. Drain fat if needed (see notes).
- Cancel the saute setting. Add the paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt, and black pepper to the pot, stirring to coat the ground beef.
- Add the elbow macaroni, beef broth, butter, submerging the macaroni in broth but do not stir (this could cause a burn error).
- Close the Instant Pot lid and cook on HIGH pressure for 5 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure before the cook time begins.
- When the cooking time is complete, follow by a quick release. Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese and heavy whipping until the cheese is melted.
According to FoodSafety.gov, ground beef should be cooked to 160 °F (71.1 °C).
- Remember not to use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat.
- Always wash your hands and clean cooking surfaces after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.