Pressure Cooker Taco Mac and Cheese is an easy 20 minute recipe made in your Instant Pot. This taco seasoned macaroni and cheese is a family friendly dish that is sure to be a hit for a weeknight dinner.
Pressure Cooker Mac and Cheese
Pressure cooker taco mac and cheese combines all the best flavors of taco seasoning with the cheesy deliciousness of macaroni and cheese. In the Instant Pot, you get a very comforting meal in just 20 minutes.
Let’s face it, even if you decided to make a box of instant mac and cheese it would take about the same amount of time to boil water. Instead of eating that powdered processed stuff, taste the difference “real” cheese makes!
I have another pasta recipe that is similar, pizza noodle casserole. Worth a look too…
Instant Pot Macaroni And Cheese
Use your pressure cooker or instant pot to make taco mac and cheese. Everything gets done in the single pot, so clean up is easy too. You saute the meat and onions along with the taco seasoning, then add everything else. Seal and cook on high pressure.
Let it cook for 2 minutes then make sure to release the pressure and presto! Add your cream and cheese, then stir. Garnish with some pickled jalapenos depending on your spice preference and serve homemade macaroni and cheese with a spicy, but not too spicy, edge.
Much like this homemade Three Cheese Bacon & Jalapeño Pasta, the saltiness and spiciness cut through the fatty macaroni and cheese for the perfect balance of flavors!
What About Meat Other Than Beef?
If you want to substitute the beef, then ground turkey or even ground pork meat works just as well. Vegetarians can even substitute the beef with ground tofu or tempeh if you still want a texture similar to ground beef. Mushrooms are another great addition that not only add a vegetable but some meatiness as well.
What Is Cavatappi Pasta?
Cavatappi is the same as macaroni that is formed in a slightly curved tube shape. It is one of my favorite pastas because it really grabs onto a sauce well for a good bite.
“Cavatappi” is Italian for corkscrew. Typically, it is scored with ridges so it has a bit more texture than ordinary macaroni. This helps it hold up better under cooking too.
It is known by many names, including cellentani, amori, spirali, or tortiglione, so any of those work just as well. If you can only find regular curved medium sized macaroni then those do just fine too.
I recommend avoiding the tiny macaroni just because those cook very quickly and you do want enough time for all the flavors to come together. Let’s face it, a great homemade taco mac and cheese in 20 minutes? How much faster do you need it to be?
What About Taco Seasoning?
It is easy these days to find taco seasoning in the spices section of your local grocery. You can also typically find it on the hispanic food aisle.
Taco seasoning essentially consists of cayenne, cumin, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. So, in a pinch, cobbling some together from your own spice rack works. Don’t feel like you have to run to the store.
If you make your own taco seasoning, then adjusting for spice level is a cinch. A pinch more or less of cayenne depending on how hot you like it.
Toppings For Pressure Cooker Mac And Cheese?
To finish off your easy 20 minute pressure cooker taco mac and cheese, you can go a few directions. If you want that traditional baked on seasoned bread crumb style topping, no problem.
Just spoon your cooked taco mac and cheese into a suitably sized casserole, add your seasoned breadcrumbs, then flip under the broiler until the topping browns. If you have a Mealthy CrispLid you can crisp it up right in your Instant Pot!
You can also garnish the top with some pickled jalapenos, a bit of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, or even some crushed corn chips.
Also, on the side, you might wish to include some sour cream, chopped chives, and extra chopped onions. Let folks add those according to personal preferences.
More Pressure Cooker Recipes
The convenience of a pressure cooker or instant pot cannot be underestimated. Sure, a crock pot that takes hours to cook something is ok, but a pressure cooker works wonders. You get that “cooked all day” flavor in a fraction of the time.
I have some other recipes you might like to check out to make great use of your pressure cooker!
- Pressure Cooker Pork Loin, Stuffing & Gravy
- Crispy Pressure Cooker Apple Crisp
- Pressure Cooker Light Pizza Noodle Casserole
- Pressure Cooker Stuffed Pepper Sausage Soup
- Pressure Cooker Light & Spicy Taco Shells
- Pressure Cooker Mexican Rice
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 pkt. taco seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 8 oz. Cavatappi pasta (1/2 box)
- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 c. water
- 1/2 c. half and half or milk
- 12 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
- 4 oz. jar jalapenos, chopped OPTIONAL
- Turn the pressure cooker to saute and add the butter to the pot.
- Once melted, add the diced onions and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the hamburger and saute in the pot for 3 minutes.
- Add the water, taco seasoning, garlic powder, pasta and diced tomatoes. Stir and push the pasta down so it is covered by water.
- Place the lid on the pressure cooker and turn the knob to seal. Cook on high pressure for 2 minutes.
- When the cooking time is complete, do a quick release of pressure by turning the knob to vent. Be very careful as pasta can some times cause liquid or foam to come out of the knob while venting.
- Stir in cream and cheese until smooth and melted.
- Serve topped with extra shredded cheddar and jalapenos.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 852Total Fat: 53gSaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 216mgSodium: 1269mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 60g