If life is as hectic for you as it is for me, then this spinach mac and cheese recipe made in the instant pot should come in handy. This Instant Pot 3 Cheese Spinach Mac & Cheese is creamy and delicious, along with spinach’s added flavor and nutrition.
Furthermore, the fare is terrific as an after-school meal since it is a kid-friendly healthy recipe that comes together in less than 20 minutes and is loved by all ages!
Before I begin, let’s talk about mac and cheese first. What vision do you get when you think of macaroni and cheese? Pasta that is rich, super creamy, cheesy, and melts in your mouth… right?
Today, I share my family’s favorite three-cheese Mac and cheese recipe packed with deliciousness. My family loves this incredibly delicious dish, cheesy, melty, and soft with tons of green.
Reasons You’ll ♡ Instant Pot 3 Cheese Spinach Mac & Cheese
- Luscious and Velvety
- No-brianer one-pot meal
- Loaded with nutrients and antioxidants
- Best way to indulge while taking veggies, and
- The ultimate comfort food!
This spinach-laden mac and cheese is indeed fabulous as a comforting meal. Believe me; you can never go wrong with this instant pot recipe. It is a simple yet flavorful dish with a bit of green goodness. The kids, even the fussy eaters, would love it.
Instant Pot Cooking
Plus, this 3 Cheese Spinach Mac & Cheese preparation couldn’t be more straightforward since it is made in my favorite Instant pot. Instant Pot, my savior during busy periods, and pasta, my favorite meal, come together to create this creamy main meal. The starchy water that is not drained makes it more creamy and rich.
And the best part is that you have to clean just one pot which is an excellent bonus feature if you ask me.
Ingredient list for Instant Pot 3 Cheese Spinach Mac & Cheese
Following are the ingredients used for making this spinach in a mac and cheese meal.
Spinach — If possible, always use fresh spinach. But then it is also possible to use frozen spinach in the fare.
Pasta — As the name suggests, I have used Macaroni for my Instant Pot 3 Cheese Spinach Mac & Cheese. But feel free to experiment. The macaroni and spinach recipe can be made gluten-free, provided you choose gluten-free pasta such as pasta made from lentils or corn.
3-cheese Blend — I have used a blend of –
- Mozzarella Cheese — With its supple, delicate, and slightly sour taste, mozzarella cheese amps up the flavor and texture of this mac and cheese recipe.
- Sharp Cheddar — The cheese perfectly melts into a smooth, creamy sauce and lends an intense, pungent, slightly earthy flavor, elevating the dish superbly.
- Smoked Provolone Blend — With its somewhat smoky and earthy flavor, the provolone blends perfectly with the tangier flavor of cheddar cheese.
Sour Cream — The tangy tart taste of sour cream and the rich and thick creaminess makes it an integral ingredient of this dish.
Butter — Unsalted, please. It will add to the creamy texture and help control the sodium in the dish.
Heavy Cream — The rich and thick creaminess of heavy cream along with milk adds to the creaminess of the fare. Always choose the cream that contains more than 35% fat.
Vegetable Stock — The essential flavor-building component of this dish is the vegetable stock. When possible, always choose a low-sodium version.
Sriracha Sauce — The tangy-sweet sauce with a kick of garlic adds the much-needed spiciness for this simple fare.
Seasonings – Salt and black pepper add flavor to our 3 Cheese Spinach Mac & Cheese recipe.
How to make Instant Pot 3 Cheese Spinach Mac & Cheese
Let’s get started on a quick recipe for mac & cheese made directly in the instant pot. No boiling required or extra dishes to wash. Simply dump-n-go, and everything cooks right in the Instant Pot– even pasta!
- Turn the Instant Pot to ‘Saute mode.’ Once it displays ‘hot,’ add butter to the insert. Once it melts, add macaroni with some salt, sriracha, pepper, and vegetable stock. Stir it well.
- Turn the Instant Pot off. Close the lid and seal the pot. Press the Manual or pressure cook button and cook the Instant Pot 3 Cheese Spinach Mac & Cheese for 5 minutes on HIGH.
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, release the pressure (QPR – quick pressure release). When the pin drops, carefully open the Instant Pot lid.
- Add the cream, cheese, and mix. Do the taste test and adjust the seasonings. Like it spicy, add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of sriracha.
- Add spinach and mix to combine. Serve immediately.
Recipe Tips and Variations
Cheese — Use cheese that will melt well, and nothing beats sharp cheddar and mozzarella as they have an excellent melting capacity and lend a smooth texture to Mac & cheese.
Broth — Out of broth, no worries. You can use water instead.
The pasta should be submerged underwater in the instant pot while cooking,
QPR — Make sure to do the quick-release after the pressure cooking cycle is done.
Cream — Add cream and cheese after the Instant Pot cooking is over.
Avoid lumpy mess — Add a little cheese at a time and mix. This will allow the cheese to blend nicely with the pasta.
Soupy Mac and cheese — Fret not. You need to sauté and stir for a few more minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
Sauce has thickened — You can spoon in a bit of milk and stir until the mixture has loosened up.
Add more veggies — To improve the flavors and nutrition content, you can add other vegetables like sautéed broccoli and kale. Or you can add bell peppers, roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, carrots, or zucchini. Options are endless!
Pasta — Elbow macaroni is the traditional and most common choice of pasta for this dish, but feel free to try your favorite varieties. In this recipe, you can use any pasta with a texture like shells, cavatappi, penne, fusilli, or rotini pasta. The pasta should ideally have deep grooves and ridges, which would help them to hold as much cheese sauce it can. It is best not to use long pasta like spaghetti and fettuccine as they won’t immerse the sauce.
Overcooking — Once you are done mixing in the cheese and spinach, immediately remove the Instant pot insert from the base to prevent over-cooking. This way, you will end up with an incredibly smooth and creamy sauce. Leaving the insert for too long in the hot base may result in a grainy sauce.
Spice it up — You can add Cajun seasoning or paprika to amp up the spice level in this Instant Pot 3 cheese spinach Mac and cheese recipe.
Add extra protein — You can up the protein in the recipe by adding a protein of your choices like chopped rotisserie chicken, leftover shredded chicken, or hot Italian sausage.
Yes, it is possible to make 3 cheese spinach Mac and cheese on the stovetop by following the below steps.
- Boil macaroni as per package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Melt butter in a separate pan.
- Add sour cream, milk, cream, and cheese.
- Boil on a low flame until it comes together like a roux.
- Combine with boiled macaroni. Toss to coat.
- Add spinach, adjust seasonings and enjoy warm.
One of the most amazing things about Instant Pot 3 cheese spinach Mac and cheese is that it tastes yummy right out of the oven and you can serve it —
Let me know what you think!
So for all the times when you get the occasional craving for your macaroni and cheese, try out my family favorite Instant Pot 3 cheese spinach Mac and cheese that is packed with cheesy goodness.
Should you make these 3 cheese spinach Mac and cheese, please let me know your thoughts by sharing your comment below. And don’t forget to share it with your family and friends.
MORE COMFORTING INSTANT POT RECIPES THAT YOU’LL LOVE!
Instant Pot 3 Cheese Spinach Mac & Cheese
- 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 16 oz Uncooked Macaroni Pasta
- 1.25 teaspoon Salt
- 1.5 teaspoon Sriracha sauce – adjust according to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon Coarsely crushed Black Pepper
- 3.5 cups Vegetable stock
- 3/4 cup Heavy cream
- 1/4 cup Sour Cream
- 1/4 cup Milk
- 2.5 cups Part-skim 3-cheese Blend (mozzarella, sharp cheddar and smoked provolone blend)
- 2 cups Finely chopped Spinach leaves
- Turn the Instant Pot to ‘Saute mode.’ Once it displays ‘hot,’ add butter to the insert.
- Add macaroni.
- Add salt, pepper, and sriracha sauce.
- Pour in water /vegetable stock. Please do not add more than 3.5 cups.
- Give it a good mix. Close the lid and seal the Instant Pot. Turn ‘OFF’ the saute mode and pressure cook the macaroni on ‘Manual/pressure cook mode’ for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes when the Instant Pot beeps do the QPR ( Quick Release pressure) and turn the Instant Pot ‘Off’ completely. When the pin drops, carefully open the lid. There will very little stock left at the bottom.
- Turn on the Instant Pot in Saute mode – 'Low-pressure setting'. Pour in the cream, milk, and sour cream. Mac and Cheese will be a little soupy at this point. No worries, keep stirring.
- Add cheese and give it a good mix. Keep stirring continuously after the cream, sour cream, and cheese are added to the macaroni. Add cheese in batches and mix. Initially, it will look like a clump of cheese. Just hang on and keep stirring until the cheese starts to melt (appx. 2-3 minutes). Soon it will become thick and coat the macaroni well. Turn the Instant Pot OFF.
- Add chopped spinach and mix.
- Do the taste test and adjust the seasonings. Remove the pot from the base to prevent the mac & cheese from overcooking.
- Serve immediately.