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Instant Pot Cheeseburger Mac

A Quick and Easy Instant Pot Pasta Casserole That Your Family Will Love

This super hearty and flavorful Instant Pot Cheeseburger Mac is so quick and easy to make. You can make this delicious hamburger and pasta casserole from scratch in less than 20 minutes using the Instant Pot. This will be a family favorite and one of your go-to recipes for those crazy busy weeknights.

overhead shot of a plate of cheeseburgermac and lettuce with tomato slices
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We all need easy and fast meals for those busy weeknight dinners. You know, those nights when the kids have a million activities and when they get home they’re ravenous! The tricky part is finding a fast and easy meal that everyone will love. Well, this meal fits the bill!

I love making pasta in the Instant Pot, and I love creating different pasta dishes with simple ingredients I usually have on hand and you probably do too. This Instant Pot Cheeseburger Mac is one of those easy creations. It’s simple but so flavorful and always a hit with the kids.

instant pot cheeseburger mac
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Cheeseburger Flavor in No Time

So funny thing is this meal originally started as a chili mac. First time I finished making it though, my hubby and I agreed, it didn’t taste like chili mac, but sure enough, it tasted like a hamburger! So I went with that, tweaked it a bit and voila, Instant Pot Cheeseburger Mac!

instant pot cheeseburger mac
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My Instant Pot Cheeseburger Mac tastes so much like a delicious, juicy cheeseburger, especially when you top it with crunchy, makes everything better, bacon! The nice thing is you can have cheeseburger flavor in so little time! The Instant Pot makes this meal quick and not to mention, you cook everything in one pot, so the clean up is a breeze!

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Common Ingredients for a Delicious Meal

This is one of those super easy meals, where you probably already have all the ingredients on hand. Ground beef, garlic, onion, a few common spices, and shredded cheddar. That’s it! Together, they all work wonderfully to give this quick meal a delicious cheeseburger flavor.

Think of it as a homemade hamburger helper, only with no box mixes and a lot tastier!

instant pot cheeseburger mac
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I like to use ground sirloin because I don’t have to drain the fat after browning it. It’s lean yet flavorful so it’s a perfect choice. I tell you more about the ingredients I like to use and why in the step-by-step below.

Kitchen Prep Tools, Utensils & Appliances

Here is a list of the kitchen prep tools, utensils, and appliances I used to make this recipe.

Prep Tools & Utensils
  • You will need a 4-cup liquid measuring cup, some measuring spoons and a spoon or spatula for cooking and mixing the meat, onion, garlic, and spices. I always use my aqua silicone spoon and have a pair of mini mitts on when doing any mixing in the Instant Pot.
  • Having a few mini pinch bowls are also super handy for holding the pre-measured herbs and spices.
  • I always recommend shredding the cheese yourself if you have time because it will always gives you better results than the storebought shredded cheese. You’ll also need some measuring cups for measuring the shredded cheese.
  • For chopping the onions, you will need a good set of knives. I love my beautiful set of aqua cutlery. You’ll also need one of these for mincing the garlic.
Appliances & Cookware

I made this super easy Instant Pot Cheeseburger Mac recipe in less than 20 minutes using my 8-quart Instant Pot. The 6-quart Instant Pot should also work perfectly for this recipe also.

Serving Platters & Dishes

This set of Corelle dinnerware is my go-to, day-to-day set of bowls and dishes. These are the ones we always use for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Instant Pot Accessories

Make sure to check out my post on Must-Have Accessories for the Instant Pot. You’ll find a complete list of all the top accessories that can be used with your Instant Pot.

I’m certain that when you make your own pot of this Instant Pot Cheeseburger Mac you will love how fast and easy it is to make and your family will love how great it tastes.

If you are an Instant Pot beginner I have included a step-by-step below. If you don’t need a step-by-step, you can just skip this part and go straight to the recipe card below the steps. You will also find some tips and tricks in the recipe card to help you create this delicious Instant Pot pasta meal.

How To Make Cheeseburger Mac in the Instant Pot

There is nothing better than having dinner served in minutes on those hectic weeknights when you have mouths to feed but are short on time. I take that back, there is something better. Serving a homemade meal in minutes that those hungry mouths will love.

And, since this meal is made in the Instant Pot, cleanup is a breeze. That’s marvelous! My Instant Pot Cheeseburger Mac is so easy and so delicious that the whole family will love it. This step-by-step will guide you through making this wonderful pasta dish in your Instant Pot.

side view of a bowl of cheeseburger mac
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Let’s get started making this Instant Pot Cheeseburger Mac.

Gather the Cheeseburger Mac ingredients

This hearty pasta dish has a few simple ingredients. Ground beef, onion, and garlic cooked and seasoned with spices.

  • Ground Sirloin: When making Instant Pot pasta dishes that require ground beef I like to use ground sirloin. Since it’s lean, it won’t create grease that needs to be drained after cooking. And, even though it’s lean, it’s still very flavorful making it the perfect choice for most Instant Pot dishes.
  • Onion and Garlic: The onion and garlic are common additions to ground beef because they add lots of great flavor to it.
  • Chili Powder and Cumin: Just a bit of chili powder and cumin will give us that perfect cheeseburger flavor.
  • Unsalted Beef Stock: I use Kitchen Basics unsalted beef stock for it’s rich and robust flavor without the sodium that most other store-bought beef stocks have. That way, I can control how much sodium goes into the dish.
  • Elbow Pasta: I like to use elbow macaroni for this recipe but most any pasta will work.
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese: Once the shredded sharp cheddar melts into this pasta, that cheeseburger taste really comes out.

Cook the ground beef

Turn on the Instant Pot to ‘Sauté’ and using the ‘Adjust’ button, make sure that the temperature is set to ‘More’. Allow the pot to warm up for a few minutes and once the digital display reads ‘Hot’, add the ground beef to the pot and sauté it until it is fully cooked.

Add the onion and garlic

Add the diced onion and minced garlic to the Instant Pot and mix them into the ground sirloin. Continue cooking for another 3 or 4 minutes until the onion starts to become soft and translucent.

Add the spices

Add the chili powder, cumin, and salt to the Instant Pot and mix them into the meat. Cook for an additional minute or two.

Add the beef stock

Add the beef stock to the Instant Pot and stir to mix it into the seasoned ground beef.

Add the macaroni pasta

Layer the elbow pasta on top of the beef. Do not mix the pasta into the beef stock. Instead, using a spoon, gently push the pasta down into the beef stock so that it is damp and mostly submerged.

Set the cook time

Close the Instant Pot and set the pressure release valve to ‘Sealing’.  Set the pot to ‘Manual / Pressure Cook’ and then set the cook time to 3 minutes on ‘High Pressure’. Once cooking has completed, allow for a two-minute natural pressure release and then release any remaining pressure from the pot.

Open and mix

After the two-minute natural pressure release has completed, release any remaining pressure and open the pot. Using a spoon, mix the pasta and meat together.

Add the cheese

Add the shredded sharp cheddar cheese and mix it into the pasta until it completely melts into the pasta.

Serve a delicious plate of Cheeseburger Mac

Now it’s your turn to cook up a pot of this delicious Instant Pot Cheeseburger Mac.

a plate of cheeseburger mac served with lettuce and tomato
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I hope you have a chance to make this delicious Instant Pot pasta dish. This recipe is so quick and easy to make and is perfect for those busy weeknights. If you make this pasta, please leave a comment below and let me know how it was.

Instant Pot Cheeseburger Mac

Macaroni pasta, seasoned ground beef and cheddar cheese

5 from 8 votes
DifficultySuper Easy
Cooking Method(s)
  • Instant Pot
IP Pressure LevelHigh
IP ProgramManual / Pressure Cook
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
3 minutes
Pressure Release
2 minute NPR
Total Time
10 minutes
Recipe by: Valerie Cooper
This pasta is so delicious, just like having a cheeseburger in a bowl. This easy pasta recipe is sure to be a hit with the kids and is a great meal for busy weeknights.
Cuisine: American
Course: Main Course
Category: Casseroles, Pastas


for the Meat

for the Pasta

  • 4 cups unsalted beef stock
  • 1 pound small elbow pasta

to add After Cooking


  • Turn on the Instant Pot to 'Sauté' and allow it to warm up for a few minutes. Once the digital display reads 'Hot', add the ground beef to the pot and sauté until it is fully cooked.
  • Add the diced onion and minced garlic and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes until the onion begins to become soft and translucent.
  • Add the chili powder, cumin, and salt to the pot and mix it into the meat and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Cancel the 'Sauté' function, add the beef stock to the meat and mix everything together well. Layer the pasta on top of the beef and gently push it down into the beef stock so that most of it is submerged and damp.
  • Close the Instant Pot and set the pressure release valve to 'Sealing' and then set the pot to 'Manual' / 'Pressure Cook', High Pressure with a cook time of 3 minutes. Once the cook time has completed, allow for a 2 minute NPR (natural pressure release).
  • Release any remaining pressure after the two minute NPR has completed. Open the pot and then mix in the cheese.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Nutrition Facts

While every effort is made to correctly calculate these nutritional facts, they should be used as general guidance as they may not be 100% accurate.

Calories: 651kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 1177mg | Potassium: 773mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 720IU | Vitamin C: 1.4mg | Calcium: 355mg | Iron: 4.1mg

Tips & Tricks

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make this Instant Pot Cheeseburger Mac recipe your own.

Use ground sirloin. Ground sirloin is best for these types of pasta casseroles because not only does it taste great, but it’s low fat and doesn’t create grease that needs to be drained.

Serving Suggestions

Here are a few ideas for serving your Instant Pot Cheeseburger Mac.

Top with bacon. This pasta casserole is even better topped with crumbled bacon.

Serve with a salad. A simple side salad with your favorite dressing pairs very well with this dish.

instant pot cheeseburger mac
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  • Mike says:

    I made this a few times for my kids and they love it. Here are a few substitutions we did that worked for us.

    We didn’t out chili powder so the kids don’t say it is too hot.

    Add some red, orange, or yellow peppers.
    Add some cheery tomatoes and Indian masala. Plate it and put Parmesan cheese on top with a little chipotle Tabasco.

  • Trisha says:

    I think my kiddo would enjoy this but I am not a beef eater. Do you the flavor with ground turkey and turkey stock would be ok?

  • Cheryl Gomes says:

    I made this it was so delicious! My family loves it!👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

  • Tamara S says:

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was very good! I forgot to get an onion at the store so I used dehydrated minced onions. I also added Goya Adobo seasoning, and for some reason I wanted Worcestershire sauce in it. This turned out so good that my boyfriend is on his second large bowl as I type this.

    • Hi Tamara! I’m so glad you and your boyfriend enjoyed this! I use dried minced onions all the time! I hate chopping onions so I use them whenever I can! Haha! Thanks for stopping by the blog!

  • earl S. says:

    saute’ took 34min, and it took 14min to reach pressure. The food was as my spouse stated – edible.

    • Hi Earl! There is no way that sauteing the ground beef should have taken 34 minutes if your pot is working properly. It either has a problem or you have the saute set to low. Even if set to low, it shouldn’t take 34 minutes ever to saute ground beef. I would definitely have that checked. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Mary says:

    Made this today. Sooo yummy. Made in 3qt mini. Halved all ingredients. It was perfect.
    Wanted 2 bowls but refrained..

  • Gwendolyn says:

    I made the Cheeseburger Mac and my family wasn’t crazy for it. It was bland and didn’t look like your picture even though I put all of the cheese called for plus some. I used mini penne because that’s what I had and it worked well. It was very easy to make with easy to follow detailed instructions and the pictures are high quality. I’m an experienced cook but it’s always nice to see such detail and quality in a recipe. I’ll try it again with a few modifications (don’t know what they will be yet but I’ll post it it’s a success!) Thank you for sharing your recipes! I’ll definitely be trying others!

    • Hi Gwendolyn! Thanks for your comment. I’m surprised it was bland as the chili and garlic in this recipe really gives it great flavor. I wonder if the brand of chili one uses affects it. Did you use sharp cheddar? I’m happy to hear it was easy to make! Thanks again for stopping by!

      • Gwendolyn says:

        I apologize for not replying sooner Valerie. I don’t know why and was surprised myself that it was bland. I did use the Costco brand sharp cheddar which I use in many other dishes. I am going to make it again soon and will report back on the taste.

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