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Pressure Cooker 5-Minute Macaroni & Cheese with Tomatoes & Panko Herb crust


Pressure Cooking is something I've been doing for 15 years. I can make a meal in a fraction of the time it would take on the stove or in the oven. This recipe cooks pasta, water and spices in 5 minutes, under pressure. Using evaporated milk, after pressure cooking, adds a creaminess that is rich and flavorful. Adding two cheeses, by the handfuls (off heat) creates a creamy and "just right" thick sauce. For a tasty "crunch" I made panko crumbs with butter and fresh thyme for the top of the cheesy pasta and broiled it until golden brown. This recipe is adapted from America's Test Kitchen "Pressure Cooker Perfection". Please click on the recipe URL to my blog "A Feast for the Eyes" to see how I made this. Recipe is adapted from America's Test Kitchen, "Pressure Cooker Perfection".

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  • 2 cups (8-ounces) elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk*
  • 1 cup (4-ounces) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup (4-ounces) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 can petite drained diced tomatoes (optional)
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme


Servings 4
Preparation time 5mins
Cooking time 10mins
Adapted from


Step 1

Mix macaroni, water and tomatoes (if using), salt, mustard and cayenne together in a pressure-cooker pot. Lock pressure-cooker lid in place and bring to high pressure over medium-high heat. Cook for 5 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to maintain high pressure.

NOTE: I use an electric pressure cooker, so I just locked on the lid, set pressure to medium low and set the timer for 5 minutes.

Remove pot from heat. Quick release pressure, then carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.

Stir in evaporated milk and simmer over medium-high heat until sauce has thickened and pasta is tender, 1 to 3 minutes.
*You can use 2% evaporated milk, just cook the pasta longer until it thickens

Turn off heat, stir in cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, a handful at a time, until the cheese has melted and sauce is smooth.


In a small skillet, melt the butter and then add the panko and herbs. Gently combine with a fork. Add a layer of the topping on top of the mac 'n cheese and broil (on highest rack) for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown.


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