Take your family’s fave mac and cheese to a whole new delicious level with this pressure cooker Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese! Extra creamy and rich, this recipe is a fun spin on a classic!
Mac and cheese has long been a regular family favorite in our dinner rotation. Yours, too?
For the past few years, we’ve been trying to add more veggies to our daily diets and one of our favorite ways is to blend veggies into some of the dishes we already know and love.
Take macaroni and cheese. The classic recipe is great as it is, but it’s so easy to have fun with the classic recipe and elevate it for family dinners or even to go with Thanksgiving turkey.
Adding butternut squash helps take this recipe from everyday to extraordinary. And, another delicious and nutritious way to turn up the volume on this popular family dinner recipe: add butternut squash!
PS: If you're dairy-free, be sure to try my Dairy-Free Mac and Cheese recipe. It's a reader fave!
Kitchen Tools and Equipment
Wooden spoon or heatproof silicone spatula - to sauté the ingredients before pressure cooking, and to mix all of the ingredients together after pressure cooking.
Ingredients for Instant Pot Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Onions and garlic - sautéing these aromatics before pressure cooking with the other ingredients adds a lovely base layer of flavor that then permeates throughout the whole dish as it cooks.
Salt - use kosher salt for more flavor evenly distributed throughout the dish
Paprika - ground paprika lends another depth of flavor to any basic macaroni and cheese. I use classic (sweet) paprika but you can use smoked if you want more of a smoky, slightly spicy flavor.
Pasta - you’ll need 16 ounces of pasta, preferably in a shape that holds the creamy sauce well, like elbow macaroni.
Butternut squash - when pressure cooked, butternut squash is like MAGIC. It softens and you can mix it with the pasta into a rich, creamy, sweet sauce. So good! If you can't find fresh butternut squash, you can use frozen cubed butternut squash instead.
Chicken broth - use homemade stock or canned broth as the main liquid to cook the pasta. This adds a ton more flavor than if you just used water. But if you don’t have a vegetable or chicken broth/stock on hand, you can use equal parts water instead.
Milk - The higher the fat content, the creamier your sauce will be. That said, I always use 1% milk when making this recipe and it still turns out super rich and creamy, thanks to the other ingredients!
Cheese - Use shredded cheddar cheese or you can use a mix of cheddar, colby, and mozzarella cheese.
Butter - Just one tablespoon of unsalted butter adds a nice amount of buttery goodness to finish the dish.
How to Make Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese in an Electric Pressure Cooker
Full instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here are some helpful additional cooking tips to help you make the best mac and cheese ever!
Pour the olive oil into the pot. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, salt, and paprika. Sauté, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Press Cancel to end the sauté setting.
Place the pasta into the pot, then top with the butternut squash. Pour in the chicken broth and gently push down on the pasta and squash to submerge them under the liquid.
Assemble the pressure lid and set the pressure release valve to the SEALING position. Select PRESSURE/MANUAL and set the time to 3 minutes.
When cooking is complete, QUICK RELEASE the pressure by turning the pressure release valve to the VENT position. Carefully remove the lid when the unit has finished releasing pressure.
Stir in the milk, cheese, and butter until the cheese has melted and the butternut squash is fully incorporated into the sauce.
How do I store leftover mac and cheese?
The best way to store leftover mac and cheese is in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It is best eaten within 3 or 4 days.
Can I freeze butternut squash mac and cheese?
Yes! Store in an airtight freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to one month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
What’s the best way to reheat mac and cheese?
To “wake up” the creamy sauce, place the leftover portion you wish to eat in a microwave-safe bowl. Then add a tablespoon of milk or butter to the pasta, and heat for 1 minute. Stir, then heat for another minute.
Wine pairing for butternut squash
If you're 21+ and enjoying this grown-up mac and cheese, it deserves an equally grown-up drink pairing!
The sweet, rich flavors of butternut squash pasta go well with fuller-bodied white wines, like a Viognier or an oaked Chardonnay.
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Set your electric pressure cooker to SAUTÉ and high temperature.
- Allow the unit to preheat for 2 to 5 minutes.Pour the olive oil into the pot. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, salt, and paprika. Sauté, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Press Cancel to end the sauté setting.
- Place the pasta into the pot, then top with the butternut squash. Pour in the chicken broth and gently push down on the pasta and squash to submerge them under the liquid.
- Assemble the pressure lid and set the pressure release valve to the SEALING position. Select PRESSURE/MANUAL and set the time to 3 minutes.When cooking is complete, QUICK RELEASE the pressure by turning the pressure release valve to the VENT position.
- Carefully remove the lid when the unit has finished releasing pressure. Stir in the milk, cheese, and butter until the cheese has melted and the butternut squash is fully incorporated into the sauce.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.