Instant Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni

So let me tell you about this Instant Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni. Sara and I were talking about how we wanted more Instant Pot one pot meals, easy weeknight dinners, all that. Since I wasn’t super comfortable with cooking pasta in the Instant Pot, I started reading all sorts of resources and stumbled into a cheeseburger mac and cheese in this post. I was simultaneously revolted and intrigued. Nothing about it sounded good to me, but I’m in a phase of life where I’m trying new things like saying no to dip powder at the nail salon when I don’t really want it and cancelling subscriptions I don’t use and trying recipes that sound weird.

the verdict

Well. I tried it. My family loved it, but I had to do some tweaking (like adjusting the recipe, not using meth. Also, guess who’s watching Breaking Bad again.) So I made it again. And my family loved it even more. You guys. This is their favorite thing. There are never leftovers. They can’t stop talking about it. I make all sorts of fancy things for them and this is all they want. In their love, they’ve given it a new, special name: Hot Meat Noodle. And I’m not gonna lie, it’s freaking delicious.

how to make it

You’re going to need a pound of pasta (I love everything about cellentani in this recipe), some butter, a pound of lean ground beef (I use 93% lean), onion powder, garlic powder, ketchup, mustard, a little red wine vinegar, and some half and half.

You’ll also need 3 cups (about 12 ounces) of medium shredded cheddar cheese. You can buy it pre-shredded, but I strongly recommend grating your own. They put a powder on grated cheese to keep it from sticking that sometimes impacts melting and makes dishes like this not as smooth and creamy.

Heat an electric pressure cooker to the sauté setting. When hot, add the butter, stirring until it melts. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring frequently, until it’s cooked down and broken into pieces. Turn off heat and add the onion and garlic powder, ketchup, mustard, and red wine vinegar. Stir to combine.

Add dry pasta and combine.

Add water and salt. Stir, trying to keep as much pasta as possible under the water. Use the manual setting to cook for 5 minutes. When done, use the quick release on the pressure cooker. Remove the lid and turn off the power.

Add the shredded cheese

and half and half.

Stir until smooth. Lightly cover (just set the Instant Pot lid on the pot but don’t secure it) and let sit for 3 minutes.

Season to taste and serve with additional cheese if desired.

hypothetical non-instant pot directions

Now…this is one of the onlyInstant Pot recipes where I’ve never tried making it another way. Usually we like to offer an alternative cooking method because I know not everyone has an Instant Pot, but I haven’t ever made it another way, so I feel uncomfortable giving you very specific directions. However. If I were to make this on the stovetop, I would cook the pasta in salted water while the beef is browning. Before you drain the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set it aside. Add the ketchup and Instant Potseasonings to the beef, combine, add the cheese and half and half, and then if you need to thin things out, add the pasta water, a little at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.

 

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Instant Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni (aka “Hot Meat Noodle”)

  • Author: kate jones

Description

This quick and easy Instant Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni comes together in minutes and has been a HUGE hit with our family! One of their favorite, most-requested meals!


Scale

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
1 pound lean ground beef (I used 93% lean)
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 pound short, dry pasta like cellentani
4 cups water
1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups freshly shredded medium cheddar cheese
1/2 cup half and half


Instructions

Heat an electric pressure cooker to the sauté setting. When hot, add the butter, stirring until it melts. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring frequently, until it’s cooked down and broken into pieces. Turn off heat and add the onion and garlic powder, ketchup, mustard, and red wine vinegar. Stir to combine.

Add dry pasta and combine. Add water and salt. Stir, trying to keep as much pasta as possible under the water. Use the manual setting to cook for 5 minutes. When done, use the quick release on the pressure cooker. Remove the lid and turn off the power.

Add the shredded cheese and half and half. Stir until smooth. Lightly cover and let sit for 3 minutes. Season to taste and serve.


Notes

Untested non-instant pot directions

This is one of the only Instant Pot recipes we have where I’ve never tried making it another way. Usually we like to offer an alternative cooking method because I know not everyone has an Instant Pot, but I haven’t ever made it another way, so I feel uncomfortable giving you very specific directions. However. If I were to make this on the stovetop, I would cook the pasta in salted water while the beef is browning. Before you drain the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set it aside. Add the ketchup and seasonings to the beef, combine, add the cheese and half and half, and then if you need to thin things out, add the pasta water, a little at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.

25 comments

  1. Hi, this looks super toddler friendly! I can’t wait to try it. Do you think it would work as well with ground turkey for a beef-avoiding family?

  2. This looks amazing!!! Do you typically use high or low pressure for this meal? I’m fairly new to insta pot and pressure and pasta scare me. Haahaa!

  3. So this is a first for me. I was scrolling IG while waiting to pick up my kids from school and ran across this recipe. I already had hamburger defrosted, but just wasn’t feels by like grilling hamburgers the I had planned. Quick trip to the store for noodles and dinner is done. Perfect meal for the first day of fall. Very yummy!!

  4. My kids are picky about pasta and sauces — I was desperate today and only had 15 min to prep. This was so so easy and so flavorful!! My kids loved it!! Thank you thank you. Adding it to the rotation

  5. We tried this last night and the flavor was great! But I did something wrong – maybe someone can help me figure it out? It went well until I stirred the cheese and half and half in… the cheese kind of stuck the meat together instead of melting all the way into the sauce… it ended up getting wadded into these stringy meat-cheese chunks and the sauce was still thin. Any hints about how I can fix this next time? Many thanks!!

    1. There are a couple of possibilities…
      -Next time, I would add the half and half first and make sure that’s combined and then add the cheese.
      -Did you grate your own cheese or did you use pre-shredded cheese? The pre-shredded cheese doesn’t mix or melt very well.
      -What’s your altitude? I’m wondering if higher altitudes need to add a bit more water because I have a little water left in the pot that helps make things smooth and creamy, but I’m basically at sea level.

      Let me know on the altitude thing and I’ll keep thinking!

      1. Thanks for the ideas Kate! We’re at 4500 feet; I did still have a little water left in the pot, but maybe not enough? I shredded my own cheese, too – I agree that the pre-shredded stuff just doesn’t work right. 🙂 I will try using a little more water and/or adding the half and half first next time and see how it goes. Thanks!!

  6. Have you heard of the Mr. Roe method of figuring out what you want to eat? The basics is you think of temperature, textures, and tastes that sound good. Hot Meat Noodle sounds like the Mr. Roe method of eating and made me laugh.

  7. We made this last night and it was DELICIOUS! We subbed ground turkey for the beef and 1% milk for the half and half. With salt and pepper it was yummy!

  8. My whole family loved this, even my picky kids! So easy, total comfort food on this chilly Sunday. YUM. I used regular vinegar and added a bit more water because we are at a high altitude. Worked great!

  9. I made this on the stove tonight! It worked out great! I browned the beef, stirred in the seasonings, then added the water and noodles. I added an extra 1/2 cup of water. I covered the pot and let it simmer till the noodles were cooked, about 15 minutes. Then I stirred in the half and half and cheese. It came out so creamy and delicious! My whole family loved it!

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