Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot American Chop Suey (Beefaroni) is a classic comfort food made with macaroni, ground beef, onions, and bell peppers. This big-batch, 30-minute recipe is loaded with melty mozzarella and Parmesan that’s crisped in the oven or with an air-fryer lid.
If you have kids, this Beefaroni recipe might just become a new family favorite. (It certainly is at my house, where my son goes crazy for anything with ground beef and melted cheese.)
If you have an air fryer lid for your pressure cooker, then this 30-minute recipe can also be a one-pot meal! Otherwise, it’s easy to pop under the broiler for that bubbly cheese topping that my family always wants more of.
Update: This is one of our most popular Instant Pot recipes from 2019! We’ve updated the post with a new video and our best tips and tricks to perfecting cheesy, easy pressure cooker Beefaroni. (That cheese pull at the end of the video! 😍)
What Is American Chop Suey/Beefaroni?
Until last year, I hadn’t heard of American Chop Suey. However, it turns out that it’s a classic comfort food recipe that goes by a different name depending on where you’re from:
Beefaroni, macaroni and beef, chili mac, Johnny Marzetti: whatever you call it, this stuff is delicious…This is a New England classic that ought to be eaten everywhere comfort and ease are appreciated.
To make traditional Beefaroni, you need macaroni noodles, ground beef, and a thick tomato sauce. We add plenty of cheese to bring things up a level.
It’s similar to American Goulash. You might even consider it a made-from-scratch version of Hamburger Helper (aka hamburger mac). For some reason, growing up, my dad always called it “Goo-flop.”
🍝 Whatever you call it, this dish is easy, cheesy, and always satisfying. It’s a kid-approved, 30-minute dinner that my family simply can’t get enough of.
Why is it called American Chop Suey?
Before developing this Instant Pot American Chop Suey recipe, the only “Chop Suey” I knew of was the canned version I used to make stir fry in college:
Clearly though, the only thing in common between Chinese and American Chop Suey is the name.
It turns out that the term chop suey or “mixed bits” comes from Cantonese. Chinese immigrants brought the dish over in the 1900s. Eventually, the dish evolved from a Chinese staple to an Italian-American favorite.
In the 1950s, New Englanders made American Chop Suey with onions, bell peppers, and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.
For a more modern twist, I add melted mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. I think you’ll agree that it takes this easy dinner to the next level.
Making Pressure Cooker American Chop Suey in your Instant Pot
Making meals with thick tomato sauce can be tricky in an Instant Pot. Thick sauces can sink to the bottom of the pot and cause a burn notice.
To avoid this problem, I use puréed whole canned tomatoes. In addition, I deglaze the pot with beef broth and scrape up the browned bits. This adds flavor to the Beefaroni sauce and prevents burning.
🛑 After deglazing and mixing in the Worcestershire sauce, put down your spoon! 🛑
Any mixing after this point can cause ingredients to sink and give you a burn notice.
Add the macaroni noodles, blended tomatoes, and petite diced tomatoes in that specific order. (The tomatoes cover the noodles to ensure they cook. And, at the same time, the noodles provide a barrier between the tomatoes and the bottom of the pot.)
Since this American Chop Suey recipe makes a large amount of pasta, it may take a while to come to pressure—about 15 to 20 minutes.
American Chop Suey Ingredient and Recipe Notes
⚠️ Be warned: This is a very cheesy recipe.
My family loves to have a little cheese in every single bite, so we added cubed cheese to the pasta. However, if you’re not as crazy about mozzarella we are, you can omit the cubed cheese.
I definitely recommend topping the dish with grated mozzarella and Parmesan, however, to achieve that crowd-pleasing crispy cheese topping.
Can I Half the Recipe?
This recipe makes a BIG batch of pasta. If I’m not feeding a huge crowd, I’ll often remove half of the cooked pasta after releasing the pressure in my Instant Pot.
I transfer it to a disposable baking pan and freeze it for later. Then, when I’m in the mood for more Beefaroni, I let it defrost in the refrigerator. Right before dinner, I’ll sprinkle the cheese on top, and pop it under the broiler.
If you don’t need quite that much American Chop Suey, of course, you can also cut the recipe in half to make a smaller batch.
Finishing Instant Pot American Chop Suey in the Oven
If you don’t have an air fryer lid for your pressure cooker, you’ll make a crisp and bubbly cheese topping for your beefaroni using the broiler.
For maximum efficiency, when the Instant Pot reaches pressure, preheat your broiler and spray an oven-safe dish with cooking spray.
This way, you can transfer the American Chop Suey straight from the pressure cooker to the oven and get dinner on the table even faster.
Finishing Instant Pot American Chop Suey With an Air Fryer Lid (Ninja Foodi)
Follow the recipe as directed to cook the pasta. Once you release the pressure, carefully distribute the cubed mozzarella throughout the middle of the pressure cooking pot. (Be careful not to stir too much or the cheese will stick to your spoon.)
Sprinkle grated mozzarella and Parmesan on top of the pasta in your cooking pot. Then seal on the crisping lid.
Select Air Crisp, set the temperature to 400°F, and set the cook time to 5 minutes. Push Start. When the cook time ends, remove the cooking pot to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
✅ The great part about using an air fryer lid is that every serving can have plenty of crispy, melty cheese on top. At my house, I’ll serve everyone fresh from the pressure cooker.
Then, for second helpings (there are always seconds of American Chop Suey), I’ll sprinkle a bit more cheese on top, pop the lid back on, and make a fresh and bubbly topping.
More Pressure Cooker Cheesy Pastas You’ll Love
If you and your family simply can’t get enough of the cheesy, beefy goodness of American Chop Suey, you’re in luck. Your Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker is the best appliance to make quick, easy, and comforting cheesy pasta dishes.
Here are some of our favorite easy Instant Pot pasta recipes with cheese:
- Pepperoni Pizza Pasta features spicy sausage and pepperoni sauce and tender noodles topped with melty mozzarella cheese.
- American Goulash is similar to American Chop Suey. However, this recipe uses tomato sauce and omits the less-traditional cheesy layer.
- Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese is a classic comfort food. This version cooks up quickly in the pressure cooker and features cheddar cheese and bacon.
- Instant Pot /Pressure Cooker Tex-Mex Chili Mac features sausage and Tex-Mex seasonings (think chili powder and cayenne pepper) for a fun spin on a classic combination.
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- 1 can (28-ounce) whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup finely diced onion
- 1 cup finely diced bell pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (14-ounce) low-sodium beef broth
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup finely minced fresh parsley leaves, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, plus more for serving
- 1 box (16-ounce) elbow macaroni
- 1 can (28-ounce) petite diced tomatoes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 package (16-ounce) low-moisture whole milk mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Using a blender, purée the whole peeled tomatoes until smooth. Set aside.*
- Select Sauté on an electric pressure cooker to preheat the pressure cooking pot. When hot, add the oil and the ground beef. Cook, using a metal spoon or meat chopper to break the beef into small pieces. Stir occasionally until the meat is crumbled and no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
- Remove the meat to a plate lined with paper towels. Melt the butter in the pot, scraping up all browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the onion and green pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Add the beef broth. Scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Stir in the oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and 2 tablespoons fresh parsley. Add the Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine. Return the beef to the pot. Then, without stirring, add the macaroni, puréed whole tomatoes, and petite diced tomatoes.
- Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 4 minutes cook time.
- While the pasta is coming to pressure, preheat the broiler. Cut the mozzarella cheese in half. Cut one half of the mozzarella into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside. Grate the remaining mozzarella.
- When the cook time ends, use a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid. Stir the pasta carefully.
- Spray a large baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.** Transfer half of the contents of the cooking pot into the prepared dish. Distribute the cubed mozzarella evenly throughout the dish, then top with the rest of the pasta from the cooking pot. Sprinkle the grated mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over the top. Place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.
*This step is optional, I prefer the sauce texture when I purée the tomatoes. If you want to skip this step, use two cans of petite diced tomatoes.
**See above for instructions on finishing the recipe with an air fryer lid or Ninja Foodi.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 194Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 401mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 13g
Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.
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