Instant Pot Rosemary-Bacon Mac and Cheese

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Instant Pot Rosemary-Bacon Mac and Cheese is ultra creamy with melted Gruyere, fresh rosemary, and smoky crispy bacon on top. 

overhead of rosemary bacon mac and cheese in a white bowl

❤️  Why you’ll love this recipe: Put an adult spin on classic mac and cheese with sophisticated flavors of Gruyere cheese, smoked paprika, and fresh rosemary. Despite the elevated flavors, this Instant Pot pasta recipe is quick, easy, and kid-approved. 

There’s nothing quite as comforting as a bowl of hot and creamy mac and cheese. My kids love it when I make our classic cheddar mac and cheese. But when I’m choosing the meal, I always reach for this more grown-up version.

This recipe for herby, creamy mac and cheese is an update to one of our all-time favorite recipes from The Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook. We’ve given it a new delicious spin that we think you’ll love. 

pinterest button for instant pro rosemary bacon mac and cheese

How to Make Instant Pot Rosemary-Bacon Mac and Cheese

This Instant Pot Rosemary Bacon Mac and Cheese recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant PotNinja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL

Aside from quickly sautéing crumbled bacon in the pot, this is a quick dump-and-go recipe. After the pasta cooks through, you’ll finish the sauce with whole milk, a quick cornstarch slurry, and grated cheese.

Tip: If you like an even creamier texture, you can use heavy cream to replace all or half of the milk. 

Gruyere is a type of Swiss cheese that is fairly easy to find at most grocery stores. However, if you can’t find it or simply prefer a different cheese, that’s totally fine. Mild cheddar or regular Swiss cheese would also work well in this recipe. 

overhead of an instant pot with uncooked bacon mac and cheese

Vegetarian Mac and Cheese

If you love the salty, smokey, and meaty flavor of crumbled bacon on your mac and cheese like us, you’re going to not want to skip step one of this recipe. 

However, you can easily adapt this mac and cheese to be vegetarian simply by skipping the bacon. If you do, add a tablespoon of oil to the pressure cooking pot with the pasta. The oil helps keep the pasta from foaming a lot during pressure cooking. 

overhead of an instant pot with creamy mac and cheese on a wooden spoon

Serving Suggestions

I like to top each bowl of Instant Pot Rosemary-Bacon Mac and Cheese with a sprinkle of sliced green onions and a dash of paprika for color. 

You can also add more minced rosemary if you don’t mind the flavor of raw rosemary. For more crunch, you could also top the mac and cheese with breadcrumbs and place it under the broiler or use an air-fryer lid to toast up a crust on top. 

(See how we did this in our Cheesy Potatoes Au Gratin recipe.)

close up on mac and cheese with a sprig of fresh rosemary

More Favorite Instant Pot Macaroni Recipes

Once you’ve mastered this herby Rosemary-Bacon Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot, add these cheesy pasta dishes to your repertoire:

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overhead of rosemary bacon mac and cheese in a white bowl

Instant Pot Rosemary-Bacon Mac and Cheese

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 14 minutes

Creamy Instant Pot Rosemary-Bacon Mac and Cheese has melted Gruyere, fresh herbs, and smoky crumbled bacon on top. 


  • ½ cup diced bacon*
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 pound shell pasta
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 8 ounces grated Gruyère cheese (about 2 cups)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly


  1. Select Sauté and add the bacon to the pressure cooking pot. Fry for about 5 minutes until crisp, stirring frequently. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the bacon fat in the pot.*
  2. Add the water to the pot and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom. Stir in the pasta, rosemary, and salt to the cooking pot. Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 4 minutes cook time.
  3. When the cook time ends, turn off the pressure cooker. Use a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid. Stir in the paprika and milk.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Add the slurry to the pot and stir until the sauce thickens. Stir in the Gruyère, a handful at a time, until melted and the sauce is smooth. Turn on the Sauté, if necessary, to melt the cheese and thicken the sauce. 
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with bacon, scallions and a dash of paprika on top. 


*To omit the bacon, skip step 1 and add 2 teaspoons of olive oil with the water and pasta in step 2 to reduce foaming. 

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 388Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 985mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 22g

Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.


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originally published May 6, 2021 — last updated June 28, 2022
Categories: Pasta