Broccoli Cheddar Pasta in Instant Pot
Rich, creamy and cheesy, this Broccoli Cheddar Pasta is comfort food at it's best! This family-friendly one-pot meal is everything a Broccoli Cheddar soup promises, and more. Here's a 30-minute dump-and-start recipe for your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Enjoy!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time3 mins
Total Time30 mins
- 1 cup milk (I use 2%)(can replace with broth or water)
- 2 cups water
- ½ lb pasta, shells (roughly 2.75 cups) medium shells or macaroni
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt adjust to taste
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes (skip or adjust to make this mild)
- 1 cup carrots, shredded (I roughly chop matchstick carrots)
- 2 cups broccoli florets (heaping cups) (about 1 large head)
After Pressure Cooking
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese (add more or less to suit your taste)
Turn Instant Pot on Saute mode. This will warm up the milk and water while we are adding ingredients and reduce the pressure building time. This step is optional though.
Add milk (see notes for substitute), water, pasta, seasonings, carrots and broccoli in the pot. Stir and close the lid. Pressure cook for 3 minutes. This time works for medium shell pasta, check notes for different pasta shapes.
After cooking time is up, wait 5 minutes and then manually release the pressure in bursts. What that means is, release pressure 1-2 seconds at a time, then stop. Repeat this till most of the pressure has released and its intensity has gone down.
Open the lid, add heavy whipping cream and shredded cheddar cheese and stir till everything comes together. By stirring the broccoli florets will further break down and integrate in the sauce.
If at this point, your pasta looks too dry, add 1/2 cup of boiling water. Add more or less cheese, depending on your preference!
Tips to customize Broccoli Cheddar Pasta
- Estimated Time includes roughly 10 mins for pressure build-up. Cook time = Time to set for pressure cooking.
- This recipe has been tested in a 3qt and 6qt Instant Pot. If making this in an 8Qt size, adjust the water quantity to meet the minimum requirement.
- If the sauce looks dry after cooking, add 1/2 cup of warm water. If it looks thin, you can saute for a few minutes. It will naturally thicken as it sits for a few minutes.
- If you want to reduce calories in this dish, you can replace milk with broth or water, AND replace heavy cream with half ‘n’ half.
- You can customize the cheesiness of this dish. Add 2 cups for extra cheesy sauce.
- I like the flavor of cheddar cheese in this recipe, but you can replace that with any melting cheese of your choice.
- You can make this recipe with frozen and thawed broccoli florets as well.
- Gluten-Free variation: Simply replace the pasta type with any gluten-free shape and adjust cooking time based on the formula below:
How to Cook Pasta in Instant Pot : Rule of Thumb
Since different pasta shapes require different cook times, here is what works for me: I half the lower number in the suggested cook time on the box, and subtract 1 minute from that. So, if a box suggests the cook time as 10-11 minutes, I cook it for 4 minutes in the Instant Pot (10/2=5; 5-1=4).
If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.
How to avoid QR: Let the pressure release naturally for 10 mins (NPR 10 mins). In that time, most of the pressure has released naturally and if you do a quick release at this point, it won’t be that impactful and long.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.
Calories: 570kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 944mg | Potassium: 557mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 6715IU | Vitamin C: 42.5mg | Calcium: 475mg | Iron: 1.5mg