My new favorite fall comfort food – Instant Pot Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese. This dinner is super easy to throw together and is ready in 30 minutes or less!
Who doesn’t love a bowl of mac and cheese this time of year? Come fall and winter, I start craving all the warm, hearty, comfort food meals. And you best believe mac n’ cheese is one of them.
We always had some version of frozen mac and cheese or boxed mac and cheese on hand growing up because they were so, so easy and convenient. I have a go-to homemade mac and cheese recipe now that I love but it’s very involved and time-intensive. And unless it’s a Sunday when I’m at home, I typically don’t have the time to make an involved meal from scratch.
Enter the beloved Instant Pot. Throw in your shells, liquid, and cheeses, and 25 minutes later, you’ve got creamy, cheesy shells of pasta.
I made this version with butternut squash as an ode to fall and winter. I love squash this time of year and it adds an extra depth of flavor to this dish. Not to mention added nutrients! Butternut squash is a good source of fiber, potassium and magnesium, and excellent source of vitamins A and C.
You will love this meal if you like:
- cheesy things
- winter squash
- fall flavors (like nutmeg!)
- quick & easy weeknight dinners
- set it and forget it dinners
- the Instant Pot
I used frozen butternut squash because it made this recipe so much easier – all you have to do is open the bag and dump it in the pot! But if you have a bounty of fresh butternut squash, it will work just as well; just be sure to peel and cube it ahead of time.
Can I make this in the slow cooker?
Yes! You would add all the ingredients except for the pasta and cheeses and cook on high for 3-4 hours. Then add cooked pasta and cheeses and stir until butternut squash breaks down into sauce. Alternatively, you could use an immersion blender to blend the butternut squash and broth before adding the cooked pasta and cheeses.Print
- 1 lb dry pasta shells
- 1 lb bag frozen cubed butternut squash (or can use 1 lb fresh butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup half & half
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 1/2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In the Instant Pot, add pasta, butternut squash, vegetable broth, water and salt and pepper. Mix together.
- Secure lid onto Instant Pot and set to pressure cook/manual for 5 minutes.
- Use quick release valve to release steam.
- One pressure is released, open lid and stir in nutmeg, dijon mustard, cayenne pepper, half & half, and cheeses, until combined and butternut squash breaks apart into the sauce.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
To make in the slow cooker:
Add all the ingredients except for the pasta and cheeses and cook on high for 3-4 hours. Then add cooked pasta and cheeses and stir until butternut squash breaks down into sauce. Alternatively, you could use an immersion blender to blend the butternut squash and broth before adding the cooked pasta and cheeses.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, butternut squash, instant pot