Best Instant Pot Macaroni Salad

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Instant Pot Macaroni Salad. Let me introduce you to one of the best beginner uses of the instant pot and that is making the best instant pot macaroni salad. Incredibly quick and easy in the instant pot, no draining of the macaroni and perfect for serving from the instant pot inner pot.

Best Instant Pot Macaroni Salad
Best Instant Pot Macaroni Salad

Instant Pot Macaroni Salad

I do not know about you, but when I think of macaroni, I am back to childhood. Those delicious bowls of macaroni cheese that had lots of cheddar cheese and felt like the best comfort food in the world.

They were made on the stovetop and took ages to prep and make. You had one large pan making your homemade cheese sauce, then another pan for boiling your macaroni and usually lots of spare grated cheese on the worktop that you stole when you thought your mother wasn’t looking.

Fast forward 30 years and you now live in this wonderful world of kitchen gadgets. Instead you bake macaroni cheese in the air fryer thanks to our air fryer mac and cheese recipe.

But another annoying thing was the effort you made to make sure you had the best macaroni salad at the summer barbecue you were attending.

You wanted your macaroni salad to stand out and was proud of your creation. But what annoyed you most was how long it took.

That is why today, I would like to introduce you to our instant pot macaroni salad.

You pressure cook your macaroni while you prep the other salad ingredients. You add the correct water to the macaroni and then do not need to drain afterwards.

Everything is dumped in the instant pot and you could even serve macaroni salad as a main meal for dinner direct from the instant pot.

This instant pot macaroni salad is literally the macaroni dish of your dreams.

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Can You Cook Macaroni In An Instant Pot?

Absolutely! I know with a lot of instant pot users there is this big fear of the food not turning out right.

I have found that this is because a lot of recipes have not been tested and if you find a bad instant pot recipe it can put you off for life.

Cooking macaroni in an instant pot is a science. Just like when you bake and there is the perfect ratio of ingredients.

Get the ratio of water, macaroni and cook time correct and your macaroni in the instant pot will be perfect.

Difference Between Macaroni Salad & Pasta Salad?

We often read about instant pot macaroni salad or instant pot pasta salad and I am sure you are wondering what the difference is.

A macaroni salad is made with macaroni and a pasta salad can be made with any type of pasta. Both are made with delicious salad add ins that are then added to the pasta once it is cooked.

Many versions of pasta salad and macaroni salad include mayonnaise, Philadelphia soft cheese and other yummy creamy salad favourites.

I have found that the best pasta salad is made with macaroni. Though you can mix and match what ingredients you add in.

For example, you can add in sliced pineapple and sliced ham for a Hawaiian macaroni salad.

What Is The Best Macaroni Salad Recipe?

The best macaroni salad recipe is an instant pot macaroni salad recipe.

Because the macaroni pressure cooks in the correct amount of liquid it doesn’t have that starchy texture that you get from stovetop macaroni.

This macaroni salad in the instant pot is also a time saver thanks to everything going on in one pot and a fast cook time.

But for me what makes the best macaroni salad recipe is one that is loaded with creamy comfort food favourites. Lots of mayonnaise and OMG who doesn’t love Philadelphia in their salads?

How To Prepare Macaroni Salad?

Best Instant Pot Macaroni Salad step by step

Preparing instant pot macaroni salad is EASY. I am partially sighted and prep takes me longer, but even with my slow prep, it is still made considerably quicker than the stovetop.

Instant Pot Macaroni Salad Recipe Instructions:

  1. Load macaroni pasta into the instant pot with water and a little salt.
  2. Place the lid on the instant pot and pressure cook your macaroni.
  3. As it pressure cooks prep your salad ingredients.
  4. Once it beeps manually release pressure.
  5. Stir everything in and serve.

How Long Do You Cook Elbow Macaroni In The Instant Pot?

The cook time for elbow macaroni in the instant pot is an incredible 3 minutes with just 5 minutes of natural pressure release.

My husband Dominic is so much harder to please with the instant pot. He was a chef for many years and can cook things fast on the stovetop.

Just last week I saw him making egg roll in the bowl. I had asked him to follow my instant pot egg roll in a bowl recipe and he had used the stovetop instead.

He does that a lot, but macaroni in the instant pot has totally wowed him. He can not believe how AMAZING it is or how fast.

What Do You Serve With Macaroni Salad?

I admit I love to have my instant pot macaroni salad like this:

Best Instant Pot Macaroni Salad small bowl

A delicious summer bowl of macaroni salad and nothing on the side. But if you are looking for some serving suggestions here are a few ideas:

Best Instant Pot Macaroni Salad
Best Instant Pot Macaroni Salad
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5 from 3 votes

Best Instant Pot Macaroni Salad

Instant Pot Macaroni Salad. Let me introduce you to one of the best beginner uses of the instant pot and that is making the best instant pot macaroni salad. Incredibly quick and easy in the instant pot, no draining of the macaroni and perfect for serving from the instant pot inner pot.
Prep Time3 minutes
Cook Time3 minutes
Total Time6 minutes
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: Instant Pot
Servings: 6
Calories: 399kcal


Kitchen Gadgets:

Instant Pot Macaroni Pasta Recipe Ingredients:


  • Load macaroni into the instant pot with a teaspoon of salt and 3 cups of water. Place the lid on the instant pot, set the valve to sealing and cook for 3 minutes on manual/pressure cook. Also allow 5 minutes of natural pressure release.
  • While the macaroni cooks prepare your salad ingredients. Peel and thinly dice your red onion. Dice your red pepper into medium chunks. Clean and slice your celery. Peel and grate your carrot. Portion a cup each of frozen sweetcorn and frozen peas.
  • After your instant pot has done 5 minutes of natural pressure release, manually release pressure.
  • Load into the instant pot your peas and sweetcorn along with mayonnaise, seasoning and soft cheese.
  • Mix for a couple of minutes and the heat from the pasta will naturally thaw your peas and sweetcorn.
  • Add in your salad bits and stir.
  • Add in skimmed milk and stir.
  • For an extra option at the end, wait until it is cool and add in small chunks of cheddar cheese and stir. Only works if it is cool though as otherwise the cheddar will melt.


I recommend adding in some skimmed milk at the end as it will stop the macaroni salad from going too thick and make it better if not eating straight away.
If you feel it is not creamy enough, add extra soft cheese and extra mayonnaise.
You can mix and match with your favourite salad items.


Calories: 399kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 109mg | Potassium: 346mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2060IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutrition InfoPlease Note: Nutrition values are our best estimate based on the software we use at Recipe This and are meant as a guide. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.
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Recipe This

Hi! I am Sam and along with my chef hubby Dom we love sharing with you easy everyday recipes using kitchen gadgets. We are also the authors of The Complete Air Fryer Cookbook, an amazing air fryer cookbook filled with 140+ everyday air fryer recipes. Beyond the air fryer we also love the instant pot, slow cooker, soup maker, ninja foodi, pie marker and several other kitchen gadgets. CLICKING HERE →

3 thoughts on “Best Instant Pot Macaroni Salad”

  1. 5 stars
    Wow wow wow. Just can’t believe how perfect the pasta was and how i didn’t need to drain it. After making your macaroni salad i am now going to use this as my guide for other instant pot pasta dishes.


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