Instant Pot: Buttermilk Ranch Mac & Cheese

Let's face it - mac & cheese is truly a comfort food to the American palate. There are as many variations to this dish as there are families I'm sure. In fact, I highlighted 12 Mac & Cheese recipes not too long ago. But this Buttermilk Ranch Mac & Cheese recipe is definitely different from the rest. This specific recipe calls for the use of buttermilk which typically isn't the norm. To highlight the tang of this, I incorporated some ranch flavor and some bacon!...

Buttermilk ranch dressing is what inspired me to adapt the original recipe found on another blog. I used a dry ranch dressing mix to add some ranch flavor into the buttermilk cheese sauce. And what would a buttermilk ranch dish be without bacon? With that said, crumbled bacon is stirred in with the pasta to add a bit of texture and flavor. Overall, this was one of my favorite mac & cheese recipes... and who knew buttermilk would work just as well?!

Buttermilk Ranch Mac & Cheese
recipe adapted from Six Course Dinner

1 pound (16oz) dry elbow macaroni
4 cups water
2 tbsp butter
2 cups (16oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon dry ranch dressing mix
1/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp panko or regular bread crumbs

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Press MANUAL on the IP.

Add the pasta, water, and butter into the IP.

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 4 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 4 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 4 minutes, turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release any remaining pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler.

Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen). The IP will automatically default to the WARM mode.

You'll notice no draining is necessary; the water will be absorbed by the pasta. Mix in the shredded cheese, buttermilk, dry ranch dressing mix and bacon. Stir until the cheese is completely melted and the ranch dressing should have flavored the sauce. Mix well to combine and season with salt and pepper to your tastes.

Transfer pasta into a large casserole dish and top with the breadcrumbs. Place under broiler until cheese has melted and is browned to your preference. Be sure to watch it closely as the breadcrumbs can very easily burn. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving!


  1. This is the best mac n cheese I've had since my Nan passed away! SO AMAZING! Thank you!

    1. My grama made the best porcupine meatballs, yours were a close second.