Instant Pot Broccoli Chicken Mac and Cheese–creamy macaroni and cheese made quickly in your instant pot with tender bites of chicken and (not crisp, but not mushy) broccoli florets. This is an easy one pot meal that the whole family will love!
Instant Pot Broccoli Chicken Mac and Cheese
I love macaroni and cheese and whenever I see it as a side dish option at a restaurant I always choose it (especially when it has the toasted bread crumb topping nom nom nom). However, making a big pot of mac and cheese for dinner at home with nothing else in it kind of leaves me feeling blah. It’s delicious, don’t get me wrong, but I like the idea of adding a little more nutrition into it. That’s why I decided to add in the chicken and broccoli. Chicken Broccoli Casserole is one of my most popular recipes on my website so I knew it was a winning combination.
The trick was to figure out was how to cook fresh broccoli in the same pot as the chicken and pasta but not let it get mushy. I’ve read online that when you steam broccoli in the Instant Pot you are supposed to use a zero minute pressure cooking time. So I knew that there was no way the broccoli would withstand pressure for more than a minute or two. It would become a mushy mess. I didn’t like the idea of steaming it separately on the stove or in the microwave. Too many dishes. I also knew that I could add in frozen broccoli later (like I do in this recipe) but I just really wanted to find a way to use fresh broccoli.
I ended up making a foil packet filled with broccoli florets. I placed the foil packet on top of the pasta and the result was not overcooked and not undercooked broccoli. After the pasta cooked I opened the packet and stirred the broccoli in with everything else so that it could get coated in the cheesy sauce. Perfection!
If your family is anything like mine, I think they will love this instant pot broccoli chicken mac and cheese. Add it to your menu this week!
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What Pressure Cooker Did You Use?
To make Instant Pot Broccoli Chicken Mac and Cheese I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*. I love this Instant Pot because it has the yogurt making function which I use almost weekly. It has two pressure settings (high and low), and there are also little slots in the handles so that you can rest the lid there instead of putting it down on your counter-top.
Creamy macaroni and cheese made quickly in your instant pot with tender bites of chicken and (not crisp, but not mushy) broccoli florets. This is an easy one pot meal that the whole family will love!
- Between 1 and 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depending on how much meat you like)
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 pound (12 oz) cavatappi, cellentani or elbow macaroni noodles
- 3 cups water (or for more flavor you can use broth)
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 pound (8 oz) fresh broccoli florets
- 3/4 cup half and half, heavy cream, milk or evaporated milk
- 1/2 pound (8 oz) grated medium or sharp cheddar (see note below)
- Cornstarch, if needed
- Turn your Instant Pot to the saute setting. While it is heating up cut up your chicken into bite-size pieces. When the Instant Pot display says HOT add in the butter. When it is melted add in the chicken and saute lightly for 1-2 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Turn off the saute function.
- Add in the pasta into a flat, even layer. Pour the water over the top to cover the pasta as much as possible. Sprinkle in the ground mustard and the salt.
- Create a foil packet by placing broccoli florets (see note below) in the center of a piece of foil large enough to enclose the food one and a half times. Pull over one side, folding the edges to seal. Then fold the remaining two edges. Don’t seal the packet too tightly: you want to leave some room for the steam to expand. Place the foil packet on top of the pasta.
- Cover the Instant Pot and secure the lid. Make sure valve is set to “sealing.” Set the manual/pressure cook button to 3 minutes. When the time is up let the pot sit there for an additional 5 minutes and then move the valve to “venting.” Remove the lid, when you can.
- Use hot pads to open up the foil packet. Stir the broccoli into the pot. Stir in the milk (your choice) and the cheese until it is melted.
- If the mixture is too liquidy then you can prepare a cornstarch slurry by mixing 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1-2 tablespoons of cold water until smooth. Stir the mixture into the pot and turn the pot to the saute function. Stir constantly until thick. The mac and cheese will thicken up in a minute or two.
- Salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!
I like to grate my own cheddar instead of using pre-grated cheese. It seems to melt better and creates a creamier sauce. The pre-grated cheese seems to clump up more.
Larger broccoli florets will produce a crisper texture whereas smaller broccoli florets will be a little more soft. If you are a broccoli lover you can add twice as much broccoli into your packet. You can also forego adding fresh broccoli and add in a package of frozen broccoli after the pasta is done cooking. Just run hot water over the frozen broccoli before adding it into the pot.
I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
- Calories: 582
- Sugar: 4 g
- Sodium: 88 mg
- Fat: 23 g
- Carbohydrates: 48 g
- Protein: 45 g
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*Karen Petersen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.