Instant Pot Irish Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese. Celebrating the Irish today, with a seriously good (and easy) “Irish” Cheddar Pasta. Made completely in the Instant Pot…crisp the bacon, sauté the brussels sprouts, add the pasta shells, butter, and water, and cook for 3 minutes. Then simply stir in some sharp Irish cheddar cheese, and you’re ready to eat. I like to call this the Easiest Mac and Cheese ever. With some bacon on top for extra flavor, and some brussels sprouts mixed throughout for balance, every bite is cheesy, creamy, and perfect.

overhead photo of Instant Pot Irish Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese with fork in bowl

I’m going to be honest, St. Patrick’s Day really snuck up on me this year. Anyone else? It feels like New Year’s was just yesterday. But then it also feels like New Year’s was a life time ago. It’s been busy and crazy. But after a very productive few days, I’m finally feeling confident and back on my A game. It’s crazy what a couple good days can do for one’s self confidence, I surely needed them! Love ending the week on a strong note, and what could be better than a cozy mac and cheese!

And yes, I do know it’s only Thursday, but we’re so close, and tomorrow’s post is GOOD one too. So I’m just a little excited.

raw brussels sprouts Instant Pot Irish Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese Instant Pot Irish Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese in instant pot bowl

Anyway, in year’s past, I’ve shared many good Irish inspired recipes. Including these 8 ingredient brownies, this over the top Irish whiskey burger, a fun brisket burrito recipe, and even soda bread. But this year it’s all about the instant pot mac and cheese…with some delicious Irish cheddar, bacon, and brussels sprouts too. Why use Irish cheddar? Because it’s extra delicious.

Also because, other than potatoes, corned beef, and Guinness beer, I for the life of me could not think of another good Irish ingredient. Yes, I know they’re out there, and please feel free to share them with me if you happen to be Irish. But the sound of a sharp Irish cheddar mac and cheese just sounded too delicious, so I went for it.

Verdict? It’s really good, really simple, and a new favorite Instant Pot recipe.

side angled photo of Instant Pot Irish Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese with fork in bowl

If you’ve never had Irish cheddar, you must find some at your grocers and give it a try. Most carry some form of Irish cheddar, it’s just a step above other types of cheddars. Irish Cheddar is made from cows raised in southeast Ireland, also known as the “Garden of Ireland.” Its flavor is buttery with hints of sweetness, and when melted? Ah, it’s the creamiest, most delicious cheese. It’s probably my favorite variety of cheddar, and it’s perfect for a simple mac and cheese.

OK, now on to the mac and cheese details.

First start by crisping up the bacon in the instant pot. I included bacon for a nice salty, rich flavor. I also love the combo of bacon, brussels sprouts, and cheddar. Of course if you’re vegetarian you can simply omit the bacon. Once the bacon is crisp, add the brussels sprouts, and then the pasta, butter, and water. Cook for 3 minutes and let the instant pot do its thing. Release the steam, add some milk, add all that delicious cheese, stir, and DONE!

overhead photo of Instant Pot Irish Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese with fork in bowl

Instant Pot mac and cheese in under 20 minutes. And honestly, it’s one of the creamiest mac and cheese recipes I’ve created. The cheese adds all the flavor, while the brussels sprouts add a nice touch of green color. It’s indulgent, but not overly so, since we’ve actually made this with way less butter, no flour, and no cream.

So…a kind of healthier mac and cheese? Hey, it’s all about balance.

If you’re not a fan of brussels sprouts, I’d recommend using broccoli or another green vegetable you do love. I think the pop of color is really nice! Or if you don’t do vegetables in your mac and cheese, simply leave the brussels sprouts out!

For those of you who may not own the Instant Pot, I included stove-top directions for you guys too! This recipe is too good not to make, and it would be something fun for St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday. Serve it up as a main, or along side your favorite Irish roast, either way, just make it. I have full confidence you’re going to love this one.

empty pasta bowl of mac and cheese

If you make this instant pot mac and cheese, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Instant Pot Irish Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese | halfbakedharvest.com #instantpot #macandcheese #easyrecipes #pasta #Irish
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4.75 from 43 votes
The Recipe

Instant Pot Irish Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese.

Sauté the brussels sprouts, add the pasta shells, butter, and water, and cook for 3 minutes. Then simply stir in some sharp Irish cheddar cheese, and you’re ready to eat!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 0 6-8
Calories 473 kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 strips thick cut bacon, diced
  • 4 cups shredded brussels sprouts
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 pound pasta shells
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3-4 cups shredded Irish cheddar or sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

Instant Pot

  1. 1. Set Instant pot to sauté. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate. If there is an excess amount of bacon grease, remove all but 1 tablespoon of grease.

    2. To the instant pot, add the brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute, then turn the instant pot off. Add the pasta, butter, and 3 1/2 cups water. Cover, select the manual setting, and cook on high pressure for 3 minutes.

    3. Once done cooking, use the quick release function and release the steam. Stir in the milk, cheddar, garlic powder, and cayenne, stirring until the cheese is fully melted, about 1-2 minutes. Taste, adding salt if needed. Serve immediately, topped with crispy bacon.

Stove-Top

  1. 1. Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate. If there is an excess amount of bacon grease, remove all but 1 tablespoon of grease.

    2. To the pot, add the brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute. Add the pasta, butter, and 3 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 7-8 minutes, stirring often until the pasta is just al dente. If the pasta needs more time, add a splash of water and continue cooking 1-2 additional minutes.

    2. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk, cheddar, garlic powder, and cayenne, stirring until the cheese is fully melted, about 1-2 minutes. Taste, adding salt if needed. Serve immediately, topped with crispy bacon.

horizontal photo of Instant Pot Irish Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese