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Ninja Foodi Mac & Cheese Recipe

Wondering how to cook macaroni and cheese in a pressure cooker? Pressure cooking pasta is my new favorite way to get meals done fast. You can make homemade mac and cheese in 14 minutes with this recipe.

I grew up in Wisconsin and my mom loved to make all our meals from scratch. Homemade mac and cheese wasn’t on the list. I’m not sure if it is a midwest thing or not. Once we moved to the East coast I find it at almost every outing or event.

Using a pressure cooker or in my case the amazing Ninja Foodi you can have this simple meal done in 20 minutes.

The Ninja Foodi is finally in stock online and Amazon has it on sale and there is a $20 coupon to clip. This is current as I’m writing this on 2.8. Price will update below.

New here? See my other Ninja Foodi or pressure cooking/air frying recipes below.

I also made a crucial mistake with my Ninja foodi. The same could be done in any pressure cooker. It was not fun and could have even affected the taste of our mac and cheese. Keep scrolling friend.

This recipe comes from the Ninja Foodi Booklet.

The following recipe is from the Ninja Foodi booklet that comes with the Foodi. This is not a traditional tasting mac and cheese recipe.

If you want to see Ninja Foodi Recipes I love ( this mac and cheese one is not our fav) see below.


  • 1 Tbs. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 box dry elbow pasta
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 bag or 16 ounces of shredded cheese
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbs ground black pepper- After myself and others we would say to change this to 1 tsp.
  • 1 tbs onion powder- After myself and others we would say to change this to 1 tsp.
  • 1 tbs garlic powder- After myself and others we would say to change this to 1 tsp.
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cups panko or Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 stick or 1/2 cup butter

I used whole milk in place of the heavy cream. I don’t normally buy heavy cream and we drink whole milk. I’m not sure if this has much effect on it. You can always let me know in the comments below.

Ninja Foodi Mac & Cheese Recipe

First you start by placing the baking soda and lemon juice into the pot. Stir until its dissolved and bubbling ends.

Next add the water and dry pasta and stir.

Put on your pressure cooking lid and make sure the valve is to seal. Select Pressure and LO. Set time to 0 minutes. Pretty cool the time it takes it to reach pressure is all the time the pasta needs to cook.

Now here my friend is where I made a BIG mistake. Read this carefully if you are using the Ninja Foodi recipe book.

When Pressure cooking is complete – ALLOW PRESSURE TO NATURAL RELEASE FOR 10 MINUTES. Did you see that?

Not quick release it. Like I did.

I’m new to the pressure cooking game, and all the other ones it’s always been quick release pressure.

My Big, Messy Mistake

I quick released it and it shot out quit loudly. I thought hmm it’s making a weird noise.

I noticed the steam coming out was clouded. Not thin. Something was in it. It was exploding onto my cuboards. There was stuff all on the lid.

I quickly closed the valve and like a smart woman I re read the directions. Except I still didn’t read the directions right.

“Hmm it says to quick release.” I open the valve again.

Its starchy chunky water spraying up into the air. Again I think smart and grab a towel to stop it from shooting over to the cabinets. ( I’ve rehomed the Ninja over to the coffee bar area not by any cupboards at all)

Now the towel is quickly becoming saturated and the lid of the Ninja is getting hammerd.

Ninja Foodi Mac & Cheese Recipe

And to make it worse, my husband decides to walk out in this diaster of a moment.

‘What’s going on?”

“Oh nothing. It’s quick releasing.”

He walks closer. Looks at me.

“Yeah I have no clue what it’s doing, somehow I messed up cooking pasta.”

He says. ” Yeah that doesn’t look right.” He walks out.

Well, that was that. 🙂

Be sure to leave that valve closed. It was NOT fun to clean the lid. Thankfully my favorite little scrubbers saved it. I don’t think I would have cleaned it very well without them.


After the pressure has naturally released for 10 minutes then put the valve to vent.

At this point it will function normally. No mess.

Add the remaining ingredients, except bread crumbs.

Stir well to melt cheese and get everything mixed up.

In a bowl stir together the melted butter and bread crumbs. Spread it on the top of the mac & cheese.

Close the crisping lid. Select Air crisp set temp. to 360° F and set time to 7 minutes. Select Start Stop.

When it beeps it’s time to serve.

Ninja Foodi Mac & Cheese Recipe

Now you have made pressure and air crisped Mac & Cheese dish in about 14 minutes! Pretty awesome!

Everyone enjoyed the mac and cheese dish. My husband and youngest daughters are huge fans of Macaroni and cheese and they loved it. Our five year old didn’t care for the bread crumbs. It wasn’t my favorite taste of Mac and cheese but I was excited to pressure cook it. Not sure why the Ninja Foodi booklet calls for such huge amounts of the spices.

Ninja Foodi Mac & Cheese Recipe


Ninja Foodi Mac & Cheese Recipe

I served this with the Wellsley Farms ( BJs brand ) Vegetable medley. This is a great mix to have on hand in winter. It’s also affordable at $8.99 a bag!

You could steam these in the Foodi but after my whole episode I just did these on the stove!

Let me know if you make it or your experience with the Ninja Foodi below!

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Monday 20th of September 2021

We reduced all the spices by half, except the mustard, and my family was pretty happy with the result. Ours had an off-color, too, though like others have mentioned. A little Googling leads me to believe that the lemon juice and baking soda combination is intended to act as a stand-in for sodium citrate, which will help keep the sauce creamy rather than separated.


Monday 20th of September 2021

Thanks for the tip! Glad your family liked it.

Sandra Rooker

Wednesday 28th of July 2021

Just wondering why the lemon jiuce/ baking soda mixture? what does it doo for pasta


Friday 30th of July 2021

I am not sure either, but I haven't made this recipe since! lol

Jenny V.

Monday 10th of August 2020

I made this twice and both times a “odor” came from the release and pasta was brown and mushy. We had to open the windows in the house to vent it. Ha! It didn’t taste bad but it was not good. I noticed that in your recipe you say 5 cups of water, in the ninja foodie recipe it says 8 cups of water. I guess I can try it one more time with 5 cups of water.


Thursday 20th of August 2020

I'm not sure other than most of us are not a fan of the Ninja Recipe for this one. :(


Saturday 29th of February 2020

Made Mac & cheese for first time in my foodi. It tasted good but the brown color made it strange. I asked my husband, who loves Mac & cheese if he liked it. He said he thought it would taste creamier. I used cheddar that he loves. But when I asked if he wanted me to make it again sometime he cautiously said no. So, I may try it on the stove, use velvets cheese and see how it goes. I read pasta could turn brown if you added the pasta before the water boils. Learn something new all the time.


Monday 2nd of March 2020

Hmm interesting. We haven't made it yet again, but I'm thinking about tweaking the Ninja Foodi recipe to something of my own and sharing it.


Wednesday 22nd of January 2020

So does it have a lemon taste? Why is there lemon juice?


Thursday 23rd of January 2020

There isn't a lemon taste. I think it has something to do with the reaction for the baking soda.

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