This pulled pork mac and cheese features macaroni noodles smothered in a rich, cheesy cheddar sauce and tossed with BBQ pulled pork. It’s then topped with even more pulled pork and cheese and baked to bubbly, melty, gooey perfection.
Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? It’s an all-American classic! It’s cheesy and nostalgic and so good. Now picture this: Gooey mac and cheese mixed with tender, melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork. Not only is savory-sweet, tangy pulled pork mixed into the mac and cheese, it’s scattered over the top along with extra cheddar cheese and baked in the oven until everything is golden, bubbly, and irresistible.
Why You’ll Love Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese
- Out of this world flavor. Between the sweet tang of the pork and the wonderfully rich cheese sauce, this mac and cheese has some serious flavors going on.
- Melt in your mouth pork. The Instant Pot does a phenomenal job at breaking down the pork shoulder, turning it into a wonderfully tender treat on top of the creamy, cheesy noodles.
- Crowd pleaser. Everyone loves mac and cheese, but add some tender BBQ pulled pork to the mix, and you’ve got yourself a show-stopper that kids and adults will love.
Here’s what you’ll need to make BBQ pulled pork mac and cheese. Don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card below for exact measurements.
For the Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- Olive oil
- Boneless pork shoulder: Or pork butt.
- BBQ sauce: Use your favorite.
- Coca-cola: Any cola soda.
For the Mac and Cheese
- Elbow macaroni: You could use a different short pasta shape. Gluten-free pasta will also work.
- Salt & Pepper
- Butter & Flour: For the roux. I recommend using unsalted butter.
- Milk: I use whole milk, but 2% would also work. You can use plant-based milk, too, but make sure it isn’t flavored or sweetened.
- Cheddar cheese: Feel free to use a different melting cheese. You can also use two different kinds of cheese for a more dynamic flavor profile. Cheddar and Gouda go nicely together.
How to Make Mac and Cheese with Pulled Pork
If the tantalizing combination of “pulled pork” and “mac and cheese” has caught your attention, let me guide you through the simple steps to create this dish. You can find more detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Make the pulled pork. Use the saute function on your Instant Pot to brown the pork on all sides in olive oil. Whisk together the BBQ Sauce and Coca-Cola and pour it over the pork. Cook on high pressure for 1 hour and 15 minutes, followed by a natural release. Shred the pork and discard the cooking liquid.
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9X13-inch baking pan.
- Cook the pasta. Cook the pasta and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water; drain the rest and set aside.
- Make the bechamel. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking continuously. Whisk in the milk. Reduce the heat to low and cook the sauce for a few minutes until it’s thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
- Make it cheesy. Stir 4 cups of cheese into the bechamel, one cup at a time.
- Put it all together. Turn the burner off and stir the macaroni into the sauce. Stir half of the shredded pork into the mac and cheese. Spread the mixture into the baking pan, top with the remaining pork and the remaining cheese.
- Bake. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Don’t skip the sear. Brown the pork in the Instant Pot first to caramelize and enhance the flavor.
- Salt the water. Add salt to the pasta water to flavor the pasta and to avoid bland mac and cheese.
- Reserve some pasta water. When combining the pasta and the cheese sauce, sometimes the sauce has a hard time adhering to the noodles. Adding a bit of cooked pasta water can help loosen it up.
- Careful with heat. Maintain medium heat for the roux, then lower it after whisking in the milk to avoid burning the flour mixture and scalding the milk.
- Keep it moving. Continuously whisk the roux and milk to prevent burning and lumps.
This is a cheesy, meaty dish that loves the company of a Green Goddess Salad or this Broccoli Apple Salad. Not in a salad mood? Serve these Crispy Air Fryer Roasted Broccoli and this Air Fryer Corn on the Cob – easy and delicious! Feeling a little decadent? There’s nothing like mac and cheese with a good hunk of Skillet Cornbread next to it. My Cornbread Casserole would be a phenomenal choice.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
- To store. Cover the cooled casserole dish tightly with plastic wrap or transfer its contents to an airtight container. Keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. Thaw before reheating.
- To reheat. Reheat in the oven, covered, at 350°F for 20 minutes or until heated through. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave in 30-second intervals until warm.
More Mac and Cheese Recipes
Looking for more unique twists on classic mac and cheese? Here are some of my favorites. Let me know which wins first place for you!
- Keto Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe
- Jalapeno Macaroni and Cheese Cups (Dairy-Free)
- Baked Macaroni and Feta Cheese
- One Pot Macaroni and Cheese with Spinach & Artichokes
- Broccoli Bacon Macaroni and Cheese
Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese
- Brown the pork. Set the Instant Pot to the saute setting and heat the olive oil for a few seconds. Add the pork and brown on all sides. Turn the saute function off.
- Load the Instant Pot. In a bowl, whisk together the BBQ Sauce and coca-cola and pour it over the pork.
- Cook the pork. Seal the instant pot and cook on high pressure for 1 hour 15 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally.
- Shred. Remove the pork and shred it with two forks. Discard the cooking liquid.
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9X13-inch baking pan.
- Cook the pasta. Cook the pasta per the package’s instructions (be sure to salt the pasta water). Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta and setting aside.
- Make the bechamel. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter in the pan. Whisk in the flour. Let the mixture cook, whisking constantly, for a minute or two. Gradually add the milk, whisking as you go. Reduce the heat to low and allow the sauce to cook until it thickens a bit. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the cheese. Stir 4 cups of cheese into the bechamel, one cup at a time. Keep stirring between each addition until the cheese has fully melted and incorporated into the sauce.
- Put it all together. Turn the burner off and stir the macaroni into the sauce. Add a bit of pasta water if the sauce is too thick. Stir half of the shredded pork into the mac and cheese.
- Assemble the casserole. Spread the mac and cheese into the baking pan, top with the remaining shredded pork (you don’t have to use all of it if you don’t want to), and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
- Bake. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted.
- Serve. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 8 to 10 minutes before serving.
- Pulled Pork Oven Method: Preheat the oven to 300˚F. Brown the pork in a skillet first. Then, transfer it to a roasting pan and bake the pork for 3 hours. Uncover and continue to bake for 1 to 2 more hours or until the pork is very tender and easily pulls apart with a fork.
- Slow Cooker Method: If you’d rather use the slow cooker, set it to LOW and cook the pork shoulder for 8 hours or until pull-apart tender.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.