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Creamy Air Fryer Mac and Cheese

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This Creamy Air Fryer Mac and Cheese is made in your Air Fryer and you do not have to boil the noodles first. It’s a delicious side dish that can be made in your Air Fryer in about 20 minutes. 

air fryer mac and cheese in the air fryer basket with a spoon sticking out


 

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Macaroni and cheese is something that happens quite often around our house. Whether it’s this creamy baked macaroni and cheese recipe or this white cheddar mac and cheese in the Instant Pot, we are a pasta-loving family and mac and cheese is a favorite. 

I bet you’re wondering if you can make macaroni and cheese in your Air Fryer. The answer is a huge YES! Because I love my Air Fryer, I pondered on how I would make mac and cheese work in it. I knew a few things, I did not want to boil the noodles first and I wanted it to be a quick recipe. I’m glad to report that this recipe fits the bill. 

How to Make Mac and Cheese in your Air Fryer

First, if using block cheese, which I highly recommend, shred it. I find that block cheese melts much better than the pre-shredded packaged kind.

Then combine uncooked elbow macaroni, water, heavy cream, mustard powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and about 3/4ths of the shredded cheese in a 7-inch pan that will fit in your Air Fryer and is deep enough to hold your macaroni. I use the cake pan that comes in this Air Fryer Accessory set. Stir until combined.

cheese and elbow macaroni and liquid in circle pan

Place in your Air Fryer and cook on 360 degrees Fahrenheit for 18-20 minutes, stirring and adding the remainder of the cheese halfway through cooking.

Once done, your mac and cheese will look hot, bubbly, and watery. Please don’t stress, because….

Mac and cheese in air fryer basket before stirring

Once you stir, it’ll start to thicken up.

air fryer mac and cheese in basket with spoon sticking out of macaroni

And once you let it cool a bit, it’ll thicken up even more and you’ll have yummy creamy mac and cheese goodness.

close up image of finished air fryer mac and cheese

Notes:

  • I use sharp cheddar for this recipe but you can certainly add any combination of cheeses you like. Here’s a list of great cheeses for mac and cheese from the pros. 
  • The cheese will thicken while it cools. It’s a good idea to let it rest before digging in. 
  • Various air fryers will cook at different speeds so you’ll want to make sure you check it halfway through. My Philips took a total of 18 minutes to complete this dish while my Ninja Foodi took 20 minutes. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

What to serve this mac and cheese with?

You can also use this recipe to make these Air Fried Macaroni and Cheese Balls recipe

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Watch this video tutorial and see how I make this mac and cheese from start to finish.

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4.47 from 62 votes

Air Fryer Mac and Cheese

This Creamy Mac and Cheese recipe is made right in the Air Fryer in about 20 minutes or less. There’s no need to boil the noodles and everything can be made right in your Air Fryer.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword air fryer mac and cheese, creamy baked macaroni and cheese, mac and cheese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 530kcal
Author Tanya

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese shredded and separated
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  • Combine elbow macaroni, water, heavy cream, ¾ of the cheese, dry mustard, kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder in a 7-inch pan that is deep enough to hold all the ingredients. Stir to combine.
  • Place in Air Fryer basket and set Air Fryer on 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the timer for 18-20 minutes and start Air Fryer. Halfway through cooking, open the Air Fryer basket and add remaining cheese and stir. Close and continue cooking.
  • Once the Air Fryer is done cooking, open Air Fryer and stir the mac and cheese. Remove the pan from the basket and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes. The mac and cheese will thicken while it cools. Serve and Enjoy 🙂

Video

Notes

Various Air Fryer brands cook at different speeds. Check on your mac and cheese around the 18-minute mark. If the noodles are al dente, your mac and cheese can be removed from the Air Fryer.

Nutrition

Calories: 530kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 661mg | Potassium: 195mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1005IU | Calcium: 439mg | Iron: 1mg
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Although myforkinglife.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Under no circumstances will myforkinglife.com be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information.

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4.47 from 62 votes (42 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating




Sandra Laska

Thursday 25th of April 2024

I'm a mac-n-cheese lover but most don't meet the test. This was amazing. Didn't have heavy cream so used evaporated milk mixed with sour cream. Thank you!

Tanya

Thursday 25th of April 2024

Thank you Sandra! Love that you found a sub that worked as well.

Andy

Sunday 21st of April 2024

Absolutely delicious menu. I added Oragano to it. I used the Ninja double air fryer for 27 minutes. Perfect, thank you, my guests loved it,

Tanya

Monday 22nd of April 2024

Thanks Andy! So happy you liked the recipe :)

Jenn

Wednesday 3rd of January 2024

Epic fail. I added more time but my macaroni was still hard and the cheese sank to the bottom.

Tanya

Friday 5th of January 2024

Hey Jenn, sorry to hear this didn't work out for you. Yours should come out exactly as mine did in the photos and video. Could you give me some more info on the kind of air fryer you used as well as the ingredients you used? Thanks.

Delilah

Thursday 19th of October 2023

This is a great recipe to make stovetop. Honestly, the air fryer version is way more trouble than it is worth. I realize air fryers have come a long way and are much larger than my Ninja and this recipe may work just fine with them but I know my air fryer. I tried cooking the pasta first and after 35 min finished it and the rest of the recipe on the stove. Keep the recipe but beware of cooking it in your air fryer.

Connie

Sunday 3rd of September 2023

My pan is 8 1/2” can I use that

Tanya

Monday 4th of September 2023

Hi Connie. As long as it can fit in your air fryer, that should be fine. It'll be a little shallow, so it'll likely cook a little quicker so I would check in it a few minutes earlier.