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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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4.67 from 15 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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Recipe Rating




Linda Bates

Thursday 7th of April 2022

This recipe sounds good,but I like the way I make my own I don’t use cream just a lot of cheese and a can of garlic tomatoes,just wanted to know if it took as long to cook as it does in the oven.It’s way to hot to use oven today I’m going to try the air fryer and I’m not very fond of it,to me things taste different then in the oven thank you Linda bates

Sue Kinnaman

Friday 26th of November 2021

Is there a lot of difference in air fryers versus the front loaded and the top loaded?

Tanya

Saturday 27th of November 2021

Hi Sue, very little. This post should help. https://www.myforkinglife.com/air-fryer-basket-vs-air-fryer-toaster-oven/

Renee

Sunday 21st of November 2021

What kind of basket is this? Mine has holes.

Tanya

Monday 22nd of November 2021

Hi Renee, this is the Philips air fryer.

Beth

Saturday 30th of October 2021

I love your recipe! I bought an air fryer so I didn’t have to use my stove/oven. So many recipes require pre-cooking before putting it in the air fryer. I love that the dry pasta goes right in and the texture is great when cooked. I have an inexpensive Dash Air Fryer and it worked great in my air fryer. I added an additional 5 minutes because I like it crispy on top.

Usha

Saturday 23rd of October 2021

Hi, can I use milk instead of cream in this recipe? Can I also add tuna in this recipe.

Tanya

Monday 25th of October 2021

Milk can be used but it won't be as rich. Yep, I've added tuna before during the last 5 minutes.