With a few wholesome ingredients, Air Fryer Mac and Cheese can be ready in minutes!

Every kid and kid-at-heart loves a cheesy, creamy, homemade macaroni and cheese recipe! Why buy the blue box with the additives and preservatives when making it from scratch is so much easier and healthier? Try this perfect recipe for a quick lunch or for supper tonight!

Air Fryer Mac and Cheese in a bowl

Air Fryer Mac and Cheese

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Best Air Fryer Recipe

  • Mac and cheese can be served as a main or side dish that requires only one pan and minimal cleanup. Make it for a crowd, by keeping cooked batches warm in the oven.
  • The air fryer comes to the rescue on those busy nights when everyone wants the ultimate comfort food! Mac and cheese is so quick and easy to make in the air fryer, even the kids can learn how!
  • Make the air fryer do double duty and whip up a batch or two of other air fryer goodies like these Air Fryer Carrot Fries, or Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Nuggets.

Ingredients for Air Fryer Mac and Cheese EverythingAirFryer20

Ingredients & Variations

DAIRY The best mac and cheese starts with whole, real ingredients! Choose full-fat milk and cheese for the richest flavor and velvety texture. It will come out perfect every time.

SAUCE Cheddar cheese, whole milk, and butter guarantee the best results. Shredded Monterey Jack can be switched out or mixed in with the cheddar and shredded Pepper Jack will give it a spicy kick!

For a non-dairy alternative, oat milk is the closest to whole milk and cream without changing the flavor.

SEASONING Mustard powder gives cheese sauce a more complex and savory flavor. And yes, the sauce has a bit of nutmeg in it. It’s a trick that works to bring the flavors together and enhance the creamy taste!

MACARONI Small, elbow shells are the classic pasta for mac and cheese. Shells, orzo, or penne are good choices for a new-looking presentation. The air fryer will cook the pasta right in the sauce!

ADD-INS Mac and cheese is even better with add-ins! Cooked and sliced brussels sprouts will mix in beautifully and add a little boost of nutrition to mac and cheese, as well as diced zucchini, or even a bag of vegetable medley!

How to Make Air Fryer Mac and Cheese

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 to make air fryer mac & cheese!

  1. Combine all ingredients, except butter, in a prepared cake pan.
  2. Cook then stir in butter (as per recipe below).
  3. Remove and let stand before serving.

The steps to prepare air fryer mac and cheese

Tips for the Best Mac and Cheese

  • Always preheat the air fryer before cooking any recipe. The burst of hot air immediately starts to cook the food, blending all the delicious flavors!
  • For faster melting, use the smallest shred size available for the cheese. Smaller macaroni sizes work better, too, so they don’t take as long to cook.
  • Keep mac and cheese in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat it, mix in a little milk and place it back in a preheated air fryer.

A bowl of Air Fryer Mac and Cheese with a scoop being taken out of it

Mac and Cheese Sides

A bowl of Air Fryer Mac and Cheese
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Air Fryer Mac and Cheese

Cheesy and delish, mac and cheese in the air fryer turns out perfectly!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients  

  • cups elbow macaroni
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese shredded*
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions 

  • Preheat the Air Fryer to 350°F and grease an 8-inch cake pan (4-inches deep).
  • Combine all of the ingredients, except butter, in the pan.
  • Place in the air fryer and cook for 20-25 minutes. Every 7 minutes, stop and stir the macaroni.
  • At 14 minutes, stir in butter and continue cooking.
  • When finished cooking, stir and let sit for a few minutes to allow the sauce to thicken as it cools.

Notes

*Pre-shredded cheese has anti-caking agents in it that make it harder for it to melt. For the smoothest sauce, try shredding cheese by hand. 
No need to precook the macaroni, the air fryer will cook it together with the sauce.
5 from 22 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 678kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 135mg | Sodium: 1075mg | Potassium: 365mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1467IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 582mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dinner, lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American

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About the author

Holly is a mom of 4 with a love for all things air fryer! Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making recipes for the everyday home cook!
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