With a few wholesome ingredients, air fryer mac and cheese can be ready in minutes!
Filled with creamy cheesy ingredients and handful of spices, it has never been easier to prepare this family favorite mac and cheese recipe!
Try this perfect recipe for a quick lunch or for supper tonight!
Air Fryer Mac and Cheese
- Mac and cheese can be served as a main or side dish, and it requires only one pan and minimal cleanup.
- This recipe is every bit as cheesy and delicious as a frozen box of Stouffer’s or Trader Joe’s and much easier than a homemade oven-baked recipe.
- This ultimate comfort food is so quick and easy to make in the air fryer that 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 & Variations
Sauce – The best mac and cheese starts with whole, real ingredients! Choose full-fat milk and sharp cheddar cheese for the richest flavor and velvety texture. 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! Switching up the seasonings to taste by including a hint of paprika or some garlic powder.
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! Add ham to make this a full meal. Sprinkle Panko bread crumbs over top for an added almost fried-like crunch.
How to Make Air Fryer Mac and Cheese
It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 to make air fryer mac & cheese!
- Combine all ingredients, except butter, in a prepared cake pan.
- Place pan in the air fryer basket, cook, then stir in butter (as per recipe below).
- Remove and let stand before serving.
Keep mac and cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Ready to Reheat? It’s easy to make your leftover mac and cheese creamy again! Just mix in a little milk and place it back in a preheated air fryer until heated through. Give it a stir and you are ready to serve.
Air Fryer Mac and Cheese
- 1½ 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 black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- 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.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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