Air Fryer Mac and Cheese is an easy weeknight meal that is a homemade comfort dish full of big cheesy flavors that kids and adults both love!
Easy weeknight homemade dishes are possible with an air fryer, and this one-pot Air Fryer Mac and Cheese is a wonderfully cheesy dish that’s ready in about 30 minutes. Toss the elbow macaroni, cheese, cream, butter, and seasonings together for the one dish everyone loves to devour!
A Weeknight High-Five
My kids never turn down Mac and Cheese for dinner, and I’ll admit that I can’t turn down a big helping myself, especially on a chilly night! While my schedule doesn’t always allow time for a home-cooked meal, this Air Fryer Mac and Cheese saves the day by being both homemade and quick. No boiling or lots of steps, I can add everything together in one basket, and then we all get to enjoy a deliciously warm meal!
Other Recipes to Serve with Air Fryer Mac and Cheese
- Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs is a great main dish to serve with Mac and Cheese and just as easy to make too!
- Every amazing meal needs an amazing dessert so keep the air fryer close and whip up Air Fryer Apple Hand Pies to celebrate a great meal and a job well done.
Pasta: For the best results, use elbow macaroni for this recipe. Other types of pasta will require different amounts of liquids and cooking times depending on size and thickness.
Cheese: To get the best cheesy flavor and texture, pick up a block of cheddar cheese to grate. Pre-shredded cheese is not recommended.
Dairy: You will need heavy cream, whole milk, and butter for this dish.
Seasoning: Salt, pepper, nutmeg, and mustard powder are needed for this recipe. Mustard powder is like the secret ingredient that really brings out the cheesy flavor, so don’t skip it.
How to Make Air Fryer Mac and Cheese
STEP ONE: Using a non-stick spray, grease a deep-sided 7-inch air fryer pot. Add all of the ingredients except for the butter and mix until well combined. Place the pot in the air fryer.
STEP TWO: Cook the mac and cheese at 350 degrees for 14 minutes. Stop and stir the macaroni after 7 minutes. When the time goes off, stir in the butter and cook for another 6 to 11 minutes.
STEP THREE: Once the mac and cheese has finished cooking, stir it and then allow it to sit for a few minutes. The sauce will thicken up as it cools.
Tips for Success
- If you prefer extra creamy mac and cheese, you can stir in 1/2 cup of heavy cream after the mac and cheese has cooked. You can also add heavy cream or milk when reheating leftovers if needed.
- If the mac and cheese is not quite cooked enough after 25 minutes, then it can be cooked for 2 minutes at a time until it is the texture you desire.
- The mustard flavor is noticeable in this mac and cheese so if you’d like, you can reduce it to 1/2 teaspoon.
- You don’t have to add butter, it adds a lot of flavors but can leave the sauce slightly separated since we’re not making a roux like we would with traditional mac and cheese. But we tried it with and without butter and felt adding the butter gave it that classic mac and cheese flavor that was otherwise missing.
Can I use other cheeses in this recipe?
Air Fryer Mac and Cheese calls for 8 ounces of shredded cheese, so you can use any cheese you like as long as you have the right amount. You can use a sharp cheddar, Mozzarella, Colby Jack, or Marble Jack. Why not incorporate some of that smoked Gouda you love? Does the family love things a little spicy? Pepper Jack cheese is a great option, especially when paired with cheddar or Colby, so the spice doesn’t get too hot to handle for younger kids.
Mix and match the cheeses you like, but remember to put in the right amount. Even more important, shred the cheese yourself for maximum meltiness.
How do I store leftovers?
This Air Fryer Mac and Cheese recipe does make a good amount. If you have leftovers, be sure to put them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Again, you can if you need to add a little cream or milk to the mac and cheese when reheating. You can reheat the leftovers in the microwave or in the air fryer. Freezing is not recommended because pasta does not always thaw nicely.
More incredible recipes for the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Parmesan Zucchini
- Air Fryer Asparagus Fries
- Air Fryer Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets
- Air Fryer Chicken Wings Recipe
- Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Potato Wedges
- Grease the inside of the pan with non-stick cooking spray or butter.
- Add the macaroni cheese, heavy cream, milk, salt, mustard powder, pepper, and nutmeg to the pan and stir to combine.
- Place the pan into your air fryer and cook at 350 degrees F for 14 minutes. Stop the air fryer and stir the macaroni after 7 minutes.
- Once the timer goes off, stir in the butter and cook for another 6 to 11 minutes.
- Once the cooking time is up, stir the macaroni again and let it sit for a few minutes. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
- After 25 minutes, if the pasta is not cooked, you can cook for an additional 2 minutes at a time until cooked al dente.
- If you prefer a creamy mac and cheese, stir in up to an additional ½ cup of heavy cream after cooking. You can also use additional milk or cream to reheat leftovers on the stovetop.
- The mustard flavor is fairly strong in this recipe and can be reduced to ½ teaspoon if desired.