How To Make Air Fryer Mac and Cheese in 30 Minutes!

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Air fryer mac and cheese is the best mac and cheese you will ever have!

The Best Mac and Cheese in the Air Fryer

Did you know you can make mac and cheese in the air fryer? Our family loves mac and cheese, especially instant pot mac and cheese and these fried mac and cheese balls. After we tried this mac and cheese in the air fryer, we all agree that it is our new favorite! You are going to love this cheesy goodness macaroni and cheese in the air fryer!

Easy Air Fryer Macaroni and Cheese

So normally, pasta is a tricky one to pull off in the air fryer, since consistent boiling water is needed. However, because of the nature of mac & cheese in general, it is possible! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 ½ cup elbow macaroni
  • 1 ¼  cup BOILING water
  • ⅔  cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese shredded and separated
  • 1 tsp dry mustard (use ½ tsp of dry mustard if you aren’t a fan of it)
  • ½ tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

It’s important to note that you want to add some super hot, or even boiling water, to the. pan… that is going to help jumpstart the cooking process on the mac & cheese.

Add the macaroni, water, cream, seasonings, and ⅔ of the 8oz sharp cheddar shredded cheese in a cake pan or 7-inch deep dish. You want a dish that is big enough to fit all the ingredients. Stir everything together.

How to make mac and cheese in the air fryer

Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 400°F. Place the cake pan inside the air fryer basket and cook at 360°F for 20-25 minutes. The time will depend on the model of your air fryer as well as how done you want your noodles and cheese to be. To help you and the macaroni, stir the macaroni every 5 minutes.

After 15 minutes, add the remaining cheese and cook for 5 more minutes. Then cook for an additional 3-5 minutes if needed. It will still be a little runny at the end of cooking time. You just want to make sure the pasta is tender to your liking.

The sauce will thicken as it stands and the pasta will soften a little more too.

Optional Step for the Best Air Fryer Mac and Cheese

If you desire, after the mac has cooked for 20 minutes, add panko crumbs to the top of the mac and cheese. Then drizzle on 1 tablespoon of melted butter to brown the panko. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the top is golden.

If you want this to taste like Panera Mac and Cheese, add tomato, bacon, and avocado to the mixture.

Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the mustard powder, so I only used about ½ teaspoon of it. And if you are a salt person, then I also recommend adding more salt.

Final Thoughts

Even though you need to check on the noodles often, this recipe is so worth it! It is quick, easy, creamy, and cheesy! The cheese ratio to the liquid and noodles are perfect. Seriously, I don’t think you will be able to find a better mac and cheese anywhere else! What’s your favorite way to make mac and cheese? Have you tried it in the air fryer? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Did you know you can make these recipes in the air fryer too?

Check out my air fryer 101 guide to learn how to use your air fryer!

Do you have these air fryer accessories? They will change the way you cook with your air fryer! 

Learn how to clean your air fryer here!

Macaroni and cheese in the air fryer is the best mac and cheese ever!

How To Make Air Fryer Mac and Cheese in 30 Minutes!

Creamy and cheesy mac and cheese ready in 30 minutes!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 4 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 29 minutes
Serves: 4
Adjust Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup elbow macaroni uncooked
  • 1 ¼ cup boiling water hot or boiling water
  • cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese shredded and separated
  • 1 tsp dry mustard use ½ tsp of dry mustard if you aren’t a fan of it
  • ½ tsp kosher salt or to taste
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • Optional: panko and 1 tbsp melted butter

Instructions

  • Combine uncooked elbow macaroni, HOT water, heavy cream, ⅔ 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.
  • Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 400°F.
  • Place in Air Fryer basket, cover with tin foil, and cook for 20-25 minutes* at 360°F/180°C. Every 5 minutes, give the macaroni a quick stir.
  • After 15 minutes, remove the foil, add the remaining cheese, and cook for 5 more minutes. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes if needed.
  • (Optional step after cooking for 20 minutes) Add panko crumbs to the top of the mac and cheese. Drizzle on 1 tablespoon of melted butter to brown the panko. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the top is golden.

Recipe Notes

To quickly heat up the water, put it in your microwave for about 3 minutes.
Cooking time will vary depending on your air fryer model. Keep an eye on your noodles and cheese, once they are cooked and melted to your liking it is finished.

Nutrition

Calories: 564kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 34g | Sodium: 665mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g

Ingredients: Cheese
Meal Type: 30-Minute Meals, Main Dish, Popular, #StayHome, Back to School, Fall, New Year's Eve, Spring, Summer, Super Bowl Party, Winter, Egg Free, Gluten Free
Categories: Casserole, Pasta, Air Fryer

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