Air Fryer Mac and Cheese is a great way to cook this classic dish! Made with elbow macaroni, loads of delicious cheese, and heavy whipping cream This is the perfect recipe for any mac and cheese fan!
Why I Love This
The next time this house is craving cheesy macaroni, this is the homemade macaroni recipe that I'm whipping up. When it comes to easy recipes, you literally can't top this!
Not only does this macaroni pasta take minimal cooking time, but it's one of the best ways to make the creamiest mac & cheese ever!
The first time that I made this air fryer macaroni, I was stunned at how easy clean up was, too! No more scrubbing in the pan or letting that remaining cheese on the pan soak overnight because you're just too tired to take care of it right away. The cooking process is a breeze, and clean-up is even easier!
Just be ready to have some leftover macaroni because the full recipe makes quite a large batch! But in my mind, this is just one more reason to make this easy air fryer recipe because it means that I'll get to enjoy the flavor all over again!
Easy Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
You'll love how it still tastes fresh and delicious even if you're eating it the next day. Once you get the hang of this simple recipe for mac & cheese, you'll be finding all sorts of reasons to cook it up!
For the best results, make sure that the type of cheese that you're using on the elbow macaroni is a good melting cheese! Once you add it to the top of the pasta, that's when your mouth is going to start watering.
What You Need:
- Air Fryer
- Oven safe dish that will fit into your air fryer
- Elbow macaroni
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- Monterey jack cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
- Italian cheese
- Heavy whipping cream
- Egg, beaten
- optional salt and black pepper to taste
Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the recipe card with the exact measurements needed to create this air-fried mac and cheese!
Air Fried Mac & Cheese
How To Make Mac & Cheese in the Air Fryer
Preheat the air fryer to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a medium bowl, mix the cooked pasta, beaten egg, cheddar, Monterey Jack, and mozzarella cheese, and then add the whipping cream.
Add the bowl of macaroni to the basket of the air fryer and use the air fryer feature to cook for 10-12 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
Open the air fryer basket and top the macaroni with the remaining Italian cheese. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the air fryer basket and allow the mac and cheese to slightly thicken before serving.
NOTE: Not all air fryers cook the same. This recipe was made with a 5.8qt basket-style Cosori Air Fryer. If you're using a different brand of air fryer, your cooking time may need to be adjusted. Make sure you do a test run of the recipe in your air fryer to ensure you don't need to add or take away a minute or two.
Have fun changing up the cheese or even using a cheese sauce. Again, make sure it's a good melting cheese and you won't have any problems! Some people even add in a little bit of cream cheese to up the creaminess!
Elbow pasta is a great pasta to use, but honestly, you can use any type of pasta that you can cook al dente. I like to use short noodles so that it feels more like a macaroni recipe while I'm cooking it.
If you want to add a little bit of crunchy texture after the cooking time has passed, stir in some panko breadcrumbs!
Another easy way to add a pop of extra flavor is to sprinkle some parmesan cheese right on top, too! My kids actually like to stir in a little bit of garlic powder in their own serving size as well - which is totally easy to do!
You can also add in some diced ham or even some cooked bacon for some added protein.
This is why macaroni and cheese is one of our favorite side dishes. It's a great snack to eat on its own or to pair up with any type of main entree. It goes perfectly with beef, chicken, pork, or even stir-fry veggies.
There are many nights after we've had a long week of activities and running around that we literally just eat mac & cheese for dinner and just call it a day. I see nothing wrong with treating ourselves to one of the best recipes, ever!
Storage and Reheating
Store leftover mac and cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Reheat mac and cheese quickly by placing it in an oven safe dish that fits into the air fryer. Air fry at 350 degrees F for 2-3 minutes (stirring halfway through), or until heated through.
While you can use many types of cheese, it's best to use ones that melt well, such as cheddar, mozzarella, or gouda. Harder cheeses can be used for topping for added flavor, like Parmesan or Asiago.
You may need to add in some extra heavy cream or more cheese if you feel that your macaroni is dried out. Don't worry - it's easy to add to the recipe to make it creamy and delicious!
Make sure that you're not overcooking the pasta. The hot air in the air fryer does a great job of cooking up the ingredients and you really don't want to go over the allotted time.
You bet - but I just find that the cook times are shorter when I use my air fryer. I also love the golden brown coloring that the high heat of the air fryer gives the top of the cheese. You can also make Instant Pot Macaroni as well, but that takes a few more ingredients and different measurements.
Absolutely! Toppings like breadcrumbs, extra cheese, or crumbled bacon can be added before air frying to create a delicious crust.
It depends on the air fryer model and the quantity of mac and cheese, but a general guideline is to cook it at around 360°F (182°C) for 10 to 15 minutes. If you're just browning the top, it might take less time.
Pasta is one ingredient that I don't recommend freezing. While you "technically" can, it's not going to thaw out very well at all. More than likely, it'll be a mushy mess!
Have so much fun making this mac & cheese recipe! There's a reason that everyone runs to the table and "patiently" waits for it to be done! Use this simple recipe as the perfect weeknight side dish or a fun dinner recipe that the whole family loves.
MORE SIDE DISH AIR FRYER RECIPES:
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Air Fryer Mac and Cheese
- 1 Air Fryer
- 3 ½ cups Elbow macaroni cooked
- 1 ½ cups Sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 ½ cups Monterey jack cheese
- ½ cup Mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup Italian cheese
- 6 ounces heavy whipping cream
- 1 egg beaten
- Preheat the air fryer to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a medium bowl, mix the cooked pasta, beaten egg, cheddar, Monterey Jack, and mozzarella cheese, and then add the whipping cream.
- Add the bowl of macaroni to the basket of the air fryer and use the air fryer feature to cook for 10-12 minutes. Stirring every 3-4 minutes.
- Open the air fryer basket and top the macaroni with the remaining Italian cheese. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from the air fryer basket and allow the mac and cheese to slightly thicken before serving.
- Top with salt, pepper, and fresh parsley before serving.
*Nutritional information is a calculated guesstimate. Please note that this can change with different brands and modifications you may make to the recipe. For the most accurate information, use a nutritional calculator with the exact brands and measurements you're using with each recipe.