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Air Fryer Mac and Cheese Recipe

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Air Fryer Mac and Cheese

Making mac and cheese in the air fryer is a game-changer—it’s quick, easy, and skips the need for boiling noodles. You can create a creamy, cheesy dish in about 20 minutes with minimal effort.

You only need a few ingredients like heavy cream, sharp cheddar cheese, or even Velveeta. Pop everything into your air fryer, and let it work its magic. The result is a crispy, golden topping with a rich and creamy inside that’s perfect for any meal.

No fuss, no boiling, just delicious mac and cheese in a fraction of the time. Plus, there’s minimal cleanup, making it an ideal solution for busy weeknights.

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

To make air fryer mac and cheese, you need some basic ingredients. Here’s a list:

Main Ingredients:

  • Macaroni noodles: About 2 cups. You can use any pasta shape you like.
  • Half and half: 1 cup. Substitute with milk or heavy cream if preferred.
  • Velveeta cheese: 1 cup, cubed. Substitute with any creamy cheese like cheddar or American.
  • Cheddar cheese: 1 cup, shredded. Substitute with Colby Jack or Monterey Jack.


  • Butter: 2 tablespoons. Substitute with margarine if needed.
  • Garlic powder: 1 teaspoon. Optional but adds flavor.
  • Black pepper: 1 teaspoon. Adjust to taste.
  • Onion powder: 1 teaspoon. Adds extra depth.
  • Cayenne pepper: 1/4 teaspoon. Optional for a spicy kick.
  • Salt: 1/2 teaspoon. Adjust to taste.

Optional Ingredients:

  • Chicken stock: Adds a savory depth. Use in place of water for cooking pasta.
  • Cream cheese: Makes it extra creamy. Add about 1/2 cup.
  • Parmesan cheese: For extra cheesy goodness. Add 1/4 cup.

Example Table for Quick Reference:

IngredientAmountPossible Substitute
Macaroni noodles2 cupsAny pasta shape
Half and half1 cupMilk or heavy cream
Velveeta cheese1 cupCheddar or American
Cheddar cheese1 cupColby Jack
Butter2 tablespoonsMargarine

Feel free to mix and match to suit your taste!


  1. Preheat your air fryer to 360°F.

  2. In a large bowl, mix together:

    • 1 cup of elbow macaroni
    • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1/2 cup of half and half
    • 1/4 cup of Velveeta, cubed
    • 2 tablespoons of butter, melted
    • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
    • A pinch of black pepper and salt

  3. Stir the mixture until all ingredients are well combined.

  4. Spray an oven-proof dish with cooking spray to prevent sticking.

  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and place it in the air fryer basket.

  6. Cook at 360°F for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking.

  7. After 15 minutes, sprinkle an additional 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese on top.

  8. Air fry for another 5-8 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted and bubbling.

  9. Carefully remove the dish from the air fryer using tongs and oven gloves.

  10. Give it a good stir before serving warm.

Enjoy your delicious air fryer mac and cheese!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

Preheating: Always preheat your air fryer to the correct temperature. This ensures your mac and cheese cooks evenly.

Stirring: Stir the mac and cheese every few minutes while cooking. This helps prevent sticking and ensures the cheese melts evenly.

Cheese: Use a mix of cheeses for the best flavor. Cheddar, mozzarella, and Parmesan work well.

Greasing: Grease your air fryer basket or pan with nonstick spray to prevent sticking.

Serving: Let the mac and cheese cool for a few minutes before serving. This helps it set and makes it easier to serve.

Microwave: Place a portion of the mac and cheese in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Freezer: For longer storage, freeze your mac and cheese. Place it in an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.

Reheating: Cover the mac and cheese with foil when reheating in the air fryer to keep it from drying out. Cook at 350°F for about 5-7 minutes.

Add-Ins: Experiment with add-ins like bacon bits, broccoli, or breadcrumbs to give your mac and cheese a twist.

Portion Control: Cook in small batches if you have a smaller air fryer. This helps everything cook evenly.

Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.