Air fryer macaroni and cheese comes out so good! Tender cheesy noodles made in a small batch. Homemade and perfect when you want dinner quick.
I bet you didn’t think you could make homemade air fryer macaroni and cheese did you? You totally can cook pasta noodles perfectly in your hot air machine. Let us show you this easy air fryer recipe you’ll love. (affiliate links present)
Air Fryer Macaroni and Cheese
You can use the air crisp function on your Ninja Foodi to make this as well. Once you have this handy pot you can make all sorts of things you’d normally bake.
I mean not that our Ninja Foodi macaroni and cheese isn’t to die for, but this makes a smaller portion for “those nights”. You can use any type of small noodles you want, not just elbow. I have used small shells which is kinda’ a fun change. Use cheddar and Mexican cheeses or whatever blend is your favorite.
FIRST – You should sign up for my free newsletter so you get new posts emailed to you twice a week and never miss out on anything! If you love air fryer recipes too, here are some resources to start with:
- My Favorite Air Fryer is a Cosori or for a dual machine, the Foodi.
- You can find more easy air fryer recipes here, we have Ninja Foodi recipes as well; bookmark them both!
How Long to Cook Mac and Cheese in Air Fryer
For the most part I use the same ingredients over and over when making homemade macaroni and cheese. Whether it be on the stovetop, in a pressure cooker, or this one. Of course tweaks are necessary, but why mess with perfection. 😉
If you aren’t a fan of elbow macaroni, by all means use small shells instead. It doesn’t matter what shape you use, they just need to be of a smaller variety.
Air Fryer Pasta
The key to cooking pasta in air fryer is to have an oven safe bowl. You’ll need to ensure the noodles are submerged into the liquid so they can soak it all up!
Power xl Air Fryer Mac and Cheese Recipe
I have made this dairy free for my husband as well. Using coconut milk and dairy free cheese it actually turned out quite well and he said it was a winner.
This is what you’ll need to get out so you’re ready to mix, preheat and “bake” it all up for your dinner.
- 7″ air fryer pan with handles
- Noodles of course are necessary. Like I said you can use elbow macaroni featured here or small shells or penne work too. The smaller they are the quicker it will soak up the sauce. They need to be small.
- Water for liquid so the cheese can get nice and creamy.
- Heavy cream will make it thick like you want it.
- Shredded cheddar cheese
You can choose your favorite kinds but here we have cheddar and some gouda. Already shredded Mexican blend is pretty good too because it has some taco seasoning mixed in there which gives it a great extra flavor.
Only salt and black pepper were used for seasonings but that is up to you. Garlic salt or powder work well for flavoring too.
You’ll want a bowl to mix it all together before pouring it into your air fryer pan. Once you try this you’ll see just how handy this pot will become. You can make all sorts of things like air fryer apple crisp in it & cake!
There seriously isn’t much I have tried that hasn’t turned out pretty great. I mean it can’t do my laundry but beyond that it can do just about everything. 😉
Do you rinse macaroni for macaroni and cheese?
No. You want to keep that white powdery substance on the outside so the cheese sticks to it well. They would get kinda’ sticky and icky if you rinsed them anyway so I really would not recommend doing that.
Can you cook Stauffers mac and cheese in an air fryer?
You can. Our recipe is for homemade but for this store bought ready made dish you place the dish in your air fryer basket. Then set temp to 360 degrees F and cook for approximately 18-20 minutes.
This is how this one looks prepared and ready to take a journey under into hot air basket.
If you wanted a sort of crunchy topping on your air fryer mac and cheese you could put a bit of bread crumbs on top.
- Alternatively about 4 minutes before it’s done you can sprinkle on crispy fried onions too! OH MY I tell you that’s good.
Parmesan cheese is always a yummy addition at the end of this macaroni and cheese recipe too. I do that when making our Instant Pot macaroni and cheese as a side dish and it’s always a hit.
You can see an added layer of melted and crispy shredded cheese on top here. So good right? Let’s jump to recipe below. You can print it at the bottom of this post as well.
Air fried mac and cheese
I do have a printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for your reference but I have a quick rundown here as well. Here’s how this was made; Combine ingredients like noodles, cream, seasonings, cheese and stir into a mixing bowl.
- Spray the inside of a 7″ air fryer pot with olive oil cooking spray.
- Pour your prepared mixture inside. Preheat air fryer to 360 degrees F for 5 minutes.
- Put pot inside air fryer and cook at 360 degrees for 22-25 minutes total.
- Stir every 5 minutes until noodles are as tender as you’d like them to be.
- If you want a golden brown layer of crispy additional cheese on the top, add more shredded cheddar once noodles are tender.
- Cook at 380 degrees F for 2-4 minutes until melted and browned
So good right?? You can serve this as is or with a yummy air fryer side dish like:
How do you revive leftover macaroni and cheese?
If you do have leftovers store them in the refrigerator in airtight containers. To reheat add 1 tbsp of milk per 1 cup of pasta and stir to moisten. Heat in microwave in 30 second intervals stirring in between cook times until warm.
Our favorite duo is probably this and some parmesan broccoli in air fryer for sure. You can never have too much cheese. LOL. I mean I would say that my kids don’t think you need anything else. It’s a true one pot meal for them, they don’t think of a side salad like I would.
Typically I really do like to incorporate some sort of vegetable into any meal. Adding a crisp to the outside of produce is kinda’ a game changer, especially when it comes to getting kids to like them.
- Try some crispy air fryer cauliflower or cauliflower wings with it.
- Of course zucchini and squash is great with our mixed air fryer vegetables recipe.
- Or add some protein by making a side of air fryer frozen chicken nuggets or air fryer popcorn chicken bites!
- Homemade mozzarella sticks in air fryer are great too.
Have leftovers? Make mac and cheese balls with it!
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
Air Fryer Mac and Cheese
- Combine ingredients into a mixing bowl, stir together.
- Spray inside of a 7" air fryer pot with non stick cooking spray. Pour mixture in.
- Preheat air fryer to 360 degrees F for 5 minutes.
- Put pot inside basket and close. Cook at 360 degrees for 22-25 minutes total stirring every 5 minutes until noodles are as tender as you'd like them to be.
- If you want a browned crispy layer of additional cheese on the very top add more shredded once noodles are tender and cook at 380 degrees F for 2-4 minutes until melted and browned.