Air Fryer Mac and Cheese making a batch of creamy macaroni and cheese in your air fryer is a game changer! It’s so easy, and you don’t even need to boil the macaroni. 

air fryer mac and cheese
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There is nothing better for lunch or dinner than a comforting bowl of Homemade Creamy Mac and Cheese, perfectly cooked in the Air Fryer!

If you watch anything on TikTok, you are probably familiar with the viral TikTok mac and cheese videos! Essentially, you put dried pasta and the rest of your ingredients in the casserole dish and bake. Then the result is incredibly cheesy mac and cheese.

Well…I have taken it to a whole new level. Air fryer mac and cheese is made with same concepts as the TikTok mac and cheese, but it’s a whole lot faster.

While you are at it, be sure to try my Copycat Recipe for Kraft Mac & Cheese, made in the Instant Pot.


YouTube video

Why You Will Love Air Fryer Mac And Cheese Recipe

  • 30 minute dish!
  • Minimal prep time
  • Kids and adults will devour it
  • Great for entertaining
  • Comforting
  • Delicious

Ingredients Needed For Homemade Creamy Mac and Cheese

These ingredients combine to create a rich, creamy, and flavorful mac and cheese that you can easily prepare in your air fryer oven or air fryer basket style air fryer.

Air Fryer Mac and Cheese

Remember the step-by-step directions, full recipe instructions, and full measurements are below, in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post, as well as the nutritional information.

  • Elbow Macaroni: This classic pasta shape is perfect for holding onto the creamy cheese sauce, ensuring every bite is deliciously cheesy.
  • Water: Essential for cooking the macaroni directly in the air fryer without pre-boiling, ensuring the pasta absorbs the flavors of the sauce.
  • Heavy Cream: Adds richness and creaminess to the mac and cheese, creating a luxurious texture in the cheese sauce.
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese: Provides a bold, tangy flavor that defines classic mac and cheese, melting beautifully into the sauce.
  • Dry Mustard: Enhances the flavor of the cheese and adds a subtle tang that complements the richness of the cream and cheese.
  • Kosher Salt: Essential for seasoning the pasta and bringing out the flavors of the cheese and spices.
  • Black Pepper: Adds a touch of heat and complexity, balancing the rich creaminess of the dish.
  • Garlic Powder: Infuses the mac and cheese with a subtle garlic flavor, adding an extra layer of deliciousness.
  • Dish: Use any oven-proof dish.

How To Make Mac and Cheese In Air Fryer

Here are the step by step photos to air fry mac and cheese, here is a brief overview of the recipe.

Air Fryer Mac and Cheese

Step 1: Combine ingredients

In a medium bowl, mix the macaroni, water, heavy cream, about 3/4 of the cheese, dry mustard, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well to combine.

Step 2: Air Fry

Pour the mixture into an air fryer pan, or oven-safe casserole dish. Set the pan into the basket of the air fryer, set the temperature to 360 degrees F, air fryer setting, and set cook time for 15-20 minutes.

Step 3: Stir, cool & serve

When the macaroni and cheese are about halfway done cooking, stir in the rest of the cheese. Remove and let cool, slightly before serving.

air fryer mac and cheese

Recipe Variations For Air Fryer Macaroni and Cheese

  • Air Fryer Mac and Cheese Without Heavy Cream: Substitute heavy cream with milk or a combination of milk and cream cheese to maintain creaminess while reducing the fat content.
  • Air Fryer Mac and Cheese With Bread Crumbs: After mixing the macaroni with cheese, sprinkle a generous layer of seasoned bread crumbs, or panko bread crumbs, on top before air frying for a crispy, golden crust.
  • Air Fryer Lobster Mac and Cheese: Add chunks of cooked lobster meat to the mac and cheese mixture before air frying for a luxurious and decadent twist on the classic dish.
  • Add-Ins: Add-ins like crispy bacon, (or bacon bits) broccoli, or jalapeños can elevate the flavor and texture of mac and cheese. You can also experiment with ingredients such as garlic, chicken, lobster, mushrooms, spinach, green onions, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, peas, truffle oil, hot sauce, pulled pork, blue cheese, breadcrumbs, caramelized onions, Sriracha, and ham to create unique and delicious variations of this classic dish.
  • Cheese Variations: Experimenting with different cheeses can take your air fryer mac and cheese to new levels. Try combinations like sharp cheddar for a classic flavor, Gruyère for a creamy, nutty twist, smoked Gouda for a hint of smokiness, or pepper jack for a spicy kick. Adding cheeses like Parmesan cheese can enhance the depth of flavor, while mozzarella can contribute to a wonderfully gooey texture. Each variation will bring a unique taste and texture to your dish, making it even more delicious and customizable.
  • Dairy: You can substitute milk for whole milk, evaporated milk, or lactose free milk.
Air Fryer Mac and Cheese

Pro Tips Air Fryer Mac N Cheese Recipe

  • Use an Air Fryer-Safe Dish: Make sure to use a baking dish that fits well in your air fryer and is safe to use at high temperatures. This ensures even cooking and prevents spills .
  • Cook Pasta to Al Dente: If pre-cooking the pasta, cook it to al dente. The pasta will continue to cook in the air fryer, and this prevents it from becoming too soft or mushy .
  • Mix Cheese Varieties: Use a combination of cheeses like sharp cheddar, block cheese, Gruyère, and mozzarella for a richer flavor and creamier texture. Each cheese adds a unique element, enhancing the overall taste .
  • Add a Crispy Topping: Sprinkle seasoned breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs, or crushed crackers on top before the final air frying. This adds a delicious crunchy texture that complements the creamy mac and cheese .
  • Stir Halfway Through: Stir the mac and cheese halfway through the cooking process to ensure even heating and to prevent any parts from drying out or burning .
  • Use Heavy Cream: For an extra creamy texture, use heavy cream or a combination of milk and cream. This adds richness and helps create a smooth cheese sauce .
  • Season Well: Don’t forget to season with salt, pepper, and other spices like garlic powder or mustard powder to enhance the flavors of the dish .
  • Monitor Cooking Time: Keep an eye on the mac and cheese during the last few minutes of cooking time to avoid over-browning the top. Adjust the time as needed based on your specific air fryer model .
  • Let it Rest: Allow the mac and cheese to rest for a few minutes after cooking. This helps the sauce thicken and the flavors to meld together better .
air fryer mac and cheese

Macaroni and Cheese Air Fryer Recipe Faqs

What type of dish should I use in the air fryer for mac and cheese?  Use an air fryer-safe baking dish or pan that fits comfortably in your air fryer. Ensure it is oven-safe bowl, or small bowl to withstand the high temperatures.

What type of pasta should you use: Use elbow pasta, or any dried macaroni.

Do I need to pre-boil the macaroni before putting it in the air fryer?

Pre-boiling is not necessary if you add water and cook the pasta directly in the air fryer. If you prefer, you can pre-boil the pasta to al dente before mixing with the cheese sauce and air frying.

 How long does it take to cook mac and cheese in the air fryer?  Cooking mac and cheese in the air fryer typically takes about 15-20 minutes, including the time to cook the pasta and then to bake the mixed mac and cheese until bubbly and golden.

Can I add breadcrumbs on top of the mac and cheese?  Yes, you can add breadcrumbs for a crispy topping. Sprinkle seasoned breadcrumbs over the mac and cheese before the final baking step in the air fryer.

What cheese varieties work best for air fryer mac and cheese? A mix of sharp cheddar, Gruyère, mozzarella, and Parmesan works well for a rich and creamy texture. Combining different cheeses enhances the flavor and creaminess.

How do I prevent the mac and cheese from drying out in the air fryer?  Ensure you add enough liquid, such as heavy cream or milk, to keep the mac and cheese creamy. Stirring halfway through cooking can also help distribute moisture evenly. If you would like a creamier air fryer mac and cheese, add a splash of milk.

Can I make gluten-free mac and cheese in the air fryer?  Yes, use gluten-free pasta and ensure all other ingredients, such as cheese and seasonings, are gluten-free. Follow the same cooking instructions.

How do I store and reheat leftover macaroni and cheese?  Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the air fryer at 300°F (150°C) for 4-5 minutes, or until heated through.

Can I customize the mac and cheese with add-ins?  Absolutely! Add cooked bacon, broccoli, jalapeños, or chicken to customize your mac and cheese. Add these ingredients before the final air frying step.

What to serve with easy air fryer mac and cheese: Serve this delicious side dish with green salad, side salad, pork chops, or quiche.

Air Fryer Mac and Cheese

More Air Fryer Side Dishes:

air fryer mac and cheese

Air Fryer Macaroni & Cheese

4.15 from 21 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings


his Air Fryer Mac and Cheese is creamy, comforting, and incredibly cheesy. This spin on TikTok mac and cheese is faster and easier!


  • 1 1/2 cup dry elbow or small macaroni (uncooked)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


  • In a large bowl, mix the macaroni, water, heavy cream, about 3/4 of the cheese, dry mustard, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well to combine.
  • Pour the mixture into an air-fryer-safe pan. Set the pan into the air fryer, set the temperature to 360 degrees F, air fryer setting, for 15-20 minutes.
  • When the macaroni and cheese is about halfway done cooking, stir in the rest of the cheese.
  • Remove and let cool, slightly before serving.


  • Air Fryer
  • Baking Pan
  • Cooking Spray


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 483kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 19gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 18gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 675mgPotassium: 170mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1006IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 433mgIron: 1mg

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Air Fryer Macaroni & Cheese