Air Fryer Mac And Cheese Recipe

It's pretty hard to resist a bowl of macaroni and cheese — and with good reason. The simple but classic dish is an American staple, and although there are quite a few ways to customize mac and cheese, the recipe always boils down to two main ingredients: macaroni (or elbow) pasta and some sort of cheese! There are many ways to cook mac and cheese, but the most traditional way is on the stovetop. While this method does indeed yield a deliciously cheesy pasta dish, what if there was a way to make things even easier?

Recipe developer Susan Olayinka from The Flexible Fridge has an air fryer mac and cheese recipe that makes cooking this meal just about as simple as it gets! Thanks to the air fryer doing all the work, you can sit back and wait for perfectly cheesy mac and cheese to cook — best of all, it'll be ready in just 30 minutes. "This is better than stovetop and oven mac and cheese, in my view," Olayinka says of this recipe. "The flavor is so creamy and cheesy and smooth, and the top is crispy." If you're looking for an easy dinner or a dish that will impress guests at a dinner party, this air fryer mac and cheese recipe will keep things simple without sacrificing flavor.

Gather the ingredients to prepare air fryer mac and cheese

Before you start preparing this air fryer mac and cheese, you'll want to make sure that you have the right ingredients. For this recipe, you'll need dry macaroni pasta, chicken broth, shredded mild cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt, heavy cream, butter, and panko breadcrumbs to add a delightfully crunchy element. Olayinka notes that if you want to keep the recipe vegetarian, you can opt for vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. You could also use vegan cheese and non-dairy milk and butter if you want to make the dish completely vegan.

Mix the macaroni and cheese ingredients, then put them into the air fryer

Once you have your ingredients sorted, you can begin preparing this air fryer mac and cheese recipe. Start by pulling out an oven-safe bowl or dish that will fit into your air fryer. Then, in the bowl, add the macaroni pasta, chicken broth, cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt, heavy cream, and butter. Mix these ingredients together, and then place the dish into the air fryer. Set the air fryer to 350 F, set the timer for 20 minutes, and allow your mac and cheese to begin cooking. Be sure to mix the mac and cheese after it has cooked for 10 minutes, and then resume cooking once again.

Prepare the panko and Parmesan mixture, then add it to the mac and cheese

As your macaroni and cheese cooks in the air fryer, grab a small bowl, and mix together the panko breadcrumbs and tablespoon of Parmesan cheese. After the macaroni and cheese has cooked for 20 minutes, sprinkle the breadcrumb and Parmesan mixture right on top of the dish. By doing so, you'll add an element of crunch to an otherwise soft and chewy dish — not to mention the extra flavor with fresh Parmesan cheese on top! Allow the mac and cheese to cook for a final five minutes, this time at 400 F, so the top layer gets nice and crispy.

Serve your air fryer mac and cheese, and enjoy

Once you've finished cooking your macaroni and cheese, you can remove the dish from the air fryer, and serve. Not only will the pasta be perfectly tender, but it will also have tons of savory flavor thanks to the chicken broth, cheddar cheese, and Parmesan. Also, thanks to the final five minutes of cooking, the panko and Parmesan top layer will crisp to perfection, ensuring that each bite has a wonderful mix of softness and crunch. 

If you have any leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container for two to three days, and simply reheat in the air fryer when you want to serve again. Considering how decadent this air fryer mac and cheese is, however, it's safe to assume that there won't be any leftovers!

Air Fryer Mac And Cheese Recipe
4.7 from 3 ratings
This delicious air fryer mac and cheese recipe makes cooking this meal just about as simple as it gets!
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
25
minutes
Servings
4
Servings
macaroni and cheese in bowl
Total time: 30 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 cups dry macaroni
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups mild cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon panko breadcrumbs
Directions
  1. Get an ovenproof dish, and into it place the macaroni, chicken broth, mild cheddar cheese, ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese, salt, heavy cream, and butter. Mix together.
  2. Place the dish into the air fryer, and cook for 20 minutes on 350 F.
  3. Stir the mac and cheese after 10 minutes.
  4. Get a small mixing bowl, and mix together the panko breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.
  5. After 20 minutes of cooking, take the mac and cheese out, top with the panko and Parmesan cheese mixture.
  6. Cook for an extra 5 minutes on 400 F, then take out of the air fryer, and serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 697
Total Fat 46.2 g
Saturated Fat 27.4 g
Trans Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 149.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 44.7 g
Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
Total Sugars 4.3 g
Sodium 591.9 mg
Protein 25.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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