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Crispy and Cheesy Fried Mac and Cheese Balls

Mac and Cheese Balls are CRISPY on the outside, CHEESY and CREAMY on the inside which makes them the ULTIMATE comfort food!

An easy and delicious appetizer that is a great way to use up leftover macaroni and cheese.

mac n cheese balls in a metal basket

If you’d rather skip my (very helpful, I think) tips and tricks, essential cooking info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to this delicious easy mac n cheese bites recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.

Trust me when I say this, these are not like the mac and cheese bites I have had in a restaurant. This homemade version is 1000 TIMES BETTER.

And let me show you why!

First off…

What are mac and cheese balls?

Besides being tiny bite size bundles of cheesy goodness, of course. Seriously, they are the most delicious way to use up leftover macaroni and cheese.

Imagine scoops of creamy mac n cheese, rolled in Panko crumbs, and deep fried until they are a crispy, golden brown on the outside, and warm and gooey on the inside.

That’s these all right!

Drooling now are we?

What cheeses are in mac and cheese bites?

Aside from what’s already in the leftovers, I like to add a little American or mozzarella. Just to make sure that there is enough cheese.

I want it to really stretch when I bite into one.

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bowl if dip with hand dipping in a fried ball

How to make fried mac and cheese balls

Now that we are hungry and drooling, let’s make some!

STEP ONE: In a bowl, combine the leftover mac n cheese and the extra cheese. Scoop into 1.5 inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes.

STEP TWO: Beat two eggs in a bowl with a little water. In a separate bowl, add the Panko crumbs. Remove the balls from the freezer, dip fully in egg wash, roll in Panko to completely coat, and place back on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining balls.

STEP THREE: Return the balls to the freezer while you heat the oil to 375F. When the oil is ready, fry the balls 3 to 4 at a time for 2 minutes or until golden brown.

STEP FOUR: Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce.

Can you bake the mac and cheese balls?

Yes you can! If you don’t feel like breaking out the oil, you can bake them in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

If that’s too much, you can also air fry them at 360F for 8-10 minutes.

How do you reheat fried macaroni and cheese?

Bake in the oven at 400F for 5 minutes or place back in the air fryer for 5 minutes at 350 to reheat.

how do you cook frozen mac and cheese bites?

For cooking in the oven from frozen, place on a baking sheet and bake at 400F for 18-20 minutes or until the internal temp is 160F.

I would not recommend microwaving these.

two hands pulling apart a friend mac and cheese ball

Take Two Tapas Tips for the best mac and cheese bites

  • I like to use Panko crumbs but feel free to use crackers, potato chips, or regular bread crumbs
  • When buying your cheese, opt for some from the deli or buy it in a block and grate yourself. The pre-shredded kind has other stuff in it which keeps it from melting.
  • Chill or freeze the balls completely before frying. This will help them hold their shape.
  • Make sure your oil is the correct temperature of 350 degrees F before frying. Too low and the oil will be absorbed, making them greasy. Too high and they will burn before the middle gets hot. Start at 375F to allow for a little temp drop when you start adding the frozen balls to it.
overhead picture of fried macaroni balls on a baking sheet

What dipping sauces go with them?

I like a spicy marinara sauce, but salsa, Ranch, and BBQ sauce all taste delicious with these.

How many calories are in a mac and cheese ball?

If you are eating these, it doesn’t matter. Calories eaten with friends don’t really count, do they?

freaky friday banner

Freaky Friday

Freaky Friday is a quarterly blog hop, started and coordinated by Michaela at An Affair From the Heart. The event is where a group of bloggers are randomly assigned another blog, you make one of their recipes (with a twist if you want), and share it with your readers.

Some of my past Freaky Friday recipes include this indulgent Creamy Corn Dip, these Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, and these Spicy Taco Tater Tots.

I love looking at all the other participant’s blogs and trying to figure out who got me, what they made, and how they added their own spin on it!

Spring is time for renewal and getting back to basics with comfort food and family time. This recipe definitely reflects that.

This round I got my friend Brandi’s Blog – Aunt Bee’s Recipes. I was so excited because I haven’t had her yet and have been itching to make something of hers! I’ve known Brandi from the interweb for a while now and I look forward to her comforting recipes every week.

A self taught cook, Brandi loves collecting cookbooks (like me!) and enjoys feeding her BUSY and HUNGRY family. Her dishes are easy and always a hit.

She has the best dips like this Southwest Bean Dip and her Chicken Fajita Sliders are always gobbled up quickly.

Take a look at all of our 2020 Freaky Friday Spring Edition Recipes:

  1. An Affair from the Heart – Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
  2. Aunt Bee’s Recipes – Homemade Loaded Queso
  3. Bowl Me Over – Crispy Smashed Potatoes
  4. Hostess at Heart – Chocolate Coffee Cake
  5. House of Nash Eats – Asian Lettuce Wraps
  6. Lemoine Family Kitchen – Easy Homemade Flour Tortillas
  7. Life, Love & Good Food – Italian Grilled Burgers
  8. Lisa’s Dinnertime Dish – Lemon Garlic Brussels Sprout Linguine 
  9. Or Whatever You Do – Air Fryer Shrimp
  10. Take Two Tapas –  Fried Mac and Cheese Balls
  11. The Foodie Affair – Strawberry Bread
  12. The Speckled Palate – Chicken Pesto Pasta
  13. West Via Midwest – Loaded Baked Potato Skins – Air Fryer Recipes
close up of fried mac & cheese balls with chives on top

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

fried mac and cheese balls overhead picture with text "fried mac and cheese balls"
baking sheet with fried mac and cheese balls on it

Fried Mac N Cheese Bites

Yield: 30 balls
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Mac and Cheese Balls are CRISPY on the outside, CHEESY and CREAMY on the inside which makes them the ULTIMATE comfort food!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups prepared macaroni and cheese, chilled
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, your favorite blend
  • salt & pepper for seasoning
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups oil for frying
  • Ranch, Marinara, or other sauce for dipping

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, combine the leftover mac n cheese and the extra cheese.
  2. Scoop into 1.5 inch balls and place on a baking sheet.
  3. Freeze for 15 minutes.
  4. While the balls are chilling, beat two eggs in a bowl with a little water.
  5. In a separate bowl, add the Panko crumbs.
  6. Remove the balls from the freezer, dip fully in egg wash, roll in Panko to completely coat, and place back on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining balls.
  7. Return the balls to the freezer while you heat the oil to 375F.
  8. When the oil is ready, fry the balls 3 to 4 at a time for 2 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce!

Notes

*If you like this recipe, please leave me a comment and rate it five stars. Thank you!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 15 Serving Size: 2 balls
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 220Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 206mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g

This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

Did you make this recipe?

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This recipe adapted from Aunt Bee’s Recipes.

@TakeTwoTapas.com. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encourages and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

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