These easy-to-make fried mac and cheese bites are a great way to use up leftover mac and cheese from a large dinner party. They’re also fantastic appetizers for a party or a game night! The recipe does require you to chill already prepared mac and cheese in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight, so take that into account with preparation.
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Keyword appetizer, fried, leftovers, mac and cheese, thanksgiving
Prep Time 10minutes
Cook Time 10minutes
candy/deep frying thermometer (recommended)
4cupsmac and cheesestore-bought, made from a box, or homemade from scratch (about 400 g)
6 to 12ouncesof Velveeta or other melty cheesesee section above recipe about other melty cheese recommendations (only if necessary)
1/2teaspoonsea saltlike Maldon (optional but recommended)
Place the mac and cheese in the refrigerator in an airtight container and let chill until firm, about 3 to 4 hours or overnight.
Use a small ice cream scoop or a large spoon to scoop out balls of mac and cheese. You can also squeeze and form them in your hand. The warmth of your hand will help make the mac and cheese more pliable and form balls. You want the balls to be about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter, about the size of a golf balls. You can go smaller if you want to make more of them, but I wouldn’t advise going bigger, as they become a little hard to eat at that point. You want them bite size or at least two-bite size.
If the mac and cheese is crumbly, which sometimes happens when it is homemade (specifically if it’s a baked-style mac and cheese), you will need additional cheese to bind it all together. Grate or chop 8 ounces of Velveeta or other melty cheese (see section above recipe for various cheese options). Then melt it by cooking in the microwave in 30 second burst, stirring between cook time. Or heat on low heat on a stovetop until it is liquid. Drizzle melted cheese over the mac and cheese and toss to help bind the mac and cheese together. Melt and use more cheese if necessary.
Once the balls are all formed, place the eggs in a medium bowl with half the teaspoon of salt and pepper. Beat until well mixed. Place the panko crumbs in another medium bowl. Stir in the remaining salt and pepper along with the chopped parsley.
Dip the mac and cheese balls in the egg first, turning it all the way around to make sure the entire surface is coated. Dip the egg coated ball in the panko bread crumbs and roll it around to make sure it is completely coated. Place on a baking sheet or plate, and repeat with the remaining balls.
Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet or a paper towel on a plate.
Pour enough oil in a saute pan or large Dutch oven so it is about a 1-inch deep. Heat the oil to 350°F. Once the oil is hot, lower the coated balls into the hot oil using tongs. Do not drop them! Place half the ball in the oil, then let go. This prevents splashing and burns. Fry 3 or 4 at a time, or as many as your pan will allow. Don’t overcrowd the pan though! Make sure there’s enough room for the balls to float next to each other.
Fry the balls on one side until golden brown, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Then flip the balls and fry the other side for the same time. Once the balls are completely golden brown, move them with tongs or a spider/slotted ladle to the wire rack or onto the lined paper towel plate to drain and cool slightly. Repeat with the remaining balls.
Place on a serving platter and sprinkle with extra parsley and flaky salt if you want. Serve warm, by themselves, or with your favorite dipping sauce (see section above for suggestions).
An average "blue box" of mac and cheese usually yields about 3 cups of mac and cheese. You can use the same recipe above for the entire box. You'll just have a little leftover egg and bread crumbs. Or you can use two blue boxes, and just use 3 eggs, along with 2 1/4 cups of panko bread crumbs. Increase the parsley, salt and pepper to your taste.
Fried Mac and Cheese Bites https://www.eatthelove.com/fried-mac-cheese-bites/