Crispy Macaroni and Cheese Balls
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Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook for 6-8 minutes or according to the package instructions.
While the macaroni is cooking, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Slowly add the flour and whisk until fully incorporated. Cook the roux for 1-2 minutes, then slowly whisk in the milk and half-and-half. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheeses, 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
Place in bowl in the refrigerator to chill for about an hour.
Remove from refrigerator and use a spoon to scoop the macaroni into 1 ½-inch balls. Place the balls on parchment paper or baking sheet.
Heat 2-3 inches of oil in a large skillet to 350 degrees. Create a dredging station by placing the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs mixed with parsley and ½ teaspoon of salt in three separate balls.
While the oil is heating, dip the macaroni and cheese balls through a dredging station, first in the flour, then the eggs, and then the breadcrumb mixture.
When you are finished dipping all the macaroni and cheese balls in the dredging station, place the balls into the hot oil to fry (work in shifts, making sure that they aren’t too crowded in oil) for about 2-3 minutes, until golden brown.
Mac and Cheese Balls are filled full of cheddar cheese and fried to a perfect crispy texture. Seriously, it doesn&rsquot get better than this. If you a leftover mac & cheese, then this becomes the easiest recipe to make. It is recommended to use refrigerated leftovers because it will be easier to shape the balls.
You turn a delicious comfort food, into balls and then roll them into breadcrumbs and fry them. As a result, you will end up with a portion of phenomenal homemade comfort food!
The best part is that if you don&rsquot even need any leftovers to make this recipe. You can use the On-Cor Macaroni and Cheese entrée to make these dishes. I like the quality of it and obviously the convenience. Life&rsquos demanding enough and dinner shouldn&rsquot be another worry. On-Cor does the prep work, so you can take care of other to-do&rsquos that need to doing. Now you basically have dinner in a cheesy, super fun and tasty macaroni ball!
We shaped them into meatball sized balls, but you can make them smaller or bigger based on preference. Important to remember to put them back in the freezer, after breading, for at least 1 hour before frying.
This way they will turn out crunchy and crispy on the outside while being cheesy on the outside. Next time you host a party, go ahead and try these. They will be a huge hit with everyone!
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
- Cheddar Cheese
- Parmesan Cheese
- Macaroni & Cheese
- Bread Crumbs
I don't deep fry very often, but every now and again a recipe comes along that makes you just want to heat up a pot of oil.
You can make this recipe in an air fryer or baked in the oven, but I usually just go for it and deep fry them!
They get evenly crispy on the outside, and lovely and creamy soft inside. Bliss!
But don't worry if you want to make them healthier - you can bake them or cook them in an air fryer too.
• Try vegetables your kid doesn’t like! Just because your kid won’t normally eat broccoli doesn’t mean they won’t love it in these tasty mac n cheese bites. If you’re concerned that they may not eat them, try dividing the macaroni and cream cheese mixture into separate bowls, and adding a different veggie into half of the mix. Just remember to keep track of which is which when they get fried.
• Before forming the mac n cheese mixture into balls, spray a little bit of nonstick spray onto your hands. This will prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands, and help the bites to keep their shape.
Macaroni and Cheese Baked Cheese Balls
1. Prepare mac 'n cheese according to package directions. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, up to 3 days I made these after 2 days. Chilling the mac 'n cheese is an instrumental step and cannot be skipped because the cheese needs to congeal, solidify, and dry out a bit prior to baking the cheese balls. You may be able to speed this process up and shortcut it a bit by freezing the cooked mac 'n cheese, but I have not tested it.
2. About 15 minutes prior to preparing the cheese balls, place the container of mac 'n cheese in the freezer for a quick cold blast. Meanwhile, place flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs in 3 separate small bowls set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 425F and line two baking sheets with Silpats, parchment paper, or aluminum foil (line baking sheets with something to save yourself cleanup work). Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on each baking sheet, smear it around with your hands set baking sheets aside.
4. Remove mac 'n cheese from the freezer and using a 1-inch cookie scoop or tablespoon-sized scoop, portion out and shape the balls, taking care not to make them larger than about 1-inch in diameter because after battering and breading, they become much larger in size. Depending on the type of noodles in your mac 'n cheese, how cold, or how cheesy the mac 'n cheese is, lightly hand-shaping the noodles into balls may be necessary rather than replying solely on a cookie scoop. Roll each ball through the flour, dip briefly in the egg, roll it through the breadcrumbs, and place it on baking sheet. Repeat until all balls have been battered, placing about 10 balls per baking tray.
5. Bake for 10 minutes (don't be surprised if your smoke detector goes off), remove trays from oven and add 1 tablespoon of oil to each tray and smear it around, flip balls over, and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until browned and golden. Remove from the oven and serve immediately optionally serve with Homemade Spicy Mustard, prepared mustard, ketchup, chipotle mayo, or a favorite condiment.
Classic Crispy Top Macaroni and Cheese
Do you have a favorite comfort food? Good old macaroni and cheese is my 10-year-old’s usual request and he asked for it several times recently and I hadn’t gotten around to it.
Then, he got sick (twice!) and didn’t want to eat a thing. When he was finally on the mend and his appetite was returning, I knew it was time to make his favorite.
For a fancy mac and cheese, Ina Garten, of The Barefoot Contessa fame, has a terrific recipe. For a great traditional recipe which pleases kids and adults alike, I love this version.
It’s simple yet truly special thanks to the crunchy topping and hint of Dijon. All the ingredients are easy to have on hand, too. Feel free to use your go-to block cheddar cheese, but for this recipe, I don’t hesitate to use my favorite brand of pre-shredded cheddar. We enjoy extra-sharp (and Sargento’s Double Cheddar is wonderful), but if you prefer a mild cheddar, use that.
I like to put fresh tomato slices under the topping prior to baking, but I have purists in my family. So, I eat my tomatoes on the side. Several people in my extended family must eat their macaroni and cheese with a side of stewed tomatoes. Accordingly, they are sometimes on the menu.
This is also a great time to pull your favorite bag of frozen green veggies out of the freezer, which happen to be extra nutritious since they’re frozen at the peak of ripeness. Easy, too.
Christian, however, would be happiest with a mountain of mac and cheese on his plate, and nothing else. This recipe is dedicated to him. And I hope you enjoy it as much!
Bucatini, which is like a spaghetti-length elbow macaroni, is a fun noodle option and makes it possible to cut your mac and cheese into squares or wedges that will hold their shape fairly well. For easier cleanup, add the cooked pasta to the cheese mixture. Then, you only have one goopy pan to clean!
For a gluten-free version–that nobody ever knows is gluten-free!–click here or on the photo below…
Hands down – the best part about homemade mac and cheese are those crispy edges, right? I mean, we all love the boxed versions and grew up eating those bowls throughout our lives. But nothing beats the crispy top you break into when handed a homemade mac and cheese dish.
For these mac n cheese bites, you will absolutely get those crispy edges, but you have to be careful since we are cooking such small amounts at a time. That’s why the time is only 10-12 minutes. We don’t want to overcook. While crispy edges are great, burnt ones are not.
- Coarse salt
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups milk, room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon mustard powder
- 4 3/4 cups grated white cheddar cheese (about 14 ounces), room temperature
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup safflower oil, for frying, plus more for parchment
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups panko
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni until al dente according to package instructions drain.
In pot, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour, and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is pale golden and has a nutty aroma, about 4 minutes. Whisking constantly, slowly add milk. Cook, whisking along bottom of pot, until boiling, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat, and add remaining 1 tablespoon butter, the mustard powder, and cheese. Stir until melted and sauce is smooth season with salt. Add macaroni to sauce, and stir to combine.
Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with parchment brush parchment lightly with oil. Spread macaroni mixture evenly in dish. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 8 hours.
Invert set macaroni and cheese onto a cutting board and remove parchment. Cut into 1-inch squares with a sharp knife.
Whisk eggs in a shallow dish. In a shallow dish, season panko with salt. Dip macaroni squares, a few at a time, in eggs, allowing excess to drip off into dish, then roll in panko mixture to coat completely. Transfer to a wire rack set on a baking sheet.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium until shimmering. Working in batches, add coated squares in a single layer (do not crowd pan) cook, turning occasionally, until all sides are crisp and golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes total. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined rack to drain and cool slightly. Wipe skillet clean. Repeat process with more oil and remaining squares. Serve warm.
Make the Balls
Prepare macaroni, al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water.
In a large pot, melt butter. Add in flour and whisk together until smooth. Whisk in milk, stirring constantly until smooth and thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add in cheeses and stir until melted and smooth. Season with salt, pepper, and mustard.
Add macaroni to the cheese sauce and mix well. Pour into a 9x13-inch baking pan and refrigerate, covered, for 2 hours.
Prepare 3 Gefen Parchment-lined baking sheets. Using a small scoop, begin to make small balls with the cold macaroni and cheese mixture. Place them on the baking sheet. If time allows, freeze the balls before breading, as it will help you achieve a very even coating. If pressed for time, form your balls and continue.
In a small bowl, mix the eggs, 2 Tbsp milk, and spices for egg wash. Pour the seasoned bread crumbs into a medium-sized bowl.
Place the balls in the egg mixture and coat completely. Then toss into crumbs and coat well.
Prepare a medium-sized pan. Fill 1/3 of the way with canola oil. Heat to medium-high. Drop mac-and-cheese balls in a few at a time. Fry for 3&ndash5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
You may bread the balls in advance and freeze until you are ready to use.
You may substitute any gluten-free, brown rice, or whole wheat pasta for regular macaroni.
Deep Fried Mac and Cheese Balls
Mac and cheese is definitely one of the best comfort foods (I’m willing to argue about this)… but why stop there when you can take it a step further with these Deep Fried Mac and Cheese Balls?
This recipe has multiple stages so you’ll want to plan ahead. But it’s so good, you won’t regret the time spent on it. I PROMISE.
I took a traditional stove top mac and cheese, and bumped it up to a 4-cheese version… that’s right, FOUR cheeses! Speaking of cheese (one of my favorite things to talk about), just about any cheese will work for this recipe if you have your own preference. Just keep the measurements the same!
If you really wanted to take these fried mac and cheese balls over the top, you could add bacon. God, I wish I added bacon… but, these cheesy bites are delicious either way!
For this recipe I use a combination of traditional Italian seasoned and panko breadcrumbs that have been spiced up a bit with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.
When frying the balls, don’t overcrowd the pot or you’ll lower the temperature too much and the balls won’t get as crispy. Also, don’t use too big of a pot or you’ll need more oil and it will take longer to heat!