Mac and cheese bites are crispy on the outside, and cheesy on the inside! This is an easy make-ahead recipe using leftover mac and cheese that’s been refrigerated overnight. These mini snacks are the perfect comfort food. They’re crazy good!
- 3 cups macaroni and cheese, prepared and refrigerated overnight
- 3 tablespoons diced fire-roasted chilies (from a can), well drained
- 3 1/2 cups corn chips, finely crushed down to 1 cup of crumbs
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 3 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
- OPTIONAL GARNISH: Italian parsley, chopped
RECIPE PREP THE DAY BEFORE
This is a make-ahead recipe! You’re preparing now for enjoyment later! Fold fire-roasted chilies into prepared macaroni and cheese. Inside a small freezer-safe baking dish, use a spatula to firmly compress the pasta. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
FRIED MAC AND CHEESE BITES RECIPE
In order to successfully form the balls and later coat them with crumbs, the mac and cheese mixture must be super cold. Don’t skip any steps for using the freezer to firm them up!
- Transfer the mac and cheese dish from the refrigerator to the freezer. Freeze for 45 minutes.
- Place corn chips in a zip-top bag. Press out air and seal. Finely crush chips with a rolling pin or the back of a measuring cup.
Here’s how to make these easy party snacks, step by step:
- Portion out the mac and cheese using a medium-size, stainless-steel scoop. With clean hands, firmly compress each ball. Place the balls on a lined baking tray. Stick the tray into the freezer for 45 minutes.
- Whisk the eggs in a small bowl. Transfer panko crumbs and crushed chips into small bowls. Remove the mac and cheese bites from the freezer. Work with one ball at a time: dip it into the egg. Roll it in the bowl of panko crumbs. Dip ball back into egg. Roll it in chip crumbs. Return ball to the lined tray. Repeat with remaining balls.
- Return tray to the freezer for 30 minutes or until you’re ready to fry the batch. When you’re ready to fry them, heat oil to 350°F in a small pot. Use a candy thermometer to continuously monitor the oil temperature. The oil should completely cover the balls and allow them to freely float while cooking.Fry 3 balls at a time for 1 minute, or until they’re golden orange/brown. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.
- Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately!
- HOW TO GET MAC AND CHEESE BALLS TO STAY TOGETHER: The mixture must be extremely cold. If you can’t get the macaroni to easily hold together, return it to the freezer until it’s extra firm.
- NO CORN CHIPS? NO PROBLEM! Use kettle-style potato chips, nacho-cheese tortilla chips, or all panko bread crumbs.
- NO FIRE-ROASTED CHILIES? Try banana peppers or pepperoncini. Or you can omit this ingredient and still have super tasty mac and cheese bites!
- IDEAS FOR TASTY MIX-INS: Try cooked and crumbled crispy bacon, diced fried baloney, or chopped salami. Fold the add-ins into the cheesy pasta before refrigerating overnight.
- AIR FRYER RECIPE: This is an ideal air-fryer recipe for mac and cheese bites! Prepare the basket with cooking spray. Add the balls to the basket in a single layer, leaving room between each. Air fry at 350°F for 6 minutes. Turn them over. Cook an additional 6-8 minutes, or until golden orange and crisp.
- HOW TO FREEZE UNCOOKED MAC AND CHEESE BITES: After coating the balls with the crumb mixture, freeze them on a baking tray for one hour. Once they’re frozen solid, transfer the balls to a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 weeks.
- DIPPING SAUCE FOR MAC AND CHEESE BALLS: Try bang bang sauce, ranch dressing, marinara sauce, ketchup, or your favorite hot sauce!
- Category: Appetizers
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Mac and Cheese Bites, Mac and Cheese Balls