Mac and cheese balls are deep-fried macaroni and cheese in bite-sized form. It’s a great way to use up leftover mac and cheese for a fun appetizer or snack.
There was a lot of hovering when I was making these mac and cheese balls. Hovering by my brothers lured by the smell of something frying. Hovering by the FH, trying to grab them before I photographed them. And hovering by the dog as I passed them out to everyone.
Fried Macaroni and Cheese Balls have been on my brain lately. I had some delicious mac n cheese balls about a year ago at Bonnie Jean’s, a restaurant specializing in soul food. Then my brother recently visited, making me remember those delicious cheese balls again.
These bites are like a mini mac and cheese with a crispy topping. Once fried, the cheese inside melts and is creamy while the outside is hot and crispy. It’s a really great combination.
I had a block of cheddar cheese I needed to use up, so it was perfect. I made a huge batch of macaroni and cheese and used some of it to make these fried mac and cheese balls.
- Prepared macaroni and cheese – I used Alton Brown’s recipe but you can use any recipe you like that makes six to eight servings.
- Cooked bacon – this is optional but it adds a nice texture and flavor. You can cook bacon and then crumble it. Stir some into the mac and cheese before you form it into balls.
- All-purpose flour
- Large eggs
- Vegetable oil for frying
How to Make Them
Scoop enough mac and cheese to form a ball the size of a golf ball. Wrap it in plastic wrap and then firmly squeeze it so it holds a tight ball. Unwrap it and set it on a plate. Repeat this process with the rest of the macaroni and cheese.
Place the eggs in a shallow bowl and whisk them with a fork. Place the flour and bread crumbs in two separate shallow bowls.
Coat each ball in flour first, then the egg, and then the breadcrumbs. Bread it again in the same order. If the ball loosens, gently squeeze it together.
Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, fry the balls in batches until the breading is crispy and golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them from the pan to a serving plate.
Use room-temperature macaroni and cheese for this recipe. If it’s warm or hot you won’t be able to form it into balls.
If you are making a big batch, you can place the fried balls on a baking sheet and keep them in a warm oven so they don’t get cold.
You can add things to the mac and cheese like minced jalapeno or cayenne pepper if you want some spice. Other seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and dried herbs would work, too.
We loved these plain, but you could add a dip on the side like ranch or BBQ sauce.
These were gone quicker than it took to make them. No coaxing anyone to eat these. Everyone loved the crispy outside and warm macaroni and cheese on the inside. I’ll definitely be making them again. I might try it next time with a different macaroni and cheese recipe, but Alton Brown’s macaroni recipe is a good one to use.
More Appetizer Ideas
Fried Bacon Macaroni and Cheese Balls
- 1 batch Alton Brown's Stovetop Mac-n-Cheese cooled to room temperature (see note)
- 6 slices bacon cooked until crispy and finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs beaten
- 2 cups of breadcrumbs
- Stir the bacon into the prepared mac and cheese. Scoop enough mac and cheese to form a ball the size of a golf ball and wrap it in a piece of plastic wrap. Use the plastic to firmly squeeze the mac and cheese together to form a tight ball. Unwrap the ball and set it on a clean plate and repeat this process with the rest of the mac and cheese until all the balls are formed.
- Place the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Coat each ball with the flour, followed by the egg mixture. Then coat it with the breadcrumb mixture. Repeat again, first with flour, then egg and then breadcrumb mixture again. After each dredge, the ball may begin to loosen. Gently squeeze and tighten the ball before dredging in the next bowl.
- Fill a frying pan with enough oil to fry the balls and heat it over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, place the ball into the hot oil. You should need about 30 seconds to 1 minute for each side. Flip the ball so all sides cook evenly to a light brown. Transfer the ball to a clean plate and repeat with the remaining balls.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
Just a suggestion….you mentioned that at times you had to squeeze to reshape the ball before coating. What I have done is put the Saran-wrapped balls into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes….they hold together so much better! Great recipe though!!!
great suggestion! thanks!
How many balls does it make?
What type of oil did you use?
I just made these. I used kraft mac and cheese out of the box and it was still delicious. I did add my own cajun spices. Dip them in ranch mixed with hot sauce!!!
yum! Glad they turned out well for you
oh my.. these look amazing!!
oh my goodness, this sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen. Translation. Making this, this weekend!! :p thanks for the recipe!!
I had this as an appetizer in a restaurant about two weeks ago. Oh, my gosh they were good!!