Fried Mac and Cheese Balls

Indulge in a crispy and creamy delight with our irresistible Fried Mac and Cheese Balls recipe. These golden orbs of cheesy goodness are the perfect combination of creamy macaroni and crispy coating, making them an ideal appetizer or snack for any occasion. Whether you’re hosting a party, game day gathering, or simply craving a comforting treat, these homemade fried mac and cheese balls are sure to impress your taste buds and leave you wanting more. Follow our easy-to-follow recipe to create these mouthwatering delights and elevate your snacking experience to a whole new level.


For the mac and cheese:

  • ½ pound elbow macaroni, cooked al dente and drained
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 16 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese

For the coating:

  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • Ranch dressing for dipping (optional)


  1. Prepare the Mac and Cheese: In a dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour, mustard powder, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Whisk for 30 seconds. Slowly add the milk a little at a time while whisking to prevent lumps. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, temper in the egg, and add ¾ of the cheese. Stir until melted. Add the cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Pour into a greased 9×13 baking dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly. Let cool completely. Refrigerate the mac and cheese for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  2. Shape the Mac and Cheese Balls: Roll 1 & ½ tablespoons of the mac and cheese into balls and place them on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  3. Prepare the Coating: Heat 3-4 inches of peanut oil in a dutch oven to 350°F. Place the eggs in a small bowl and the panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper in a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Coat and Fry the Balls: Dip each mac and cheese ball into the beaten eggs, then coat with breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere. Fry the balls in batches in the hot oil for 3-4 minutes until dark golden brown, moving gently to prevent burning.
  5. Serve and Enjoy: Transfer the fried balls to a paper-towel-lined plate to remove excess oil, then transfer to a wire rack set over a sheet tray to stay crispy. Keep warm in a 170°F oven and serve with ranch dressing for dipping if desired.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

  • Calories: 120
  • Total Fat: 7g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Cholesterol: 30mg
  • Sodium: 180mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 9g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.5g
  • Sugars: 1g
  • Protein: 5g

Serving and Storage Tips:

Serving Tips:

  1. Appetizer Platter: Arrange your Fried Mac and Cheese Balls on a decorative platter for an impressive presentation at parties or gatherings. Pair them with a variety of dipping sauces such as marinara, sriracha mayo, or barbecue sauce to cater to different tastes.
  2. Gourmet Garnishes: Elevate the presentation of your mac and cheese balls by garnishing them with finely chopped parsley, grated Parmesan cheese, or a sprinkle of smoked paprika. Not only do these garnishes add visual appeal, but they also enhance the flavor profile of the dish.
  3. Mini Skewers: Insert mini skewers or toothpicks into each mac and cheese ball before serving to make them easier to pick up and enjoy. This also prevents guests from getting their hands messy while indulging in this delicious appetizer.
  4. Creative Pairings: Serve your Fried Mac and Cheese Balls alongside complementary dishes such as a crisp green salad, creamy coleslaw, or homemade potato wedges for a well-rounded meal experience.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: Store any leftover Fried Mac and Cheese Balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Be sure to let them cool completely before transferring to the container to prevent condensation and maintain their crispy texture.
  2. Reheating: To reheat leftover mac and cheese balls, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes until heated through and crispy. Alternatively, you can reheat them in an air fryer for 5-7 minutes for a quick and crispy result.
  3. Freezing: While Fried Mac and Cheese Balls can be frozen, it’s best to freeze them before frying. After shaping the mac and cheese balls, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container and store for up to 1 month. When ready to enjoy, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before frying as directed.
  4. Crispiness Maintenance: To maintain the crispy texture of leftover mac and cheese balls, avoid covering them with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, as this can trap moisture and lead to sogginess. Instead, store them in a single layer in the refrigerator and reheat them in the oven or air fryer for best results.

By following these serving and storage tips, you can ensure that your Fried Mac and Cheese Balls remain crispy, delicious, and ready to enjoy whenever cravings strike. Whether served as a crowd-pleasing appetizer or a satisfying snack, these homemade delights are sure to be a hit with family and friends alike.


  1. Bacon Lover’s Delight: Mix crispy bacon bits into the mac and cheese mixture before shaping into balls for a smoky and savory twist on this classic recipe.
  2. Jalapeño Popper: Add diced jalapeños and shredded pepper jack cheese to the mac and cheese mixture for a spicy kick. Serve with a side of creamy ranch dressing for dipping.
  3. Italian-Inspired: Incorporate chopped sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, and grated Parmesan cheese into the mac and cheese mixture. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping for an Italian-inspired flavor profile.
  4. Buffalo Blue Cheese: Toss the mac and cheese balls in buffalo sauce after frying and sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese for a tangy and spicy Buffalo Blue Cheese variation.
  5. Spinach and Artichoke: Stir chopped cooked spinach and canned artichoke hearts into the mac and cheese mixture for a creamy and flavorful spin. Serve with a side of marinara sauce or garlic aioli for dipping.
  6. Truffle Infusion: Add a drizzle of truffle oil to the mac and cheese mixture before shaping into balls for a luxurious and aromatic twist. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped chives for an elegant presentation.
  7. BBQ Pulled Pork: Fill the center of each mac and cheese ball with a spoonful of BBQ pulled pork before shaping and frying for a savory and indulgent treat. Serve with extra BBQ sauce for dipping.
  8. Tex-Mex Fiesta: Mix cooked black beans, corn kernels, diced green chilies, and shredded Mexican cheese blend into the mac and cheese mixture. Serve with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream for dipping.
  9. Caprese Style: Add diced fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and chopped basil to the mac and cheese mixture for a light and refreshing Caprese-inspired variation. Drizzle with balsamic glaze before serving for extra flavor.
  10. Loaded Potato: Mix in cooked diced potatoes, crispy bacon bits, and chopped green onions into the mac and cheese mixture for a comforting Loaded Potato variation. Serve with sour cream and chives for dipping.


  1. Can I use a different type of cheese for the mac and cheese mixture? Yes, feel free to experiment with different types of cheese such as Gouda, Monterey Jack, or Gruyère to customize the flavor of your mac and cheese balls.
  2. Can I make the mac and cheese mixture ahead of time? Yes, you can prepare the mac and cheese mixture ahead of time and refrigerate it until ready to shape into balls and fry. Just be sure to let it come to room temperature before shaping.
  3. Can I bake the mac and cheese balls instead of frying? While frying gives the mac and cheese balls a crispy exterior, you can bake them in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for 15-20 minutes until golden brown for a lighter alternative.
  4. Can I make these mac and cheese balls gluten-free? Yes, you can use gluten-free macaroni and breadcrumbs to make these mac and cheese balls gluten-free. Just be sure to check all ingredients for hidden sources of gluten.
  5. Can I use a different type of oil for frying? Yes, you can use vegetable oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil as alternatives to peanut oil for frying the mac and cheese balls.

Treat yourself to the ultimate comfort food experience with our Fried Mac and Cheese Balls recipe. Whether enjoyed as a party appetizer, game day snack, or indulgent treat, these crispy and creamy delights are guaranteed to satisfy your cravings and impress your guests. With simple ingredients and easy-to-follow steps, you can create restaurant-quality fried mac and cheese balls right in your own kitchen. So why wait? Gather your ingredients and get ready to experience the crispy, cheesy goodness of these homemade delights!