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A fun, tasty, and easy treat, this Fried Mac and Cheese is gooey, cheesy, and crispy. The perfect game time treat or for a tasty appetizer for any occasion.

Close up of one opened Fried Mac and Cheese stacked on metal tray.

I love myself some appetizers, whenever I would see Fried Mac and Cheese on a menu at any restaurant, I would order it, but it is so easy to make at home.

This is a really family-friendly recipe, as who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese, but this recipe takes it up a notch by breading and deep frying it.

Fried Mac and Cheese is one of the recipes that I can’t stop making, and when I start eating, it’s hard to stop as well. But they are totally worth it.

This also makes a nice large batch, you can eat it as a meal in itself or have it as an appetizer – really it works great for both, and we enjoy it both ways.

If you are looking for a fun and tasty new recipe that will satisfy that cheesy craving, then you absolutely have to make this Fried Mac and Cheese.

Some of my other favorite appetizer recipes that we have on our site include: Fried Okra, Fried Cheese Curds and Sausage Dip Pinwheels.

Overhead of Fried Mac and Cheese in metal tray with dipping sauce.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:

  • Easily available ingredients help these come together nicely.
  • This makes a large batch, but you can easily halve this recipe.
  • Switch up the cheese for a new fun flavor.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED (FULL RECIPE BELOW):

Elbow macaroni
Unsalted butter 
All-purpose flour
Mustard powder
Kosher salt
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Pepper
Whole milk
Egg
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Panko breadcrumbs
Peanut oil for frying
Ranch dressing for dipping, optional

Ingredients needed to make Fried Mac and Cheese.

HOW TO MAKE FRIED MAC AND CHEESE:

  1. 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.
  2. Slowly add the milk a little at a time while whisking, this will help prevent lumps. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly and simmer for 3 minutes. Take off the heat, temper in the egg. Add ¾ of the cheese and stir it in until melted.
  3. Add the cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Pour into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes until the cheese on top is melted and it is bubbly. Let cool completely on the counter.
  5. Place in the fridge for 6 hours or best overnight.
  6. Roll 1 & ½ tablespoons of the mac and cheese in your hands to form balls. I like to use a cookie scoop for this. Place on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  7. While the mac and cheese balls are freezing, start to heat up 3-4 inches of peanut oil in a dutch oven to 350°F.
  8. Place the eggs in a small bowl.
  9. Place the panko, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper in a medium-sized bowl, stir to combine.
  10. One at a time, place the mac and cheese balls into the egg and make sure it is coated, let any excess drip off. Place into the breadcrumbs and coat the ball in the crumbs, gently pressing them in so they stick. Place back on the parchment-lined sheet tray. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  11. Gently place the balls in batches into the hot oil, about 4-5 at a time. I like to use a metal slotted spoon to lower them into the oil. Fry, moving them gently around so they don’t burn on the bottom until dark golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. 
  12. Place the fried mac and cheese balls onto a paper-towel-lined plate to get any excess oil off them then transfer to a wire rack place over a sheet tray. This will help them to stay crispy all over. You can keep them in a warm 170°F oven. Repeat with the remaining mac and cheese balls. 
  13. Serve with ranch dressing for dipping if desired.

Step by step photos on how to make Fried Mac and Cheese.

WHAT IS THE TASTE AND TEXTURE OF THESE?

Creamy and cheesy on the inside, with a terrific crunch on the outside. You can really taste the seasoning on the outside, truly delish!

Serve with ranch or marinara sauce for dipping, they are also great on their own.

CAN I USE ANOTHER CHEESE?

Yes, while we love this with extra sharp cheddar as it really brings the cheesy flavor out, you can use your favorite cheese in this recipe.

Some other ideas that you can use include: gruyere, gouda, Monterey Jack, pepper jack, or fontina.

CAN I MAKE THESE IN A DEEP FRYER?

While we think that this is best made in a dutch oven, you can make this in a deep fryer. Just be careful when dropping them in, so they do not get stuck to the bottom.

Fried Mac and Cheese on metal tray with one of them open showing inside.

HOW TO STORE:

These can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where they will keep for up to 5 days.

They can also be frozen fried or unfried in a freezer container separated by parchment paper, where they will keep for up to 3 months, you can deep fry them right out of the freezer.

To reheat, remove to the refrigerator overnight until thawed. Heat in the oven or an air fryer until heated through.

TIPS AND TRICKS:

  • You can swap the cheese out for other good melting cheeses, see above for some suggestions.
  • Use a deep fryer if you’d like.
  • You can easily cut this in half to make less.
  • Serve with any of your favorite dipping sauces.
  • Panko breadcrumbs work best for these as they give the best texture, but regular will work, just make sure they are coated well.
  • These are great as an appetizer or even a meal itself.

Hand dipping one of the Mac and cheese in ranch dressing.

Wanting that perfectly crispy, cheesy, and handheld appetizer that will be fun and perfect for the whole family? Then you need to try my Deep Fried Mac and Cheese.

If you like this recipe you might also like:

If you’ve tried this FRIED MAC AND CHEESE let me know in the comments how it turned out! You can follow me over on PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM OR FACEBOOK to find some more of our mouthwatering recipes!

This Silly Girls Kitchen Logo
4.60 from 5 votes

Fried Mac and Cheese

Author Dana at ThisSillyGirlsKitchen.com
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 1 hour
A fun, tasty and easy treat, this Fried Mac and Cheese is gooey, cheesy and crispy. The perfect game time treat or for a tasty appetizer for any occasion.
Servings 52 pieces

Ingredients
  

For the mac and cheese:

For the coating:

Instructions

  • 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, this will help prevent lumps. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly and simmer for 3 minutes. Take off the heat, temper in the egg. Add ¾ of the cheese and stir it in until melted.
  • Add the cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until the cheese on top is melted and it is bubbly. Let cool completely on the counter.
  • Place in the fridge for 6 hours or best overnight.
  • Roll 1 & ½ tablespoons of the mac and cheese in your hands to form balls. I like to use a cookie scoop for this. Place on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  • While the mac and cheese balls are freezing, start to heat up 3-4 inches of peanut oil in a dutch oven to 350°F.
  • Place the eggs in a small bowl.
  • Place the panko, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper in a medium-sized bowl, stir to combine.
  • One at a time, place the mac and cheese balls into the egg and make sure it is coated, let any excess drip off. Place into the breadcrumbs and coat the ball in the crumbs, gently pressing them in so they stick. Place back on the parchment-lined sheet tray. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  • Gently place the balls in batches into the hot oil, about 4-5 at a time. I like to use a metal slotted spoon to lower them into the oil. Fry, moving them gently around so they don’t burn on the bottom until dark golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Place the fried mac and cheese balls onto a paper-towel-lined plate to get any excess oil off them then transfer to a wire rack place over a sheet tray. This will help them to stay crispy all over. You can keep them in a warm 170°F oven. Repeat with the remaining mac and cheese balls.
  • Serve with ranch dressing for dipping if desired.

Notes

  1. You can swap the cheese out for other good melting cheeses, see above for some suggestions.
  2. Use a deep fryer if you'd like.
  3. You can easily cut this in half to make less.
  4. Serve with any of your favorite dipping sauces.
  5. Panko breadcrumbs work best for these as they give the best texture, but regular will work just make sure they are coated well.
  6. These are great as an appetizer or even a meal itself.

Nutrition

Calories: 82kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 128mg | Potassium: 49mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 144IU | Vitamin C: 0.02mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Nutrition Disclaimer
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American

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4.60 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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