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!
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook for 7 minutes or per package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water (this prevents your noodles from sticking), and set aside.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour to create a roux, cooking until bubbly. While whisking, add the milk in a thin stream. Season with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and mix in about half of your cheese. Fold in macaroni, then stir in the remaining cheese. (Don’t fret if there are still some visible strands of shredded cheese at this point. It’ll melt once it comes time to fry).
Spread mac and cheese onto a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Use a cookie scoop to spoon out about 3 tablespoons of the mixture at a time and shape into 2- to 3-inch balls, compressing slightly. (Your hands will get messy).
Whisk eggs with 2 tablespoons of milk. Dip the macaroni balls into the egg mixture, then coat in the panko bread crumbs. (Optional: re-dip in the egg mixture and double coat for an extra crispy outside). Place the coated macaroni balls on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in the fridge until they're all made and ready to fry.
Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot to 360°F (180°C) on a deep-fry thermometer. Gently place 3 to 4 mac and cheese balls into the oil at a time and fry for 3-4 minutes per batch, until golden.
Drain briefly on a paper towel-lined plate; serve hot & ENJOY!