Bite-size morsels of a classic comfort food – balls of creamy macaroni and cheese bundled together under a golden and crispy breadcrumb topping. Indulgent barely covers how delicious these mac and cheese balls are!
I have a weakness for macaroni and cheese. Pasta and stringy molten cheese are mixed together in a warm blanket of cheese sauce and hidden under a crispy broiled topping. It’s the winter comfort food of dreams, and I feel like a kid as I eat it.
Now, normally, I am satisfied with a plate of warmed leftovers the next day. I’ll repeat – ‘satisfied’. Since discovering this alternate option for my mac and cheese leftovers, however, I am far more than satisfied – elated, probably. Greedy too!
Instead of warming a portion of yesterday’s mac and cheese in the microwave, now I whip up my recipe for crispy mac and cheese balls. Think of golden arancini balls, but instead full of pasta and molten cheesy sauce. This is one of the most indulgent uses of leftovers I have ever tried, incredibly easy, and one I must share with you all! Read on to find out how to make my crispy and cheesy mac and cheese balls recipe!
WHAT INGREDIENTS DO I NEED TO MAKE MAC AND CHEESE BALLS?
When it comes to eating leftovers, I am often (like most people, I’m sure) quite lazy. Empty food onto plate put plate in the microwave, heat it through, all done!
However, what if I told you that you only need a couple of additional ingredients to turn those leftovers into a delicious treat, creamy on the inside, golden and crispy on the outside?
Not only will your family thank you for this surprise treat, but you will thank yourself!
You will need:
Leftover macaroni and cheese: Ideally you need a deliciously creamy macaroni and cheese without any crispy toppings. Keep it simple. Make sure the sauce isn’t too runny.
Shredded Cheddar cheese: But of course, these crispy mac and cheese balls need extra cheese! This shredded cheddar makes the center of each ball molten and stringy and utterly irresistible.
Flour: When you make chicken fingers, arancini, or my delicious cassava cups, you need to use flour as a coating, to make sure all the ingredients stay intact.
Eggs: After the flour, you then dip the balls into the egg to seal and stick the breadcrumbs securely.
Milk: Loosen the beaten egg with some milk.
Breadcrumbs: Finally, roll the mac and cheese balls in crispy breadcrumbs which turn golden when baked.
HOW DO I BAKE THE CRISPY MAC AND CHEESE BALLS?
As many of you know by now, I love cooking in my air fryer. All foods, whether they are crispy fries, chicken wings or drumsticks, or even healthy cauliflower and chickpeas, are baked to golden perfection in half the time of a conventional oven. Load the balls into the air fryer drawer, set the timer to just 10 minutes, and bake, occasionally turning the balls to ensure they bake evenly.
In no time at all, they will emerge, golden, crispy, and steaming, ready to eat immediately!
Not only that, but the air fryer is the best way to obtain those incredibly crunchy results which you normally can only achieve with a gallon of cooking oil. While these mac and cheese balls don’t look like a healthy snack, they are considerably healthier than the deep-fried alternative as they are simply cooked to crispy perfection in just air!
CAN I MAKE THE MAC AND CHEESE BALLS WITHOUT AN AIR FRYER?
Absolutely! I completely understand that not everyone owns an air fryer, although I highly recommend you invest in one – cooking is suddenly quicker and easier without sacrificing any of the quality.
However, if you don’t have an air fryer, don’t worry. You can still sample my delicious mac and cheese balls without any difficulty. You can bake them in the oven on a lined baking tray as you would with healthy breaded chicken strips for 15 minutes at 400ºF/200ºC, or, if you’re feeling naughty you can fry them in cooking oil at 425ºF/220ºC until golden and crispy all over.
CAN I ADD ANY OTHER FLAVORS?
Mac and cheese lends itself to so many different additional flavors, and I love adding strips of bacon or chorizo to my recipe. This is just the same with my delicious mac and cheese balls – get creative and try some of these suggestions:
Meaty: add pieces of crispy bacon or chorizo to the leftover mac and cheese for a cheesy meaty morsel
Herbs and garlic: stir in pesto, or add roughly chopped parsley and basil and crushed garlic to the mac and cheese.
Spicy: add chopped jalapenos and hot sauce for a fiery bite of mac and cheese!
Treat yourself with my divine mac and cheese balls recipe, quick and easy to make in the air fryer, a creative way to use leftover macaroni and cheese!
CRISPY AIR FRYER MAC AND CHEESE BALLS
- 1 cup Macaroni and cheese
- ¼ cup Cheddar cheese grated
- ½ cup Flour
- 1 cup Breadcrumbs
- 2 Eggs
- ½ cup Milk
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black pepper
- In а bowl, combine the macaroni and cheese and cheese.
- Pour the flour into a separate bowl. Put the breadcrumbs in a third bowl. Finally, in a fourth bowl, mix the eggs and milk with a whisk.
- With an ice-cream scoop, create balls from the macaroni and cheese. Coat them the flour, then in the egg mixture, and lastly in the breadcrumbs.
- Arrange the balls in the air fryer and air fry at 365ºF / 185ºC for about 10 minutes, giving them an occasional toss to ensure they crisp up nicely. Serve hot.