Mac and cheese is life. But actually, I just got a new deep fryer for my birthday (yes, that is what I asked for) and wanted to test it out. I thought, “What better to test it with than some homemade mac and cheese balls?” So I did just that.
Pro tip: you don’t need a deep fryer for this recipe. You can definitely use a regular pan with hot oil, too.
Another pro tip: season the bread crumbs with salt and pepper. You’ll get much more flavor. Oh, and make sure your mac and cheese super cheesy. Add a little extra cheese if you’d like (it helps the mac stick together, plus this appetizer will come out much creamier).
Makes 12-15 mac & cheese balls
1 cup dry elbows
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup whole milk, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon flour, plus 2 tablespoons for later
1 tablespoon cream cheese
3-4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (I prefer Cracker barrel sharp yellow)
2 eggs, whisked
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs (seasoned)
Cook pasta according to package instructions (add salt to the water if desired). In a medium pan, melt butter and add milk. Let it heat on medium-low, then add 1 teaspoon of flour and whisk. Add cream cheese and whisk until it’s fully melted into sauce. Add cheddar cheese, let it melt a bit, then whisk until combined. Add cooked macaroni and mix until it’s fully coated in cheese sauce. Refrigerate macaroni and cheese for at least one hour.
After an hour, heat oil to 350 in a deep fryer or a pan (the amount of oil depends on which you are using. If frying in a pan, fill pan with enough oil so that half of the mac and cheese ball will be submerged; you can flip and cook the other side). Get three separate bowls and add remaining flour to one bowl, egg to another, and bread crumbs to the third. Take a spoonful of macaroni and cheese, form it into a ball, then dip in flour, egg, then bread crumbs. Place balls into a deep fryer or frying pan, and fry until golden brown (about 2 minutes). Serve immediately.