Easy Mac and Cheese Bites transform your favorite side dish into an irresistible appetizer or snack. Melty cheddar and macaroni noodles are coated in a crispy panko crust and baked to perfection. Just add your favorite sauce for dipping!
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If you’ve had mac and cheese bites at a restaurant before, they were probably deep-fried. They’re delicious but a hassle to make at home, right? Until now, anyway!
These homemade mac and cheese bites are baked instead of fried but still have all that irresistible crunch thanks to the super crispy panko coating. They’re everything you love about the classic version with a fraction of the work.
You’ll get the added benefit of making healthier mac and cheese bites by baking them in the oven without compromising on flavor or texture! If that sounds like a win to you, stick around to find out how easy it is to make these bite-sized snacks.
Mac and Cheese Bites Recipe
When you’re hosting (or bringing an appetizer to) a holiday party, mac and cheese bites are always a hit! But what I love about this recipe is that it’s easy enough to whip up for a fun weeknight dinner or even an after-school snack. You can make the mac and cheese bites, and store them in the freezer so they’re ready to go whenever you need them!
You can eat mac and cheese bites as-is, but I prefer serving them with a sauce (or two) for dipping! Kids will eat them with ketchup, and restaurants often serve them with marinara. However, I think homemade ranch dressing is the perfect pairing! Try it out, and see if you agree.
Ingredients for Mac and Cheese Bites
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Sharp cheddar cheese – Use a block of cheddar, and grate it yourself. Pre-shredded varieties contain anti-caking agents that prevent them from melting well. Freshly grated cheddar will have a lot more moisture, too!
- Large eggs – At room temperature.
- Mac and cheese – I use Bob Evans, or you can make my Macaroni and Cheese recipe.
- Panko bread crumbs – Panko is better than regular breadcrumbs here because it gives these mac and cheese bites a crispy exterior without the need for frying.
- Flour – Regular all-purpose flour helps the breading stick.
- Butter – I recommend using unsalted butter so you have better control over the flavor of your bites.
- Broccoli Mac and Cheese Bites – Add finely diced steamed broccoli florets.
- Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese Bites – Add a spoonful of pulled pork to the middle of each bite.
- Mac and Cheese Bites with Ham – Add cubed leftover ham to the center of each mac and cheese bite.
- Gluten-free Bites – Use gluten-free noodles, gluten-free flour, and gluten-free bread crumbs.
How to Make Mac and Cheese Bites
- Prepare: Preheat the oven to 375°F, and grease a mini muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
- Make the Bite mixture: Combine the cheese, flour, and ½ cup of panko in a medium bowl. Then, fold in the macaroni and cheese, and stir in the eggs.
- Form the Mac and Cheese Bites: Divide the mac and cheese mixture into the prepared muffin tins.
- Make the Panko Topping: In a small bowl, combine the remaining panko and melted butter.
- Bake: Spoon the panko mixture over the bites. Then, bake for 18-20 minutes or until the bites are heated through and golden brown. Serve the bites while they’re warm and toasty!
Pack the bite mixture tightly in the muffin tins to prevent them from falling apart!
How to Store Mac and Cheese Bites
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days. I don’t recommend freezing leftovers as they will absorb moisture and are likely to fall apart.
Reheat in the oven to help the exterior crisp up again! If you’re in a pinch, you can also warm your bites in the microwave, they just won’t be quite as crisp.
Serve these baked mac and cheese bites with your favorite dips and sauces such as Ranch dressing, beer cheese dip, and barbecue sauce. They make the perfect appetizers for parties or for snacking with friends and family.
Yes, you can make mac and cheese bites in an air fryer instead of the oven if you prefer. Arrange them in an even layer in the air fryer basket, working in batches as needed. Air fry at 375°F just until crisp.
I don’t recommend making this recipe in advance as the bites are likely to become soggy if not baked.
You can, but they’re more likely to fall apart. You may need to add an extra egg to the mixture to act as an extra binder.
Mac and Cheese Bites
- Mini Muffin Tin
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs, divided
- 1 package Mac and Cheese I use Bob Evans – or you can make my Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
- 2 eggs
- 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Combine cheddar, flour, and ½ cup bread crumbs in a medium bowl.1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded, ¼ cup flour, 1 cup Panko bread crumbs, divided
- Gently stir in macaroni.1 package Mac and Cheese
- Add eggs and fold until combined.2 eggs
- Spoon into greased mini muffin tins.
- In a small bowl, combine remaining bread crumbs and melted butter with a fork.3 Tablespoons butter, melted
- Sprinkle over bites.
- Bake 18-20 minutes or until heated through. Serve warm.