This is far from the first time I’ve worked with the deliciousness of macaroni and cheese on this site, but these Pimento Mac and Cheese Bites might just be one of mine favourite Using Macaroni and Cheese!
These balls of homemade macaroni and cheese are chilled and then stuffed with slightly tangy and sweet pimento cheese, then fried! You better believe they’re delicious. These would be perfect for a hearty game day appetizer or simply as a side to dinner.
Surprisingly, I found these macaroni and cheese bites reheated really well. Making them ahead of time and reheating them in the oven is a wonderful idea and we were able to enjoy them for many days because they reheated so well.
A little work? Secure. But SO GOOD!
My basic recipe for macaroni and cheese
In theory, you could use macaroni and cheese for these bites, but making the homemade version below will give you great results with the bites. It’s a slightly thicker version with more noodles than I would normally use, so it really sets up and holds its shape well.
If you happen to try this with store-bought mac and cheese, I’d love to know the results. I think it would work just fine, but I wanted to make a homemade version to make sure I got the right consistency. (See my Homemade Mac and Cheese Trials for more info on why I think it’s worth making.)
My Homemade Mac and Cheese starts with elbow macaroni and more of it than I would normally use. I added an extra 120g of this to the cheese sauce to ensure it was heavy on the pasta side.
The rest of the mac and cheese is pretty easy. Make your roux with butter and flour, beat in some milk, then add the cheese. It tastes really good!
Which cheeses go well with mac and cheese?
For my homemade version, I just used a good quality sharp cheddar cheese. But you could definitely experiment with other types of cheese for the base of mac and cheese. Mozzarella would be interesting or something like Gouda which melts well. Any of these would be a great option.
How to Make Mac and Cheese Bites
It’s not particularly difficult to make these macaroni and cheese bites, but I encourage you to take your time molding and shaping. If you’re in a hurry, they might not turn out as good as my version.
After you’ve prepared the macaroni and cheese, first spread the mixture out on a baking sheet and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. The macaroni should be very firm where you can cut them into squares.
Once the mixture is ready, I recommend cutting the macaroni and cheese into about 2-inch squares. This makes for fairly large balls, but is easy to work with. You could try making them smaller if you’d like, but it’s just more work!
Once you have your macaroni and cheese square, add about a tablespoon of allspice cheese spread to the center and gently shape the mixture around the filling.
You want to squeeze that ball really hard to keep it compact. This was one of my ready made macaroni and cheese bites!
Note that it’s okay if some of the pimento cheese comes out of the macaroni. In the end, everything is fried together!
After you’ve formed all your bites, pop them in the freezer for 30 minutes. This makes them easier to work with.
NOTE: Don’t put them in the freezer for more than 30 minutes! If you do, they will be rock hard and won’t thaw during the frying process. You don’t want them frozen solid.
Then prepare your fry station and breading. Dip each bite in eggs and then in breadcrumbs.
Then fry the bites at 350°F for about five minutes until golden brown and melted on the inside. These are seriously that good.
What is pimento cheese?
If you’ve never eaten allspice cheese, it’s a delicious spread with a creamy base, shredded cheese and pickled peppers all mixed together.
It’s so good for crackers, but also great as a filler for fried things like these macaroni and cheese bites.
If you want to try making your own pimento cheese, I made a version using my pimento cheese omelet that you could try, but you can use a store-bought spread too.
Filling ideas for mac and cheese bites
These bites can really let your imagination run wild. I could see them being filled with all sorts of things. Here are some ideas!
- Ham and cheese like my savory stuffed french toast!
- Bacon and cheddar and green onions.
- Something sweet like jelly and cream cheese would be interesting.
- A mixture of mozzarella, basil and sun-dried tomatoes.
My Pimento Mac and Cheese Bites recipe
Allspice Mac and Cheese Bites
Homemade macaroni and cheese stuffed with pimento cheese and rolled into balls. Bread and fry the balls and these Macaroni Cheese Bites will be a hit at any party!
Basic macaroni and cheese
- 12 oz. Elbow Macaroni
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk warm
- 8th oz. sharp cheddar grated
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Fried Mac and Cheese Bites
- 1 Cup pimento cheese
- 3 Big Eggs whisked
- 2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 quart neutral oil to fry
How to Make the Mac and Cheese Base:
Cook the elbow macaroni in salted water until al dente and just cooked through, about 7 minutes. Then drain and rinse with cold water to prevent sticking.
In a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Stir in flour until smooth. Cook until the roux turns light brown in color, about 2 minutes. Then slowly stir in the warmed milk until the mixture thickens into a light sauce.
Season the bechemel sauce with garlic powder and salt and stir in the grated cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted. Then stir in the reserved pasta and stir to combine.
Place macaroni and cheese on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread macaroni and cheese in a single thin layer. Leave to cool in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preparing the Mac and Cheese Bites
When the macaroni and cheese have cooled and hardened, remove from the refrigerator. Cut out a square of macaroni, about 2 inches by 2 inches. Add a tablespoon of allspice cheese spread to the center and roll the macaroni and cheese around the allspice, forming a tight ball. Squeeze the ball tightly. Place the macaroni and cheese bite back on the baking sheet.Repeat until you’ve used up all the macaroni and cheese. You should get about 16 large bites. You can try making them smaller if you’d like, but it’s more work!
When all the balls are formed, place the balls in the freezer to set for 30 minutes. Don’t freeze them any longer. You don’t want them frozen solid, just easier to work with.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven 350 °F. Whisk eggs in one bowl and add breadcrumbs to a second bowl.
Work with one macaroni and cheese bite at a time, add the eggs to coat thoroughly, then coat fully in breadcrumbs. Repeat with all balls.
Once all the macaroni and cheese balls are formed, cook in batches of 3-4 until golden and melted in the center, about 4-5 minutes.
Remove and drain on some kitchen towels. Sprinkle with salt before serving.
Leftover macaroni cheese bites can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. For best results, reheat in a 350F oven until warmed through, about 15 minutes.
Portion: 2ballsCalories: 604kcalCarbohydrates: 63GProtein: 21GFat: 28GSaturated Fatty Acids: 14GPolyunsaturated fat: 2GMonounsaturated fatty acids: 5GTrans fats: 0.2GCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 1088mgPotassium: 308mgFiber: 3GSugar: 9GVitamin A: 974ieVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 458mgIron: 3mg
Did you do this?
Take a picture and tag it @macheesmo so i can see your work
What to serve with Mac and Cheese Bites
These are obviously on the heavier side for a side dish. I think they go really well with a protein like fried pork chops or a fried chicken.
If you’re serving these as an appetizer, I don’t think they need any sauce at all, but if you want to go extra you can serve them with this spicy ranch dip.