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Air Fryer Macaroni and Cheese Balls Recipe » Simple and Healthy Recipe! ✅

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These air fryer mac and cheese balls are crispy, gooey, and full of delicious cheesy flavor! They are sure to be a hit with your kids or dinner guests and you will have this recipe requested again and again.

It may be obvious by now, but I am a huge fan of my air fryer! It makes cooking very fast and is a healthier option than frying in oil. It’s the best of both worlds! If you have a deep fryer and want to make other delicious snacks with it, I have some ideas for you! Try these Air Fryer Crispy Egg Rolls, my all-time favorite Air Fryer Fried Pickles, and these crispy and flavorful Air Fryer Cream Cheese Wontons.

Macaroni and Cheese Meatballs Recipe

This recipe is the best way to use up leftover mac and cheese. We all know that morning-after mac and cheese isn’t that great because it’s so hard to reheat. Here is the perfect solution! This delicious recipe calls for cold mac as it will easily form balls. After shaping them into balls, he then tops them with a delicious egg crust, breadcrumbs, and a delicious mix of ingredients. You heat them up in the fryer and they become the ultimate advanced hack!

Before putting them in the fryer, it is important to place the balls in a container in the freezer for about 20 minutes to solidify. They should be stiff so they don’t fall apart in the fryer. This recipe is so much fun to make and will become a family favorite appetizer or snack!

Before it starts!

When you make this recipe, you will need leftover macaroni and cheese. It is important that it has had time to cool down in the refrigerator so that you can easily form balls. It’s also important to use the right type of macaroni to ensure the perfect bite of cheese! My favorite homemade recipe is this easy and super delicious Macaroni al Forno al Forno. Or, instead of a traditional mac and cheese recipe, you can switch it up and make them fancy with my Incredible Lobster Mac and Cheese or make them low carb with this delicious Cauliflower Mac and Cheese! Your favorite store-bought brand will work great too. You can even make this recipe gluten free using gluten free noodles and breadcrumbs!

If you decide to make the mac the same day, make sure it has time to cool and solidify in the fridge properly. I recommend making it ahead of time and putting it in the fridge for at least 4 hours to ensure your mac easily forms into a ball and stays together!

Ingredients in macaroni and cheese balls

Here’s what you’ll need to make these mac and cheese balls. Change ingredients to create different flavor profiles your family will love! See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements.

  • Advanced Macaroni and Cheese: For this recipe you will use leftover macaroni and cheese. Make sure it has chilled in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before using.
  • Egg: I used large eggs in this recipe.
  • bread crumbs: I mixed the ingredients listed below with the breadcrumbs to make a delicious and flavorful crust!
  • Salt: Add salt to taste. The macaroni already has a bit of salt in it, so you probably don’t need too much!
  • Garlic powder: You should use dry toppings so the flavors mix evenly with the breadcrumbs.
  • smoked paprika: This dressing adds a hint of flavor that you would miss if you left it out!
  • italian dry seasoningRecipe: You can buy it at the store or make it at home using this easy recipe.

Prepare the macaroni and cheese balls

Now that your macarons are ready, you can whip them up in just 15 minutes! I love my air fryer because it makes cooking so easy. If you don’t have an air fryer, don’t worry! Scroll down for my tips for baking or pan cooking.

  1. Form the balls: Once your mac and cheese is cool and chilled, use your hands to form balls about two tablespoons per ball. I was able to get about 15 balls using 4 cups of mac and cheese.
  2. To freeze: Place the formed balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and put in the freezer for about 20 minutes. The balls should be firm, but not frozen.
  3. Making the lining: In a medium bowl, add the panko breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic powder, and paprika. Mix until combined.
  4. Whip: In another medium bowl, break the eggs and beat them with a fork.
  5. Coat: Roll the chilled mac and cheese balls in the beaten egg, then roll the ball in the panko mixture until completely coated. You can then repeat the process until all the balls are covered.
  6. Spray: Place the coated macaroni and cheese balls in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Lightly spray the balls with nonstick cooking spray to crisp them up.
  7. Cooked: Cook in air fryer at 380 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 minutes. Open the air fryer and flip the balls of macaroni and cheese. Spray other side with nonstick cooking spray and continue cooking for another 6 minutes or until golden brown on all sides.

Add a favorite sauce!

These gooey mac and cheese balls are delicious on their own, but can be taken to the next level with a nice dip. Here are some of my family’s favorites!

  • Barbecue sauce: This is my children’s favorite. BBQ sauce goes so well with these cheese bites and adds a tangy, smoky flavor that will make your mouth water!
  • ranch dressing: I promise you these two are made for each other. You won’t regret making this homemade ranch dressing to go with them!
  • sauce for frying: This classic mayonnaise-based sauce is tangy due to the Worcestershire sauce and brine. It’s surprisingly delicious and a perfect way to jazz up these mac and cheese balls!

Oven or pan cooking options:

It’s okay if you don’t have an air fryer. I can’t tell you how much I love mine, so I highly recommend getting one someday! These delicious mac and cheese balls are great baked or in a skillet! Follow the directions below if you don’t have an air fryer…they’ll be just as good!

  • Baking: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the coated macaroni and cheese balls in the skillet and spray the balls with olive oil cooking spray. Cook for about 8-10 minutes. Invert the balls, spray with more olive oil cooking spray, and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Sauteed: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add some canola oil and heat until nice and warm. Add the coated macaroni and cheese balls to the hot skillet and cook until evenly browned and crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.

How to store leftovers

These air fryer mac and cheese balls taste best fresh, but if you have leftovers, this is how you store them.

  • In the Refrigerator: Once cooled, I recommend that you store them wrapped in aluminum foil and put them in the refrigerator for no more than 2-3 days. If stored in an airtight container, they can get soggy and soggy.
  • To reheat: Arrange macaroni and cheese balls on baking sheet, wrapping in foil, then bake at 325° until hot in center. When you use aluminum foil, it will help them heat evenly. If you microwave them, the outside will turn soft instead of crispy.

You’ll love these mac and cheese balls as an appetizer or side dish. They are so versatile and go with so many different foods! Try them with these other dishes for a delicious and nutritious dinner!


  • Once your mac and cheese is cool and chilled, use your hands to form balls about two tablespoons per ball. I was able to get about 15 balls using 4 cups of mac and cheese.

  • Place the formed balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and put in the freezer for about 20 minutes. The balls should be firm but not frozen.

  • Add the panko breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic powder, and paprika to a medium bowl. Mix until combined.

  • In another medium bowl, break the eggs and beat them with a fork.

  • Roll the cold mac and cheese balls in the beaten egg, then roll the ball in the panko mixture until completely coated. Repeat the process until all the balls are covered.

  • Place the coated macaroni and cheese balls in the air fryer basket. Lightly spray the balls with nonstick cooking spray to crisp them up.

  • Cook in air fryer at 380° Fahrenheit for 6 minutes. Open the air fryer and flip the balls of macaroni and cheese. Spray other side with nonstick cooking spray and continue cooking for another 6 minutes or until golden brown on all sides.



Servings: 15

Ration3 balls Calories237kcal (12%) Carbohydrates33g (11%) Proteins9g (18%) Fats8g (12%) Saturated Fats0.3g (2%) Polyunsaturated Fats0.2g Monounsaturated Fats0.3g Trans Fats0.003gCholesterol25mg (8%) Sodium600mg145% %) Fiber 0.3 g (1%) Sugar 0.3 g Vitamin A55 IU (1%) Vitamin C 0.005 mg Calcium 105 mg (11%) Iron 2 mg (11%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is an estimate only. Each recipe and nutritional value varies based on brands used, measurement methods, and serving sizes per family.

Appetizer, of course, side dish.

American kitchen

Keyword macaroni and cheese balls

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