Fried Macaroni-and-Cheese Bites

10 dozen

Make way for little squares of heaven -- these fried morsels are sure to be voted most popular at any party. You can (and should) prepare the stovetop macaroni and cheese a few days ahead, since it will firm up in the refrigerator, for easier cutting. Then follow a two-step breading process, using panko instead of regular breadcrumbs for a crust that's crisp yet light. Don't be put off by the yield; the squares fry quickly, in three or four batches, and you can reheat replenishments over the course of the evening -- whenever the platter is wiped clean (which will be often).This recipe originally appeared in "Martha Stewart's Appetizers" (Clarkson Potter).


  • Coarse salt

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 4 cups milk, room temperature

  • ¾ teaspoon mustard powder

  • 4 ¾ cups grated white cheddar cheese (about 14 ounces), room temperature

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup safflower oil, for frying, plus more for parchment

  • 4 large eggs

  • 2 cups panko


  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni until al dente according to package instructions; drain.

  2. In pot, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour, and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is pale golden and has a nutty aroma, about 4 minutes. Whisking constantly, slowly add milk. Cook, whisking along bottom of pot, until boiling, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat, and add remaining 1 tablespoon butter, the mustard powder, and cheese. Stir until melted and sauce is smooth; season with salt. Add macaroni to sauce, and stir to combine.

  3. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with parchment; brush parchment lightly with oil. Spread macaroni mixture evenly in dish. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 8 hours.

  4. Invert set macaroni and cheese onto a cutting board and remove parchment. Cut into 1-inch squares with a sharp knife.

  5. Whisk eggs in a shallow dish. In a shallow dish, season panko with salt. Dip macaroni squares, a few at a time, in eggs, allowing excess to drip off into dish, then roll in panko mixture to coat completely. Transfer to a wire rack set on a baking sheet.

  6. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium until shimmering. Working in batches, add coated squares in a single layer (do not crowd pan); cook, turning occasionally, until all sides are crisp and golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes total. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined rack to drain and cool slightly. Wipe skillet clean. Repeat process with more oil and remaining squares. Serve warm.

    David Malosh

Cook's Notes

The recipe can be prepared through step 3 up to 3 days ahead. Once fried, the squares can rest on a baking sheet lined with a wire rack up to 1 hour; reheat in a 350 degrees oven (on the rack and sheet), about 5 minutes.

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