Not sure what to do with that leftover mac and cheese from last night’s dinner? Once you try making mac and cheese bites in the air fryer, you’ll be hooked!
Have some leftover mac and cheese from last night’s dinner? Forget the tedious process of reheating pasta and make these mac and cheese bites in the air fryer instead!
The breadcrumb coating on the outside gets beautifully golden and crispy while the air fryer turns all that wonderful cheese sauce into hot, melty goodness.
And you won’t believe how easy they are to make!
Here’s what I’m going to teach you in this post:
- How to whip up the most delicious air fryer mac and cheese balls
- What kind of mac and cheese you need to make this recipe
- Tips for making the absolute best, most crispy mac and cheese balls in the air fryer
- Tasty variations to try
- How to reheat leftover air fryer mac and cheese bites
From irresistible appetizers to a fun dinner the whole family will love, there’s never a bad time to make these little balls of goodness.
They’re so delicious that you might plan mac and cheese nights so that you’ll have leftovers to turn into fried bites the next day!
How to Make Mac and Cheese Bites in the Air Fryer
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
STEP ONE: Using cold leftover mac and cheese and a cookie scoop, scoop out the mac and cheese. Roll into a ball using the palm of your hand, then set it on a piece of parchment paper.
STEP TWO: Once they are all rolled, place the balls in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.
STEP THREE: In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs and seasonings. In another small bowl, beat the eggs and set aside.
STEP FOUR: When the mac and cheese balls are chilled, roll them first in the egg mixture, then in the bread crumbs.
STEP FIVE: Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees F.
STEP SIX: Air fry for 5 minutes, and then flip and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes until golden.
What Kind of Mac and Cheese Should I Use in This Recipe?
You don’t want to cook the mac and cheese right before making this recipe. Instead, you want to use chilled leftover mac and cheese that has had a chance to thicken in the refrigerator.
Besides, it doesn’t matter what kind of mac and cheese you use! From baked macaroni to the Kraft blue box kind, any leftovers will work great for this recipe.
But personally, this is my favorite mac and cheese recipe to use.
Tips to Make the Best Air Fryer Mac and Cheese Balls
- Spray the tops of the bites with nonstick cooking spray before cooking. This will make them extra crispy.
- Don’t take the leftover mac and cheese out of the refrigerator until you’re ready to form the bites. Keeping the pasta chilled will help them hold together more easily.
- Leave space between each of the mac and cheese bites in the air fryer basket so the hot air can properly circulate and fry the exteriors.
What Sauces Should I Dip Mac and Cheese Bites In?
Variations to Try
Want to have some fun with your mac and cheese bites? Try adding some mix-ins or switching up the seasonings!
One of my favorite variations is adding chopped cooked bacon to the leftover mac and cheese. It’s so delicious! Cubed ham would be yummy.
Want to add some veggies? Chopped bell peppers, onion, or even broccoli would be so tasty with all that melted cheese.
The blend of garlic powder, dried parsley, and paprika adds a nice flavor to the breadcrumbs, but you can always dial it up a notch!
Try throwing in cumin, chili powder, or even cayenne to amp up the seasonings.
How Long to Cook Air Fryer Mac and Cheese Bites
You want the bites to be crispy and golden on the outside and hot all the way through on the inside.
I find that air frying for about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through, is just the right time, but your cooking time may vary based on the size of your mac and cheese bites and your individual air fryer.
How Do You Make Trader Joe’s Mac and Cheese Balls in an Air Fryer?
Trader Joe’s offers some tasty pre-made mac and cheese balls in the frozen section. These are a great option if you want to skip the prep!
Simply jump to Step Five of this recipe, then cook the Trader Joe’s bites following the same instructions.
How to Reheat Mac and Cheese Bites in the Air Fryer
- Preheat the air fryer to 380 degrees.
- Place the leftover mac and cheese balls in the air fryer basket
- Cook for 3 minutes until heated through.
Other Mac and Cheese Recipes You’ll Love:
- 12 Leftover Mac and Cheese Recipes
- 5-Ingredient Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Mac and Cheese with Cream Cheese
- Mac and Cheese Without Milk
- Mac and Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash
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Mac and Cheese Bites In The Air Fryer
You won’t believe how easy it is to make mac and cheese bites in the air fryer! They’re crispy, golden, & full of melty cheese.
- 2 cups of cold leftover mac and cheese (I used this recipe with elbow noodles)
- 1 cup of italian bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ teaspoons dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoons paprika
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup of marinara for dipping
- Using cold leftover mac and cheese and a cookie scoop, scoop out the mac and cheese and then roll using the palm of your hand. Place them on a piece of parchment paper and once they are all rolled, place them in the freezer 30 minutes to an hour.
- In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs and seasonings.
- In another small bowl, beat the eggs and set them aside.
- When your mac and cheese balls are chilled, roll them into the egg mixture and then into the bread crumbs.
- Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees. Spray the tops of the bites to make them extra crispy. Cook for 5 minutes, and then flip and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes till they are golden.
How to reheat mac and cheese bites:
1. Preheat your air fryer to 380 degrees.
2. Add mac and cheese balls to the air fryer basket.
3. Cook for 3 minutes or until hot.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 95Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 322mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g
This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.
5 thoughts on “Mac and Cheese Bites in the Air Fryer”
The recipe we’ve all been waiting for! Yuuuuum!
What temperature to cook them at originally as you say 380 degrees to reheat them🤷♂️
Hi Tony, these cook at 350 degrees F and are reheated at 380 degrees F.
Can these be deep dried?