Ready to try a unique spin on traditional mac and cheese? Our delicious Baked Macaroni and Cheese Balls are sure to be a hit with adults and kids alike! Packed with cheesy, creamy goodness inside a crunchy coating, these tasty treats are sure to satisfy your craving for comfort food. They taste really similar to the Cheesecake Factory ones they used to sell too!
Baked Macaroni and Cheese Balls Recipe
- mini muffin cups optional
- ½ pound elbow macaroni
- 1 cup pureed butternut squash
- ¾ cup chicken or vegetable broth
- ¾ cup reduced fat milk
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese we used Cabot 1%
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- ½ cup unbleached all purpose flour + 1 tablespoon
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 cup parmesan herb bread crumbs you can use plain breadcrumbs or even gluten free if desired
- 4 tablespoon olive or canola oil
- Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain, then set aside while you prepare the sauce.
- In a saucepan, combine the pureed squash, broth, milk, pepper, salt and one tablespoon flour over medium heat. Heat just until boiling, then reduce heat to low and slowly stir in cheeses. Once cheese is melted, stir in the pasta and coat in the cheese mixture.
- Place macaroni and cheese into the refrigerator to allow it to cool.
- When macaroni has cooled, form into tablespoon sized balls and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet or scoop mixture into lightly greased mini muffin tins. Place mixture in freezer and allow mixture to freeze for at least one hour.
- Right before taking the macaroni out of the freezer, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls. Remove the macaroni from the freezer. Roll each macaroni ball completely in the flour, then the eggs, then the breadcrumbs. Place the macaroni on parchment lined baking sheets. If you used the mini muffin cups to freeze, do not place them back into the muffin cups. You will need to move them to a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Place the macaroni balls into the oven and cook at 425 degrees for ten minutes. After ten minutes, flip each macaroni ball to the other side to allow for even cooking. Cook for an additional seven minutes. For crispier macaroni, turn the broiler on and broil them for an additional thirty seconds to a minute after cooking before flipping and broiling on the other side. The macaroni is done when it is browned.
- Remove from the oven and serve warm with marinara sauce.
Making Baked Macaroni and Cheese Balls
Fall is just around the corner and it's time for some fall family fun! Our family loves football. Since game days are Saturdays and Sundays, I usually start the weekend by heading out the door for a good long early Saturday morning run. My trusty german shorthair pointer accompanies me as we head out for our thirteen mile run.
After my run, it's time to relax, take a shower, watch some football and eat!!
Preheat oven and grease a baking sheet
If you love The Cheesecake Factory, you will love this recipe! My husband introduced me to the fried mac and cheese balls on a recent trip to the restaurant. While I'm not usually a fan of fried things, I have to admit these were really, really good! I wanted to reproduce the recipe at home for the kids (and I'll be honest--myself) using better ingredients. I came up with this recipe for baked macaroni and cheese balls. A plate of these with some marinara sauce and you will be ready for game time too! If you're looking for a more classic mac and cheese try this dutch oven mac and cheese recipe.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray or butter. Arrange the macaroni and cheese balls on the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch of space between each ball. Spray or brush the tops lightly with more cooking spray or melted butter and bake for 18-22 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.
Cook baked macaroni and cheese according to package instructions, then drain and rinse
Combine the cooked macaroni with the cheese, egg, bread crumbs, and spices in a large bowl. Using your hands or an ice cream scoop, form the mixture into 1 – 1 ½ inch balls, making sure they’re tight and compact. Place each ball onto a plate and chill in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes before baking.
Mix in cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, spices, and eggs
In the large bowl containing the cooked macaroni, add in cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, spices and eggs. Use your hands to combine all of the ingredients together until well mixed. The additional cheeses will help raise the flavor profile of the macaroni and cheese balls. Add more salt and pepper to taste if needed.
Form the mixture into small balls and roll each one in a bowl of parmesan herb bread crumbs for the crunchy coating
To form the baked macaroni and cheese balls, scoop up 1.5 tablespoons of the mixture and roll it into a balls with your hands. Place each ball in a bowl or plate containing the parmesan herb bread crumbs. Gently roll the ball around to allow the bread crumbs to adhere to all sides of the ball. Transfer each ball to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes in preheated oven until golden brown on top. Enjoy!
Bake on the prepared baking sheet for 20 minutes or until golden brown
Transfer each macaroni and cheese ball to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place the balls about an inch apart from each other. Bake for 20 minutes in preheated oven until golden brown on top. Allow the balls to cool for few minutes before serving and enjoy!