Air Fryer Mac and Cheese Balls

I mean… they’re not deep fried so you can easily justify eating a dozen of them. The secret to mac and cheese balls? Adding a homemade cheese sauce to the prepared mac and cheese ensures that the mac and cheese will stick together properly when you scoop and roll them out, and will avoid any dryness. We’re here for the cheese, after all.

  • 1 7-oz box macaroni and cheese (yields approx 3 cups cooked)
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 oz (approx 1/4 cup) velveeta, cubed
  • 2 oz (approx 1/4 cup) shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese
  • 3/4 cup italian breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • Optional, for dipping: spicy vodka sauce
  1. Prepare the macaroni and cheese according to box directions.
  2. In a small saucepan, add the milk and velveeta over medium heat, stirring occasionally to melt the velveeta. Once the velveeta is fully melted, stir in the shredded cheese until the cheese sauce is an even consistency.
  3. Stir the cheese sauce mixture into the mac and cheese. Refrigerate the mac and cheese for at least 3-4 hours, or overnight.
  4. Using a cookie or ice cream scoop, roll macaroni and cheese into 1 1/2-inch balls (approx 2 tbsp each), forming approximately one dozen balls.
  5. Place the balls in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
  6. While the balls are in the freezer, whisk together the italian breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs, chili powder, salt, and several turns of freshly cracked pepper.
  7. Working one at a time, bread the balls by first dipping them into the eggs, then dredge in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to fully coat the balls evenly. Return the balls for another 10-15 minutes while you preheat the air fryer.
  8. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees.
  9. Place the balls into your air fryer basket in a single layer, making sure they don’t touch. Spray them with cooking spray (the bit of oil from the cooking spray helps them get extra crispy). Air fry for 8-10 minutes until crispy and golden on the outside. Note: if you can’t fit all of the balls into the air fryer at once, keep the extra balls in the freezer while you work through them in batches.
  10. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately, with spicy vodka sauce if desired.