Mac and Cheese Bites Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 35 min. Bake: 10 min.
Our mac and cheese bites are everything you love about your favorite mac and cheese recipe in a hand-held, bite-sized appetizer.

Updated: Jul. 16, 2024

We all have a favorite mac and cheese recipe. Some prefer a multi-cheese baked version, and others think it doesn’t get better than a good boxed mac and cheese. But one recipe that everyone can’t help but love is mac and cheese in a bite-sized form.

These mac and cheese bites are everything you love from your favorite mac and cheese recipe: elbow macaroni noodles covered in a luscious, homemade cheese sauce with crunchy bread crumbs throughout. Serve them to guests fresh from the oven alongside a dipping sauce—unlike so many others, this is the one mac and cheese recipe that’s dunkable.

We’ll show you how to make mac and cheese bites that aren’t deep-fried, so there isn’t a big mess to clean up afterward. Plus, there won’t be any lingering oil smells wafting throughout your home for days.

Ingredients for Mac and Cheese Bites

  • Elbow macaroni: Short, tubular elbow noodles are excellent for grabbing hold of the cheese sauce in mac and cheese recipes.
  • Bread crumbs: Grab your favorite seasoned bread crumbs from the store. Avoid panko-style bread crumbs, though, as those are too thick and flaky for this mac and cheese bites recipe.
  • Butter: You’ll need only 2 tablespoons butter to make the roux.
  • All-purpose flour: We use all-purpose flour to make a roux, which is the start of any good cheese sauce recipe.
  • Spices: A mix of onion powder, garlic powder and seasoned salt creates a pungent flavor that doesn’t overpower the creamy, rich mac and cheese flavor.
  • Milk: Use 2% or whole milk to really make this mac and cheese bites recipe the richest and creamiest it can be. Avoid skim milk or dairy-free milk—with either of these your sauce will turn out grainy.
  • Cheese: Hand-grating the cheese for any mac and cheese tends to result in the smoothest, tastiest sauce. Pre-shredded cheese has anti-caking agents tossed in, preventing the cheese shreds from sticking together. As you can imagine, anti-caking agents do not aid in creating a smooth, luscious cheese sauce.
  • Baking mix: A biscuit or baking mix like Bisquick or Jiffy is perfect here.
  • Eggs: Lightly beat the eggs and bring them to room temperature beforehand. They’ll help bind everything together so the mac and cheese bites don’t fall apart after baking.

Directions

Step 1: Cook the macaroni

Overhead shot of sprinkle 1/4 cup bread crumbs into 36 greased mini-muffin cups;TMB Studio

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cook the macaroni according to the package’s directions. Drain the water from the pasta.

Meanwhile, evenly disperse 1/4 cup bread crumbs among 36 greased mini-muffin cups.

Editor’s Tip: Toss the bowl of cooked macaroni with a small amount of olive oil to prevent the macaroni from sticking together while it sits.

Step 2: Make a roux

Overhead shot of a large saucepan; melt butter over medium heat; stir in flour and seasonings until smooth; wooden spatula; kitchen cloth; grey marble background;TMB Studio

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Vigorously stir in the all-purpose flour and seasonings until the roux is smooth and lump-free.

Step 3: Add the milk

Overhead shot of same saucepan; gradually whisk in milk; bring to a boil; stirring constantly; cook and stir until thickened; wooden spatula; kitchen cloth; grey marble background;TMB Studio

Gradually pour in the milk while whisking so no lumps form. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until the mixture has thickened, one to two minutes.

Editor’s Tip: Do not pour the milk in all at once or it will be almost impossible to whisk out the lumps.

Step 4: Stir in the shredded cheeses

Overhead shot of stir in 1 cup cheddar cheese; and swiss cheese until melted; wooden spatula; kitchen cloth; grey marble background;TMB Studio

Stir in 1 cup each shredded cheddar cheese and Swiss cheese until they’re melted.

Step 5: Mix in the macaroni

Overhead shot of same saucepan; remove from heat; stir in biscuit mix; eggs and 1/2 cup bread crumbs; wooden spatula; grey marble background;TMB Studio

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the biscuit mix, lightly beaten eggs and 1/2 cup bread crumbs.

Overhead shot of same saucepan; add macaroni; toss to coat; wooden spatula; grey marble background;TMB Studio

Add in the macaroni, and gently toss to coat.

Step 6: Assemble the mac and cheese bites

Overhead shot of mini muffic cups baking tray; spoon about 2 tablespoons macaroni mixture into each prepared mini-muffin cups; grey marble background;TMB Studio

Spoon about 2 tablespoons macaroni mixture into each prepared mini-muffin cup.

Overhead shot of sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and seasoned bread crumbs;TMB Studio

Sprinkle the tops with the remaining cheddar cheese and seasoned bread crumbs.

Step 7: Bake the bites

Bake the mac and cheese bites until they’re golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Let the mac and cheese bites cool in pans at room temperature for five minutes before serving.

close shot of Mini Mac & Cheese Bites; white paper sheet;TMB Studio

Recipe Variations

  • Create more flavor: A tiny bit of ground mustard creates a zingy and savory flavor. Freshly grated nutmeg is an iconic secret ingredient for mac and cheese recipes. If you have truffle salt, use it in place of seasoned salt. Truffles and cheese are a match made in heaven.
  • Change the cheese: Use a different strong-smelling cheese like Colby Jack, Monterey Jack, Gouda or Gruyere (our favorite!). Don’t forget to shred them by hand and avoid pre-shredded cheese.
  • Add mix-ins: Stir in diced jalapenos for spice, crumbled bacon for another rich and salty flavor, or freshly minced parsley for a refreshing, herbaceous note.

How to Store Mac and Cheese Bites

Let the mac and cheese bites cool to room temperature, then place them in an airtight container. The mac and cheese bites can be kept in the fridge for up to three days.

Can you freeze mac and cheese bites?

Absolutely! Follow how to make mac and cheese bites as directed, then let them cool completely to room temperature. Line the mac and cheese bites on a sheet tray and freeze them until they’re hard, 30 to 60 minutes. Transfer the frozen mac and cheese bites to an airtight container or resealable bag, and freeze them for up to two months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

How do you reheat mac and cheese bites?

Mac and cheese bites can be reheated in the microwave until warmed through. We also love to reheat them in an air fryer or another small convection oven at 350° for about 10 minutes.

Mac and Cheese Bites Tips

Table view shot of Mini Mac & Cheese Bites; served with dip bowl; on white paper sheet;TMB Studio

What sauces should you use as a dip for mac and cheese bites?

While the mac and cheese bites taste delicious all by themselves, we love to dip them in marinara sauce, ranch or jalapeno ranch dip, Sriracha, Buffalo sauce or a copycat Chick-fil-A sauce. You could also serve them alongside this caramelized onion dip or chunky blue cheese dip, but place a spoon alongside each of these because they’re too thick to dunk a mac and cheese bite.

Can you bake mac and cheese bites in a regular-sized muffin tin?

Yes, you can bake the mac and cheese bites recipe in a regular-sized muffin tin if you don’t have a mini muffin tin.

Watch how to Make Mac and Cheese Bites

Mac and Cheese Bites

Prep Time 35 min
Cook Time 10 min
Yield 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1-3/4 cups 2% milk
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 3/4 cup biscuit/baking mix
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, sprinkle 1/4 cup bread crumbs into 36 greased mini-muffin cups. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and seasonings until smooth; gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup cheddar cheese and Swiss cheese until melted.
  3. Remove from heat; stir in biscuit mix, eggs and 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Add macaroni; toss to coat. Spoon about 2 tablespoons macaroni mixture into each prepared mini-muffin cups; sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and seasoned bread crumbs.
  4. Bake until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Cool in pans 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts

1 appetizer: 91 calories, 5g fat (3g saturated fat), 22mg cholesterol, 162mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 4g protein.

Young relatives were coming for a Christmas party, so I wanted something fun for them to eat. To my surprise, it was the adults who devoured these mini mac and cheese bites. —Kate Mainiero, Elizaville, New York
Recipe Creator