Macaroni Balls

In the culinary world, you can sum up throwing away perfectly good leftover macaroni & cheese to blasphemy. Letting all that cheesy goodness go to waste is just a crying shame. Unlike other types of leftovers, macaroni & cheese is one of those rare recipes where it’s kind of hard to repurpose. That is, until now. These macaroni balls are the perfect way to make sure your leftover mac & cheese doesn’t wither away in a trash can. By packing them with some freshly shredded cheddar, forming them into balls, freezing them, dredging them in flour and panko and then baking (not frying!) to golden, crispy goodness-you can save yourself a lot of heartache. Oh, and have a rockin’ party appetizer at your fingertips. Do we need to say more?

Learn to cook this recipe with our host in this eye-opening recipe tutorial. You will never find a better use of your leftover macaroni and cheese than these babies. And don’t forget to check out our favorite lobster mac and cheese recipe!

Recipe: Macaroni Balls

Mac and Cheese Ingredients:

1 lb elbow macaroni, cooked al dente
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 ½ cups milk
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
1 tsp salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper

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1. Heat butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Once melted, add flour and cook, whisking constantly, about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Continuing to whisk, slowly add the milk. Gently bring to a simmer and allow to thicken up for about 2-3 minutes. Add in cayenne and salt. Then add cheese and stir until melted. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference. Remove from heat and add pasta, combine until all the pasta is coated. Transfer macaroni to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for at least 8 hours, preferably over night.

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Baked Macaroni Balls Ingredients:

Leftover mac & cheese
3 cups cheddar cheese, freshly shredded and not pre-packaged
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs
4 tbsp water
7 cups panko breadcrumbs
Non-stick cooking spray

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1. Mix your leftover mac & cheese with the shredded cheddar until thoroughly combined. Form into 1-2 inch diameter balls and place in a dish that will fit in your freezer. Freeze for at least 2 hours.

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2. After a couple of hours, prepare the dredge. Whisk together the water and egg. Put flour in a wide-bottomed bowl or plate and whisk in ½ tsp salt. Put panko in another wide bottomed bowl or plate.

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3. Now it’s time to assemble! Preheat oven to 425F. Spray a light layer of non-stick spray on two baking sheets. Dip the frozen balls in the egg wash, then the flour. Dip once more in the egg wash and then in the panko. Place on a baking sheet and repeat until all the macaroni balls are done. Spray another light coating of non-stick spray on the balls and pop into the oven. Cook until the balls are golden and crispy, about 15-20 minutes.


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Special Thanks:

Talent: Lauren Nolan of

Shot and edited by: Matt Rice

Royalty Free Music courtesy of Audio Network titled: “Lights of Home” by Barrie Gledden


  1. reheating ideas?

    • Hi Meher,

      You can reheat the macaroni balls by baking them at 425 for about 10 minutes or until crispy. Thanks for watching!

  2. do you also have the recipe for the corn nugget/balls….been looking for that one

    • Hi Judy,

      Unfortunately we do not have a recipe for corn nuggets or balls. Great idea for a future video though!

  3. I have a question. Why do you need to dredge twice? What would happen if you simply added it to the bread crumbs? Just curious. And I loved that you didn’t deep fry or fry at all. I probably would have done the same thing as you. That’s how I do all my frying. In the oven with a spray Pam! Thank you for that. I’ll let you know how it comes out.

    • Hi Gail!

      We recommend dredging twice when it comes to any “fried” type good. It’s the best way to ensure a nice coating on the food you happen to be baking or frying.

      Hope you enjoy the recipe!