Mac and Cheese Bites are mini forms of the classic recipe made in mini muffin tins. They're a cheesy, simple & fun appetizer idea that kids and adults love!
This Mac and Cheese Bites recipe is sponsored by Roth Cheese. As always, all opinions are my own 🙂
Mac and Cheese Bites are basically your favorite comfort dish turned into mini bites made in a muffin tin. They are a kid-friendly meal, but they also make a fun appetizer or side dish for the holidays. All you need are some basic pantry items, high quality hard cheese and a mini muffin tin!
Mac and cheese is always irresistible, whether it’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Cauliflower Mac and Cheese or even Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese. But these modern mac and cheese bites may be my family’s new favorite! They are the perfect finger food for a party and they’re a great make-ahead dish. You can completely cook the recipe the day before and pop them in the oven a half hour before serving.
How to make mac and cheese bites?
This recipe comes together super-fast, so my advice is to have everything ready to go before you even boil the pasta. That way the sauce doesn’t start boiling, for example, while you’re still shredding the cheese.
The ingredients are your usual list of mac and cheese ingredients. And while a lot of mac and cheese bites recipes include eggs to help bind the bites, I find that it’s not necessary. The key is to use good quality hard cheese. This is where Roth comes in.
Roth Grand Cru is an alpine-style cheese made with fresh local milk in Wisconsin and then aged 4+ months. It is a pronounced and full-bodied cheese so it’s the only one you’ll need in the recipe. Plus, it’s a hard cheese that helps bind the bites together without using any eggs!
Now that you’ve shredded the Roth Cheese and prepared your ingredients, cook the pasta al dente according to package instructions. If you’re not using elbow macaroni, opt for another type of short grain pasta for this recipe. Then make the roux using butter, flour and milk and toss the sauce with the cooked pasta.
Next you’ll spoon the cooked mac and cheese into a greased mini muffin tin. Be sure to push them down so they’re nice and compact, which will help them stick together. After 20-25 minutes and delicious signs of crispy edges, it’s time to pull them out of the oven. And soon you’ll be enjoying these cheesy little bites of heaven.
Tips for making mac and cheese bites
- Grate your own cheese. Store-bought shredded cheese often has anti-caking agents which can prevent the cheese from melting well and binding to the pasta. Also, it can sometimes have a powder residue or grainy texture from caking agents. Use high quality cheese and grate it yourself for best results!
- Add a layer of cheese on the bottom of the muffin tins. This is not completely necessary but adding the layer of cheese allows the bites to pop out of the pan effortlessly.
- Pack the mac and cheese into the muffin cups really well. You can use your fingers or the back of spoon. But this is really important to help the mac and cheese hold their shape when you take them out of the oven.
- Allow time to rest. When the mac and cheese bites come out of the oven, the cheese will be really melty. So, it’s important to let them sit for 5-10 minutes so the cheese can harden a bit. This makes it much easier for them to stay compact.
Frequently asked questions
Can you refrigerate the mac and cheese and then bake the next day?
Yes, this is a great make ahead recipe. You can make the full recipe and place in the mini muffin tin. Then pop them in the oven 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve.
Can you make these in larger muffin tins?
Yes, you can, but if you do, I would recommend cracking an egg into the mixture before spooning it into the muffin tin. The larger ones are more likely to fall apart. But the egg helps to bind it together when it cooks in the oven.
Can you freeze the mac and cheese bites?
I wouldn’t recommend freezing pasta because it will absorb a lot of moisture and get soggy when thawed. Also, the structure won’t hold up well after being frozen. So it’s best to enjoy them within a couple days of making.
More pasta recipes:
These Mac and Cheese Bites are a crowd pleasing appetizer that are wonderful during the holidays to serve for Thanksgiving or Christmas. They’re crispy all around thanks to the Roth Grand Cru cheese, and perfectly chewy on the inside. And I haven’t found one person who doesn’t absolutely love them. Roth Cheese can be found in your grocer’s deli case and online via Instacart and Amazon Fresh.
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Mac and Cheese Bites recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
Mac and Cheese Bites
- 8 ounces elbow pasta
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups 2% milk
- 2 cups Roth Cheese Original Grand Cru shredded
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease two mini-muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta al dente according to package instructions, about 7-9 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour, garlic powder and mustard powder into the pot and stir to combine, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, season with salt and pepper, and whisk well to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in Grand Cru. Stir until the mixture is melted. Fold in the cooked pasta and mix until it is evenly coated with the sauce.
- Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the mac-and-cheese mixture into each muffin cup. Pack the mac and cheese into the muffin cups with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle panko breadcrumbs and remaining cheese on top. Yields 36.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is melted and the breadcrumbs become golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Allow the bites to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from the muffin cups and serving.
- Instead of regular pasta, you can use gluten-free pasta. You can also switch out all or some of the pasta for cauliflower
- Instead of milk, you can use dairy-free milk like unsweetened almond milk.
- Instead of butter, you can use olive oil