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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 finger foods! They are a kid-friendly meal, but they also make a fun appetizer or side dish that you can easily pop in a muffin tin. All you need are some basic pantry items, high-quality hard cheese, and a mini muffin tin to make these macaroni and cheese bites!
Table of Contents
- Recipe at a Glance
- Ingredients for Baked Mac and Cheese Bites
- Popular Substitutions and Additions
- How to Make Mac and Cheese Bites
- Tips for Making the Best Mac and Cheese Bites
- What to Serve with This Baked Mac and Cheese Bites Recipe
- How to Store & Reheat Baked Mac and Cheese Bites
- Frequently asked questions
- More pasta recipes:
- Mac and Cheese Bites Recipe
These modern mac and cheese bites might be my family’s new favorite! They are the perfect finger food for a party, and they’re a great make-ahead dish. 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 bites.. chef’s kiss! You can completely cook mac and cheese bites the day before and pop them in the oven a half hour before serving.
Cheesy, simple and easy to make. Love the idea of using the muffin pan. – Amy
Recipe at a Glance
Cuisine Inspiration: American
Primary Cooking Method: Baking
Dietary Info: Vegetarian
Key Flavor: Savory, Cheesy
Skill Level: Easy
- Bite-Sized Comfort: Perfectly portioned, these mac and cheese bites transform the classic comfort food into a convenient, grab-and-go snack or appetizer. They’re ideal for parties, kids’ lunches, or any occasion where you want a little taste of nostalgia without the need for a fork.
- Cheesy and Crispy: With a generous amount of Roth Cheese Original Grand Cru, these bites offer a deep, rich cheese flavor complemented by a crispy panko breadcrumb topping, ensuring each bite is as satisfying as the last.
- Customizable and Kid-Friendly: Easy to customize with your favorite mix-ins or toppings, they’re a hit with both kids and adults. Try adding bacon bits, chives, or even a dash of hot sauce for a personalized touch.
- Simple and Convenient: The recipe calls for basic pantry staples and follows straightforward steps, making it accessible for cooks of any skill level. Plus, it’s a great way to use up leftover pasta.
Ingredients for Baked Mac and Cheese Bites
- Macaroni: The pasta that holds this recipe together, macaroni has the classic elbow shape and is the perfect size for baking the dish in muffin tins.
- Unsalted Butter and Flour: Butter and flour create a roux for the cheese sauce, thickening the sauce and holding everything together.
- Garlic Powder, Mustard Powder, and Salt: This spice combination creates a robust, zesty, and slightly sweet flavor that accentuates the cheese used in this recipe.
- Roth Gran Cru: Roth Grand Cru is an aged, Alpine-style cheese with a pronounced, full-bodied flavor that makes it perfect for this recipe.
- Milk: Milk thins the cheese sauce, allowing it to coat the macaroni and get into all its nooks and crannies.
- Panko Bread Crumbs: Panko bread crumbs create the signature baked mac and cheese topping we all love in the traditional version.
Popular Substitutions and Additions
- Use any robust cheese or a combination of cheeses. Bold cheeses work best for mac and cheese in any form. Try cheddar, Swiss, parmesan, gruyere, brie, smoked gouda, Monterey Jack, or fontina individually or a mixture of your favorites.
- Make it spicy. For a kick of extra flavor and heat, try adding diced jalapenos to this recipe.
- Use any short, textured noodle variety. Ziti, penne, rigatoni, and fusilli all work well for mac and cheese bites. Their texture grabs and holds the cheese very well.
- Use your favorite spices. Cheese works well with a variety of spices. Black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, and paprika all work well. Even nutmeg is a great addition to a tasty twist to these bites.
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 the Best 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 the 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.
What to Serve with This Baked Mac and Cheese Bites Recipe
Macaroni and cheese in any form is a versatile side dish that pairs well with all kinds of meat or vegetarian main dishes or even other side dishes to create a filling, satisfying meal for family and friends.
How to Store & Reheat Baked Mac and Cheese Bites
For the freshest taste and food safety, refrigerate your mac and cheese bites in an air-tight container as soon as they’re cool enough to do so.
To reheat these bites, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator if frozen. Then, place them on a baking sheet and bake them for eight to ten minutes at 400 degrees.
How long will baked mac and cheese bites last in the fridge?
These mac and cheese bites will remain fresh and delicious for up to 4 days in the refrigerator when stored in an air-tight container.
Can I freeze this baked mac and cheese bites recipe?
Freezing these bites isn’t recommended. Once defrosted, they tend to be mushy – not the most appetizing texture.
Frequently asked questions
Mac and cheese bites are an excellent recipe to make ahead of time. Simply make the bites mixture, press it into the mini muffin tin, cover, and refrigerate. 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve them, pop them into the oven.
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.
It’s important that you press the mac and cheese mixture firmly into the muffin cups before you bake them. This helps bind them together when you remove them. If you don’t press your mixture firmly enough into the tins, your bites may fall apart.
This baked mac and cheese bites recipe is perfect for holidays, potlucks, or any fun, festive occasion. They even make a great side dish to add a little fun to your dinner. The Roth Gran Cru cheese used in this recipe makes these bites extra rich and creamy and creates a crispy texture that’s perfect with the creamy interior. Give them a try, and I know you’ll be looking for reasons to make them.
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 all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups 2% milk
- 2 cups Roth Cheese Original Grand Cru shredded
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- 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
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.