Mac bites are great — delicious mac and cheese in convenient little bite-sized form. Could you really ask for more?
These bites are so satisfying. They have a soft creamy center covered in crunchy breadcrumbs. Plus, they are a baked! Way healthier than fried, and just as delicious.
This recipe was inspired by my baked mac and cheese. That recipe turned out so delicious, that I decided to turn it into fun little mac and cheese bites.
Plus, you can make both recipes at same time, and only get the dishes dirty once. Just double the recipe, and then divide it in half after you make the sauce. Serve the mac bites as an appetizer to your baked mac and cheese dinner! Or, maybe you could space them out….I suppose 🙂
I really like the spices in this recipe. Nutmeg makes the sauce richer, while the mustard and cayenne pepper add just the right amount of kick to cut through the creaminess. The bites aren’t spicy, but they taste cheesier somehow.
Speaking of cheese (one of my favorite things to speak about), just about any cheese will work well for this recipe. Mozzarella, Gruyere, and Provolone are easier to melt, but cheddar is always delicious.
- 8 ounces of pasta (1/2 lb)
- 12 ounces by weight* of shredded cheese (I used half cheddar, half gruyere)
- ½ cup butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 cup half and half
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons brown mustard
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg yolk whisked
- 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- Dipping sauce like marinara
- Boil a large pot of water on high heat. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Melt butter for mac and cheese in a large pot or skillet (one that will fit all the pasta later) over medium heat. Sauté garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in flour. Gradually pour half and half, then milk in, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk constantly until sauce thickens, about 10-12 minutes.
- Add mustard, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and salt. Gradually whisk in cheese until completely melted. Turn off heat and whisk in the egg yolk. Gradually stir in pasta and then set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large skillet melt butter for breadcrumbs over medium heat. Stir in breadcrumbs and toast, stirring constantly until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide mac and cheese evenly into mini muffin tins, pressing down on each one. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake until golden brown and heated through, about 10 minutes.
- Let sit in muffin tin until they can maintain their shape, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with optional parsley and paprika. Enjoy!