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Air Fryer Mac & Cheese Bites

mac and cheese bites in marinara sauce

It was my daughters birthday this weekend.  It's been tradition for several years that I take her out for a day of shopping and lunch, but being that we couldn't do that this year, (social distancing lock-down from the COVID-19 pandemic), I opened up the kitchen for anything she fancied to try and make up for it.

Last year for her birthday the two of us went to Cheesecake Factory for lunch where we shared a couple of appetizers including their fried macaroni and cheese bites and she had been seriously craving that, so I thought why not?!?!  I made homemade baked mac and cheese the night before her birthday and let it firm up in the refrigerator over night.  (Try THIS recipe for mac and cheese.  You won't regret it!)  The next day I cut it up in to chunks, dunked it in egg, rolled it in a seasoned panko mixture and baked it in the air fryer instead of deep fat frying.  

It was absolutely!!!  Soft, creamy, cheesy goodness on the inside with a crispy seasoned crust on the outside.  A new family favorite for sure.

  • Homemade mac and cheese, made the day prior and allowed to sit overnight in the refrigerator.
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 2 cups panko crumbs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  1. In one bowl whisk together the eggs and milk.
  2. In another bowl whisk together the panko, salt, smoked paprika, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.
  3. Cut the refrigerated mac and cheese in to chunks or use an ice cream scoop to make balls.
  4. Dip your mac and cheese chunks/balls in the egg mixture, then roll them in the panko mixture.  
  5. Place them in a single layer in your air fryer with space between each one.
  6. Air fry in batches at 360 for 9-10 minutes.
  7. Serve over your favorite marinara sauce and garnish with Parmesan cheese and herbs.

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