I had fried mac and cheese at a restaurant and contemplated making them for a special occasion after that. I'm not a huge fan of fried foods but mac and cheese in a crunchy Panko crust with a creamy cheese sauce just oozing out? Not bad.
A week ago, a friend of mine asked if I could make some fried mac and cheese for a party. I agreed and then decided, like with all things I've never made before, I'd do a test run of it. My boyfriend was fine with being my guinea pig for all of this.
Most recipes I found cited using boxed mac and cheese. That didn't work for me and I already have a great recipe for mac and cheese. So I just decided to go at from there and it worked out. I had several people from Facebook and Twitter ask for the recipe so decided I'd put one together since I winged this dish and put it up on the blog for sharing.
Fried Mac & Cheese Squares
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk, warmed, plus 2 tablespoons for egg wash
- 1 pound grated Cheddar
- 1 pound grated smoked Gouda
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups Panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- Vegetable oil, for frying
Cook the macaroni according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again and set aside.
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour into the butter and stir it with a whisk, cooking for about 2 minutes. Whisk the warmed milk into the flour mixture, working out all the clumps. Cook until the sauce thickens, for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the cheeses and stir until melted and smooth then season with the salt and pepper. Fold the cheese sauce into macaroni. Pour the mac and cheese into a shallow pan. It needs to be refrigerated until cold, at least 3 hours.
After that, shape the cold mac and cheese into small squares by cutting them evenly and removing them onto a waxed paper-lined tray.You can use a table spoon or ice cream scooper if you prefer a ball to a square. Freeze the macaroni squares overnight.
Next day, beat the eggs and 2 tablespoons milk together to form an egg wash and pour it into a shallow bowl. Put the bread crumbs into another shallow bowl. Mix the garlic, onion powder and paprika into the bread crumbs. Remove the mac and cheese squares from the freezer. Dip the frozen balls into the egg wash then into the bread crumbs, making sure to coat thoroughly. Put the squares back into the freezer until you're ready to fry them up.
Heat the oil to 350 degrees F. Fry the mac and cheese squares until they are golden brown and center is hot, about 4 to 5 minutes.
You can serve them as is or marinara or alfredo sauce goes nicely with it as well.