Turn macaroni and cheese into a bite sized party food with this recipe for air fryer mac and cheese bites. These bites are crispy on the edges and soft and creamy in the middle. Bacon, broccoli and French fried onions are added to the mac and cheese to make it a quick and easy party appetizer.
My family loves mac & cheese, and this takes that traditional comfort food and makes it bite sized finger food! And it doesn’t take very long to make either, which is a must when you are planning a gathering.
To make this appetizer even easier I cooked them in my air fryer, which means it only took about 6 minutes to cook. But if you don’t have an air fryer I include directions for baking in the oven on the recipe card below.
The most obvious ingredient in this dish is the mac and cheese. You can use any kind of mac and cheese that your family enjoys. Make Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, microwave a frozen dinner or make the boxed kind from the grocery store.
I used homemade mac and cheese for these pictures, but I have made these before with boxed mac and cheese also.
The recipe is made with four servings of macaroni and cheese. If you are using boxed mac and cheese for most brands this means two 7.25 ounce boxes or one 14 ounce deluxe mac and cheese.
To make the appetizer a little more exciting I added, bacon, broccoli and extra cheese. The resulting bite sized appetizers are crispy outside and creamy inside for the ultimate combination of flavor.
How to Make Mac and Cheese Bites
1. Make the Bacon and Macaroni and Cheese
The first step is to prepare your macaroni and cheese in whichever manner you decide works best for you. While the mac and cheese cooks fry up a few slices of bacon.
Make sure the broccoli is chopped up very finely and then mix it in with the macaroni and cheese during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking time. Once everything is cooked crumble the bacon and stir it into the prepared mac and cheese.
2. Add the Egg
Stir an egg into the macaroni and cheese. The egg helps bind all the ingredients together so that the mac and cheese bites stay together.
3. Fill the Mini Muffin Cups
Use cooking spray to coat the inside of the mini muffin cups. Then add about 2 Tablespoons of the mac and cheese to each muffin cup. Push it down into the cups tightly.
Once all the muffins cups are full top each one with a little bit of shredded cheddar cheese and some French fried onions.
4. Bake & Serve
Put the bites in the air fryer for 6 minutes at 400 F. If they aren’t quite brown enough put them back in for another minute or two.
My Omorc air fryer will fit about 12 mini muffin cups, but yours might fit more or less. Don’t overfill the air fryer basket because the air needs to be able to circulate. Since the bites cook so quickly it is easy to cook the recipe in multiple batches.
Once the bites are a little bit brown on top take them out of the basket. It is very easy to burn your fingers on the hot air fryer basket, so make sure you use tongs to take them out.
Let the bites cool for a 3 minutes or so before popping them out of the muffin cups and putting them on a serving platter.
Silicon Mini Muffin Cups
I baked my mac and cheese bites in mini muffin cups. You could bake them in metal muffin tins if you have a metal tin that will fit in the air fryer or if you are using the oven.
The silicon mini muffin cups are the perfect size for using in an air fryer basket. I like them because they are sturdy and nonstick. The finished bites just pop right out with a quick push on the bottom of the cups.
The muffin cups are also easy to clean. And the finished size is perfectly bite sized, making this an easy to eat finger food.
No Air Fryer?
But what if you don’t have an air fryer? It seems like half the people I know got an air fryer for Christmas this year! But you can still make this recipe without one and I include oven directions in the printable recipe card below. Using an oven just takes a little longer.
And if you are looking for an air fryer here are some that might be a good fit, whether you are looking for budget options or one for a big family.
Can I Make These in Advance?
These mac and cheese bites are easy to assemble in advance, which is especially useful if you are having a party. You can put them together in the muffin cups and then refrigerate them until you are ready to cook them.
Once they are baked you should serve them promptly though. They are best when they are eaten warm and crispy.
Quick and Easy Appetizer
I like to make these because it is a fun way to take a dish that everyone knows and loves but with an added twist. These are a quick and easy party appetizer!
So next time you want to make a cool appetizer that is not complicated or time consuming try these mac and cheese bites!
- 1 box Macaroni & Cheese designed to serve 4 people (this is generally 2 small 7.5 ounce boxes or 1 larger deluxe 14 ounce box)
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup French fried onions
- Prepare your macaroni and cheese as directed by the package.
- Cook the bacon while the macaroni and cheese cooks.
- During the last 2-3 minutes of cooking time stir the broccoli into the mac and cheese.
- Once the mac and cheese dinner is cooked stir in the crumbled bacon and the egg.
- Spray muffin cups with cooking spray. Spoon 2 T of mac and cheese mixture into each muffin cup. Push it down in the cups.
- Top each muffin cup with a bit of cheddar cheese and fried onions.
- Air fry at 400 F for 6-8 minutes, until the bites are golden brown on the edges. Be sure to use tongs to take the muffin cups out of the hot air fryer.
- Let the mac and cheese bites cool for 3 minutes. Then pop them out of the muffin cups and put on a serving platter.
If using an oven bake the mac and cheese bites for 10-12 minutes at 400 F.
You can also substitute homemade mac and cheese or microwaved frozen mac and cheese. Just make enough to serve about 4 people.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 55Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 106mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g
Nutrition facts are estimates.