Hot honey mac and cheese balls – glorious mac + cheese bites, like the cheesiest you’ve ever had, drenched in our tantalizing hot honey concoction. No, it’s not weird! In fact, we’re not even the first to make a recipe featuring honey and mac and cheese.Jump to Recipe
Inspired by this Applebee’s dish, we made crunchy, savory, EXTRA-cheesy mac and cheese bites and paired them with hot honey. The result? An irresistible starter that will stay in your rotation for a long while.
And if you’re looking for a dish that folks will remember, this recipe fits the bill. Our mac and cheese balls make the perfect appetizer for a holiday, game day, birthday, or dinner party. Overall, they’re just perfect for celebrations.
The bites are creamy, but have you ever had not-so-creamy mac and cheese bites? Actually, I’m guilty of making mac and cheese balls lacking in the cheese department myself. I know, I know, shame on me! Well, not anymore. Our new mac and cheese balls are filled with plenty of cheese but not so much that they don’t hold form! Oh, and I almost forgot, that hot honey is ridiculously easy to make and super-tasty.
So, follow along below as we show you how we made our hot honey mac and cheese balls.
Below are images of all of the ingredients you will need to make our hot honey mac and cheese balls. Of course, there are a lot of ingredients, but with some initial prep, they actually come together quickly. And they are so worth it.
- Macaroni Noodles
- White Cheddar
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Ground Mustard
See the recipe card for quantities.
Next is an image of the ingredients you will need for the breading process.
- Bread Crumbs
See the recipe card for quantities.
Then there’s the hot honey.
- Honey (the cheap stuff)
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Apple Cider Vinegar
How to Make Hot Honey Mac and Cheese Balls
Mac and cheese balls are easy to make. But, first, you need to cook the noodles. You should cook the noodles according to your box.
Next, you will need to make your roux for your cheese sauce.
Add the butter and flour to the pan and cook for a minute.
Next, add the salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and ground mustard, then cook for another minute. Next, add the milk and cook until the sauce thickens. Then, add the cheese and stir until the cheese is completely melted.
Finally, add the cheese to the noodles and stir to combine. Place in the refrigerator for at least four hours. This is the time needed for the mac and cheese to set.
Use an ice cream scoop to gather about two tablespoons of mac and cheese and form it into balls. Place them on a pan or tray.
Next, set up your breading station, which includes a pan with flour, a pan with scrambled egg and milk, and a pan with bread crumbs. Then start breading the balls. First, dip the balls in the flour, then scrambled egg, and finally bread crumbs. Below is what the bites will look like when breaded. Finally, fry the balls at 350-degrees for about three minutes or until they are golden brown.
Hint: Use nitrile food-safe gloves to keep your hands clean while breading the mac and cheese balls.
Next, make the hot honey. Simply add the honey, red pepper flakes, and vinegar to a pan. Simmer for five minutes while stirring occasionally. Let the honey rest for 15-minutes, then pour it through a strainer.
Why Double Bread Mac and Cheese Balls
If your mac and cheese balls are oozing cheese, you might want to try double breading them. This is an optional step.
So, after you dip the mac and cheese balls in the flour, egg, then the bread crumbs, dip them back in the egg, and bread crumbs once again. This process creates a thicker, crunchier coating. In addition to preventing the cheese from oozing out, we’ve noticed that this step keeps the interior of the bites hotter for longer.
How to Reheat Mac and Cheese Balls (without drying them out)
We found that reheating the cheese balls in an air fryer is the best way to do it. Just heat them at 375-degrees for three to five minutes. The outside will remain crispy, and the inside will be creamy, tender, and delicious.
We used the equipment below to make this recipe. Some of it is optional.
Dutch oven (or deep fryer)
You can store the fried mac and cheese balls in the refrigerator for up to five days. Alternatively, you can freeze them for up to three months. The honey can stay on the counter for up to six months.
Safety! Whenever you are dealing with a deep fryer setup, you have to use extreme caution. Ensure your fire extinguisher is nearby, and never walk away from your frying station while cooking.
Hot Honey Macaroni and Cheese Bites Recipe
- Fine Mesh Strainer
- Dutch Oven
- food thermometer
Macaroni and Cheese
- 8 Oz Macaroni Noodles
- 2 Cups Milk Room Temperature
- 2 Cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese Shredded
- 1/2 Cup Mozzarella Shredded
- 2 1/2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 3 Tbsp Flour
- 1/2 Tsp Ground Mustard
- 1/4 Tsp Onion Powder
- 1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 1/4 Tsp Black Pepper
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1/4 Cup Milk
- 2 Cups Plain Bread Crumbs
- 1 Cup Flour
Hot Honey Sauce
- 1 Cup Honey
- 2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
Hot Honey Sauce
- In a small pan add the honey, vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Stiring occassionally. Let it cool for 15 minutes. Once cooled strain it using a fine mesh strainer. Set aside.
Macaroni and Cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.Cook the macaroni noodles for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.
- While the noodles are cooling make the cheese sauce. In the same pot add the butter and flour. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the ground mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, then add the milk and stir the sauce occasionally until sauce thickens. About 5 minutes.
- Add the shredded cheese and mix until the cheese is completely melted. Mix in the noodles and pour the mac and cheese in an air tight container. Once cooled place it in the refridgerate for at least 4 hours preferrabily overnight.
Breading and Fry
- Scoop the mac and cheese into 2 tablespoon portions. Press into a ball and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Place the flour in shallow bowl. Lightly beat the eggs and milk in a second shallow bowl. Place the breadcrumbs in a third shallow bowl.
- Start with one at a time, dredge in the flour until completely coated, shaking off any excess. Next, dip in the eggs, then coat with the breadcrumbs. Lastly, dip it back into the egg and back in the breadcrumbs for a 2nd coating. Return to the baking sheet.
- Use a deep pot or dutch oven filled with 2 inches of oil (about 4 cups)Preheat the oil to 350 degrees. When the oil is ready, fry in batches of 4 to 5 and fry for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with a paper towel to drain. Continue with the remaining mac and cheese bites until all are done.
- You can adjust the spice level by adding more or less red pepper flakes.
- If the honey is too thick to dip then reheat for a few seconds.
- The mac and cheese can be made 1 day in advance.
- You can add any combination of cheeses. You can use sharp cheddar, mozzarella, gruyere, fontina, gouda, monterrey jack.
- The double breading allows for a nice crust and it ensures the cheese won’t ooze out.
- Store the mac and cheese in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for 3 months.
- Reheat the bites in the air fryer or oven at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes.