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Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese Bites Recipe

Our jalapeno popper mac and cheese bites are delicious! We took jalapeno mac and cheese, formed it into balls, and deep fried them until golden brown. What emerged was an irresistible appetizer perfect for game days, birthday parties, or weekends. Enjoy!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 30

Equipment

  • Dutch Oven
  • food thermometer

Ingredients

Macaroni and Cheese

  • 8 Oz Macaroni Noodles
  • 2 Cups Milk Room temperature
  • 2 Cups White Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese Shredded
  • 1/2 Cup Mozzarella Shredded
  • 1/3 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese 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
  • 3 Tbsp Pickled Jalapenos Diced
  • 4 Strips Thick Cut Bacon Diced and cooked

Coating

  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 2 Cups Plain Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Cup Flour

Instructions

  • Cut the bacon and cook until crispy. Lay cooked bacon on a plate lined with paper towel to catch any excess oil. 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 them 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 cheeses and mix until the cheese is completely melted. Add the cooked bacon and jalapenos. Mix to combine. Add in the noodles and pour the mac and cheese in an air-tight container. Once cooled place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours preferably overnight.

Breading and Fry

  • Scoop the mac and cheese into 2 tablespoon portions. Press into a ball using both hands and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Place the flour in a bowl. Lightly beat the eggs and milk in a second bowl. Place the breadcrumbs in a third 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. Then enjoy!

Notes

  • It's easier to cut the bacon if you first freeze it for 10 minutes.
  • 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.
  • This recipe yields about 30-34 balls. You can make the bites smaller or larger but the cooking time will vary. 
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