Air Fryer Cheesecake Factory Fried Macaroni & Cheese –The Cheesecake Factory is well known for its delicious fried macaroni and cheese. Now you can make it at home with the help of your air fryer! It’s easy to make, crispy on the outside, and cheesy in the middle. Nothing beats this comfort food classic! After trying this recipe, you’ll never want to go out for a cheeseburger again!
Craving a fried mac and cheese ball? Dive into these incredible cheesy and crispy coated copycat Air Fryer Cheesecake Factory Fried Macaroni and Cheese Bites. Mac and cheese center coated in a bread crumb batter and air fried to golden crispy perfection. Pair with some marinara sauce, and devour these!
Fried macaroni and cheese is so delicious. I mean, anything fried wins me over. But by using the air fryer, you reduce the oil, making them a bit lighter than a true deep-fried macaroni bite. Serve these up as appetizers or even a side dish.
Air Fryer Fried Macaroni & Cheese
The secret to making a good fried mac and cheese is using cold macaroni. I like to make macaroni and cheese a day before making these bites. Or make the Mac in the morning and let it sit in the fridge throughout the day. The cheese soaks into the pasta and helps make it not so messy, and you will have a lot easier time forming your balls.
What Is Fried Mac And Cheese
Fried mac and cheese is a popular appetizer at most restaurants around the globe. You have little cheesy mac and cheese balls inside a crispy breaded coating. Think of it as an appetizer similar to a jalapeno popper. You bite into cheesy pasta heaven.
More Copycat Recipe
Looking for restaurant-quality recipes to make at home? Here are a few more copycat recipes to try out next time you get a craving but don’t want to order takeout.
- Olive Garden Toasted Ravioli | Another pasta dish that gets air fried to a toasted outside, filled with a cheesy pasta center. Dip in a marinara or even pasta sauce, and enjoy!
- Chili’s Salsa | If you love homemade salsa, you have to try this recipe. It is just like the salsa you get served at Chili’s! So easy to make and perfect for dipping salty tortillas in.
- Olive Garden Spinach Artichoke Dip | Check out this cheesy spinach artichoke dip. You make it in the Instant Pot for a quick and easy process. Pair with chips, bread, etc.
Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer Cheesecake Factory Fried Macaroni & Cheese
Ingredients, for this recipe, the most important ingredient is cold macaroni and cheese. If you have an Instant Pot, you can either use the easy Instant Pot Hack For Making Kraft Macaroni and Cheese or a Homemade Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese Version. Whatever version you use, make sure that there are plenty of leftovers.
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Panko Bread Crumbs
- Homemade Copycat Cheesecake Factory Marinara Sauce
Start by scooping up 3 tablespoons of COLD macaroni and cheese. Roll into a ball. As you roll the macaroni and cheese balls, place them onto a greased baking sheet. Pop the baking sheet into the freezer until frozen solid, for about 2 hours.
In one bowl, mix the eggs and milk in one bowl. In the other bowl, pour the bread crumbs. Then dip the frozen macaroni and cheese ball into the egg mixture and then into the bread crumb mixture.
As you bread them, place them back on the greased baking sheet, and pop them into the freezer for another 30 minutes, until frozen solid.
Preheat your air fryer to 360 degrees F, air fryer setting for 5 minutes. Spray your air fryer basket with olive oil.
Spray the macaroni and cheese balls with olive oil spray, covering all the breading so they crisp up; air fry for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Can I Double This Recipe
If you want to have extra balls on hand, go right ahead and double the recipe. The biggest thing is when you are cooking these, make sure to batch cook. Don’t overlap or allow the balls to touch in the air fryer, or you will find the areas that touch become undercooked.
Air Fryers must circulate the hot air around all areas of the food, or you will have undercooked spots.
- Ensure you use olive oil to spritz all over the balls before you air fry them. Otherwise, you will not get the outside to crisp up how you want.
- If you want to skip the air fryer, cook these in a deep fryer.
- Keep your mac and cheese bites warm in a preheated 200-degree oven in a single layer on a baking sheet while you are cooking the rest. Don’t stack, or they will sog up.
- Like any fried food, it is best eaten hot. You can store leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days—Reheat in the microwave or even the air fryer.
SOME HELPFUL PRODUCTS USED WHILE MAKING THIS RECIPE-
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Air Fryer Cheesecake Factory Fried Macaroni & Cheese
- 2 cups macaroni and cheese, cold
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup Marinara sauce
- Start by scooping up three tablespoons of COLD macaroni and cheese. Roll into a ball. As you roll the macaroni and cheese balls, place them onto a greased baking sheet. Pop the baking sheet into the freezer until frozen solid, for about 2 hours.
- In one bowl, mix the eggs and milk. In the other bowl, pour the bread crumbs and salt. Then dip the frozen macaroni and cheese ball into the egg mixture and then into the breadcrumb mixture.
- As you bread them, place them back on the greased baking sheet, and pop them into the freezer for another 30 minutes, until frozen solid.
- Preheat your air fryer to 360 degrees F, air fryer setting for 5 minutes. Spray your air fryer basket with olive oil.
- Spray the macaroni and cheese balls with olive oil spray, covering all of the breading, so they crisp up. Air fry for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Plate, serve, and enjoy!
- Air Fryer