Baked Mini Mac and Cheese Bites are perfect for parties and also make a great side dish. Macaroni and Cheese lovers rejoice!
If you are a mac and cheese lover, I’m guessing this baked mini mac and cheese bites recipe will become your perfect appetizer. Or side dish. Or snack.
As I’ve mentioned before I’ve never been a mac and cheese lover, but these cute little appetizers made in a mini muffin tin and baked until the tops are golden brown, just might convert me.
No, these aren’t as creamy as the real thing, but they certainly are fun to eat.
And if you want to serve them as a side dish feel free to make them in a regular sized muffin tin.
The simple mac and cheese recipe is made with sharp Cheddar or white cheddar and any soft spreadable herb cheese like Alouette, Boursin, or Cracker Barrel.
Of course, you can use any great melting cheese such as Gruyere, Havarti and even a jalapeno Jack.
The key thing in this recipe is to create flavor.
This finger food appetizer tends to be a bit bland on its own so adding in lots of herbs and spices, such as garlic powder can really amp up the flavor.
For that matter stirring in crisp bacon bits or well drained green chilies could work too.
But this simple recipe made with al dente macaroni and an easy cheese sauce will surely hit the spot whatever you choose to use!
Whether for game day or Thanksgiving Day-which is really kind of game day…these elbow macaroni cheese cups are sure to be devoured.
Imagine my surprise several years ago when I went to a volunteer Thanksgiving dinner for at risk teens and found out that macaroni and cheese was more popular than any other thing on the table.
My mom never made me mac and cheese, whether from a box or scratch, so having this dish on Thanksgiving day was news to me.
Zoe would have loved if I had served it, as she is my pasta lover of all sorts and it is because of her that I learned about Kraft mac and cheese.
(My head must have been in the sand!)
On play dates she was often served mac and cheese for lunch and soon I had to start doing the same.
But still, I never became a convert even if I made it from scratch!
Now she is a grown-up and I’m guessing she already knows about this great recipe.
How To Make Baked Macaroni and Cheese Bites:
It begins with greasing the little mini muffin tins, unless of course you want a larger size for a side dish.
This recipe begins with a simple crust of melted butter, Ritz cracker crumbs and some shredded Cheddar cheese.
Merely mix together and press a bit into each greased muffin tin.
Set aside until you are ready to add the cheese filling. No need to prebake.
This recipe makes 48 mini mac and cheese bites so that should be enough to feed a crowd!
Cook pasta according to package directions but make sure to cook it al dente because it will still have to bake in the oven.
Take the cooked pasta, drain it well and put it back into the dry pot.
Then while the burner is still warm add the herbed cheese, 2 c of Cheddar cheese, sour cream, milk, eggs, 2 T cold butter and lots of seasonings.
No need to mix this in a large bowl. I try to limit the number of dirty dishes in my kitchen! Just mix it all up in the large pot you used to cook the macaroni.
I actually added harissa seasoning not the paste, because I really wanted to give these little bites some extra zing!
A bit of cayenne pepper could do the same. Or add in some Buffalo sauce or drizzle it on top after they are baked.
Spoon macaroni into the crumb crusted mini muffin pans.
Sprinkle with some more shredded cheese, cheddar, parmesan cheese, whatever you prefer!
What to do with leftover mac if you don’t want to make 48 mac and cheese bites?
I put half of this mixture in a small dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and then topped it with the leftover crumb mixture.
Now I have a small casserole that is ready at a moment’s notice!
A perfect finger food is one in a bite-size portion, don’t you think?
These fun appetizers would work great on most any appetizer menu.
Don’t forget kid’s parties either, because I guarantee kids would love these!
There are many recipes out there for these mac and cheese bites.
I like this one because there is no need to make a cheese sauce.
They can be served at room temperature but please do not serve them straight from the fridge. That kind of reminds me of eating cold pizza at midnight!
Have fun with this party appetizer. My guess is it could be the hit of the party!
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Mac and cheese bites makes great finger food a for a large crowd. They can also be served as a side dish when made in regular muffin cups.
2 c crushed Ritz crackers – about two sleeves (I put them in a zip-lock bag and crushed them with a meat mallet.)
6 T butter, melted
1/2 c shredded Cheddar cheese
Mac and Cheese:
12 oz elbow macaroni
5 oz of garlic herb cheese-the spreadable kind-your favorite variety
2 3/4 c shredded sharp Cheddar cheese or your favorite melting cheese, but not mozzarella because it won’t add enough flavor
2 T cold unsalted butter
2 large eggs
3/4 c milk, heavy cream or half and half
1/4 c sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 t of Cayenne pepper or I used 1 1/2 t harissa seasoning,
1 t garlic powder
Preheat oven to 375.
Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray. This will make 48 mini muffins, approximately.
Melt 6 T of butter in a large 4 cup mixing cup and then add cracker crumbs and 1/2 c of cheddar. Mix well and press about 1 t of the mixture into each muffin cup. Press firmly so that it comes a bit up the sides. Set aside.
Cook elbow pasta according to pasta directions and only until a few minutes shy of al dente.
Drain well and place back in warm pot. Add the herbed cheese, 2 1/2 c shredded cheddar, sour cream, milk, eggs, cold butter and seasonings. Taste for salt! Mix well until cheese is melty and no large clumps remain.
Spoon about 2 t of cheese mixture into the prepared mini muffin tins. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cheese.
Bake for 12 -14 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and let stand about 10 minutes until you can safely remove them without them crumbling! Just run a knife around the edges to gently remove each one.
Leftovers can be wrapped and kept in the fridge and then safely reheated in the microwave on a lower setting until just warm.
Feel free to add other seasonings. Make these Mexican style if you’d like!
Add ins could include crisp bacon, ham, green chiles or whatever you can think of.
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