When it comes to creating new recipes and putting a spin on old ones, I’m a little obsessed with my creativity. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to traditional recipes, especially some of the classics. Hello baked macaroni & cheese! But I also know that with the great appliances like my Air Fryer, Instant Pot, and Pressure Cooker, there’s so much more that can be done.
Anyone who knows my younger two boys knows their deep love and appreciation for a big bowl of macaroni & cheese. They are also interested in this classic dish getting spruced up and offering them a different texture.
Besides, all three of my kids are my favorite guinea pigs for recipe testing. Who else is more honest than kids about how things taste? So as I was thinking about creating a special recipe for them, my mind wandered to amusement parks (they love amusement parks!) and eventually led to carnival and state fair foods.
Albeit unhealthy, but street vendor food is incredibly delicious! There you have it. That’s how this Air Fryer Mac and Cheese Balls recipe was born and it’s one that we’ll continue making for a very, very long time!
Is cooking in your Air Fryer healthy?
This depends on what you’re cooking. It’s healthier than the alternative deep fryer that uses a lot of oil, as opposed to the Air Fryer which uses no oil. So if you’re asking if it uses less grease which in turn cuts down on the calories, then the answer to that question is yes. Here are a few of my top recommended healthier air fryer recipes-
- Air Fryer Honey Cauliflower Wings
- Zucchini Enchiladas
- Air Fryer Egg & Corn Salad
- Crustless Mini Taco Quiche
- Rosemary Maple Glazed Turkey Breast
However, it’s no secret that the Air Fryer can cook almost anything. Cooking something unhealthy in the Air Fryer won’t automatically make it healthy, although that would be totally awesome if it did!
Is an Air Fryer hard to clean?
No, not at all. It’s super simple and is actually one of the easier appliances to clean. Most accessories can be cleaned using the dishwasher, saving you a ton of time and sanity. And for the outside and parts that aren’t dishwasher safe, simply wipe them down with a warm cloth, making certain it’s unplugged first. The basket can be cleaned with hot water, mild dish detergent and a non-abrasive cloth or sponge.
Is it possible to take your Air Fryer with you when you travel?
Yes. When we go on vacation, people still have to eat, right? And that means that meals have to be made because no one has the money to eat out for every single meal. Restaurant food is not cheap! There is no shame in packing up the Air Fryer and taking it with you on your travels. As long as you’ve got a little bit of counter space and an outlet, you’re good to go.
Okay, let’s get down to it. This homemade macaroni and cheese recipe is one that you’ll never, ever forget!
Air Fryer Mac and Cheese Balls
Start by gathering all the ingredients listed below. I used gluten-free panko for this dish. That is another option to consider. Also, if you do not have an air fryer, since making this recipe I have been using a Cosori Air Fryer. I love it!!! Stay tuned to my unboxing video. This is the one I have here–
COSORI Air Fryer(100 Recipes),5.8Qt Electric Hot Air Fryers XL Oven Oilless Cooker,11 Cooking Preset,Preheat&Shake Remind,LED Digital Touchscreen,Nonstick Basket,2-Year Warranty,ETL/UL Certified,1700WCOSORI Air Fryer Accessories XL (C158-6AC), Set of 6 Fit all 5.3Qt, 5.8Qt, 6Qt Air Fryer, FDA Approved, BPA Free, Dishwasher Safe, Nonstick Coating, 2-Year Warranty
Ingredients to make Macaroni and Cheese Balls
- 1 lb Elbow Macaroni (cooked as directed on the box)
- 2 (8 oz) packages of Colby Jack cheese
- 4 jalapeno diced
- 1 1/4 cup Whole Milk
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 1/4 cup Butter
- 2 Eggs
- 3 cup Soy Free Panko
- Salt & Pepper to taste
How to make homemade Air Fryer Macaroni and Cheese Balls
1. Alrighty, first things first. Boiling the macaroni. You will want to boil until tender, then drain and set aside.
2. Next take and shred your Colby and Jack cheese and set aside. You can also buy pre shredded if you want to save time.
3. Dice up your jalapeños and then set those over to the side.
4. Now you will want to make a roux In a large pan, over medium heat melt your butter.
5. Gently add in your flour and mix until combined. It should be a light brown color.
6. Now add 1 cup of whole milk and whisk until thick.
7. Carefully add your cheese next one cup at a time.
8. Mix until cheese is all melted and smooth.
9. Continue repeating with remaining cheese.
10. Add the macaroni and jalapeños and mix until well coated.
11. Add salt and pepper. Set to the side.
12. After all that is done you will want to put your macaroni and cheese in a container. Place in your refrigerator for 1 hour to chill.
13. While that is chilling line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
14. After you remove your macaroni & cheese from the fridge, take your macaroni and cheese into 1″ balls and place on your pan. Now place in freezer for 1 hour.
15. Using a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs and add 1/4 cup milk in a bowl. Dip balls into egg wash then roll in the panko. You will want to make sure to coat completely.
16. Heat your Air Fryer to 380′ and cook for 12 minutes.
17. Serve with some Marinara sauce
What if my Cheese Balls aren’t holding together after taking them out of the freezer?
This may mean that you didn’t let them freeze long enough. Put them back in the freezer for a few more minutes and see if that solves the problem. Otherwise, be very gentle with them when coating and rolling in the panko. They may stick together more at that point once that outer coating is added.
See how simple this recipe can be? And not only is it super simple to make, but it’s also so much fun! Everyone knows that traditional macaroni and cheese is served in a bowl with a fork, but these cheese balls take it to a whole other level!
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