Cheez-Crusted Mac and Cheese Balls
Cheez-Crusted Macaroni Balls are indulgent bite-sized treats that combine creamy mac and cheese with a crispy Cheez-It® coating. These savory morsels offer a perfect blend of rich, cheesy goodness and a satisfying crunch. They're a delightful snack that will leave you craving more with each delicious bite.
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces shredded Monterey jack cheese
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups Original Cheez-It® Crackers
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Ranch, for serving
1. Bring a medium pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of flour and whisk to incorporate. Whisk in the milk gradually and cook until the mixture reaches a gentle boil and thickens 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cheeses. Mix until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in the macaroni.
3. Spread the macaroni mixture evenly into a 9-inch by 13-inch pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or until cold.
4. Shape the cold macaroni mixture into 2-inch-sized balls and place on a parchment-lined sheet tray.
5. Place the Cheez-It® Crackers in a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Using a rolling pin, gently roll over the bag to finely crush the Cheez-It® Crackers. Pour the crushed Cheez-It® Crackers into a shallow dish. Place the remaining ½ cup of flour in a second shallow dish. Whisk the eggs in a third shallow bowl.
6. Roll each ball around in the flour, tapping off any excess. Dip in the egg mixture, letting any excess egg drip off. Roll the ball in the crushed Cheez-It® Crackers, firmly pressing the mixture into the ball to create a solid coating. Return the balls to the baking sheet. Repeat to coat all of the balls.
7. Heat 2 inches of oil in a Dutch oven or large pot until a thermometer registers 350°. Fry 6 balls at a time for 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown and hot in the center. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Serve warm with ranch.