These Mac & Cheese Appetizer Bites are perfect for any party, like New Year’s Eve parties, Super Bowl parties, or just because it’s Wednesday parties! And, what kid (or kid at heart) wouldn’t love little bite sized mac & cheese for dinner? These bites will become a party staple in your house too!
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Please let me know if you have any questions about this recipe. I read all the comments myself and I try to help as soon as I can. I have readers from all levels of comfort and experience in the kitchen on my site, and I’ve tried to answer some of your questions already in the post. But if I’ve missed anything, please feel free to leave a comment and ask.
Can I mix up the cheeses?
Absolutely, you can use different kinds of cheese in these.
The American cheese provides a nice creamy consistency and mild flavor, so I’d recommend keeping that one in the recipe. But, feel free to use pepper jack, Colby jack, or anything else for the Cheddar. And the Parmesan can be replaced with Asiago, Pecorino, Romano, or any other dry cheese you’d like.
I’ve been making this recipe for parties for years. It came from a magazine at some point, and I think the first time I served it was at a super bowl party I hosted.
These are equally at home at a fancy New Year’s Eve party!
And, what toddler doesn’t love finger foods like these!
Want another fun Mac & Cheese appetizer? Check out these Mac & Cheese Egg Rolls that are made in the air fryer!
Can I make these ahead?
These cheesy bites are great for make ahead appetizers.
Prepare the mac & cheese and portion it out into the mini muffin pans as directed in the recipe, with the sprinkle of Parmesan and all. Cover the trays with plastic wrap or foil, and keep those trays in the refrigerator overnight. Then, pop those prepared muffin trays in the oven.
When you’re ready for hot mac & cheese bites, simply bake them up, and in 10 minutes you’ll have a delicious appetizer or snack.
If you wanted, you could also make the mac & cheese, not assemble the trays, and store the mac & cheese by itself. Then, prepare the trays at a later time, and bake up the bites. Since this method still means some last minute work to do, I prefer making the trays up ahead of time.
Can I double the recipe?
Of course, you can double this recipe. It’s a perfect one for a crowd, or maybe you have a couple of hungry teenagers in the house. Double this bad boy.
Simply use the servings slider on the recipe card to easily double it.
Silicone muffin trays
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I find the silicone mini muffin cups easiest to use. These bites pop right out when you gently press up on the bottom of the muffin tin.
However, if you only have metal mini muffin tins, these still work well. Make sure to butter the inside of the muffin cavities well. After the bites are baked and they cool, run a table knife around the outside of the mac & cheese, then, lightly pry up the mac & cheese bite using a spoon.
Easy to make
Brush the muffin tins with melted or softened butter, then sprinkle in the shredded Parmesan.
Make the mac & cheese in a pan. These (affiliate link) ceramic pans from Italic are great for making this mac & cheese.
Spoon the mac & cheese into the prepared muffin tins, top with additional shredded Parmesan, and bake up.
4 ounces of shredded cheese is about 1 packed cup of cheese.
For the American cheese, you can either use the wrapped slices and unwrap each one, or head over to the deli counter of your grocery store and ask for 4 ounces of American cheese.
When sprinkling the Parmesan in the muffin tins before adding the mac & cheese, I use ½ tablespoon per 12-cup tray. Try to sprinkle as evenly as possible inside each cup, but if some have a little more or a little less, it’s all good, don’t fret. And, if you need to use a little more Parm than ½ tablespoon per tray, that’s just fine. I mean, no one is going to complain if there’s more cheese!
The same goes for the Parm that’s sprinkled on the top of the mac & cheese before it goes in to bake. I use ½ tablespoon per tray and try to make them even, but don’t stress about making them perfectly even. These are supposed to be fun cheesy bites, add more Parm if you need to.
If you aren’t familiar with smoked paprika, I highly recommend you get some! It had a full robust smoky flavor and fragrance. It makes everything just a little bit more savory. If you are worried about the flavor, or making these for kids who might not like new things, feel free to leave it out.
Mac & Cheese Appetizer Bites Recipe
Mac & Cheese Appetizer Bites
- Mini muffin trays
- Position the oven racks in the upper and middle thirds of the oven, and preheat the oven to 425° F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the macaroni until al dente, about 5-9 minutes. Drain, shaking off the excess water.
- Brush four 12-cup (or 48 muffin cups total), nonstick mini muffin tins with melted or softened butter. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese into the muffin cups.
- In a large saucepan, melt the 1 & ½ tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, and stir for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cook, whisking, until boiling, about 5 minutes. Add the cheddar and American cheeses and whisk until melted. Take the mac & cheese off the heat, and whisk in the egg yolk and smoked paprika. Fold in the cooked macaroni.
- Spoon slightly rounded tablespoons of the mac & cheese into the prepared muffin cups, packing them gently. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of shredded Parmesan on top.
- Place the mini muffin trays on baking sheets to make them easier to take in and out of the oven (especially if they’re silicone trays). Bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden and sizzling. Carefully remove from the oven, and let the trays of bites cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
- Run a knife around the outside of the mac & cheese bites to loosen them from the cups, and using a small spoon, carefully loosen the bites from the trays. If you’re using silicone trays, you can gently press up on the underside of the tray to loosen the bites. Transfer to a platter and serve.