My husband and I went to the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate my birthday in July and we tried the deep-fried mac and cheese balls. I knew right then I had to find the recipe! And I finally made some… 6 months later, but whatever.

These are the most delicious balls of fried mac and cheese ever! The outside is light and crispy, and when you break it open, the cheese just oozes out! Hungry yet?!

CopyCat Fried Macaroni and Cheese Balls


  • 1 pound (one box) large elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups whole milk heated and warmed
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2lb. grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2lb. smoked Gouda cheese (grated)
  • 1/2lb. shredded Italian blend cheese — Fresh Parmesan, Asiago, Romano, Mozzarella, Provolone cheese
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 box Panko bread crumbs

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Slightly under-cook your elbow macaroni according to directions. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside.

In a big saucepan, melt your butter.

Once it melts, slowly whisk in your flour – stirring out the lumps.

Add the milk into the mixture. Cook on medium heat for about 4 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Remove from heat and slowly add all of the freshly grated cheeses.

Stir well until it is melted and smooth.

In a large glass pan, fold in the macaroni and mix well with the cheese sauce.

Season with salt and pepper.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Then shape the cold mac and cheese into balls. Mine are pretty large (like the Cheesecake Factory) but you could make them bite-size too.

Place the balls on a cookie sheet lined with foil in the freezer for about 45 mins.

Compress the balls to make them firmer and tighter and put them back in the freezer.

In a small bowl, whisk your 3 eggs and your 3 tablespoons of milk. Set aside.

In another bowl, place your Panko bread crumbs and set aside. (It’s important to use the Panko brand!)

Heat your oil in a pan or fryer.

One by one, take your mac and cheese balls and dip them in the egg mixture – then roll them in the Panko bread crumbs.

Coat each ball really good and fry them in the oil.

They will be a crispy light brown when they are done. Set on a paper towel to drain the oil.

Top with some freshly grated cheese. Serve with marinara sauce. 

Deep Fried Macaroni and Cheese Balls