Deep Fried Macaroni & Cheese



I want to advise you not to try this at home, but really you should. Especially if you happen to be a marathon runner in need of a carb load or someone who is trying to put on weight. (ie: not me.)

For the first week of July, I can’t help but be swept up by the Stampede, and inevitably a pot of canola oil shows up on my stovetop with which to fry corn dogs and mini donuts, which goes along way toward winning friends and influencing people. This year I was challenged to make deep-fried mac & cheese; a midway staple that popped up a few years ago, but the novelty has worn off in the presence of newer deep-fried products with higher gross-out factors, like deep fried Coke, Oreos, and this year – jellybeans. (For those of you who are curious how one might deep-fry Coke, they just make a sort of beer batter with Coke and flour, and dribble it into hot oil. The result is a little like those crispy bits you get in the bottom of your fish & chips box, only sweeter. I can’t imagine the markup on this particular product.)

I am more old school – mini donuts (but only from the vendors with the yellow and orange sign – preferably the one closest to Weadickville) maybe a Fiddlestick (those slabs of vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate and doused in chopped nuts), and Mike and I always share a corn dog, which is enough for me for the year. When in Rome, you know.

As it turns out, deep-fried mac & cheese is a lot like far more refined arancini, which is not at all balked at, and in fact those with appreciative palates have been known to pay upwards of $8 at certain Italian groceries about town for one. And although it might be a little more lowbrow, it’s simple to make. Just like risotto, mac & cheese solidifies overnight in the fridge, so that you can cut it into neat cubes which are easily rolled in shallow bowls of flour, beaten egg and Panko (in that order), and fried in hot oil. They are crispy on the outside, soft and cheesy within. (They reminded me of those old-fashioned marshmallows dipped in coconut.) I made some for CBC this morning, and fortunately my sister and her kids popped in around dinnertime and kindly allowed me to pawn off the rest. Otherwise I’m sure it would have whined at me from the fridge until I put it out of its misery.

Deep-fried Mac & Cheese

1 batch macaroni and cheese, from a recipe or a box of that white cheddar stuff
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 cups Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or breadcrumbs

canola oil, for frying

Prepare the macaroni and cheese and pour it into a pan – a 9″x5″ loaf pan works well, or a 9″x9″ square pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or until solid.

When ready to fry them, put the flour, eggs and Panko in three shallow dishes; beat the eggs a little with a fork. Heat the oil in a deep pot until a bit of bread sizzles when put in, but the oil is not smoking. Cut the macaroni and cheese into blocks about 1″ x 1 1/2″, roll each in flour to coat, then dip in the egg, and coat in breadcrumbs. Fry in the hot oil until crispy and golden. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve warm.

Makes about 2 dozen squares.

One Year Ago: White Beans with Tomatoes, Spinach and Bacon

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July 07 2009 06:15 pm | appetizers and pasta and snacks

37 Responses to “Deep Fried Macaroni & Cheese”

  1. Aimee on 07 Jul 2009 at 6:47 pm #

    Brilliant. Especially because I love arancini, but they take forever to make; this is much more user friendly. These would probably be a hit for my next girls night in, you know, for all those marathon runner friends of mine.

  2. Carol SB on 07 Jul 2009 at 7:53 pm #

    Crazy! I love this idea. (Once I start deep-frying stuff, though, it’s gonna be hard to stop…)

  3. mp on 07 Jul 2009 at 9:02 pm #

    I am tired and had a big day. Just logged in to see what you are up to. Your kitchen antics and writing never fail to make me smile, I have marathon running friends too, who just might need to eat this sometime. Thanks!

  4. Carolyn on 08 Jul 2009 at 3:12 am #

    okay, you’re going to hate me for writing this, but I can’t bring myself to making this, as good as it sounds… I am going to try it though, but trying it the oven baked way — instead of dropping them in oil, I’ll spritz them with oil and bake them at a reasonably hot temperature. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  5. Elaine on 08 Jul 2009 at 8:01 am #

    you’re killing me, here. This morning I was wondering if I should cut out the three strawberries and half banana in my breakfast smoothie in an attempt to tighten my diet even further. I think what I need is to have a job like yours, where I can make all of this awesome-looking and fun-to-prepare food, then sell it within 30 seconds to get it out of my weakly-grasping hands.

  6. Theresa on 08 Jul 2009 at 6:13 am #

    save this one for Halloween….. deep fried brains. :)

  7. June on 08 Jul 2009 at 6:43 am #

    I’ve made this too, but called it Rissoles, after I had a ton of mac & cheese left over from a party. The finished product freezes very well for re-warming in the newker too. I’m always looking for “cheap” & filling stuff to serve to my husband’s students, so this fits the bill as great college kid grub.

  8. Cheryl Arkison on 08 Jul 2009 at 6:49 am #

    Great idea Julie, and wonderful adaptation, Theresa. I would use spaghetti for the brains.

  9. Deborah on 08 Jul 2009 at 7:09 am #

    I’ve always wanted to try deep fried mac and cheese. I’m a deep fried kind of girl, so I know I’d love it!

  10. Theresa on 08 Jul 2009 at 7:25 am #

    I’ve done enough kid parties to know the grosser the name the better they like it! I figured W would be a demi-god with this one!!

  11. Jennifer on 08 Jul 2009 at 7:34 am #

    Ha, Julie, this is hilarious. I almost spit my organic cherry fruit smoothie (though I secretly want to eat deep-fried mac’n’cheese of course) all over my laptop as I read this post. My husband will now undoubtedly go about deep-frying up some coke. I guess I haven’t been to the Stampede in WAAAYYYY too long. I had no idea what I was missing. Cheers.

  12. Vivian on 08 Jul 2009 at 8:47 am #

    Julie, you have now gotten me pondering other things that would stand up to the deep-fry treatment. Squash blossoms are fairly exotic, as is ice cream but I wonder if anyone has tried other bizzare stuff. How about deep-fried grape or sun-dried tomatoes, or (Heaven forbid!), battered and deep-fried crispy bacon strips? Now that would be a BLT to behold! What happens when one uses a different type of flour for the batter? How long can one safely re-use the frying oil without replacing it?

  13. JulieVR on 08 Jul 2009 at 8:55 am #

    Oh but of COURSE you can deep fry bacon!

  14. Golden Age Cheese on 08 Jul 2009 at 10:19 am #

    I like fried cheese curds, but in my opinion the only thing that makes cheese better is macaroni. Sounds very good!

  15. zoe on 08 Jul 2009 at 1:02 pm #

    I am speechless. I just found your blog and love it!

  16. Kathy on 08 Jul 2009 at 1:12 pm #

    Wow I must be the only one who doesn’t like anything deep fried and was slightly grossed out reading this post. (Sorry Julie, I enjoy most all of your entries.)

  17. Erica B. on 08 Jul 2009 at 1:40 pm #

    President’s Choice actually sells a mac n chese nugget product, I think yours has their processed cheese version beaten hands down :)

  18. Cookie on 08 Jul 2009 at 2:28 pm #

    Wow, I’ve only seen Paula Deen make this once on TV and thought it sounded somewhere between yummy and scary. :)

  19. Laur on 08 Jul 2009 at 3:49 pm #

    Wait, the coke thing is like beer batter? Do they make deep fried beer?!

  20. Jen on 08 Jul 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    Wow…those take mac n’ cheese to a new level. My fav Stampede foods by far are the lemonaid (oh so refreshing) and those smoked beef sandwiches that are something like $9 a piece. Totally worth it!

  21. Vivian on 08 Jul 2009 at 6:31 pm #

    That’s some YouTube video you referenced regarding deep-fried bacon. I take it all back…I’m curious no longer and will never look on a rasher the same way again (except with a heavy heart, literally). I could feel my arteries constricting on seeing the rest of the menu!Gak!

  22. Lesley on 08 Jul 2009 at 7:22 pm #

    They have this at the Texas State Fair, and it’s AWESOME. I’m really glad you’re spreading the love from Canada! The fair has Fried Coke too, by the way. And fried PBJ. And fried Oreos… and Snickers… and Twinkies…

  23. Barb on 09 Jul 2009 at 5:58 am #

    I would love to try one. I could never make a batch of them.

  24. Ani on 09 Jul 2009 at 7:35 am #

    Oh bless your fried cheesy heart. I’ve been looking for a worthy recipe ever since I discovered heaven at the Cheesecake factory. So thank you!

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  26. Kevin on 11 Jul 2009 at 9:48 am #

    Great post! Though for some reason I am craving deep fried something now.

  27. Lilly on 19 Jul 2009 at 8:33 pm #

    O_O Do you think People with braces could eat this? x)

  28. Watermelon Caprese Salad | dinner with Julie on 07 Jul 2010 at 9:46 pm #

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  29. The Three Bite Rule on 14 Jun 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    Great post! I just made these and can’t wait to post them!

  30. I’ve Got An Ap For That… on 15 Jun 2011 at 5:39 am #

    […] In honor of my Mac & Cheese-loving-Mrs. Z, I made some fried mac & cheese bites when she was visiting Boston with her husband (who planned a guest blog post for me!). Mrs. A & Mr. D joined us for a mini staff (and husbands) dinner party. They were amazing. Albeit not perfect, they were still delectable and I’m onto a good thing. I think the technique was really important. I stole a tip from a blog, Dinner With Julie. She recommended making the mac & cheese then refrigerating it so it can easily be cut. Definitely a good tip. Check it out on her blog! […]

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    I love your writing style! MARRY ME!

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