**This post has been sponsored by Frito-Lay. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Summer is nearly here and I’m ready for all the summer feels like grill’n, gatherings and deep-fried foods. Deep fried foods like these Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Crunchy Fried Mac and Cheese Balls. These are going to be one of your biggest summer hits, so easy to make and perfect for effortless entertaining!
Admittedly, I gave these a test run last week during the basketball championship, because game day eats is a big deal around here. If you are a regular reader here, you know Matt and I are always trying to out do one another. But for this one, we decided to collaborate.
Sure we’ve both made deep-fried mac and cheese balls before, but never like this—never with Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Crunchy . We are so excited about these because: (1) they taste fabulous (2) Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Crunchy are a regularly stocked item in our pantry, so spinning them into a recipe means we now have another way to enjoy them (3) and we are never going back to any previous versions of fried mac and cheese.
You can serve these as a meal or as an appetizer. I like serving them with a side of blistered and charred shitsito peppers because they are a current obsession for Matt, but also because it does a great job at balancing the richness of the mac and cheese and the charred flavor is a good counter-point to the fiery zest of the coating.
I can hardly wait to serve these Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Crunchy Fried Mac and Cheese Balls at our Memorial Day BBQ. It’s going to be the unstoppable favorite—I’m betting on it!
A few notes:
- To easily form the mac and cheese balls, make sure you start with well chilled mac and cheese so it easily comes together as you form it.
- Depending on the size of your pot, deep fry the mac and cheese balls in batches to avoid over-crowding. Additionally, any size pot will work just make sure that the oil level clears the mac and cheese balls at least ¾ of inch.
- These are best served the day they are made, but if they cool down more than you prefer, you can quickly reheat
- 2 cups vegetable oil, or more, as needed
- 3 cups well–chilled macaroni and cheese, homemade or store-bought
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 1/2 cups Panko
- 4 oz. Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Crunchy , finely crushed
Preparation: Clip a deep fryer thermometer to a large heavy bottom pan filled with oil over medium high heat. Line a baking sheet with paper towels; set aside.
In a large bowl combine the crushed Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Crunchy and Panko crumbs. In a small bowl beat together eggs and milk until just combined.
Scoop out about 2 heaping tablespoons of mac and cheese and roll it into a 2-inch ball. Place formed ball on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mac and cheese.
Working one at a time, dip mac and cheese balls in the egg mixture, then dredge it through the Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Crunchy and Panko mixture, pressing to coat.
Working in batches as needed, slowly lower the balls into the hot oil and deep-fry until the Panko crumbs are visibly golden and the coating is crispy, about 1 minute. Transfer to a paper-lined baking sheet.