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Mac and Cheese Bites Recipe

If coming up with school lunchbox ideas is ever a challenge (and let's be real, when is it not?), you are going to love this recipe.

Six-ingredient easy, totally adaptable, make-ahead friendly and (most importantly) kid-approved, these mac and cheese bites are about to save lunchtime!

You can use your favorite mac and cheese recipe or the easy one included here. This one’s a favorite in our house because it can easily adapt to accommodate dietary restrictions. Because there’s no egg or flour, just a few simple swaps make this dish gluten-free and/or vegan with ease.

Even better? Add in some cooked and crumbled bacon or minced chives and you’ve got a sure-fire after-school snack or party appetizer that will fly off the tray.

And best of all you can make these in advance — which earns this recipe gold-medal status when it comes to school lunches. Just pop ‘em in the freezer after they’ve cooled and re-heat in the microwave or toaster oven.

But be sure to keep some for yourself.

Mac and Cheese Bites

  • Makes


  • Meal
    lunch, snack, appetizer
  • Prep

    20 minutes
  • Cook

    15 minutes
  • Total

    35 minutes


  • 1/2 pound macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
  • 1 cup cracker or bread crumbs
  • 2 1/4 cups shredded cheddar, divided
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 ounces cream cheese


  • 1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees – generously grease a 24-cup mini muffin tin.

  • 2. Cook macaroni 1 – 2 minutes less than the package time; drain and set aside. While the macaroni is cooking melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Mix in the cracker crumbs and 1/4 cup cheddar, stirring till well-coated.

  • 3. In the same saucepan that you used for the pasta, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over low heat. Add the milk, whisking constantly. Add the cream cheese and continue to whisk till melted. Season with salt and pepper.

  • 4. Return the macaroni to the pot along with the remaining 2 cups cheddar; stir till well-coated. Place a few spoonfuls into each of the muffin tins and sprinkle with the cracker crumbs. Bake for 15 minutes or till golden brown.

  • 5. Transfer tin to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove from tins and let cool completely.

Images via Sheri Silver

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