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Course: Mains
Keyword: Appetizers, Comfort Food, Game Day, Hacks, Snacks, Vegetarian

Fried Mac and Cheese

Fried mac and cheese sticks on a paper towel-lined plate.
ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Leftover mac and cheese gets an upgrade when it's fried and frittered until golden brown and crisp. I realize that the concept of leftover mac and cheese may be alien to many of you, so you may want to make a double batch just to make this.
Depending on the size of your pan, you might be able to get away with using less oil, as long as you have enough to come halfway up the side of the pieces you intend to fry.
This recipe first appeared on Season 5 of Good Eats.
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  • 1 quart peanut oil, for frying
  • 6 cups leftover macaroni and cheese, refrigerated overnight
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs

Specialized Hardware

  • Dutch oven
  • Digital instant-read thermometer
  • 3 pie pans
Fried mac and cheese sticks on a paper towel-lined plate.
ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Procedure

  • Heat the oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven on medium-high heat until it reaches 375°F on a digital instant-read thermometer. Then, turn the heat down to medium.
  • Meanwhile, cut the refrigerated mac and cheese into slabs roughly the size and shape of a deck of cards, approximately 1/2-inch squares.
  • Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a pie plate. Whisk the egg and water together in a second pie plate. Breadcrumbs go in a third pie plate.
  • Dredge each slab of mac and cheese in the flour and tap off as much excess powder as possible. Dip in the egg wash, then coat thoroughly with the breadcrumbs. Set aside on a cooling rack for 5 minutes to set. Ease 3 or 4 pieces into the oil at a time and fry until golden brown, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side, flipping once. Remove to a cooling rack set over paper towels. Repeat with remaining squares. Serve hot. I like mine with cold ketchup, but that’s just me.
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