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Macaroni & Cheese Balls (Gluten Free)

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Chilling1 hr
Total Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: appetizer, football, game day food, Gluten Free, macaroni and cheese
Servings: 24
Author: The Gluten Free Gathering


  • 8 ounces Tresomega Nutrition Quinoa Elbow Pasta, cooked and drained
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter (softened at room temperature)
  • 3 ounces cream cheese (softened at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely diced, cooked Canadian bacon

Breading & Frying

  • 2 cups vegetable oil (for frying)
  • 2 eggs (if needed 2 more eggs for a clean dipping station)
  • 1 cup gluten free Italian seasoned bread crumbs (plus 1 cup more if needed for a clean dipping station)
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil or parsley


  • Boil the pasta for 10 minutes.  Drain thoroughly.
  • Immediately stir in the butter, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, 4 slices of American cheese, and diced Canadian bacon into the hot pasta. Keep stirring until all of the cheese is melted. The mixture will be thick.
  • Spread the mac and cheese into a shallow dish. Cover and chill for 45 minutes or until completely cooled. I like to make the mac and cheese the night before, that way it is completely cooled and ready for me to use the next day.
  • Using a 1 tablespoon spring loaded scooper, scoop out slightly heaping mounds of mac and cheese. Press the pasta together into a tight ball. The mac and cheese must be completely cooled for this to work. Place the mac and cheese balls onto a baking sheet. Pop the tray in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  • While the mac and cheese balls are firming up in the freezer, put together your breading stations. First, whisk together 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon of water. Set aside. Next, place 1 cup of your favorite gluten free Italian seasoned breadcrumbs into a separate bowl.
  • I work through this recipe in two batches. Inevitably, breadcrumbs are going to get mixed into the egg mixture. This makes for a rather goopy, hard to work with mess. So, half way through my mac & cheese bites, I make a new batch of the egg mixture (2 eggs + 1 tablespoon water) and a fresh bowl of breadcrumbs (1 cup). In my testing, this worked so much better than working with the same breading ingredients for the entire recipe. But if your egg mixture and breadcrumbs are holding up well, then continue to use them
  • Roll one ball into the egg mixture, then roll the ball into the breadcrumbs being sure that the entire ball if firmly covered in breadcrumbs. Place the ball back onto the baking sheet.
  • To fry, place oil in a fryer or place 2 cups of your preferred vegetable oil into a dutch oven. Over medium to medium-high heat, heat the oil to 350 degrees. Working in small batches of 4-5 balls, carefully lower the balls into the oil. I like to use a slotted metal strainer/spoon to lower the bites into the oil and then to remove them as well.
  • Cook for 4-5 minutes being sure to move the balls around during frying to ensure a crispy surface.
  • Place several layers of paper towels onto a dish or baking sheet. Remove the balls from the oil and place onto the paper towels to drain.
  • Place the mac & cheese balls into a serving dish and sprinkle with a bit of grated parmesan cheese and torn parsley or basil leaves.


If you do not like the spicy kick of pepper jack cheese, feel free to substitute equal amounts of cheddar or monterey jack cheese instead.
You can also opt to substitute cooked, crispy, crumbled bacon into the mix instead of Canadian Bacon.