If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good serving of mac and cheese! With this dish, I’ve taken my favorite Baked Mac and Cheese recipe and added a special twist, turning it into the perfect appetizer for your next gathering. This crispy seasoned breading is the addition to mac and cheese I didn’t even know I needed! When I tell you these Vegan Air Fried Mac and Cheese Bites are worth it, I MEAN IT!
Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Vegan Air Fried Mac and Cheese Bites:
To make this recipe, you’ll just need a few simple ingredients:
- Macaroni Noodles
- Vegan Cheddar Cheese
- Vegan Butter
- All-Purpose Flour
- Unsweetened Almond Milk
- Flaxseed Meal
- Neutral Cooking Spray
- Panko Breadcrumbs
- Smoked Paprika
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Dried Parsley
How to Make Vegan Air Fried Mac and Cheese Bites
Making this Vegan Air Fried Mac and Cheese Bites recipe is a lot easier than you might think and totally worth the few extra steps beyond making your regular mac and cheese dish.
To begin, you’ll boil one and a quarter cup of elbow noodles until they’re cooked. Once this is done, drain the water from the pot then transfer the pasta to a square 8×8 baking dish. Coat the pasta using one tablespoon of vegan butter and set aside.
Now it’s time to make the vegan cheese sauce. In the same pot that you cooked the pasta in, you can now use it to make the cheese. Melt two tablespoons of vegan butter, then whisk in two tablespoons of all-purpose flour until the mixture is smooth. Next, add in the unsweetened almond milk and bring to a boil. Once the pot is boiling you’re ready to add in your favorite vegan cheddar shreds and whisk the mixture until it reaches and overall smooth consistency. Don’t forget to season with a little salt and pepper!
Now that your cheese mixture is formed, you’re ready to stir it into the cooked pasta. Before you do this, be sure to line your baking dish with parchment paper for easy removal when it’s time to cut the squares. Mix the cheese sauce and the pasta together until all of the noodles have been evenly covered. Smooth out the mac and cheese in the 8×8 baking dish until it’s even, then cover it with plastic wrap, foil or a lid if you have one and transfer it to a flat surface in the freezer for about two hours or until you’ve noticed that the mac and cheese is firm.
Once it’s firm, remove it from the freezer and use a knife to cut the square into 16 even pieces. You may find it helpful to make small marks where you intend to cut before actually cutting all the way through just to ensure your spacing is the way you want it. There’s nothing worse than cutting something only to realize halfway through that one of the sections is more of a rectangle than a square. If this happens, it’s no big deal. They’ll still taste the same 🙂
Now that your squares are cut, you’re ready to start dipping. Place your flax eggs in one dish and all of the breading ingredients in another. Dip each of the mac and cheese squares in the flax egg mixture first, then into the breading mixture. Be sure to cover each side evenly, then set them aside on a baking sheet or plate until each of the squares have been coated.
Grab your favorite neutral oil spray (think vegetable oil or olive oil) and spray each of the mac and cheese squares evenly on each side and transfer to your air fryer. Cook them for 15-17 minutes and voila! You’re ready to enjoy your new favorite finger food!
Can these Vegan Air Fried Mac and Cheese Bites be Reheated?
Yep! They sure can! To reheat these Air Fried Mac and Cheese Bites, simply place them back into the air fryer at 400° on the air fryer setting and allow them to cook for 2-4 minutes. The time varied for me depending on how many I had in the basket at the same time.
I Don’t Have an Air Fryer. Can I Still Make These?
Yep! You sure can! Instead of using the air fryer, you can place them on a baking pan and bake them in the oven at 425° for about 30 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
I know you’ll love these Vegan Air Fried Mac and Cheese Bites! They’re easy to make and are the perfect appetizer for your next get together. Give this recipe a try and let me know how it goes in the comments below!
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Vegan Air Fried Mac and Cheese Bites
- 1¼ cups elbow macaroni noodles
- 1 dollop of olive oil (optional)
- 2-3 cups vegan cheddar cheese (I used Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value brand, but you can use whatever brand you enjoy most)
- 3 tbsp vegan butter separated
- 1 pinch of salt
- black pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1½ cups unsweetened almond milk
- 4 flax eggs (4 tbsp flax seed meal + 9 tbsp water mixed)
- neutral cooking spray
- 1½ cups unseasoned panko bread crumbs
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- Cook the macaroni noodles according to the package instructions.
- Once noodles are done cooking, drain the noodles (do not rinse) using a colander, then coat with 1 tbsp of vegan butter. Set aside.
- In a medium sized pot, melt 2 tbsp vegan butter over low-medium heat. Add in salt and pepper to taste.
- Slowly whisk the flour into the mixture until smooth, then add in the unsweetened almond milk. Bring to a boil then stir in the vegan cheddar cheese until melted.
- Combine the mixture with the pasta and place in an appropriately sized baking dish (I used an 8×8) lined with parchment paper for easy removal.
- Allow the dish to cool for a bit, then transfer it to the freezer and let chill for one and a half hours or until mixture is firm.
- Once the dish has cooled, use the parchment paper to pull out the mac and cheese from the baking dish and cut into 16 squares. Set aside.
- In an appropriately sized dipping bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the breading mixture. In another dipping bowl create the flax eggs.
- Dip each of the mac and cheese squares into the flax egg (making sure to dip each side), then into the breading mixture. Transfer to your air fryer basket. Repeat until each square is covered.
- Once each square has been coated with the breading mixture, spray each side with a neutral cooking oil of your choice.
- Cook in your air fryer at 400° for 15-17 minutes on the air fryer setting.
- Once finished, let them cool for a few minutes and enjoy!