Three-Cheese Mini Macs

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The New Year is upon us and many of us will be hosting parties and get togethers with family and friends to celebrate.  So I thought I would share and document for my master list a favorite little hors d'oeuvres in our house.  

I think it is safe to say that almost everyone likes mac-n-cheese.  It is just good comfort food.  But why not enjoy that comfort food in one irresistible bite?  Pass them with cocktails or place them on the buffet table and let your guests serve themselves.   These will disappear before your eyes.  Not only are they delicious, they are easy to make and they can even be made the day before.  Just remove the unbaked mini macs from the refrigerator and bake them just before party time.

My inspiration for these came from an old Food & Wine article.  The original called for cheddar and American cheese, but I opted for a cheddar and Gruyère combination.  Those two cheeses pair perfectly with the parmesan.  I also added a bit more milk and an extra egg yolk.  A pinch of salt and some Panko crumbs for a little crunch and mmm--these are fantastic.  Who wouldn't want to eat mac-n-cheese with their fingers?

Feel free to change up the cheeses to what you like.  Jazz them up and add bits of ham or veggies.  Maybe give them a kick with some chiles and spices.  As I have said before-- make them for you , make them your own.  But for today's purposes, I am keeping them plain and simple in their pure comfort food form.

So whether you are ringing in the New Year with a cocktail party with friends or having a simple gathering with your family, make a batch of the Three-Cheese Mini Macs.  They will surely be a hit.

Wait--I almost forgot.  If you are in charge of packing those school lunches, then make a half a batch of these.  Kids, mac-n-cheese, bite sized portions--smiles all around!

Three-Cheese Mini Macs
makes 48 

1/2 lb elbow macaroni
1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons unbleached all-pupose flour
1 cup whole milk
4 oz aged white cheddar cheese, grated
4 oz Gruyère, grated
2 extra large egg yolks
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
1/4 cup Panko crumbs
pinch of Kosher salt

Adjust the oven racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 425º F.  Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil.  Add the macaroni and cook according to the manufacturer's directions.  Drain the macaroni completely and set aside.

Spray 2-24 cup mini muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.  In a small bowl combine the Parmigiano-Reggiano and Panko.  Set aside.

 In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Whisk in the flour and cook the mixture for 2 minutes, whisking constantly.  Add the milk and continue whisking until the mixture is thick, about 5 minutes.  Add the cheddar and Gruyère and whisk until the cheeses are completely melted.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks.  Fold in the macaroni and season with salt.

Evenly fill the prepared muffin tins with the macaroni and cheese, about 3/4 full.  Sprinkle the Panko and cheese mixture evenly over the tops.   Bake the mini macs until they are sizzling and golden on top, about 10-12 minutes rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Remove from the oven and let the mini macs cool for 5 minutes.  Using a the edge of a small offset spatula, carefully remove the mini macs abd transfer to a platter and serve.  Enjoy!

Note:  The recipe can be made just before baking and kept in the refrigerator overnight.

Source:  Adapted from Food & Wine


  1. Wow--heartstoppingly good!

  2. Heather-
    Thank you. They are very yummy:P

  3. What a great idea! Thank you for sharing this recipe, I can't wait to make these for a get-together.


  4. I took these to a neighborhood party last night and came home with an empty platter! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed these tasty morsels. I accidently bought a smoked Gouda and decided to use it. Guests thought there was bacon in it. Bacon and cheese...what's not to like. This recipe puts smiles on adult faces as well! Thank you for this recipe.

  5. This is too funny, I encountered the same recipe and made the same exact adjustment.

  6. Just pinned this- Can't wait to make :)

  7. Thanks for the awesome recipe! I substituted asiago for the Parmigiano-Reggiano because that is what I had. It turned out great!

    1. I am pleased you enjoyed it. Thank you for telling me about your adaptation.

  8. What did you pack them in for school lunches to keep them warm long enough? My kids would love these!

    1. I keep them warm in a shallow thermos.

  9. I have made these for the past 4 Thanksgivings. My sister begs for them every year! LOL
    Instead of using the cupcake tins, have you ever tried it with a 9x12 pan? Just curious about the cooking time and if the measurements would change.

    1. I'm so glad you and your family enjoys them! I have not tried it in a 9x12 pan. In my opinion the lacy crispy texture of each muffin would be lost. Instead, I use my baked mac-n-cheese recipe for that http://www.thegalleygourmet.net/2011/02/baked-macaroni-and-cheese.html. However, if you do want to try it, I would suggest doubling the recipe to fill a 9x12 pan.

  10. Yum! These were absolutely delicious! I love the combination of cheese.


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