Do you love pizza? Do you love macaroni and cheese? Well, then you should try making homemade mac n cheese pizza. Our two wonderful guilty pleasures joined together in holy matrimony for four forevers over the rainbow.
- There are three ways to make mac and cheese pizza – as a topping on regular pizza, as a casserole, and as fried balls. We provide recipes and cooking instructions for each version.
- Additional customizations are suggested for each recipe, such as different cheeses, meats, vegetables, and sauces to add variety. The recipes are meant to be flexible.
- Mac and cheese pizza combines two classic American comfort foods. The recipes aim to take mac and cheese to the next level and make it even more decadent by combining it with pizza flavors and preparations like baking, frying, and using it as a topping.
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The Beauty of Mac n Cheese
Macaroni and cheese in the blue box is a classic American food that is beloved by kids, college students, and tired parents everywhere. It is easy to make, and the cheesy goodness satisfies a hungry belly. But there is more than just the classic blue box of macaroni and cheese.
In grocery stores everywhere, you can find different takes on the classic macaroni and cheese, from Annie’s organic mac n cheese to Cheetos mac ‘n’ cheese jalapeño to versions with cauliflower pasta or garbanzo bean pasta. There is even gluten-free mac n cheese on the market and a vegan version of this favorite dish.
If you have time and enjoy making things from scratch, you can just boil some pasta shells or macaroni and skip the powdered cheese to add in your own freshly grated cheeses like Gouda, Gruyere, and Parmesano Reggiano to upgrade the boxed versions.
But if you really want to amp up your mac & cheese, then mac ‘n’ cheese pizza is an excellent choice. We have three delicious ways to make this ultimate comfort food.
Macaroni and Cheese Pizza
If you are looking for a simple recipe for making homemade mac n cheese pizza, then simply using macaroni and/or cheese as a topping is a fun idea. You can start with your favorite homemade pizza dough. We suggest using a rolling pin to roll it out so you get a thinner crust.
Mac n cheese is best on a thin crust because you get the crispy crust plus the soft cheesy macaroni. After the dough is rolled out, par-bake it for a few minutes, then remove it and add a layer of grated cheese.
Then use your favorite prepared mac n cheese and layer that on top. Add another sprinkle of grated cheese and bake for another few minutes.
- Use a base layer of béchamel sauce and a sprinkle of Italian seasonings.
- Brush the dough with olive oil, then add some hot sauce before adding the mac n cheese.
- Top the mac n cheese with pepperoni or salami slices or other more adventurous meats.
- Ditch the powdered cheese and add a tablespoon of pesto and some grated Pecorino cheese, then use the mix on top of the pizza crust.
- Mix cooked chopped chicken with the mac ‘n’ cheese for added protein. Or even some lamb kebab if you’re feeling frisky.
The possibilities are endless, depending on how decadent you want to go. If you prefer to add some healthy veggies, then throw some chopped broccoli or spinach into the mac n cheese. But if calories are not a concern, then make it a four-cheese affair and enjoy every bite.
One of our favorite pizza joints in Minnesota, Mesa Pizza, usually has a mac and cheese pizza option on hand most nights. When we lived in Texas, many eons ago, Cici’s Pizza also had a legitimate mac and cheese pizza.
Mac n Cheese Pizza Casserole
We’ll say it again, we are from Minnesota, and one thing Minnesotans love is a good hot dish. For those of you in other states, you may call it a casserole, but it’s the same thing, a bunch of goodies covered in cheese and baked until ooey gooey good.
We like to make this hot dish with mac n cheese and pizza flavors. You start with your favorite mac n cheese recipe. We suggest using store-bought pasta, grating your own cheese, and churning your own butter; just kidding, you can use store-bought butter, but you should always grate your own cheese.
Cook the macaroni al dente. Add in a tablespoon of butter, then the grated cheese and mix well. Then add in black olives, chopped salami or pepperoni, and mushrooms. Mix all of the ingredients together. Place in a casserole dish; we use a rectangle glass 9×12 dish.
Cover with another layer of shredded cheese and bake covered with foil at 400º F for 20 minutes. Then remove the foil and let bake another 5-10 minutes to crisp up the top.
Pretty much anything you want can be added to a hot dish. You can add other vegetables than you love on pizza, like fresh basil, peppers and olives, or other meats, like homemade Italian sausage or shredded chicken.
Just keep in mind the ingredients should be cooked before mixing them into the cooked pasta. Mac n cheese pizza casserole is a forgiving dish, so anything you add will be good. Although we do not recommend using pineapple, but Canadian bacon is acceptable.
Mac n Cheese Pizza Balls
Mac n cheese pizza balls are a great way to use up leftover mac n cheese. They remind us of arancini that we had when we were traveling in Italy. Instead of macaroni, arancini are made with leftover rice mixed with cheese and meat, then coated in breadcrumbs and fried. Almost as good as leftover pizza itself. Or the pizza al taglio found in Rome.
Mac n cheese pizza bites start with your favorite mac n cheese recipe. Again we suggest skipping the powder, but if you are looking for convenience, use the cheese powder.
Then mix in some chopped pepperoni and some grated cheese. Then add one egg to serve as a binder. Once everything is mixed together, set in the refrigerator for an hour.
The trick to making mac n cheese pizza bites is keeping them from falling apart while breading and frying them. The best way to do that is once you remove them from the fridge, take an ice cream scoop or spoon, or just use your hands and form them into balls.
Put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place them in the freezer for two hours or until they are more solid.
Next, set up your batter station. Add bread crumbs to one bowl and whisk the eggs into another bowl. We like to use tongs to do this because it is messy, but you can use plastic gloves (or be like us and use BBQ gloves) or embrace the mess and just use your fingers.
Take each ball and dredge in the egg mixture, then in breadcrumbs and fry in a Dutch oven with half an inch of vegetable oil. We like to use the Dutch oven for frying because it keeps the oil from splattering out, and the Dutch oven holds heat well, so they are ideal for frying.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use store-bought mac and cheese for these recipes?
Yes, the recipes will work with store-bought mac and cheese. Just be aware the quality may not be as good as homemade. You can also customize the store-bought version by adding additional cheeses, meats, herbs, etc.
What kind of cheese should I use for mac and cheese pizza?
We recommend cheeses like Gouda, Gruyere, Parmesan for mac and cheese pizza. Melty cheeses that combine well with pasta are best. You can also use a cheese blend.
Can I make the mac and cheese pizza vegetarian?
Yes, you can leave out any meats like pepperoni or sausage. You could also add veggies like spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes instead of meat.
How do I prevent the mac and cheese pizza balls from falling apart?
Freezing the formed balls before breading and frying helps hold them together. Make sure to fully coat them in breadcrumbs so the exterior seals in the filling. Gently fry in small batches so they aren’t overcrowded.
Can I make a gluten-free version of mac and cheese pizza?
Yes, you can use gluten-free pasta, dough and breadcrumbs to make these recipes gluten-free. Just be sure to check all ingredients for gluten.
What dipping sauces would you recommend for the pizza balls?
We suggest using ranch dressing, but marinara sauce, pesto or blue cheese dressing would also make tasty dipping sauces if you so choose.
What’s your favorite version of mac n cheese pizza? Or more importantly, what are your guilty food pleasures that a connoisseur wouldn’t care about?