Mac, Chicken and Cheese Bites
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Mac, Chicken and Cheese Bites

Mac Chicken & Cheese Bites from



Someone in our know going through a serious macaroni and cheese phase. It's funny how kids get something in their heads and just fixate on it. This has happened to Kenya with tons of foods such as pizza, pasta, yogurt, muffins, cheese, even string beans (seriously, he couldn't get enough of them) and now he's obsessed with mac and cheese.

I've been having a blast coming up with fun pasta and cheese recipes and these Mac, Chicken and Cheese Bites are a tasty way to give your kids a double boost of protein. I especially love these bites because they fit beautifully in a lunch box and even little kids can easily hold them in their hands. When Kenya first saw these he asked, "What are those" and I said, "mac and cheese muffins". "Macaroni", "cheese" and "muffin" all in the same sentence? They were a winner before he even tried the first bite! I wonder if that means this phase will last three times as long?

Photo by Maren Caruso

Mac, Chicken & Cheese Bites  (Makes 20 Mini Bites)

  • Prep Time: 15 mins,
  • Cook Time: 15 mins,
  • Rating:
    Rate this recipe
Someone in our know going through a serious macaroni and cheese phase. It's funny how kids get something in their heads and just fixate on it. This has happened to Kenya with tons of foods such as pizza, pasta, yogurt, muffins...


  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup white cheddar
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. 2. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package directions (the pasta I used said to cook for 9-12 minutes, so I cooked it for 10 minutes).
  3. 3. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  4. 4. In a small heavy bottomed saucepan melt 2 Tbsp of the butter.
  5. 5. Whisk in the flour and salt and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. 6. Add the milk in a slow stream and whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally .
  7. 7. Add the white cheddar and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and stir until melted.
  8. 8. Pour the cheese sauce and chicken over the pasta and stir to combine.
  9. 9. In a bowl, combine the 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
  10. 10. Grease mini muffin cups.
  11. 11. Pour about 1/4 cup of the macaroni mixture into the muffin cups, sprinkle the top with the bread and cheese mixture and bake for 15-20 minutes (I cooked mine for 20 mins) or until breadcrumbs are golden brown.
  12. 12. Cool in muffin cups, remove and serve.
  13. *Allow to cool and place in ziploc bag,label and freeze up to 4 months. When ready, place in toaster oven or oven at 300 for 10 minutes or until heated through.
Mac, Chicken & Cheese Bites

Nutrition Information

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  1. Megan

    January 27, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    I made a mistake that I thought might interest some people: I didn’t realize how big my box of pasta was, and probably put in 1 1/4 lb of macaroni, while keeping all other ingredient amounts the same. I wouldn’t exactly recommend this variation; it seemed a little dry and bland to me. BUT it did still work. We all ate it, and the kids really liked it. So if you find yourself with unexpected mouths to feed or an especially tight budget, know you can stretch this with more pasta. (BTW, it made 67 mini muffins with my pan!)

  2. Victoria

    November 25, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Can you use whole wheat pasta?

    • Victoria

      November 25, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      I made these with whole wheat pasta and marble cheese – so good!

  3. ladymalai

    September 30, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Would you do a video of this?. I am like the others who had the problem that the bites don’t retain their shape though I followed the recipe to the letter. I would love to figure out what I did wrong.

  4. sandmp

    August 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Awesome. Just finished making a batch and they are yummy. My girls should love these!! Thanks.

  5. Stacy Cahill

    June 30, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Would you mind letting me know what would be considered an adult serving of this food? I see in the nutrition information that the recipe makes 20 bites and I am trying to find out if the accompanying calorie and nutrition calculations are per one bite or if the stats were calculated on another amount. I am currently trying to track my food intake and want to make sure what I should be utilizing as a serving. Thanks!

    BTW, I made these for my almost one and a half year old and she loved them! She is going through a picky face right now and it was incredibly satisfying to serve these as part of dinner that she ate with enthusiasm. Thank you so much for your books and this site, they have been a great guide for me to plan her meals.

    • Catherine McCord

      June 30, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      The nutrition information is for 1 Mac, Chicken and Cheese Bite!

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  8. Tammy

    September 1, 2013 at 9:36 am

    I love these! Make them all the time. I make w and wo the chicken and have added spinach, peas and carrots. I also up the veggie factor by adding some pumpin, sweet potato or butternut squash purée in the cheese sauce.

  9. GD

    June 24, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    How long do these need to cook when using regular size muffin cup pans?

    • catherine

      June 25, 2013 at 11:30 am

      About the same amount of time. 20 minutes, or until golden brown!

  10. BettyJo

    May 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    I’m a grama and want to make some of these recipes for grampa!

  11. Lisa

    April 23, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    I made these for my daughter’s lunch and had high expectations for them! She loves mac-n-cheese, but she told me that even after heating them up for lunch (they have a microwave in her classroom), they tasted “bad” – she asked me to never make them again. Bummer! Had high hopes for this recipe in integrating it into our Bento lunch boxes, but my 1st grader doesnt like this one! Her comments is “they taste bad”.

  12. Deryn

    April 14, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Just made these for my daughter’s birthday party and they were a big hit. I used a big muffin pan but lined the cups with parchment paper. Baked for 20 min. They stayed together beautifully.

  13. keaton21us

    September 24, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    I did most in mini muffin tins and ended up with 4 for the big muffin and I prefer the minis. They stay together better, especially coming out of the tins and the minis are great to pick up and eat. I used a teaspoon to gently take them out. My kids and I loved them!

  14. ABB

    September 10, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Hi! I loved this idea and tried to make them yesterday but mine fell apart as I tried to get them out of the muffin cups. Any suggestions to keep that from happening again?

    • Samara

      August 31, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      Mine fell apart! What did I do wrong? I used rice milk in place of milk but my roux looked great and I wouldn’t expect a diff result…?

  15. Courtney

    August 29, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I used this as a base recipe for our dinner last night. I used ham and spinach, added a little onion and garlic powder, and baked in a 9×9 casserole dish. It was so good. We only had enough leftovers for my daughter’s lunch today..

  16. Dale

    August 21, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Would it hurt to take these out of the freezer, let them thaw in the fridge over night and send them for lunch the next day, with out heating them? Or would it be safer to heat them in the morning (straight from thenfreez) let them cool then put them in the lunch?

    • catherine

      August 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      That would be totally fine from a food safety standpoint!

      • keaton21us

        September 24, 2012 at 6:38 pm

        Have you ever tried to take one directly out of the freezer and let it thaw in the lunchbox that has an ice pack in it?

        • catherine

          September 24, 2012 at 7:16 pm

          I haven’t done that, but I think it would thaw by lunchtime!

      • Dale L

        August 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm

        Thank you for replying!

  17. Leesh

    July 21, 2012 at 9:50 am

    I had high hopes for this one. I was kinda bummed my 14 month old just wasn’t loving them. They fell apart and were really dry.

  18. wondrous crib mobiles

    February 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm

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  19. Alicia

    February 1, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Could I leave out the chicken, or substitute a veggie for the chicken?

    • catherine

      February 1, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      You can do either! You could leave out the chicken or substitute a soft veggie. You want something that will be about the same consistency as the cooked chicken. Maybe steamed carrots or broccoli? Let me know how it works!

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  23. michelle

    October 28, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    I made these and my daughter just LOVED them…me too!! Instead of breadcrumbs, i sprinkled wheat germ on top for extra nutrition! Just a crispy as breadcrumbs!

  24. Meredith

    October 12, 2011 at 12:00 am

    I made these for my girls (who LOVE mac n cheese with a passion!) and they LOVED them! I swapped out white cheddar for 2% milk sharp cheddar (the hubby hates white cheddar) and they were fab! You definitely have to cook these *just* long enough. I made two batches, and the 1st batch fell apart upon scooping them out b/c I had under-cooked them. The 2nd batch I let cook a couple minutes more and they held together.

  25. Melissa

    September 14, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Just made these…shredded the chicken vs cubing it, they held together perfectly after 20 min in oven & VERY picky 5 yr old didn’t fuss about the chicken! Yea!

  26. Meredith

    September 10, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    I made these the other night and they were a HIT!!! My 6 and 4 y.o. daughters LOVED them, as well as the hubby! I have a gas oven and typically I have to cook things 5 mins. (give or take) less than what the original recipe calls for. However, these NEED more than 15 mins. in the oven to get that good crisp on the outside. I had one batch in for 15 mins. and they fell apart upon scooping them out. (And yes, I did wait until they had cooled a bit.)

  27. Fatima

    August 12, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Amazingly cheesy n tasty! Only it’s better to substitute wholewheat pasta for normal macaroni and wheat in place of flour, from health point of view.

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  29. Donna

    February 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    My toddler LOVES mac and cheese…would eat it every day if I let him! I am so excited to try these, but don’t have any Parmesan Cheese on hand. Can I use any other type of cheese?

  30. Sarah

    January 15, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I made a batch of these tonight to freeze and put in my son’s lunches over the next few weeks. I only added 1/2 cup of milk and I mixed in 1 cup butternut squash puree right before I added the cheeses. I also subbed whole wheat pasta, flour and breadcrumbs. They turned out great, with just a hint of sweet from the squash, but I know he’ll love them. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Lanie

      February 18, 2011 at 11:35 am

      Is your son able to heat these up at school or does he just eat them cold?

  31. Sara

    January 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    These were wonderful, I made them in a regular muffin time and they turned out great. I took three out immediately because I was hungry and too impatient and they stayed together pretty well, a little crack but pretty good. I let the others cool to put into the freezer and they stayed together perfectly. I did leave out the chicken though.

  32. PattiR

    December 28, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Awesome! My husband took the leftovers for lunch today. I tried the mac and cheese before putting them in the muffin tins and it was creamy and delicious. I might try cooking it in one big casserole dish next time.

  33. Colby

    December 9, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    All 3 of my kids loved them- which is a shocker! I am waiting to hear how they did as leftovers in school lunches. My 2 year old actually ate them at school and that is all I need to do it again! I am wondering if I wanted to use a regular muffin pan for my bigger kids (and less time consuming) would I just let it go longer to get them thoroughly cooked and develop that crust?

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  35. Krista

    November 1, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I’ve made Mac & Cheese Muffins before, but they turned out dry. Is the Mac & Cheese as creamy as just made? 😀

  36. beth

    September 19, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    i made these today. i love trying out your recipes. unfortunately these turned out kind of greasy for me. i wonder where i went wrong… my toddler still loved them though!

    • catherine

      September 20, 2010 at 2:44 pm

      Did you grease the tins? It would have been because of that.

  37. Erica

    September 6, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    AMAZING!!! However – I baked them in a mini-muffin tin and filled them to the top. I tried a batch in the reg muffin tin filling them 1/4 full.

    RESULT –> I preferred the ones cooked in the mini-muffin pan. They turned out crispier and held together better.

    Thanks for this amazing recipe!

    • Catherine

      September 5, 2011 at 11:41 am

      Good to know. Thanks

  38. Tonia

    August 16, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    I made these last night to serve to the daycare kiddos today (super picky, super bad eater!!). I love the idea,but something didn’t quite work out for me- they really didn’t stay in “muffin” form….should I make sure they have more sauce, dice the chicken smaller?? Any ideas? The kids snubbed them, which I expected, but I want to offer them again if I can get them truly hand held…

  39. Beth

    July 25, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    These look great! I’m going to try them and reduce the milk by 1/2 cup and substitute 1/2 cup cauliflower puree for some added nutrition. I hope it works!

    • catherine

      July 26, 2010 at 4:26 pm

      ME too!! Let me know how they turn out!

      • Beth

        August 11, 2010 at 5:46 pm

        Well, I made them today but didn’t have the cauliflower on hand so I just followed your recipe. I’ll let you know when I do make them with veggie puree.

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          February 4, 2014 at 4:18 am

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  40. Jessica H

    June 21, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    We made this, but as I’m always trying to find ways to sneak veggies into things, added some peas, too. They were a huge hit! Thanks for the recipe!

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  42. Margaret Ann

    January 27, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I made these last night and my kids loved them! They helped me stir the cheese and milk and mix them with the noodles. They waited (kind of) patiently while the “cupcakes” baked and, when they came out of the oven, my 5 year old declared them “the best dinner ever!” Thank you for yet another healthy family dinner hit!

  43. Jacqueline Hay

    January 24, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    I was so happy when I came onto the website today and found this recipe! I too have a toddler that is in love with Mac & Cheese and I can’t come up with enough ways to satisfy his appetite. I made these today, using tri-color whole wheat Alphabet pasta and organic chicken. Alexander could not wait for them to be baked so I had to give him one before they went into the oven! He loved them…and this is a recipe I am recommending to all of my friends with young children.

    I always look forward to the new recipes you post and can’t wait to try them out.

    Thank you,
    Jacqueline & Alex

  44. Kathy

    January 24, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Do these freeze well? I have a little boy who will love them, but it is just the two of us, so we will certainly have leftovers! If they do, how do you recommend reheating?


    • catherine

      May 6, 2010 at 6:14 pm

      They freeze well, I would take them out and put them in the oven or you can put them in the microwave, just let them thaw out.

  45. Adina

    January 24, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    My dd wrote in that last comment for me:) We are trying this recipe today!

  46. Adina

    January 24, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I Love this resipe!!!

  47. Sheryl

    January 22, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    I made this last night. It was easy, yummy, healthy and the best part, Rocco loved it. I love this site. Thanks for all the work you put into it.

  48. Jojo

    January 22, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Have you ever tried this recipe with the veggie chicken strips? It looks delicious tho even without the chicken!

  49. Kurdistan

    January 21, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    creative idea i’d like to try it

  50. Laurie

    January 21, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I can not wait to try these! (with whole grain pasta though).

  51. Mandie

    January 21, 2010 at 6:31 am

    Oh wow, my daughter is a little cheese hound — she’ll love these!