Instant Microwave Macaroni and Cheese

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instant microwave macaroni and cheese

Instant Microwave Macaroni and Cheese is a total game changer ~ this easy recipe makes a single serving ultra creamy mug of cheesy macaroni in just minutes, right in the microwave!

Instant Mac & Cheese in a Mug
Of course I take a personal interest in all my recipes, but I’m extra interested in this one because I tend to get crazy hunger spikes in the middle of the day, and for some reason I have a block against buying anything remotely appropriate for lunch when I’m at the supermarket.  I’m always stuck roaming around the kitchen hunting for something, anything, to deal with my intense mid-day munchies, so imagine my excitement at finding an instant rich and creamy macaroni and cheese… for one… in a mug… made right in the microwave!

DIY Instant Mac & Cheese

No leftovers to tempt you into eating too much, or to go to waste.  We tested this a whole bunch of times, and came to the conclusion that this recipe works best.  It’s perfect if you live alone or just happen to be alone and hungry.   Kids can do it themselves after school. or in a dorm.  If you like macaroni and cheese, you’re going to want to give this a try, trust me.  It may take a few tries to get it right for your mug and your microwave, but it will be worth it.

Set up for instant macaroni and cheese

This is quick and easy, but because we’re dealing with a recipe for one, and a microwave, it is fairly precise, so listen up carefully — you’ll need just a few simple things to get started —

  • a large mug
  • a liquid measuring cup
  • a 1/3 cup dry measuring cup
  • elbow noodles
  • some pre-shredded cheese
  • a little milk
  • and water.

shredded cheese for instant macaroni and cheese

Once you’ve got it down, you can experiment with variations, but for the first time I suggest trying it this way.  I found that store bought finely shredded cheese worked best, and made the creamiest sauce.  I used a cheddar/Monterey Jack blend, but other blends will also work.  I used whole milk.  My mug had a 1 2/3 cup (400 ml) capacity.  My microwave is a fairly standard 1000 watts.

instant macaroni and cheese in a mug

Put 1/3 cup of elbow noodles into your mug.  Add a scant 1/2 cup of water to it.  Be sure to use a liquid measuring cup to measure your water.  And by scant, I mean just shy of 1/2 cup.  Basically you will microwave this mixture until the water has evaporated.  In my microwave this takes about 4 minutes.  Microwave it for 2 minutes to start, then stir.  Then another minute, and stir again.  Then a final minute, and the water should be absorbed.  If not, microwave a bit more until it is.

macaroni and cheese for one, made right in the microwave

Stir in your milk and cheese, and microwave for a final 30-60 seconds.  Stir very well to blend everything together into a creamy sauce, and enjoy.

Instant Microwave macarone and cheese for one

We tried this many different ways, and found that the pre-packaged grated cheese made the creamiest sauce.  I was stumped about that until I read the ingredients and saw that there is some starch added to prevent clumping in pre-shredded cheese.  I think this may also help thicken the sauce.  Not sure, just a guess.  But we tried grating our own cheeses and the sauce came out thinner.  In that case I added a pinch (1/8 teaspoon) of cornstarch to the milk, and that seemed to help with thickening.

creamy macaroni and cheese for one

I have eaten SO much mac & cheese in the past few days of testing that I am totally sick of it, so now it’s your turn — Let me know in the comments is you try this, and what worked and didn’t work for you!

If you’re a mac and cheese freak like I am, try my other recipes ~ here are a few of my faves:

Instant Mac & Cheese in a Mug
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Instant Mac & Cheese in a Mug


  • 1/3 cup small macaroni elbow noodles (uncooked)
  • a scant 1/2 cup water
  • a scant 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup pre-packaged finely shredded cheese (we like a cheddar/jack blend)


  1. Put the macaroni and the water into a mug. Microwave on full power for 2 minutes. Stir. (Note: the water will boil over just a bit, that is fine)
  2. Microwave for another minute. Stir.
  3. Microwave for a fourth minute, and then check to see that all the water has been absorbed. If not, microwave a bit more, until it is gone.
  4. Stir in the milk and shredded cheese and microwave for a final 30-60 seconds. Stir well, and enjoy.


If you are grating your own cheese, try adding a pinch (1/8 tsp) of cornstarch to the milk.

Recipe found on Babble


  • Use a big mug.  Mine had a 1 2/3 cup (400 ml) capacity.
  • Use elbow pasta, anything larger will not cook quickly enough.
  • Whole milk seems to work best, although feel free to use cream or half and half for a decadent treat.
  • Measure carefully and accurately according to the recipe directions.  Use a liquid measuring cup for the liquid, and a dry measuring cup for the solids.
  • Cook your noodles until all of the water has all been absorbed.  Check carefully after the 4 minutes, and if there is still any water left in your mug, keep microwaving in short bursts until it is absorbed.  Microwaves, like ovens, can be finicky.
  • Set your mug on a small plate to catch any water overflow.
  • Pre-packaged finely shredded cheese made the creamiest thickest sauce.  If you are grating your own cheese, you might experiment with adding a pinch of cornstarch to the milk and cheese.
  • Stir well after adding the cheese and microwaving for the final 30-60 seconds.  The sauce will develop and get creamy as you stir.  It will continue to thicken as it sits.  You can reheat it briefly if you like.
  • If despite doing everything right you still end up with a thin sauce, you may have had extra water left in your pasta after the initial cooking,  Check it carefully because water = watery sauce.
  • Once you’ve got the basic operation down, experiment to your heart’s content with different cheeses, etc.


Don’t forget to pin this Instant Microwave Macaroni and Cheese!




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Leave a Reply


  • Reply
    Lynn Kendall
    January 24, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Hi. We just tried this and the noodles don’t seem to be cooked. Any suggestions? The flavor is great and the kids love this but noodles need to be a bit more tender.

    • Reply
      January 24, 2019 at 10:29 am

      Did you use the small elbow noodles, Lynn? As long as your pasta is small, and you have enough liquid, they should cook. If you find your noodles are too firm you might try cooking them for a little longer, in a little more water, first, before continuing.

  • Reply
    Mickey Smith
    December 28, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    Use a clear glass cup so the cup doesn’t get hot, works a lot better. For anything in the m.w.

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