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The Better "Instant" Mac & Cheese in a Mug

July 03, 2013

I honestly have no idea why I didn't think of this earlier. Mac & Cheese made in a mug and prepared in the microwave is about as genius as peanut butter filled pretzels. Currently my oven/stove is broken, and until my mom can make up her mind on which model she wants cooking is no easy endeavor. Lack of an oven has forced me into eating plenty of raw veggies, but I can only take so much before I go crazy. This recipe is SO easy anyone (even college students in a dorm) can make it. 
mac and cheese intro pic 
I particularly like this recipe because a) it doesn't come out of a box or use mysterious cheese powder and b) it makes only one serving so eating five servings temptation is automatically eliminated (or at least severely reduced). 
IMG_0818 copy cheese copy final image copy

for Mac & Cheese in a Mug. Serves 1
1 cup water
½ cup elbow macaroni
½ cup cheeses of choice

1. Put macaroni in a mug and pour in water. (You may want to add more or less water depending on mug size, but there should be more than enough to completely cover noodles). 
2. Microwave on high for 8 minutes pausing at the 5 and 2 minute mark to stir and add more water if necessary.
3. Cook until al dente. 
4. Add cheese to pasta mixing with the small amount of water remaining at bottom of mug
5. If cheese does not completely melt, pop mug back in microwave for 30-60 seconds
6. Stir then enjoy! 
    -If you are feeling really fancy with your microwave cooking skills add some herbs or veggies like red peppers or chopped broccoli



    1. omg. you have no idea how great you just made my life.
      thank you for this amazing recipe!

    2. Found your site through foodgawker, gotta say that I do the exact same thing all the time! Your cheese combinations sound much better than mine though, I usually just throw whatever I can find in the fridge, which is usually those individual cheese slices or shredded cheddar. Love being able to have instant comfort food.

    3. That is genius!!!!! Thanks for sharing it looks awesome :)
      xox Amy

    4. You're a genius! Can't wait to try this. I'm your new biggest fan!

    5. This is so brilliant! I used the same cheese blend as you but I think I added too much water as it was quite watery; next time I'll add a bit less! Thank you for such an easy and healthier alternative to the mysterious cheese powder!! :)

    6. Oh my gosh this is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing! I tried it and I love it.

    7. Looks great. Unfortunately when u tried to make it using cheddar/American cheese (shredded) it all globbed together and wouldn't mix :/

    8. This is actually brilliant, I can't wait to try it! I came here from BuzzFeed by the way. :)

    9. Oh my gosh this is awesome! I was just lamenting the fact that I had no KD in the cupboard, and I magically find this recipe via Greatist. Aaaah yes!!! :D Much better than KD! Thank you <3

    10. Used clicked broth instead of water and added a little pepper jack cheese, IN-CRED-I-BLE!

    11. This looks so good can't wait to try it I'm so bored of having it out of the tin and this looks WAY better!!

    12. This did not work and created a goopy mess.

    13. How do you stop the water from boiling over?

    14. In honesty, this is just pasta with melted cheese. It doesn't taste like proper mac and cheese which is made with a kind of cheese sauce.

    15. Made this for a class today. All the students LOVED it. The boiling over was the only issue we had- plus we added a dash of salt to the cooking liquid. To "solve" the boiling over, we put the mugs in a wide, deep bowl so we didn't flood the microwave.

      1. Thank you so much, Josie! Yes, the boiling over is a minor issue, but it sounds like you found a really great way around it. When I was making it I would just pause the microwave every couple of minutes, but it sounds like your way is more sensible!

    16. This was great! I made it with alphabet pasta and served it to my little sisters for lunch.
      we did have a flooding problem though, our microwave turned into a lake and left the pasta a little dry.
      I LOVED IT ANYWAY! <3<3<3

    17. I'm sorry to say this but this didn't work. I ended up with burnt, uncooked pasta with all the water in a bowl I put under the mug :(

    18. Love it:) my daughter loves homemade man n cheese but she is at she can have the comforts of home there also:) my mug also over flowed. I even used a large soup mug. So I switched to a cereal bowl and added little more boil over:)

    19. OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG. Me and the other repliers, except for a couple, thing U R THE GREATESSSSSSSST Person in the whole entire world for coming up with this never before conceived idea. I now microwave and eat a box of elbow macaroni with that LOVELY cheese choice of yours every DAY.

      THANK YOU > 3

    20. An amazing idea and great base recipe! I did make a few changes though: I drained the water at the end, added a tablespoon of butter and about a tablespoon of milk before I added the cheese. Because these are cold and make it harder for cheese to melt, i had to put it back in the microwave for about 45 seconds or so. I also added salt, pepper and paprika. so delicious!

    21. Soooo good!! I put a small plate under the mug before I popped it into the microwave and poured the water that had boiled over back into the mug at the 5 min point. I drained off some of the water at the end, added about a Tbs of milk and some butter, and a pinch of onion powder, salt, and cracked black pepper. Never going back to easy mac again!


    I love hearing what you have to say!