Kirbie's Cravings

Microwave Macaroni and Cheese in a Mug

close-up of macaroni and cheese in a mug

This macaroni and cheese in a mug is ready in less than 5 minutes. It makes a quick, easy meal for one.

a spoon scooping out some macaroni and cheese in a mug

While Fall may be just around the corner, we’ve been experiencing the hottest weather of the summer so far in San Diego. As a result, there hasn’t been much cooking or baking happening in the kitchen.

a close-up photo of macaroni and cheese in a blue mug

I was making some quick and easy macaroni and cheese in the microwave for another recipe when I decided it was time to update my macaroni and cheese in a mug post. It also gave me an excuse to make a few extra servings (for testing purposes of course).

This is perfect for when you want to make a single serving rather than an entire pot of macaroni and cheese. It comes together so quickly and I didn’t break a sweat making it.

a close-up photo of a spoonful of macaroni and cheese

Recipe now updated with video! You can also find all my recipe videos on my youtube page.

More Microwave Recipes

Macaroni and Cheese in a Mug

Servings: 1
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 4 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
This macaroni and cheese in a mug is ready in less than 5 minutes. It makes a quick, easy meal for one.
4.34 from 6 votes


  • 1/2 cup small elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper or hot sauce optional, adds more flavor


  • Add water and macaroni into an extra large mug (I recommend at least 20 ounce mug/2.5 cups). Place the mug on a large plate (this is to catch the overflow of water that occurs when cooking). Your macaroni should only rise to 1/3 or at the most 1/2 of the mug. Microwave at full power for 1 minute. Remove mug and stir macaroni, making sure to loosen any macaroni that may be stuck to the bottom of the mug.
  • Microwave for an additional 1 minute and stir again. During this 2nd minute is when the water tends to overflow a little. If it's only a little water, then it should be fine. If it's a lot of water you may need to add a little water to your macaroni later. Macaroni should be almost cooked after the 2nd minute mark and most of the liquid should be almost gone, but your macaroni should still be moist. How much more you need to cook will depend on your microwave. 
  • Continue to cook the macaroni at 30 second intervals, stirring in between. If your macaroni gets very dry, add 1 tbsp of water. However, adding water will increase cooking time so you only need to add the water if your macaroni is dry. If it's moist but not watery, do not add more water. The microwave will cook the moist macaroni. After the first 30 seconds, my macaroni was just cooked but still al dente. Almost all the water was evaporated though the pasta was still very moist. I then microwaved for 30 more seconds. At this point my noodles were completely cooked and soft and no water remained. My macaroni cooked for a total of 3 minutes.
  • Working quickly, add in cheese and stir until cheese completely melts and evenly coats the macaroni. Add salt, ground black pepper or hot sauce if desired. Eat immediately.



  • Because microwaves vary in power, your times may not be exactly the same. My microwave is 1200 watts. If you have a stronger microwave, you may need to do less time or even reduce the power rather than cooking at full power. If you microwave is less powerful, you may need to cook your pasta longer.
  • Your macaroni can still cook with just a little water so don't keep adding water unless it's drying out. Adding too much water will actually make it take longer to cook. If you lost more than a few tbsp of water in overflow, then you may need to add 1-2 tbsp of water, otherwise the 1/2 cup should be enough.


Serving: 1mug, Calories: 455kcal, Carbohydrates: 47.3g, Protein: 20.9g, Fat: 19.7g, Saturated Fat: 10.8g, Sodium: 377.3mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1.9g, NET CARBS: 45

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!



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Avocado Macaroni and Cheese in a Mug

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Recipe Rating

84 comments on “Microwave Macaroni and Cheese in a Mug”

  1. This is okay if you don’t have a stove. Don’t forget to put a cup underneath the mug. A lot of water spilled out of mine. I also find most people don’t have a 1200W microwave, so anticipate it will take a few minutes more. I even added more water back in midway, but in the end, the macaroni was somewhat dry. I found that it was really easier and better tasting to cook the macaroni on the stove in water and then finish up in either the pot or in the microwave. It’s good in a pinch but this won’t be my go to recipe.

    • A lot of the issues you encountered are addressed in the recipe – the amount of water and cook time will vary depending on your microwave. If you want a great stovetop recipe, you might like our Creamy Macaroni and Cheese recipe.

  2. I’m definitely going to make this after I buy a suitable big mug! Thank you so much for all your lovely recipes! Really appreciate!

  3. I have a 1000w microwave and I had to put it in for an additional 3 minutes. Tastes fine, though! I actually added some shredded carrots for extra nutrition.

  4. It is soooooo good i loved it I made it 20 times this year only this YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I loved this I saw it and had to try it. I have been looking for a good recipe for a while now and I found it. It did take a little longer to cook but I think that’s because of my microwave but overall this recipe is so good!! 

  6. its delicious!!!!!

  7. This great I never want to stop eating this mac and cheese

  8. I just have to say that this was soooo delicious. I made some 2 hours ago and I’m ready for more. I did have to cook it longer but you did say that it depend on our microwaves. I love it!! Thanks so much ? 

  9. It was so good! Thank you so so much. Since I made this for my kids, they make this almost everyday as an afternoon/after school snack! Though, personally, I like adding ,along with the cheese, 3 tablespoons of milk to make the mac n cheese creamy! Then I microwave after I stir in the cheese, milk, salt, and pepper. That make it melty! I LOVED IT TOO! It was great thanks again, Kirbie!

  10. Hi Kirby. My name is Irene. This sounds incredible. I have a question. Could I add, lets say, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, white pepper before I add the water and then after the macaroni is cooked could I add a little bit of milk and butter? What are some other add-ins I could try?

    • You could try adding seasonings to the water. As far as butter and milk, we haven’t tested it with those so can’t say how much you should use.

  11. awesome recipe! thx kirbie!

  12. I’m amazed so many people are having problems. This is a great recipe but a lot are trying to use mill to cook the pasta and the recipe clearly says water. Pasta does not cook well in milk as milk has milk fats, solids and whey,  all of them reduce the amount of Free water molecules and block the pastas ability to soak up the water. It simply won’t give you the results you need. Once your pasta is cooked in WATER to your desired fineness, if you must have milk, add it the and only about a tablespoon. It’s hard to get the cheddar to melt smoothly with the milk. Instead, stir in a tablespoon or so of cream cheese, any kind works, along with your cheddar. No butter, n milk, just cheesy goodness. Or use a processed American cheese. It melts beautifully. My favorite, and I’ve a lot of American cheese brands I’d Walmart’s White American cheese slices. No yellow die, it’s not too salty and it melts into a luscious sauce 

  13. Ok.. This is a perfectly Awesome recipe! I would like to mention that milk heats faster than water due to it CONTAINING FAT. Also.. knowing that you need to stop the microwave and give a little stir every 30 seconds or so.. shouldn’t you be able to STOP THE MICROWAVE EARLY to prevent a total boilover problem?  Also.. please note.. there is a DIFFERENCE between a cup and a mug and also hollow or solid. 
    Do NONE OF YOU COOK? You can’t even boil water.

    • First, thanks for beginning with helpful tips.
      As Kirbie specified in her recipe instructions, microwave ovens are different, which will result in people having different experiences while making this recipe.
      OF COURSE there ARE people who are NEW to cooking, even to boiling water!
      Was it really necessary to close your comment on such a negative note, and end it with an insult? This doesn’t help people to learn.

    • Where is the comment that was posted in response to the above message?
      Why was it rejected?

  14. I enjoyed this simple recipe.  Although not the best mac and cheese recipe in the world, I don’t think it’s intended to be and it’s very y good for a quick craving or snack.  
    My simple advice is to put any overflow on the plate back in the cup so the liquid measurements stay accurate, add 1tsp butter and 1 tbsp milk to the last cooking cycle, and stir that cheeese in there ASAP so it gets all melty. 

  15. Milk and I don’t get along. Can I use water instead?  

  16. It took forever to cook and I have a strong microwave ! I followed the directions to the t !!

    • I’m sorry to hear yours took so long to cook. If you do attempt it again, make sure you don’t add more water during cooking unless absolutely necessary. I think a lot of people get nervous when they see the water evaporate and feel like they need to add more water. This will slow down the cooking time. The microwave will cook the noodles if they are moist without sitting in any water and that is why I am able to cook the pasta in the times I described.

  17. I followed your directions exactly. This was terrible. 
    Uncooked pasta,, really messy. Sorry

    • I’m sorry you had bad results. Please keep in mind that microwaves do vary. It may require longer time for yours to cook so I do recommend you cooking it until the pasta is done. Also you should cook in intervals to avoid mess. the water will boil over if cook it for too long at once which is why I cook my pasta in 30 second intervals.

  18. My 17 year old and 12 year old kids just devoured the mac and cheese straight from the microwave ( yes, it was very hot!). We microwaved the noodles with water for 2 minutes then stirred.  We went ahead and gave it 2 minutes more but before the 2 minutes was up, I saw that the water is beginning to overflow so I took it out of the microwave and stirred again. The noodles were almost done after this so I poured out the remaining water and added the milk and cheese.  After 2 more minutes, kids were already seated and ready to eat. It was fun and really easy to do but you do need to check that the water/milk does not overflow. 

  19. Easy and delicious. My micro is 1200 watt, and i followed your recipe just as you directed, and it turned out fantastically. Thanks, also i chipped up a little ham and added it, and it was delicious also. Yummy

  20. I made this today. It took longer to cook but it was great. I added a little milk after I added the cheese and it made I even creamier. Great recipe!

  21. Will Kraft cheese singles work?

  22. Yum! Just tried this. It also took 5-6 mins for my noodles to be cooked. Glad I didn’t give up when they weren’t done, because it is delicious! Thanks!

  23. I just happened to have some table cream and some Italian blend cheese that was getting close to its expiry date, so I used your recipe as a base. It absolutely took 5 minutes, 1 minute, then intervals of about 30 secs of stirring when it got close to over-flowing. I topped it with some Italian seasoning and some pepper….pretty good! This is a quick and easy snack that, obviously by the comments, can have a lot of variables. Certainly does the trick.

  24. Super loved this idea but it took 8 minutes of heating/stirring/dumping the icky plate to get these to not be crunchy. And my microwave usually cooks faster then most directions. Not sure this saved me any time from stovetop prep.

  25. I’m not sure what went wrong but this did not work for me. I measured everything out into a 1 qt bowl and put in a 700 watt microwave that is not even 2 months old. I stirred at the 1 minute mark like suggested and when checked at the 2 minute mark. I went up to 5 minutes as I saw on another recipe that was similar to yours except that she went up to 10 minutes. I ended up stirring every 30 seconds because the milk would boil up and if I used a mug then it would have been a huge mess. After 5 minutes I gave up because I wasn’t that hungry anyway and based on reviews I was only 50 percent sure this would work. Do you know why your time is so much shorter than all the other recipes for microwave Mac and cheese? I really wished it had worked. Yours was one of the few that called for cooking it with milk and that caught my eye. I hope this isn’t upsetting, this is my first negative review and I only wrote it to help others.

    • I’m not sure why this recipe didn’t work for you. I make this one regularly with no issues. How tall is your bowl? If it isn’t tall enough than maybe too much milk is spilling out and there isn’t enough left to cook your macaroni. Your microwave wattage is a little low (the average one is usually 1000 watt), so likely it will take longer than the time mine took. As for why my recipe cooks faster, it’s because it’s cooking in the milk rather than the water.

  26. Can you use Bow Tie noodles?

    • Bow Tie pasta probably won’t work as well because it takes much longer to cook due to its bigger size and the thick mid-section

  27. Hey this looks like a good option for college students especially during exam season! 🙂 What’s the wattage on your microwave, so I can figure out how to adjust cooking times?

  28. I made this today!
    I didn’t have any macaroni in the house though, so i used regular pasta tubes, and cooked with water for 3 minutes 40 seconds.
    i think UK dried pasta is different to US hence why it takes longer (in reference to the other person having to cook it longer).
    I added a tiny knob of butter in with the water+pasta as we didnt have any milk, and the starch from the pasta thickened up the left over liquid- whole turned out super nice!

    • thanks for letting me know! I’m so glad you got it to work, and yes you’re probably right about the pasta being different.

  29. Just tried this. It did take me 5 mins to get the macaroni cooked but my microwave is pretty weak so I expected that. It’s great! Though I might need a bigger mug so I can make a bit more next time 😉

  30. What if I dont have macaroni pasta? what type of pasta could i use??
    Thanks 🙂

  31. Made it tiice, First time followed directions using milk, Took over 5 min for noodles to cook, milk flowed over 20 oz mug (stirred every minute).
    Second time, used more milk, bigger mug –still took over 5 min. doesn’t matter it was still good!

  32. I also had a lot of issues with this recipe. I used milk, a big soup mug, and the exact measurements. I stopped it every 30 seconds because milk flooded over the top every time. By the end I was frustrated and had to eat it half cooked since hot milk was flooded over the plate and my microwave. Thanks for the idea though.

    • Hmm, the milk shouldn’t overflood that much if your mug is really big. Maybe you can use a big tall bowl? Or it might be that your microwave is too powerful. What is the wattage? You might try cooking it at a reduced power setting

  33. i just tried this! our microwave is really strong, nonetheless it took us 5mins too cook the noodles anywhere near edible..maybe it was because of it? because we had to stop the microwave a few times else it would have flooded!

    • You should stop every minute so the water doesn’t flood out, like I state in the instructions. I’m not sure why yours took so long though. Did you make sure to stir in between each minute? And also did you make sure you used a dry measuring cup to measure out the noodles and a liquid measuring cup to measure out the water? One last thing, this is US measuring cups. from your email it looks like you’re not coming from the US so that’s another thing to keep in mind. I also wonder if perhaps the microwave strengths are different.

  34. By uncooked noodles you mean dry pasta right? Like the hard shelled pasta? You sure that’s gonna cook? :S 

  35. This may be a silly question, but did you use cooked or uncooked noodles?

  36. perfect recipe for my 13yo to make after school, thank you!!

  37. Love how quick & easy this recipe is! Looks yummy!

  38. I think this would also be perfect for those times when I just want a bit of mac n cheese, but don’t want to make a whole pot. I usually just escape cooking in a hot kitchen by going somewhere else!

  39. I am so impressed by your ability to make anything delicious in your microwave! I will definitely be trying this soon 😀