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Meet your new ready-in-minutes favorite: Microwave Mac and Cheese! Perfect for a single serving, this creamy mac and cheese in a mug is a comfort food classic made in a flash. Quick, easy, and oh so cheesy!

Love mac and cheese? I do, too! Try my Stovetop Mac and Cheese or Hamburger Mac and Cheese next.

Macaroni and cheese in a dish.
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Why We Love This Recipe

  • Ready in a flash – This recipe takes under 15 minutes to make.
  • Perfect for a single serving – Everything is measured out and portioned perfectly for a single serving that hits the spot every time.
  • So creamy and cheesy – With two kinds of cheese, this Microwave Mac and Cheese has all the cheesy flavor you love in a fraction of the time.

Ingredients For Microwave Mac and Cheese

  • Elbow Macaroni – You could also use shells or another small pasta shape, but the cook time will vary.
  • Shredded Cheese – I used mild cheddar for this, preferably freshly shredded as it melts better. Sharp cheddar, gouda, American, or pepper jack cheese would also be fantastic.
  • Unsalted Butter – If needed, you can use salted butter and omit the seasoned salt. 
  • Cream Cheese – This can be skipped if you don’t have any on hand, but I highly recommend keeping it in! It will make your cheese sauce ultra creamy.
  • Milk – I like 2% or whole milk, but you could also use skim or even half and half.
  • Seasoned Salt – Like Lawry’s or Johnny’s. 
  • Black Pepper 

How To Make Microwave Mac and Cheese

See the recipe card below for full, detailed instructions

macaroni in a small dish with water

Combine the macaroni noodles and 1 cup of water and microwave for 5 minutes. 

Cooked macaroni and water in a dish.

Strain the noodles and return to the mug, adding the remaining cup of water. 

Cook for an additional two minutes, then check for doneness. Continue cooking in one minute intervals until noodles are cooked through. 

Cooked macaroni, shredded cheese and cream cheese.

Strain the noodles again, then stir in cheese, butter, cream cheese, milk, salt, and pepper. 

Creamy mac and cheese in a dish with blue handles and a fork.

Cook for 1 more minute, stir, and serve!

Recipe FAQs

How long does it take to cook macaroni in the microwave?

Macaroni noodles can take about 7-9 minutes to fully cook in the microwave. This can vary depending on the microwave and the pasta type.

Why does my microwave mac and cheese boil over?

The water in the macaroni noodles might boil over if your mug or dish isn’t large or deep enough.

How do you make microwavable mac and cheese better?

I like to use a little cream cheese to make it extra creamy. You can add additional seasonings (garlic powder, hot sauce, etc.) or add different kinds of cheese (try subbing the mild cheddar for sharp cheddar, American, Gouda, or pepper jack)


Mac and cheese can be stored in the fridge for a few days. To reheat, microwave at 50% power for 1-2 minutes, stirring at 30-second intervals. If needed, add a little milk to rehydrate.

Expert Tips

  • Use An Extra Large Mug or Deep Bowl – This recipe requires an extra large mug (minimum 2 cups) – this one is perfect. Or you can use another type of dish, like this 1-quart casserole dish. Whatever dish you choose should be a minimum of 16-20 ounces.
  • Water – You’ll notice this recipe specifies to dump out the pasta water and then add more water. This ensures an even amount of water to cook the macaroni, despite any potential water loss (spillover or evaporation) from the first few minutes of cooking.
  • Other Pasta Noodles – Small elbow macaroni noodles were tested for this recipe. You can use other small noodles but please note the cooking time may vary considerably. 
  • Freshly Shredded Cheese – I always prefer freshly shredded cheese as it melts better into sauces, but you can use what you have on hand.
  • Seasoned Salt – I really like seasoned salt (like Lawry’s or Johnny’s) for this recipe as it adds extra flavor. If you don’t have seasoned salt, you can use regular salt (along with a tiny pinch of garlic powder and paprika if you like!)
  • Milk – You can add more milk if you want to make the sauce super creamy. I liked it with just 1 tablespoon.
  • Cream Cheese – This can be omitted if you don’t have any on hand, but I highly recommend keeping it in! It will make your cheese sauce ultra creamy and flavorful.
Mac and cheese in a mug with a spoon.

More Mac and Cheese Recipes to Try Next


Microwave Macaroni and Cheese (Single Serving)

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Microwave Mac and Cheese in a mug is perfect for a single serving, ready in about 10 minutes and ultra creamy.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes
Servings 1


  • 1/2 cup uncooked macaroni noodles
  • 2 cups water divided
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded cheese I used mild cheddar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
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  • In an extra large mug or deep bowl or baking dish, combine the macaroni and 1 cup of water. Cook, uncovered, in the microwave for 5 minutes.
  • Strain the noodles, and return to the mug with the remaining 1 cup of water.
  • Cook for an additional two minutes, then check for doneness. Continue cooking in one minute intervals until noodles are cooked through.
  • Strain noodles again, discarding extra water and return the noodles to the mug with the cheese, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon cream cheese, 1 tablespoon milk, seasoned salt and pepper.
  • Cook for 1 more minute then stir until everything is melted and a smooth, creamy sauce coats the noodles. Serve immediately.


  • This recipe will make a single, meal-size serving.
  • The cream cheese addition helps to make the final dish ultra creamy, but can be omitted if you don’t want to use it. 
  • Store leftovers for a few days in the fridge. When reheating, use 50% power and microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring at 30-second intervals. Add a splash of milk to rehydrate if needed.


Calories: 588kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 23gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 18gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 1013mgPotassium: 247mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 949IUCalcium: 349mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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