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Mug Mac and Cheese Recipe

This mug mac and cheese recipe is an easy way to have a single serving of a delicious comfort food. You’ll need a few ingredients, a large coffee mug, and a spoon to make it. 

You can serve this single serve mac and cheese in a mug as a filling snack or a perfect meal side dish. It’s especially good when served with this yummy crispy air fryer chicken.

Although it’s a wonderful recipe, it can get quite messy if you’re not prepared. I recommend having a saucer or paper towel to cut back on the mess. After all, microwave macaroni can overflow very easily.

mug of mac and cheese

Those who know me know that I’m all about easy recipes. That includes mug meals that you can make without having to purchase the prepackaged version.

Mug Recipe

I’m a big believer in using a mug in the microwave when you only want one serving of something. If you have one large mug, you can make so many different things.

In addition to this macaroni and cheese recipe, I make a basic mug cake that enables everyone to have whatever flavor they want.

Another mug recipe we enjoy is this yummy peanut butter mug cake. I love the fact that there’s no flour in it, so it’s gluten-free.

Mug Mac and Cheese Ingredients

You’ll love the fact that these are basic ingredients you’re likely to have in your pantry.

In fact, you only need a few ingredients to have delicious pasta in a cup with a creamy sauce that will make you want to make it over and over.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Elbow macaroni (regular, gluten-free, or whole wheat)
  • Water
  • Milk (any kind of milk or even heavy cream)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Butter (salted or unsalted)
  • Salt and black pepper (optional)
milk cheese, water, macaroni pasta, butter, salt, and pepper

For exact measurements of each ingredient and full directions, go to the recipe card at the bottom of the page. You can even print out the card by using the “print” button.

This mac and cheese in a mug is super easy and only takes a total of about 5 minutes.

You can use any kind of macaroni, but I have to use a gluten free mac and cheese recipe. I even do this for my husband, and he can’t tell the difference.

One of the questions I’ve heard is how can you cook mac and cheese in a microwave since it requires several steps. You’ll see how easy it is as you follow this wonderful recipe.

How to Make Homemade Mug Mac and Cheese

First of all, I recommend using the largest mug you have. That’s because you want to limit how much water overflows during the initial cooking process.

And it will overflow, which is why I recommend setting the microwave safe mug on a saucer and having a paper towel handy.

Secondly, I usually spray the inside of the mug with nonstick cooking spray. This does 2 things: It helps cut back on the overflow a bit, and it makes the mug easier to clean later.

Next, pour the water and pasta into the mug. Add the butter on top.

pasta, water, and butter in a mug

Now place the mug in the microwave and cook the pasta on high for 2 minutes.

Test the pasta after the first time and make sure it is al dente.

cooked pasta in a mug

Depending on the microwave strength or type of pasta you use, it may be ready for the next step after the first cycle. Or you may need just one or two additional minutes.

If some of the water and butter overflowed into the saucer, pour it back into the mug and cook a little longer.

Since microwaves vary so much and different types of pasta require different amounts of time to cook, play with it a little bit until you get it right.

Next, add the milk and shredded cheese. Stir it and return it to the microwave.

milk and shredded cheese added to the mug of cooked macaroni

Cook in 30-second intervals. This is what will give you that super creamy and delicious cheese sauce.

Give it a quick stir and taste it to determine whether or not it needs salt and pepper.

spoon of mac and cheese above a mug

I like just a tiny bit of salt and a lot of pepper.

You can cook it with the pasta from the beginning, but I prefer adding it later.

mac and cheese with salt and lots of pepper

Can You Substitute Almond Milk for Milk in Mac and Cheese?

Yes, you absolutely can. This recipe for mug mac and cheese is flexible enough to enable you to use whatever kind of milk you have on hand.

However, keep in mind that the higher the fat content in the milk the creamier the results will be.

This time, I used regular whole milk, and I wound up with a recipe that had an amazing amount of cheesy goodness.

You can also leave out the milk altogether or use just a splash of milk with the cheese. I’ve done that more than once, and it’s still a delicious recipe.

Regardless of what type of milk you use, this homemade mac and cheese is one of the best things you can make when you don’t have much time.

mug of mac and cheese above cheese sprinkled into mug of macaroni

What to Serve with Mug Mac and Cheese

If you’re making this delicious dish for more than just a snack, consider adding some of these things that I came up with to serve with mac and cheese.

More Recipes with Cheesy Goodness

My husband and I are really into cheese. And the more cheese in some recipes the better. Here are some of our favorites:

Cheesy Baked Grits Casserole – Perfect for breakfast or as a side dish for any meal.

Creamy Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole – Delicious, easy to make, and perfect when you’re serving a crowd.

Walnut Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball – Wonderful appetizer or treat for a get-together with friends and family. This one is from the Back to My Southern Roots blog where you’ll find a lot of yummy recipes.

Cheesy Zucchini Ham Bake – One-pan meal that the whole family will ask for often.

Yield: 1 serving

Mug Mac and Cheese Recipe

mac and cheese in a mug

This mug mac and cheese recipe is perfect for those times when you want a single serving. It's quick, easy, and so delicious!

Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1/3 cup of elbow macaroni noodles (regular or gluten-free)
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 1/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (1/2 if you like it extra cheesy)
  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste (optional)


  1. Spray the inside of the mug with nonstick cooking spray to help limit the contents that are likely to run over. Or you can place the mug on a small plate to prevent a mess in the microwave. I do both.
  2. Put the macaroni, water, and butter in the mug. Place it in the microwave for 2 minutes on full power. Remove and stir.
  3. If there is still water in the mug, microwave in in 30-second to 2-minute intervals until all of the water is absorbed by the noodles. (See notes below.)
  4. Add the milk and shredded cheese. Stir and return it to the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. If the cheese hasn’t melted, repeat this step.


If the water overflows into the saucer during the initial cooking process, pour it back into the mug and run it through another 1-2 minute cycle.

Since microwaves vary so much and different types of pasta require different amounts of time to cook, play with it a little bit until you get it right.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 290Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 54mgSodium 415mgCarbohydrates 18gFiber 1gSugar 0gProtein 14g

The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

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See this recipe shared at Full Plate Thursday.

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Friday 29th of July 2022

Yum! I have Celiac so I made mine with 1/3 cup of La Veneziane elbow noodles and I used 1/3 of a cup of diced mozzarella as I had just a little left of a block I had used in a different recipe. I cooked mine in a 2-cup pyrex measuring cup as I know my microwave likes to boil over when simply heating water. I began with two minutes for the pasta and almost all of the water was absorbed, so I left it at that and added the cheese and then milk and started with 30 seconds and stirred. I repeated this for a total of two additional minutes at 30 second intervals until the milk was more incorporated and it looked less like soup. Added a nice amount of ground pepper and it almost tasted as if I had taken the time to make a roux! A wonderful recipe for when you need a little something and do not want to get out all the pots and pans.


Friday 29th of July 2022

Hi Jodi. Sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing your process! I'll have to try it that way next time.

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