This quick and easy microwave mac and cheese is a creamy and classic comfort food dish and it's not just for college students. Made with a few simple ingredients, it's the perfect solution for busy weeknights or a late-night snack. With just a few basic ingredients, you'll have a delicious and creamy mac and cheese on the table in minutes. And trust me, I really mean mere minutes!
This post contains helpful tips and tricks! If you're in a rush, please use the "Jump to Recipe" below!
💭 Why you'll love this recipe
For starters, it's made in the microwave - who has time to heat up water?!
- Easy to make any time. The microwave method makes mac and cheese super easy to whip up in a pinch! The best part? Only one dish to wash!
- Extra creamy and cheesy. The combination of milk, butter, and cheddar makes for an extra creamy sauce that will surely satisfy your cheese cravings.
- Customizable. Make this microwavable mac and cheese recipe your own! Feel free to add ingredients of your preference such as red pepper flakes, cauliflower, guacamole, fresh herbs, and your favorite cheeses. Get inspired by this kimchi mac and cheese, or this baked gouda mac and cheese!
📋 Ingredients and notes
To make creamy microwave mac and cheese, you'll need elbow macaroni, water, whole milk, shredded cheddar cheese, butter, salt, and pepper.
Notes and variations
- Microwave wattage. The cook time might vary depending on the wattage of your microwave, so you'll need to check if your elbow macaroni pasta for doneness otherwise it might get overcooked.
- Best cheese to use. I used sharp cheddar cheese for this recipe but you can also use American cheese, Monterey jack cheese, or any melting cheese. Want to go a totally different direction? Try using cream cheese!
- Whole milk substitute. I used whole milk but you can also use low-fat milk or skim milk for a similar result.
- Top with fresh herbs! Add chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, chives, or green onions to your microwaved mac and cheese.
📖 How to make microwave mac and cheese
In a microwave-safe bowl, add the macaroni and water. Microwave on high for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the macaroni is cooked and the water has been absorbed.
Once the macaroni is cooked al dente, add the milk, shredded cheddar cheese, and butter to the microwavable bowl. Stir well to combine.
Microwave the mac and cheese on high for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is creamy. Stir the mixture every 30 seconds to ensure that the cheese is evenly melted and you have the right consistency.
Once the mac and cheese is heated through and the cheese is fully melted, add salt and pepper to taste.
👩🏽🍳 Tips for the best microwave mac and cheese
To make the best version of this microwave macaroni and cheese, follow these expert tips!
- Use a deep microwave-safe dish. You'll want to have enough space in case the water bubbles up while cooking the macaroni pasta.
- Add enough water to the noodles. Make sure to add enough water to the noodles and cook them for 8-10 minutes or according to package instructions to avoid overcooking.
- Mix well to fully combine. Mix the ingredients at 30-second increments to make sure that the cheese melts completely and that the ingredients are fully combined.
- Use oven mitts. Safety first! The bowl can get hot in the microwave so make sure to use oven mitts every time you need to take the mac and cheese out.
- Add a dollop of cream cheese and you'll have a thicker and creamier mac and cheese. You can also add extra cheese (especially real cheddar cheese!)
- For spice, add chili flakes, red pepper flakes, or sliced jalapenos.
👩🏽🍳 Troubleshooting FAQs
Yes, absolutely! It's easy to cook Kraft macaroni and cheese in the microwave instead of cooking it on the stovetop. All you need to do is follow the box instructions. Cook the macaroni pasta in the microwave for 8-10 minutes in the oven and then add the cheese packet, butter, and milk, if desired.
If your mac and cheese becomes too dry, add an extra tablespoon of milk until you reach the consistency of your liking. Make sure to keep an eye out while cooking it in the microwave to avoid overcooking.
While this microwaved mac and cheese is best served immediately, you can definitely make it in advance for later. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator (for up to three days).
🍴 Serve and store microwave mac and cheese
Serve microwave mac and cheese on its own as a snack or as a side dish. It goes well with cornbread, coleslaw, Brussel sprouts, and most main dishes.
This is meant to be a single serving, but if you have leftovers, store in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to three days.
I don't recommend freezing microwave mac and cheese!
More microwave recipes
You can also use the microwave to make some of these easy sides and dishes:
- Microwave asparagus
- Microwave broccoli
- Microwave corn on the cob
- Microwave baked potato
- Microwave sweet potato
Microwave Mac and Cheese
- 1 cup elbow macaroni
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper, adjust to taste
- In a microwave-safe bowl, add the macaroni and water. Microwave on high for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the macaroni is cooked and the water has been absorbed.
- Once the macaroni is cooked, add the milk, shredded cheddar cheese, and butter to the bowl. Stir well to combine.
- Microwave the mac and cheese on high for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is creamy. Stir the mixture every 30 seconds to ensure that the cheese is evenly melted.
- Once the mac and cheese is heated through and the cheese is fully melted, add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the mac and cheese hot and enjoy!
- Cooking time may vary depending on the wattage of your microwave. To ensure that the mac and cheese doesn't overcook or dry out, keep an eye on it while it's in the microwave and stir it frequently.
- You can also add additional milk to the mixture if it becomes too thick or dry.