Pasta in a Mug

4.97 from 222 votes

Pasta in a Mug is the quickest way to cook pasta in a microwave in minutes with little clean up. It's an easy single serve mac n cheese meal kids will love!

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Pasta in a mug is the perfect quick recipe if you just want a meal for one. It’s a great option for kids and students, or if you are short on time and looking for a fuss-free dinner. Making this microwave mac n cheese takes only 5 minutes of total cooking time and comes out delicious!

Mac N' Cheese Microwaved in mug
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This pasta is a mug is brilliant because what you cook it in is what you eat it in! It’s just perfect if you’re cooking for yourself only or for one kid because all the ingredients go in a mug, you microwave it and you’ve got dinner instantly with little to clean-up!


How to make pasta in a mug

  1. Place equal parts elbow macaroni and water in a large wide mug.
  2. Cook for 4 minutes total, stopping the microwave every minute to let the water settle and to stir until the water is fully absorbed and the pasta is fully cooked. It will look al dente.
  3. Add the milk and cheese and microwave for one more minute.
  4. When the milk is absorbed and the cheese is melted, it’s your cue that it’s ready. Stir one more time to incorporate the cheese and milk into the pasta.
Step by step photos to show how to make microwave pasta

It’s tempting to dig in right away. But definitely allow a couple minutes for your instant mug pasta to cool before enjoying. It will be piping hot!

What the pasta looks like when it's finished cooking in the micowave

Tips for making microwave pasta

  1. Make the pasta in a large wide mug that has about 2-cup capacity. The wider and deeper the mug is, the less likely it will overflow when you cook in the microwave.
  2. Use pre-packaged finely shredded cheese. This might be the only time I recommend store-bought shredded cheese over shredding it yourself. But that’s because it has a thickening agent that helps to create the best sauce that’s not runny. If you prefer to use your own grated cheese, add a pinch of cornstarch to help thicken the sauce.
  3. Stir the pasta in increments while it’s cooking with the water. This will help avoid clumpy pasta and make sure that all the pasta is evenly cooked
  4. Be careful when handling the microwave pasta. 5 minutes total time is a long time to cook something in the microwave. Allow time to let the pasta cool and know that the mug will get pretty hot.

Frequently asked questions

Can you make pasta in a mug ahead of time?

I prefer to eat this pasta right as it’s made a it take no time at all, but if you prefer you can make it ahead of time. Let the pasta cool to room temperature, cover and place it the fridge. It will keep well for around 3 days. You then simply need to reheat it in the microwave before eating.

Can you make other pasta dishes in the microwave in a mug?

Yes, this technique can be applied to any of your favorite pasta dishes really. In the video below, I show how I make lasagna in a mug as well. With any pasta recipe, just cook the pasta first with the water, then add any sauce, cheese, herbs and toppings.

How long should you microwave pasta?

It’s best to microwave the pasta in increments so that it doesn’t burn or is undercooked. The macaroni noodles will take around 4 minutes. It’s the quickest way to cook pasta for sure!

Pasta in a mug - cooked in the microwave

I can’t get over how quick, easy and delicious this mac n cheese in the microwave is! While it’s not a regular thing we always make, it’s pretty handy quick option for weekend lunches when we’re in a hurry to and from activities.

For more pasta recipes:

If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Pasta in a Mug recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

This Pasta in a Mug recipe was originally published on February 5, 2018. I’m updating the recipe post to include more step-by-step photos. Here’s the original photo!

Instant pasta in a mug - mac and cheese

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Pasta in a Mug

Pasta in a Mug is the quickest way to cook pasta in a microwave in minutes with little clean up. It's an easy single serve mac n cheese meal kids will love!
5 from 222 votes
Servings 1 serving
Course Entree
Calories 380
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes



  • cup elbow macaroni pasta uncooked
  • pinch salt
  • cup water
  • cup whole or 2% milk
  • ½ cup finely shredded cheese pre-packaged


  • Combine the macaroni, salt and water in a large wide mug (about 2-cup capacity) and microwave for 4 minutes total, stopping every minute to stir the pasta and allow the boiling water to settle.
  • Check to make sure all the water is absorbed and add up to 30 more seconds of cooking time, if necessary. When the water is all absorbed, add the milk and cheese, and return to the microwave for 1 more minute.
  • Stir the mixture to combine the milk and cheese with the cooked pasta, and allow the pasta to cool for a couple minutes before enjoying.


Storage: Store any leftovers in in the mug covered with plastic wrap in the fridge. It will last about 3 days in the fridge, although it is best consumed immediately. Add a splash of water or milk when reheating.


Serving: 1g, Calories: 380kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 51mg, Sodium: 395mg, Potassium: 257mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 459IU, Calcium: 377mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Entree

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Recipe Rating


  1. This was really good!
    I took the macaroni a minute or so longer to cook but it did eventually cook. I put a slice of American cheese and then the rest sharp cheddar cheese.
    Recommend this and we’ll make it again.

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