One Bowl Mac and Cheese

by Allison @ Alli 'n Son on August 19, 2012

Welcome to today’s recipe. Not only is it tasty, but in honor of school starting in just a couple of weeks, it also includes a few of lessons.

Lesson One

One year olds can polish off an entire bowl of mac and cheese. Minus the few “samples” moms are required to eat, just to be sure it’s not too hot. I’m talking a large bowl. An adult-sized bowl. I’ve witnessed this myself. It’s awe-inspiring.

One Bowl Mac and Cheese Recipe

Lesson Two

Good recipes are worth working for. They are worth the time it takes to tweak and test. Kid-friendly recipes that save me from cleaning up a million and a half dishes are simply brilliant. And priceless. And sanity-saving.

Lesson Three

If you happen to be struck with the urge to take photos of one-bowl mac and cheese while the kids are in the middle of eating, be prepared. Have plenty of towels on hand. There will be spilled milk. Multiple times.

One Bowl Mac and Cheese Recipe

I’ve seen a few versions of this recipe floating around recently. I’ve seen even more people give up on it. But I’m here to reassure you, it does work. It just takes a little effort at first.

This recipe isn’t exactly one-size fits all. Not all microwaves are created equally, after all. But, if you start with these basics, and practice a little, you will successfully create one-bowl mac and cheese in the microwave.

You will.

I promise.

One Bowl Mac and Cheese Recipe

And now, a few more lessons. These are important, so pay attention.

Lesson One

Use a large bowl. A tall bowl. So the water doesn’t boil out and all over your microwave creating a slimy mess.

Lesson Two

Stir often and stir well. Cook for two minutes and then stir. Cook for another two minutes and then stir. Taste. Cook for a minute, stir. Taste. If needed continue cooking for one minute at a time. If needed add another teaspoon or two of water. And also, stir, stir, stir.

Lesson Three

The noodles are forgiving. A little extra milk in the final stages of cooking can transform stuck together noodles into creamy goodness.

Lesson Four

There really is no lesson four. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.

One Bowl Mac and Cheese

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 bowl

One Bowl Mac and Cheese

One-bowl mac and cheese in the microwave.


  • 1/2 cup elbow macaroni, or other small pasta
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup milk (any kind)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. In a large bowl stir together the macaroni, water and pinch of salt.
  2. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir.
  3. Microwave on high for another 2 minutes. Stir
  4. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir.
  5. Continue to microwave for 1 minute and stirring until the noodles are cooked. If needed, add an additional 1-2 teaspoons of water to prevent the noodles from sticking together.
  6. Stir in milk and cheese.
  7. Microwave for 30 seconds - 1 minute. Stir until creamy.


Use a large, tall bowl to prevent the water from boiling over.

Be sure to stir often and stir well while cooking. Add an extra 1-2 teaspoons of water if needed.

The noodles are forgiving. A little extra milk will help separate sticky noodles and create an extra creamy mac and cheese.

Adapted from The Kitchn

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