Dinner is just 15 minutes away with this easy single serving mac and cheese. It's versatile, delicious, and made with a handful of pantry ingredients. Enjoy it as is or add a side for a filling meal. Or try this Protein Packed Mac & Cheese.
Table of contents
How will this mac and cheese recipe make your life easier?
I find myself scrambling to throw something together for dinner, more often than not lately. If it's not leftovers, I'm eating cereal or whatever food I can quickly throw together with a couple pantry essentials, like this single serving mac and cheese.
Yes meal planning is awesome, and when I do it, I eat well, inexpensively-ish, and easily. But as great as planning is, well it doesn't always happen. That's life, and it's ok.
A stocked pantry and a few recipes up your sleeve are solutions to eat deliciously without planning. In addition to this 10-15 minute single serving mac and cheese recipe, these other Pantry Meals will get you from hungry person to eating person.
What makes this small batch mac and cheese so good?
How to make single serving homemade mac and cheese?
This single serving mac and cheese recipe is really easy. You just need 1 small pot, a whisk, colander (or a steady hand + lid), and a couple pantry ingredients.
Start by cooking your pasta. Add salt to your water, boil, and then cook until pasta is al dente.
You can make the cheese sauce for your single serving mac and cheese while cooking the pasta or cook it in the pot after. Either works. Choose based on how many dishes you want to do and how hungry you are.
Here's how you'll make your cheese sauce: Melt butter in pot, over medium-low heat. Once butter is melted, add flour and paprika (optional), whisk until paste forms.
Pour in milk, and whisk until smooth. Will thicken slightly.
Once the sauce base for your single serving mac and cheese is slightly thickened, add shredded cheddar cheese and parmesan. Stir until smooth. Once smooth, add pasta. Stir together. Add a dash or more of milk to get a silky sauce.
What to serve with mac and cheese?
- Make your pasta and sauce at the same time (in a pot and saucepan) or quickly make your cheesy sauce after the pasta is cooked. Either works. If using the same pot, cover pasta to keep it warm.
- Use elbow macaroni noodles or whatever noodles you have. Noodles with grooves hold the sauce best, but go the classic way (with elbow noodles) or really just use what you have. It'll be great with any pasta shape.
- This single serving mac and cheese recipe is great with cheddar cheese and parmesan (2 cheeses I almost always have on hand) but it's also great with sharp cheddar cheese, gruyere, and other similar cheeses. Experiment and let me know!
- You can also make baked mac & cheese by sprinkling breadcrumbs and extra cheese over your noodles and broil it for a crunchy topping. OR make the breadcrumbs from this Chicken Parmesan Pasta (no need to broil).
- Other great add-ins: sharp cheddar cheese, gruyere cheese, red pepper flakes, extra paprika, garlic salt, or seasoned breadcrumbs would be great on this single serving mac and cheese.
Putting on my dietitian hat, I'm going to not answer this question to give you some perspective. First of all, serving sizes on food packages are arbitrary. Similar products sometimes have different serving sizes.
Instead of trying to make or eat the right amount, pay attention to your own body's hunger and fullness cues. Also take into account when you'll be able to eat next. You can always save some for later or add sides if you're still hungry.
Yes! Add ⅔ cup elbow noodles and water, and a heaping ¼ teaspoon kosher salt to a medium microwave safe bowl. Cook for 4 minutes on high, then 1-2 minute intervals until al dente. Add 1-2 Tablespoons water at a time if needed.
Once al dente, drain water, if any. Add 1 teaspoon butter, ½ cup cheddar cheese, 1 Tablespoon parmesan cheese, and a pinch of paprika. Stir and microwave on high for 2 minutes, then 30 second intervals if needed. Stir, enjoy.
What can I make with leftover ingredients?
- Cheese: Apple Omelet with Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Chorizo Breakfast Casserole, Jalapeno Artichoke Dip, and Turkey Pumpkin Chili.
- Milk: Semi-Homemade BBQ Ranch Dressing, Apple Pie Overnight Oats, Butterscotch Milkshake, and Versatile Chia Seed Pudding.
Did you make this single serving mac and cheese? Leave me a comment & rating to share how it turned out!
Single Serving Mac and Cheese
- Small-Medium Pot with lid
- Large saucepan optional-if cooking pasta and sauce at same time
- Large serving spoon
- Measuring cups, spoons
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to your preference
- ⅔ cup macaroni noodles
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 2 teaspoons flour
- pinch Paprika optional
- ¼ cup milk or cream
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 Tablespoon parmesan cheese
- Cook ⅔ cup pasta in small-medium sized pot over high heat. Cook according to package directions, until al dente. Set aside, covered.
- Melt 1 teaspoon butter in same pot over medium-low heat. Once melted, add 2 teaspoons flour, pinch of paprika (optional). Whisk until paste forms.
- Once paste has formed, whisk in ¼ cup milk or cream. Whisk until smooth. Add ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese and 1 Tablespoon parmesan cheese. Stir until smooth.
- Once sauce is smooth and thickened, add pasta back to it. Combine until all noodles are coated in sauce, add a dash of milk to thin it out if necessary. Serve immediately.
- Use whatever pasta you have.
- You don't have to just use cheddar cheese and parmesan. Gruyere and sharp cheddar are also great in mac & cheese. Use what you have on hand or like best.
- Substitute the milk for cream or use whatever milk/cream you have.
- Make your sauce in the pasta pot after cooking the pasta, or in a large skillet while pasta is cooking. Either works.
- Top with skillet breadcrumbs (like from this Chicken Parmesan Pasta recipe) or add uncooked breadcrumbs and broil in the oven.
- Optional Add-Ins: Dash of garlic salt, red pepper flakes, etc.
- Serve your single serving mac and cheese by itself or with Pan Fried Pork Chop with Apples, Shrimp, Air Fryer Broccolini, or this Kale Apple Salad.
Recipes are great, but you’ll need a simple 3 step process to create a meal plan that make cooking easy & helps you stop wasting food. Check out this expertly developed meal planning guide to get started.