5 Minute Homemade Mac and Cheese

This 5 Minute Mac and Cheese Recipe is super easy to make in the microwave, and it’s so much better than store bought macaroni and cheese! You can’t fail with this easy, cheesy, creamy mac n’ cheese recipe!

5 Minute Homemade Mac and Cheese

Last week was raining and I knew just what I wanted to whip up for dinner….a quick and easy homemade mac and cheese.

Who needs a box mix when you can have homemade mac in 5 minutes?! I will say, that I had cooked pasta in my fridge from a previous dinner, so make sure you cook some extra pasta to have ready for this recipe.

This is too easy to not try for yourself, give it a go and let me know if you love it as much as we do!!

Can you even handle all of the ingredients you need? I don’t know if I can.

How to Make This Creamy Mac & Cheese

Pour in your cheese pleeeease.

Add your milk. I used whole milk here.

Every last drop!

Add some salt.

….and freshly ground black pepper.

Grab a spoon and stir it all together.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and microwave for 3 minutes. Stir and microwave for an additional 2 minutes.

Stir until creamy dreamy smooth.

Oh yah!!

Dig in!

Image of 5 Minute Homemade Mac and Cheese

5 Minute Homemade Mac and Cheese

This 5 Minute Mac and Cheese Recipe is super easy to make in the microwave, and it's so much better than store bought macaroni and cheese! You can't fail with this easy, cheesy, creamy mac n' cheese recipe!
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 7 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 356kcal
Author: Jenny
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  • Microwave


  • 1/2 lb cooked pasta we used small shells
  • 2 cups Mild shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  • Place pasta, cheese, milk, salt and pepper into a microwave safe bowl. Stir to mix.
  • Cover lightly with plastic wrap and microwave for 3 minutes. Stir and microwave for an additional 2 minutes. Stir until creamy and smooth, then serve immediately.


Calories: 356kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 814mg | Potassium: 161mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 665IU | Calcium: 480mg | Iron: 1mg
Keywords: best homemade mac and cheese, best mac and cheese, best mac and cheese recipe, easy homemade mac and cheese, easy mac and cheese recipe, homemade mac and cheese, homemade mac and cheese recipe


Have a great day! Come back soon 🙂

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156 Responses
  1. Dave Mckee

    As a long time dad raising four boys alone, I learned to use whatever I could find in the refer. I have added in weiners cut into 1/2″ pieces and/or summer sausage. I like it with plenty of milk.

  2. Lillian

    I made this recipe exactly as stated but it didn’t come out good. The cheese was so stringy and could ot eat it. I had to throw it all away

  3. I`ve just made this for my tea tonight,used the same quantities & ingrediants,result was macaroni swimming in yellow,cheesey liquid,ingrediants needs to state far less milk than listed.

  4. Norm

    5 minutes? Takes longer than that just to make the pasta. Plus I had to dirty another dish to put it in the microwave instead of making sauce in the same one I boiled pasta in. Very stringy and didn’t mix well at all. Better off starting with a roux, making a sauce, and putting it over your pasta.

  5. Toni

    Can lower fat or Skim, be used in this? I am not a fan of milk that is more that isn’t skim, with the exception, of almond, coconut or chocolate milk of course! Just curious ,I wouldn’t want to waste the milk.

  6. Michael in Florida

    WHOA! EASY ON THE MILK! I did not have pasta made up in the refrigerator so I boiled and drained a half pound of elbows first. I had to pour out 2/3 of the liquid after the first 3 minutes in the microwave! After the last 2 minutes of cooking it was fine and delicious! Just be sure to go easy, very easy on the milk if your pasta has just been drained.

  7. Ritu

    I really want to try this and it looks quick and easy. But I have a question, can yellow cheese be used as a replacement for cheddar cheese?

  8. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a coworker who was doing a little homework on this.
    And he actually bought me lunch because I stumbled upon it for him…
    lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this topic here on your website.

  9. Colleen

    Can you tell me how much 1/2 pound of pasta is in cups? I just made this and it is very milky. Perhaps I didn’t have enough pasta? Also, when you microwave it, is that on high?

  10. Betty

    This is great! My picky teenager even said “This is good.” I did change the recipe a bit, however. I took other recommendations and used a mixture of 4 cups of cheddar and mozzarella cheese. I had a hard time getting it to mix after the recommended microwaving time, so I put about a tablespoon of cornstarch in about a 1/4 cup cold water and mixed well. I then added about half of it to the mixture (lots of milk in the bottom of the bowl) and microwaved it for a total of 3 minutes more, stirring intermittently. It thickened up quickly and became very creamy! Will make again! Thanks!

  11. Zenon

    Jenny needs to stop deleting negative comments.I am appalled by this act.How is the reader supposed to know what modifications need to be made,if Jenny continues to do this.

  12. LeeAnn

    If those who are having clumping problems are shredding their own cheese it may be that it’s lacking whatever powder the commercially shredded cheese is tossed in. It can be anything from cellulose to corn starch or flour, and often contains anti fungal agents as well.

    I sprinkled some flour on my clumped up mess and microwaved it a couple more times. I had used 2% milk! then added a pat of salted butter and cut back on the added kosher salt. The flour did help some and the sauce got fairly creamy. I used 3/4c jack and 1/4c mozzarella since it’s what I had and it’s still clumping, but that’s more likely because of the stringy mozzarella than anything. I think the flour would have fixed it if had only been jack cheese. I pulled out the congealed mozzarella and the rest was pretty tasty!

  13. Elizabeth

    Killer recipe! I made it for my mother and sister, and they loved it. My mom was especially surprised at how well it came out.
    Thanks a bunch! -Elizabeth

  14. Kim

    Awesome recipe ! My kid brother who’s 10 and I (13) tried it today and it came out perfect. We loved the fact that it was so easy to make.

  15. Sara

    Just made this last night- I used spiral pasta and mozzarella cheese and it was AMAZING. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!!!!

  16. Ashley

    Like others said, this did not work for me. I shredded my own cheese from a cheddar block, and after only one minute in the microwave, the cheese had bubbled through a gap in the plastic and spilled all over my microwave. I took it out, and there was milk and clumped cheese at the bottom, and noodles at the top. Disappointed because this looked so good.

  17. Emily

    My mother was sleeping and I was trying to look up easy resipies when this one caught my eye…. And it seems like my type of easy meal hope it works, thanks!

  18. MacKenzie L

    you just saved my husbands life im 4 months pregnant and craving some real mac and cheese really bad but all the other recipies take like an hour to make ohh yay microwave beeper went off time to eat!!!

  19. Bella

    I personally loved this recipe, but the kids I was babysitting said it was a little salty, so don’t overkill! I love the microwaving idea though!

  20. Brian

    I’m a special ed teacher who works with the 18-22 year old developmentally disabled population. I’m periodically looking for VERY SIMPLE meals that my students can learn to make for themselves, independently. Thank you for this simple dish with pictures and step included. I have to provide picture schedules as step by step instructions for students that cannot read. I’ll be looking at your site more often for other “simple” recipes that my students can do on their own! Again, thank you.

  21. Brittany

    Just tried this and it did NOT work ๐Ÿ™
    I was really bummed and my son was too.
    I did everything the same. Didnt change one thing so I have no clue what happened.

  22. michelle

    I tried it but it didn’t get creamy for me. it was a bit chunky and I stirred it plenty. I used one cup of pasta and one cup of cheese and half cup of milk. ๐Ÿ™

  23. Jen

    I followed exactly and it’s the worst Mac and cheese I’ve ever made. It’s clumpy and liquidy. I shredded cheese from a block. Does that make a difference?

  24. Emily

    Let me just say, this satisfied my craving 100% I had a bunch of extra noodles laying about and some extra shredded cheese. Did it as followed and it turned out lovely! I added some panko bread crumbs and nomnomnom. Def keeping in rotation!

  25. I used bag cheese – Sargento extra sharp cheddar. I also enhanced the recipe a bit by substituting Carnation Evaporated Milk, and addd some dry mustard, unsalted butter, and a bit of flour. However, I am convinced that mac and cheese is creamier when one grates her own cheese. I find Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp Cheddar to be the best for making mac and cheese.

  26. Christy

    I made this last Sunday. It was very easy. I did it on the stove top instead of the microwave, and it worked well. The only problem I had was I made it as a side, and I made it before the main course was done….so by the time I served dinner it wasn’t as creamy and yummy as it was when it was first ready. My fail. I’ll make it again though. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  27. (my website is still a work in progress…I only have 3 pages published at the moment, but hope to have much of the rest up within a week or two.

    I was in dire striaghts that we ran out of the boxed mac and cheese, which is what he wanted me to make lightly blended with a small amount of hamburger meat. Well, to no avial, we were out. But, I did have your ingredients and gave it a shot! Perfect! I used 2.5 cups of macaroni, 2 cups of the cheese and all like you said in the recipie! Followed your instructions…and it was really quick and easy. Only took 5 minutes (with exception cooking the macaroni for 11 min)…but we all know that doesn’t count…you just put it in and let it boil!

    AWESOME and your online recipie saved the day!
    Thank you so much for posting this!

  28. Adrina

    So easy. I was surprised that it turned out so good. I’m a firm believer in making a roux, but I was sick and not feeling up to cooking. Thanks for posting.

  29. Brianna

    I’m 11 and I find that this would be a very easy recipe for me to make home alone! But can I use 1% low fat milk?

  30. Alicia

    I tried this recipe tonight… Personally I didn’t think it was very tasty. My husband didn’t mind it, but it didn’t taste like very much to me and was sort of gritty. I even made it on the stove top, added extra cheese, and after combining them, put it in the oven to set with more cheese on top. I would change the recipe or find a different one if making it again.

  31. Wayne Rooney

    I know im a football player and need to be healthy… but this is a lovely dish and now i have it at least 2 times a week my wife and i enjoy it, its better than going out for a meal

  32. LayraS

    This isn’t really a 5 minute Mac n cheese if the noodles need to be precooked! More like 20 minute stovetop/microwave man n cheese! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  33. JoAnna

    Just made this, but with elbow macaroni and a “pizza blend” cheese (cheddar + mozzarella). DELISH!!! Have pinned this recipe to my Pinterest board and will def. recommend. Thanks so much!

  34. Beth

    Was so excited to try this, but it didnt work for me, it was clumpy and seemed like there was too much milk. I uswd whole milk and 2% cheese, should i have used regular cheese. Love picky palate, thank you!!

  35. Jessica

    If there is no flour in this recipe then what is in that picture with the tablespoon? It even looks like flour sitting on top of the cheese in the next picture with pepper on top of it. I am so confused.

  36. Kerry B

    This worked for me, but was a bit bland. i’ll be adding american in next time to see if it helps make it a bit creamier and a bit tastier!

  37. Michelle

    This recipe calls for 1/2 lb of cooked pasta, what measurement would that be in dry pasta? I would need to cook the pasta, but want to know how much to cook. Thank you!


  39. Andrea

    I just made this for lunch and the cheese was lumpy ๐Ÿ™ I used a block of cheese and shredded it myself. I did add flour to the chese like someone else posted and whole milk. Maybe next time I’ll use the pre shredded kind.

  40. Caitlin

    I just tried to make this, and it is definitely NOT as creamy as yours! Do you think it is because I didn’t use leftover pasta but made the pasta specifically for this? Thanks!

  41. Marina

    My little ones LOVE Mac&Cheese. Delicious and the perfect recipe for a quick lunch or a quick side dish for dinner. Thanks!

  42. I made this and posted about it here. I used skim milk and it turned out fine. It is stringier than the “blue box” but I wanna know why that is a bad thing!

    I’ve had this for lunch way too often. I really wish it wasn’t so easy. But it’s healthy right? Cause it’s chalk full of calcium. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  43. Just made this for lunch, love it! My girls are pretty picky, and wont eat homemade Mac and cheese…but they love this! I cant believe how easy it is either. I just heated up the cheese and milk in the saucepan I used to boil the noodles and it worked great. Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. Christine

    Thanks for the recipe! I tried it out and I am in love! I made it with cheese I had on hand some cheddar, feta and a little mozzarella. I halved the recipe and made it with skim milk it was delicious and wonderful! Thank you so much for this wonderful idea!

  45. My 16 year old son loves mac and cheese and I taught him how to do this several years ago because he is constantly hungry. I love that he will take left overs and create something new. Yours looks amazing!

  46. Jodi

    This didn’t work for me,just ended up with a bowl of cheese clumped noodles and loose milk,not sure what I did wrong?

  47. Tara

    Everyone is raving but has anyone (aside from Jeri above me) tried it? It looked amazing and unreal to me also, but like Jeri, my cheese just clumped and was not at all nice and creamy like Jenny’s. What did I do wrong….and it is even possible to do this recipe wrong!!?? It still tasted good of course–I mean, how can’t it? Its cheese!

    1. Karen

      After reading these comments, I added half a tablespoon of flour to freshly-shredded cheese and tossed it together before combining with the rest of these ingredients. It then melted nice and smooth like in the photos above. Perhaps the original poster didn’t need to add flour because she used bag cheese, which I believe already has something in it to keep it from clumping?

      1. Milly

        That would be potato starch. Odd, because everywhere else I’ve read about making mac and cheese, they say to avoid pre-packaged shredded cheeses for this very reason…

    1. Hi Jeri,
      I’m sorry to hear that. It’s hard to say unless I witness you making it. Maybe try a different brand of cheese to see if that helps.

      1. Elizabeth

        WOW!I loved it!I used sharp cheddar and added 5 drops of tobasco for a little kick and it was so great, flavorful, and not actually clumpy. Simple and delicious!

  48. I’m only irritated because I always have these ingredients on hand yet, despite their simplicity, never put them together. Goodbye, Kraft and super-long, laborious processes of making mac and cheese. Hello, new, easy favorite!

  49. June

    Wow, this looks so much easier than the way my grandmother taught me. I have always used, cheddar cheese, farfalle pasta, and no fat powdered milk. Cooking the pasta on stovetop takes ~20 minutes (10 for boiling, 10 for cooking). And another minute or so to melt the cheese on stovetop (adding a tablespoon of milk for one ‘handful’ of cheddar – [I have small hands ;)]). I mix it together (after draining the farfalle, obviously), and then sprinkle with some black pepper.

    Yummy, but takes a heck of a lot longer. ๐Ÿ™
    My idolatry of mac n cheese will lead me to trying your microwave method!

  50. My mother used to make the best macaroni cheese with velvet, milk and a white sauce. I haven’t been able to replicate it. Now that I’ve read today’s post, I realize it’s because I hadn’t been using whole milk. It does make a difference, doesn’t it!

  51. GinaE

    It did look like there was flour in the picture.

    Many thanks for a microwave version. Sometimes I just need a quick side dish or something comforting for dinner without all the work. This fits the bill perfectly! I’ll be using this a lot.

  52. This is how I make Mac & cheese for my kids. Not sure what I would do without my micro! Beautiful recipe images, as always! Happy Monday to you!

  53. Wow! I can’t get over how easy this is! I’m always looking for super easy recipes to make when I’m at school and cooking for one. Cheers! xx

  54. Michaela

    Looks yum! Mac and cheese isn’t a traditional favorite here in Australia like it is in the US but I really want to try it. Do you serve this as a side dish or the main dish for dinner? Can you serve vegetables with it? (not mixed in, just on the side) I’m looking forward to trying your recipe!

    1. kenny

      You can do anything you want with mac & cheese…it can be both a main or side dish. Vegetables are great in it, especially broccoli or cauliflower, but you can serve it on the side too.

    2. Ciara

      It can be done as either, but serving it as a main course with some steamed broccoli or cauliflower (or both!) would be a great way to balance a meal, plus the veggies would accent the cheese perfectly! ๐Ÿ™‚

    3. Earline

      Hi, I realize that you wrote your question nearly four years ago and it may have been answered. However, here in America Macaroni And Cheese is almost always served as a side dish. Though sometimes people do just eat it by itself, especially when their budget is low. And yes, by all means, do serve with vegetables, also on the side. Or you can experiment and even add vegetables to the Macaroni and Cheese. It’s up to you. I am ready to try this recipe for “Thanksgiving” which is exclusively an “American Holiday. I think I am going to do a trial run so that I can tweak it just in case I can improve on this recipe. So Bon Apetit.

      1. anonymous cheddar

        hello, by the way thanksgiving is not exclusive to america….. canada has thanksgiving too. and also another good thing to add to mac and cheese is 1-2 cans of tuna (depending on how much mac and cheese), or you can also add ground beef to it (one good way is to prepare the meat like you making tacos with taco sauce mix but instead you stick into your mac and cheese) YUM !

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