I love microwave macaroni cheese as it’s so easy to make in just a few minutes and is so tasty. I’ve been making macaroni cheese only in the microwave for over 30 years and have never had one fail. I use dried packet macaroni, milk, butter and flour – and that’s it really.
This is an easy mac and cheese recipe for one – but can also be scaled up for more people if you wish. You end up with 330-350 grams of macaroni cheese, so it’s the same quantity as a ready meal for one, but at half the cost and you get to choose how cheesy the cheese sauce is and how thick or runny it is! Hot and filling.
Here’s the recipe:
- 50 grams macaroni, raw – this gives ~170 grams cooked
- 25 grams butter or margarine
- 20 grams flour, plain or self raising, it doesn’t matter which. This will make a thick sauce, if you prefer a thin sauce you’ll only need about 10 grams.
- 100ml milk, I use full fat milk, but you can use the milk you’ve got
- 50-75 grams of cheese, any hard cheese will do, grated.
- Cook your macaroni – I use the microwave oven to do this too. Tip the macaroni into a large microwave safe bowl or jug and pour in boiling water until the macaroni is covered by about 1cm. I add a splash of oil and a little salt at this point – the oil helps stop the macaroni sticking together. Cover the dish and microwave on full power for 2 minutes. Give the macaroni a stir, breaking it up and microwave on full power for a further 1 minute. Give it a stir again and microwave for a further 1 minute. Leave the lid on and set the macaroni to one side while you make your cheese sauce, it’ll continue to cook in the hot water and should be ready when you need it.
- Melt the butter in a microwave safe dish (I use a Pyrex jug for its handy handle).
- Spoon in the flour and mix the two thoroughly until it’s a ball of mix- I use a fork to do this and it takes about 10 seconds.
- Pour in a little of the milk and, using your fork or whisk, mix it until there are no lumps. Add the rest of the milk a little at a time, again continually checking there are no lumps.
- This is now a white sauce, or roux. Microwave for 15-30 seconds, stir; repeat this a few times, for about 2 minutes. You now have a hot white sauce that should be lump free. During this process you might choose to add a little more milk if it’s mixing up thicker than you’d like – because it’s all about how YOU like it.
- Add the cheese to the white sauce and mix it through – if your cheese is grated it’ll melt faster. Microwave the cheese sauce for 30 seconds at a time, stirring it, until it’s the perfect cheese sauce for your tastes – have a little taste to check if it needs more cheese or not.
My sauce is never runny because I love thick cheese sauce – using this recipe it’s something you control even up to the last minute! Adding a little milk makes sauce thinner – and if you just used the last splash of milk then a spoon of water will do!
- By now the macaroni should be fully soft – break it up if required and drain all the water off.
- Combine the macaroni and the cheese sauce.
I will usually serve macaroni cheese with a whole tin of tinned tomatoes and a splash of brown HP sauce.
Storing Macaroni Cheese:
You can store this in the fridge for several days if you put it into a lidded container. To reheat it might appear a little thick as the cheese sauce will have thickened – just add a splash of milk and microwave it for 2-3 minutes. If you’ve no milk, then just use a few spoons of plain water.
Can you freeze mac cheese?
You can freeze it if you’ve leftovers or simply want to cook ahead – it’s best to defrost it in the fridge overnight and then give it a stir around before microwaving. If you cook from frozen then I’d use the defrost setting first for 2-3 minutes, then give it a good stir and 2 minutes on high power.
The cost of butter, milk, flour, cheese and macaroni are very variable, depending on the pack size you’ve bought and the brand. It can be made as cheaply as 20p per portion, but realistically the ingredients will cost you 30p if you’re cooking for one as you’re more likely to be buying products in smaller quantities.
When I made this easy mac and cheese recipe for one person it was because I’d bought one pint of milk, which cost me 44p – this is an expensive way to buy milk when you compare it to the price of, say, 4 litres. Costs might typically break down to butter/margarine 8p, flour 2p, milk 8p, pasta 15p.