five-minute single serve pumpkin mac and cheese

The easiest and most delicious pumpkin mac and cheese you’ve ever had – in just five minutes!

5 minute single serving pumpkin mac and cheese. It doesn't get any better than this! //

Growing up in the 80’s, microwave cookery was a big part of my culinary experience. My parents had this hulking beast of a microwave – the kind of microwave that you’d be afraid to stand in front of while it was running – that was physically attached to the stove. Certainly not all of our meals were microwaved, but a good number of things came out that way. It wasn’t until I moved away to university that I discovered it was possible to cook scrambled eggs without a microwave. Or oatmeal. Or peanut brittle. Or chocolate sauce.

These days my microwave is more or less reserved for heating things, like my morning mug of tea that I invariably forget somewhere and have to nuke for 30 seconds to get back to an acceptable temp, or melting things, like butter for popcorn or chocolate for brownies. And I’m a recent convert to the mug cake game (seriously, what took me so long?!).

5 minute single serving pumpkin mac and cheese. It doesn't get any better than this! //

But today I’m going to ask you to be brave. To silence your inner hippy, wake your inner 80’s child, and embrace a little microwave cookery, as it were. Because this, this is going to be worth it.

Friends, I have on offer something truly spectacular today. A single serving of macaroni and cheese that can go from start to shovelling hot cheesy goodness into your face in just five minutes. That’s right, you heard me. Mac and cheese. Single serve. Just. Five. Minutes.

I wish I could claim to be the genius who first thought of this, but lo, I am not. I stumbled across the recipe here, and immediately upon seeing it went out and bought the one ingredient not already in my home – elbow macaroni noodles. I tested it, high-fived my microwave, and then set about making it my own.

The original recipe is awesome. You should make it. In fact you should probably make it before you try my pumpkinified version so you know what the benchmark should be like. And then try this version because it’s October and October is about all the pumpkin things and this is that.

5 minute single serving pumpkin mac and cheese. It doesn't get any better than this! //

MM_Know_Icon_FINALMac and cheese is always a bit on the indulgent side, but that’s the beauty of a single serve recipe. No leftovers to taunt you. If I had known about this in the first trimester it would have saved me from a looooootttta servings of boxed mac and cheese (<– actually probably not, but it still would have been good to know about).

I’ve made this version slightly more healthy by swapping out half of the cheese with pumpkin puree. It’s every bit as creamy, got that great pumpkin flavour, and just tastes like fall, you know? Plus pumpkin gives it that great orange cheddar colour without any actual scary orange colouring, which might even make you forgive the microwave part.

5 minute single serving pumpkin mac and cheese. It doesn't get any better than this! //

One year ago: Pumpkin Millet Muffins
Three years ago: Porridge Nuggets
Four years ago: No Frills Apple Butter
Five years ago: Pumpkin Oat-bran Muffins

5 minute single serving pumpkin mac and cheese. It doesn't get any better than this! //
5 from 1 vote

five-minute single serve pumpkin mac and cheese

The easiest and most delicious pumpkin mac and cheese you've ever had - in just five minutes!
Course quick and easy
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 6 minutes
Servings 1
Author Katie Trant


  • 1/3 cup elbow macaroni noodles uncooked
  • a scant 1/2 cup water
  • a scant 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese*
  • 1/8 tsp cornstarch*
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin purée
  • the tiniest pinch of nutmeg optional


  1. Place the macaroni noodles and the water into a large mug. Microwave on full power for 2 minutes. Stir. The water will probably have boiled over a bit. Don't worry, it's all part of the process. Just wipe it up and move on.
  2. Microwave for another minute. Give the noodles a good stir.
  3. Microwave for another minute, and then check to see that all the water has been absorbed.
  4. Stir in the milk, cornstarch, shredded cheese, and pumpkin purée. Microwave for a final minute.
  5. Stir well, and let stand for about 30 seconds to a minute. Stir again. Enjoy.

Recipe Notes

-Use a large mug. I did not use the mug in the photo here, it's way too small. You want to go for one with a 1 3/4 cup - 2 cup (500 ml) capacity.
-Use elbow macaroni - anything bigger won't cook quickly enough. If you're using really tiny macaroni it may be cooked after 3 minutes - just check after every time when you stop and stir.
*If using pre-packaged shredded cheese you can leave out the cornstarch
-Also, I'm totally aware that a Tbsp of pumpkin purée is a totally obnoxious amount to ask for. If you don't have a can of pumpkin on the go, you can leave it out and double the cheese instead.


5 minute single serving pumpkin mac and cheese. It doesn't get any better than this! //



  1. Heather says

    Now just for the record , and to be fair ( my friends read this blog) other than the things you listed as being microwaved when you were growing up ,that giant microwave was used over and over , but primarily for heating up cold food that was homemade. We wouldn’t want to leave your readers with the idea that your mother fed you prepackaged microwave meals . No, no, no! It was broccoli till it came out of your ears and all sorts of other nutritious deliciousness . Right?!! I will try the pumpkin mac with the frozen blobs of pumpkin I processed this fall. Might also be good with betternut squash or the very sweet but yummy Delicata variety? See you in London tomorrow.

    • Katie Trant says

      I said microwave *cookery* not frozen dinners! No frozen microwaved dinners were allowed. Or store bought cookies, sugar cereal, or other fun things. It’s no wonder I grew up and became a nutritionist!

      • Heather says

        OK. I feel much better now that the truth has been clarified.!! And I’ll be able to face my friends without fear of judgment of my long ago parenting skills. Defrosting was and is another microwave use in a pinch.

  2. Cammy says

    This is amazing for a lady with two kids who will always eat mac n cheese. I wonder, if I were to throw in some broccolli when the best time to do it would be. Thoughts?

    • Katie Trant says

      If I were you, I’d steam some broccoli up on the side and stir it in at the end the first couple of times you make it, because there is a bit of a learning curve. Then maybe try adding it in after the first 2 minutes of cooking, depending on how cooked you want the broccoli to be.

  3. Sarah says

    I made a larger batch this morning for school lunches and so I cooked the noodles on the stove top first. It was a quick and easy way of whipping up a nutritious hot lunch on a rainy Fall day and everyone LOVED it! I have all the ingredients in the fridge for Round 2 tomorrow and am hoping it will off set the inevitable candy surge… I may have to high five the microwave again.

  4. Jena says

    Awesome, quick recipe! My (annoyingly fussy eater) toddler devoured this for lunch… & after having a bite of his I had to make my own mug of mac!

    • Jena says

      Oh, & P.S. I just discovered your fab blog & love it! I’m also a vegetarian who enjoys cooking (& reading all the really great food blogs)! Congrats on your sweet new baby- busy days ahead, mamma! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *