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Macaroni and Cheese For One

This homemade macaroni and cheese is so creamy and extra cheesy. Made on the stovetop, this single serving mac and cheese recipe is easy to make and can be ready in minutes. It's the perfect size for one person!

A small bowl of macaroni and cheese on a metal tray next to a spoon and a pink cloth napkin.

If there's one recipe every home cook should have in their arsenal of recipes, it should be a glorious homemade macaroni and cheese recipe; one that can be pulled out the instant a craving hits for cheesy, creamy pasta.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Macaroni and cheese is classic comfort food and since this easy mac and cheese recipe takes just minutes to make, it's a recipe you can enjoy making over and over again. Truly, it takes about the same amount of time to make this classic macaroni and cheese as it does to make the kind from a box - and this homemade version is so much better!
  • It's cheesy and extra-creamy.
  • This macaroni and cheese recipe yields the perfect amount for one! Although this is a single serving recipe, the ingredients can be doubled to yield two servings.

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Ingredient Notes

See recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  • Pasta: I use 2 ounces of uncooked elbow macaroni or another small pasta shape. Two ounces of dried elbow macaroni is about 1/2 cup.
  • Butter and Flour: Use salted butter and all-purpose flour. These ingredients are needed to make the roux which is what will thicken the cheese sauce.
  • Milk: Use any percentage cow's milk, or you can use almond milk instead.
  • Cheese: I recommend using sharp Cheddar cheese.
  • Dry Mustard: My "secret ingredient". Dry mustard adds great flavor.
  • Salt: For flavor.

How To Make Macaroni and Cheese

Follow these easy steps for making the best macaroni and cheese:

  1. Begin By Making A Roux: Don't let the word "roux" scare you. A roux is a fancy French term and shouldn't intimidate you. The purpose of a roux is to thicken a sauce and in this recipe, it's a simple mixture of equal parts melted butter and flour. As the butter melts in a small saucepan, whisk in the flour to form a thick, smooth paste. Cook the roux for a minute or so.
  2. Whisk In The Milk: Slowly pour the milk into the roux while whisking. As the milk heats, the clumps of flour will smooth out and the sauce will thicken. Continue to cook the sauce for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add The Cheese: Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese and dry mustard. I happen to love the flavor that the dry mustard imparts. You don't have to use it in your mac and cheese version however, I highly recommend it.
  4. Stir In The Pasta: Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pasta. Best if enjoyed immediately.
An overhead view of a small bowl of macaroni and cheese on a metal tray with a spoon, a pink cloth napkin, and scattered shredded cheddar cheese

Expert Tips

  • If you like a crisp, buttery topping for your macaroni and cheese, just transfer the mac and cheese into a small oven safe dish or ramekin and sprinkle a tablespoon of seasoned bread crumbs over the top. Cut a tablespoon of butter into little pieces and place the pieces of butter over the top of the breadcrumbs and bake the macaroni and cheese in the oven (350 degrees F /177 degrees C) for a few minutes until the butter melts and the topping is golden.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Type Of Pasta Should I Use?

This homemade macaroni and cheese recipe begins with the pasta. I like to use elbow macaroni but use your favorite small pasta shape. As long as it's a shape that's good at holding onto the sauce, it'll be a good choice.
Other favorite pasta types include fusilli, rotini, and shells.
You'll want to cook 2-ounces of pasta until it's al dente and has a little bite. After it's cooked and drained, set it aside and make the cheese sauce.
Two ounces of dried elbow macaroni is about 1/2 cup.

Should I Use Bagged Shredded Cheese or Freshly Grated Cheese?

I prefer using freshly grated cheese. Using pre-shredded cheese can result in a grainier sauce but will still be delicious.

What To Do With Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients left over from this macaroni and cheese recipe, you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

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Serving Suggestions

Although I could eat macaroni and cheese all by itself and be quite happy doing so, you might like to enjoy any of these dishes with yours:

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A spoonful of macaroni and cheese from a small bowl

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I used a 1 quart saucepan to make this mac and cheese, for best results use a pot of a similar size. I also use a 8.5-ounce ramekin to serve the macaroni and cheese.

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If you’ve tried this macaroni and cheese or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

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Macaroni and Cheese For One | One Dish Kitchen

Macaroni and Cheese For One

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Course: Main Dish, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keywords: macaroni and cheese, pasta
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 608kcal
Author: Joanie Zisk

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni (or other pasta shape)
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk (use any percentage or almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

How To Video

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • In a small 1-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
  • Whisk in the milk and cook, whisking constantly for 1 to 2 minutes until the mixture thickens and there are no lumps.
  • Stir in the cheese, the dry mustard, and the salt and continue stirring until the cheese has melted.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the pasta.
    Best if enjoyed immediately.
    The macaroni and cheese will be very creamy and will thicken even more as it cools.

Notes

Expert Tips
  • If you like a crisp, buttery topping for your macaroni and cheese, just transfer the mac and cheese into a small oven safe dish or ramekin and sprinkle a tablespoon of seasoned bread crumbs over the top. Cut a tablespoon of butter into little pieces and place the pieces of butter over the top of the breadcrumbs and bake the macaroni and cheese in the oven (350 degrees F /177 degrees C) for a few minutes until the butter melts and the topping is golden.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 608kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 796mg | Potassium: 372mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1165IU | Calcium: 569mg | Iron: 1.5mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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About The Author

32 thoughts on “Macaroni and Cheese For One”

  1. As an FCS teacher I was stressing over how to send food boxes to students for their culinary unit. Since we can’t have students cooking together or sharing tools and ingredients in class because of the pandemic, I was struggling to find recipes that I could use for virtual and in person learning. I also needed to keep in mind the cost in buying tools and food for EACH individual. That was going to be tough. I am so grateful for running into your site! This helps so much with not having to buy many kitchen tools and mass ingredients! Thank you so much!
    -Mrs. Chang

  2. 5 stars
    I used shell pasta, since I had it on hand. Pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it! Nice and creamy, wasn’t sure 2oz would be enough but it was perfect. Thank you!

  3. Hi, could you please advise what size 2 oz of macaroni would be please? Would it be close to a 1/4th or a 1/3rd of a cup?

  4. Nandy M Thompson

    So quick and easy! Doubled it for two and it was perfect! Sprinkled some Panko breadcrumbs in top and toasted it till golden!!!! Look forward to making again!

  5. 5 stars
    I’m not a big fan of stovetop macaroni and cheese, so I put mine in a little baking dish and put it in the toaster oven for about 20 minutes, until it started to brown on top.

    Delicious!

    1. Haven’t made yet, but looks delicious! At what temperature and how long should I cook this recipe in convection oven?

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