Guess what can save you time and money while whisking you away on an incredible culinary adventure? If you guessed your coffee mug, you’re right.
Who doesn’t like to sit down to a home-cooked meal? But when you’re doing the shopping and the cooking, coming up with a different menu every day can become exhausting.
If you’re on a budget, tired of preparing complicated meals, and washing a ton of dishes, microwave mug meals might be right up your alley. To help you save money on food, all you need are a handful of simple ingredients and a large coffee mug. You may be surprised by the wide variety of single-serving meals you could create.
What’s so great about mug meals?
Learning to prepare meals in a mug can be a real game-changer for a few reasons. For one thing, there’s a mug recipe for just about any occasion. Whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon snack, or a late-night craving, the chances are strong that you can make what you’re looking for in a mug.
Another benefit is that they’re incredibly easy and quick to make. When you cut down on cooking, you can spend more time savoring your food. To make things easier, you can also teach your kids to microwave their favorite foods in a mug and let them handle snack time. Mug meals are also dorm-friendly, making them a popular option for busy college students living on a budget.
Mug meals are a much healthier alternative to fast food. If you need a quick bite but don’t have a lot of time, you’re better off taking five minutes to make real, delicious food in your kitchen. You might not even miss those processed foods that are loaded with fat, calories, and questionable ingredients.
Even better, microwave mug meals can be surprisingly affordable. Many recipes top out at less than $2 per serving. Imagine if every time you craved pizza, you spent $2 and five minutes making it yourself instead of throwing out $20 and waiting 45 minutes for delivery. So, does saving time and money whet your appetite for meals in a mug?
Below are a few of our favorite recipes to get you started. Give them a taste and experience the savings for yourself. If nothing listed here tickles your fancy, you can Google your favorite comfort food + “mug meal”. If you’ve eaten it, we can almost guarantee that some enterprising home chef out there has already created a mug recipe for it.
Below are 8 mug meal recipes we think will blow you away. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert—it’s all here.
Our favorite breakfast mug meal recipes
Breakfast is often considered the most important meal of the day—but it’s also the easiest to skip. Fortunately, the following mug meals can be made in a few minutes so you can treat yourself to a tasty breakfast and start your day off right.
1. Omelet in a Cup
Source: Land O’Lakes
Two eggs, a little butter, and a handful of toppings are all you need to make a delicious omelet in the microwave. If you have three minutes and a craving for a meal that will keep you going until lunch, this recipe is for you.
- 1 tsp butter
- 2 large eggs
- Any toppings you want (cheese, onion, peppers, ham, bacon, sausage, salt, pepper)
- Add the butter to the coffee cup. Crack the two eggs on top and then beat everything together with a fork until mixed.
- Microwave for one minute to get the eggs started and then add in your toppings, doing your best to distribute them evenly. Microwave for an additional 30 seconds to one minute or as long as it takes for the egg to cook through. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper to taste, grab a fork, and dig in!
2. French Toast in a Mug
If you have a sweet tooth, french toast is a great breakfast option to satisfy it. This 5-minute recipe from Budget Bytes can be made with any type of bread, but sturdier ones like brioche or cinnamon raisin are ideal.
Besides the required ingredients, you can mix things up with additional items of your choosing such as berries, bananas, nuts, powdered sugar, or peanut butter.
- 1 tsp butter
- 3 Tbsp whole milk
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of bread pieces
- Place the butter in a mug and microwave for 15-20 seconds, or until melted. Next, add the milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and egg and mix.
- Add the bread pieces and stir until they are all saturated with the mixture—be sure to stir gently or the bread pieces may fall apart. Allow the bread to sit for one minute so it can absorb the liquid.
- Then, microwave your mug for 60-90 seconds or until the mixture is solid.
- Add any toppings of your choice and serve.
Our favorite lunch mug meal recipes
Unless it’s a special occasion, we rarely have a chance to enjoy lunch in today’s busy world. Get some of your time back with this quick and easy lunch mug meal recipe that takes only five minutes to make.
3. Microwave Mac and Cheese in a Mug
Source: The View from Great Island
Mac and cheese is the perfect way to satisfy a rumbling stomach. And since you can only make as much as fits in a mug, following this recipe can prevent you from overindulging. We suggest you stick with the proportions laid out below to start. With a single portion contained entirely in a coffee mug, you don’t have a lot of room for variation.
- 1/3 cup uncooked macaroni elbow noodles
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup finely shredded cheese
- Combine the uncooked macaroni and the water in a mug and microwave for two minutes. Don’t worry if the water boils over.
- Remove the cup from the microwave, stir the contents, and microwave for a third minute.
- Remove, stir, and microwave for a fourth minute or until all water has been absorbed.
- Once all the water has been absorbed, stir in the milk and shredded cheese. Microwave for 30 seconds to one minute or until everything has melted. Stir together and eat.
Technically, microwave mac and cheese already exists in the form of Easy Mac and other similar products. But why eat cheese powder and noodles in a plastic cup when you can have rich and creamy, homemade mac and cheese just as easily?
4. Quiche in a Mug
Quiche in a mug is a perfect option if you’re looking for a small, healthy meal on the go. Besides the ingredients below, you can also customize lunch with add-ons like veggies and meats.
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 tbsp whole milk
- 1 tsp melted unsalted butter
- A pinch of salt
- A pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 4 small grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/8 cup torn pieces of fresh bread
- 1 tbsp grated cheese
- 1 tsp chopped fresh herbs, plus more for garnish
- Whisk egg, milk, butter, salt, and pepper in a large mug until well mixed.
- Add tomatoes, bread, cheese, and herbs and gently stir
- Microwave your mug for one minute until the egg is cooked and the quiche is puffed.
- Finally, garnish with herbs, and enjoy!
Our favorite dinner mug meal recipes
There are so many dinner recipes to choose from, so we’ll just give you our top two favorites. Both technically qualify as Italian food, which is why we picked them.
The first idea is more casual and snacky, while the second is about as close as you can get to authentic Italian when working with only a mug and a microwave.
5. Microwave Mug Pizza
Source: Food Network
Is there any food in the world more beloved than pizza? We say “no”, and nothing could be easier than this recipe for pizza in a coffee mug. Whether you’re enjoying a quiet night in front of the TV or craving a late-night snack, this recipe should hit the spot.
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- 1/8 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp pizza sauce
- 2 tbsp shredded mozzarella
- 6 mini pepperoni slices
- Combine the flour, oregano, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and garlic powder in a large mug.
- Add olive oil and 3 tbsp of water and stir until the batter is lumpy.
- Pour the pizza sauce on top of the batter and sprinkle with cheese and pepperoni slices.
- Spoon in your marinara sauce and spread it on top of the batter.
- Sprinkle in your cheese, pepperoni, and any other toppings or spices (such as basil and oregano) that you enjoy.
- Microwave for one minute and 30 seconds or until the cheese is melted and the dough is crispy on the edges.
6. Solo Microwave Fettuccine Alfredo
Fettuccine alfredo is a decadent Italian treat that you can find everywhere from the frozen foods section of your grocery store to the most upscale Italian restaurants. Who can say no to ooey gooey noodles in a creamy, tangy cheese sauce? This easy mug recipe lets you make a scrumptious fettuccine that will satisfy any craving for this classic dish.
- 2 oz. cream cheese
- 1⁄4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1⁄4 cup milk
- 1 cup pasta (any flat pasta works, not just fettuccine)
- 1 1⁄2 cups water
- Combine noodles and water in a large mug.
- Microwave for two minutes and stir. Repeat this cycle as necessary until the pasta is cooked to your liking.
- Drain the noodles.
- Combine cream cheese and milk in a separate container. Microwave for one minute, and then stir until smooth.
- Stir parmesan cheese into the cream cheese/milk mixture to finish your alfredo sauce.
- Toss noodles in alfredo sauce and dig in!
Our favorite dessert mug meal recipes
In our book, dessert is a meal—and we refuse to entertain any opinions to the contrary. If you have a sweet tooth, you know how important it is to have some kind of snack in the house to satisfy sudden cravings.
These dessert recipes are simple, cheap, and can be made in a few minutes. If they stop you from buying a pint of ice cream to get your midnight sugar fix, even better.
7. Chocolate Chip Mug Cookies
Source: The Comfort of Cooking
If the thought of warm, melty chocolate chips coming out of the microwave doesn’t make your mouth water, nothing will. This easy-to-make dessert would make a great introduction to baking for a young child, but you could also keep it as your little secret if you don’t want to share. We won’t judge.
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon pinch salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1-2 Tablespoons chocolate chips
- Ice cream (optional)
- Add the butter to your mug and melt it in the microwave for 30 seconds to one minute.
- Add the sugar, vanilla extract, and salt to your melted butter and stir to combine.
- Mix in the egg yolk until no traces of the yolk are seen.
- Next, mix in the flour and fold in the chocolate chips.
- Lastly, microwave on high for 40-50 seconds and add ice cream.
8. Brownie Mug Cake
If you’re craving a fudgy brownie, but don’t want to buy or make a full tray, this recipe offers the best solution. Here’s how you can get your chocolate fix with a decadent mug brownie.
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 2 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons chocolate chips
- Ice cream (optional)
- Combine cocoa powder, flour, sugar, and salt in your coffee mug and use a fork to stir.
- Next, add the milk, oil, and vanilla and stir until the dry ingredients are almost combined.
- Add chocolate chips and stir until well-combined
- Microwave the mug for one minute or until the brownie has risen and there is no raw batter.
- Once the brownie has cooled down, add ice cream and enjoy!
All it takes is a mug, some common ingredients, and a little bit of ingenuity to make pretty much anything in your microwave. To turn these meals into a bigger success, be on the lookout for grocery coupon savings. Bon appetit.