Some days, you want to show off your culinary skills in the kitchen. Other days, you just want food as simply and quickly as possible. Your microwave is a lifesaver in the latter situation, and not just for warming up leftovers or nuking a frozen meal. When you want a tasty meal without all the fuss, mug recipes save the day. Plus, you can cook for one without filling your fridge with leftovers you’ll be stuck eating for the next week. Here are seven mug meals you can make for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
If you’re looking for something sweet to follow up your meal, try one of these microwave dessert recipes.
1. Cinnamon Roll in a Mug
Who has time for fresh baked cinnamon rolls? You do when you try this 1-minute cinnamon roll in a mug. The result is a sweet, indulgent breakfast pastry without all the fuss. Recipe from Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking (originally adapted from Cooking Classy).
- 2 tablespoons applesauce or mashed ripe banana
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons milk
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 1½ tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
Cream cheese icing
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon milk
Directions: Mix together all ingredients (except those for the icing) in a mug until thoroughly combined and nearly smooth.
Place mug in microwave and heat on high for 1 minute. Check cake to see if it is fully cooked. If not, continue to microwave on high in 15-second intervals until cinnamon roll is done. (Note: Cooking times are for a 1,200-watt microwave; if you have a lower-watt microwave you may need to increase the cooking time.)
Prepare icing by mixing together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and milk together in a small bowl until smooth. Spread icing on warm cinnamon roll and serve.
2. Omelet in a Mug
You can have a fresh-made omelet on your plate in minutes with this versatile breakfast recipe. Simply stir in whatever fillings you prefer (like broccoli, cheddar, or cooked ham) before microwaving the egg. You can save even more time on a busy morning by chopping those ingredients the night before. Recipe from Kirbie’s Cravings.
- 2 eggs (or use egg substitute or egg whites)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of milk
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons each of fillings of your choice, such as shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese, broccoli, green or red pepper, tomato, or precooked breakfast sausage or bacon
Directions: In a microwave-safe mug, whisk together the milk and eggs. Stir in salt, pepper, and any fillings you want to add.
Cover the mug with a paper towel or napkin, then microwave for 1 minute. Check to see if the omelet is done. If not, microwave for another minute until egg is completely cooked (check the omelet after 30 seconds — you do not want to overheat the egg). Serve.
3. Coffee Cup Chilaquiles
Put the last of that bag of tortilla chips to good use in this easy recipe for chilaquiles, a Mexican brunch staple. With a combination of protein, carbs, and fat, this dish is also the perfect go-to breakfast if you’ve over-indulged the night before. Recipe from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sharp cheddar cheese
- 5 tortilla chips, divided
- 1 tablespoon salsa
- Sour cream
- Queso fresco
- Chopped green onion
Directions: Beat egg and milk with a fork in a coffee cup, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add cheddar; stir to coat. Break 3 or 4 tortilla chips into small pieces to fit in the cup; stir into the mixture. Add salsa.
Microwave on high until done, about 1 minute, 10 seconds. Garnish with remaining tortilla chips, sour cream, queso fresco, and green onion.
4. Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
There’s nothing quite like a comforting bowl of hot chicken noodle soup, especially if you’re feeling under the weather. But if you’re cooking for one, you may find yourself reaching for Campbell’s, since making a big batch of soup is just too much trouble. This mug recipe for homemade chicken noodle soup changes all that. Recipe from PopSugar (adapted from the book Mug Meals).
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ½ cup shredded rotisserie or roasted chicken (skin removed)
- ¼ cup very thinly sliced carrots (about ½ carrot)
- ¼ cup cooked small egg noodles
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon thinly sliced trimmed scallions (light green and dark green parts)
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 grinds of black pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill or parsley
Directions: Mix the broth, chicken, carrots, noodles, scallions, juice, salt, and pepper, and transfer to a 16-ounce mug. If you do not have cooked noodles on hand, you can cook your noodles in the microwave before you make the soup by placing them in a mug with ⅔ cup of hot salted water and heating for 3 minutes.
Cover the soup and microwave for about 7 minutes (you want to cook until the carrots are tender). Stir in the dill or parsley. Serve.
5. Spiced Lentils with Yogurt, Almonds, and Mint
Using canned or vacuum-packed lentils in this recipe means you can have a healthy, protein-packed lunch ready in about 3 minutes. If you’d like to enjoy this at work, combine all the ingredients except for the yogurt, almonds, and mint, in a container and then heat in the microwave at the office (bring the toppings in a separate container). If you don’t have lentils, you can also try using other canned beans, like black beans, in this recipe from Power Hungry.
- ¾ cup rinsed and drained canned lentils
- ½ can (10 ounces) reduced sodium diced tomatoes with green chilies (undrained)
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon chopped roasted salted almonds
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint (or substitute parsley or cilantro)
Directions: Combine the lentils, tomatoes, cumin, ginger, and hot pepper sauce in a 16-ounce mug.
Microwave lentils and other ingredients on high for 1½ to 2½ minutes or until warm. Top lentils with the yogurt and then sprinkle with almonds and mint. Serve with warm naan, pita, or tortilla.
6. Spinach Ricotta Lasagna in a Mug
Lasagna isn’t just for family dinners, and it doesn’t necessarily require a lot of time to prepare and cook. This recipe for vegetarian lasagna from Healthy Nibbles & Bits means you can enjoy a single serving of Italian comfort food in about the same amount of time than it would take to warm up a meal from the freezer aisle.
- ½ fresh lasagna sheet (look for this in the refrigerated pasta section in your supermarket)
- 2½ cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
- ¼ medium yellow bell pepper, diced
- ¼ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 3 large basil leaves, finely chopped (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon granulated garlic
- 6 tablespoons pasta sauce or tomato sauce
- ⅓ cup grated part-skim mozzarella
Directions: Start by cutting the lasagna sheet in half, and the cut each strip in half again. (You’ll want the pieces to fit inside the mug you’ll use to cook the lasagna.) Place the pasta in bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside.
Place the chopped spinach in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, cut holes to vent steam, and microwave for one minute. Remove spinach from the bowl and let rest.
As spinach cools, grate the mozzarella cheese.
Combine the spinach with the ricotta, pepper, garlic, and salt, then set aside.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of pasta sauce into the bottom of a large mug. Remove a piece of pasta from the bowl of water and place on the bottom of the mug, covering the pasta sauce. Top with some of the spinach-ricotta mixture and some grated mozzarella. Cover with another sheet of pasta. Continue layering the ricotta mixture, mozzarella, and lasagna noodles, making sure to end with a sheet of pasta. Sprinkle the last of the mozzarella over the top of the assembled lasagna.
Place mug in microwave and cook for 1½ minutes. If mozzarella isn’t completely melted, continue cooking at 15-second intervals. Remove from microwave and serve immediately.
7. Meatloaf in a Mug
You can make yourself a single-serve meatloaf in a snap with this recipe from Taste of Home. This dish is also easy to double or triple if you’re feeding more than one (or you just have a hearty appetite). Serve with a salad or grilled or steamed vegetables for a simple yet filling meal.
- 2 tablespoons 2% milk
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 2 tablespoons quick-cooking oats
- 1 teaspoon onion soup mix
- ¼ pound lean ground beef
- Additional ketchup (optional)
Directions: In a small bowl, combine the milk, ketchup, oats, and soup mix. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Pat into a microwave-safe mug or custard cup coated with cooking spray.
Cover and microwave on high for 3 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and a thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit; drain.
Let stand for 3 minutes. Serve with additional ketchup if desired.
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