5 Microwave Mug Meals That Will Fill You up for $4 or Less

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microwave mug recipes
Creamy chicken casserole in made in a coffee mug in St. Petersburg, Fla. Tina Russell / The Penny Hoarder

Four-course meals served on your best plates are great for when you’re feeling posh.

Sometimes, though, you just want hot comfort food you can eat while curled up under a blanket on the couch.

Microwaveable mug meals are a perfect way to quickly throw together a yummy lunch or dinner before your cat even has a chance to steal your spot on the sofa.

Best of all, each meal rings in at less than $4.

5 Microwave Mug Recipes That are Tasty and Cheap

Remember: Always use a microwave-safe mug. Nothing ruins lunch faster than an exploding cup of hot food.

1. Pizza

microwave mug recipes

A pizza mug meal in St. Petersburg, Fla. Tina Russell / The Penny Hoarder

This mug of awesomeness comes from the brain and microwave oven of chef Gemma Stafford at Bigger Bolder Baking.

You’ll need:

  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour: 15 cents
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder: 1 cent
  • 1/16 teaspoon baking soda: 1 cent
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt: 1 cent
  • 3 tablespoons milk: 63 cents
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil: 30 cents
  • 1 tablespoon jarred pizza sauce: 5 cents
  • 1 heaping tablespoon shredded mozzarella cheese: 42 cents
  • 5-10 mini pepperoni, depending how much you like pepperoni: 10 cents
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano, basil or dried Italian herbs: 9 cents

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in your mug. Stir in the milk and oil.

Spread the pizza sauce on top of flour mixture, then sprinkle on the cheese, pepperoni and herbs.

Microwave for 60 to 90 seconds.

Let it cool for 1 minute to avoid scalding the roof of your mouth with the first bite (same as for oven-baked pizza).

Total Cost: $1.77

2. Lasagna

microwave mug recipes

Lasagna made in a coffee mug in St. Petersburg, Fla. Tina Russell / The Penny Hoarder

If you’re feeling fancy, make a steaming mug of cheesy-licious lasagna. Feel free to substitute leftover pizza sauce for the marinara sauce. It won’t taste as authentic, but it’ll still be yummy.

You’ll need:

  • 2 sheets of lasagna noodles, broken into about 12 pieces: 24 cents
  • 1/4 cup marinara sauce: 16 cents
  • 1/4 tbsp dried basil: 11 cents
  • 1/4 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese: $1.70
  • 4 tablespoons ricotta or cottage cheese: 27 cents

Put the pasta in a mug or large bowl, and cover it with water.

Microwave on high for 2 minutes, then stir the noodles to keep them from clumping.

Microwave the pasta for another 90 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on how firm you like your noodles.

Drain the pasta.

Stir the dried basil into the marinara sauce, and pour about 2 tablespoons into the bottom of a mug.

Layer in the mug, in order, ⅓ of the noodles, ⅓ of the marinara, ⅓ of the ricotta and then ⅓ of the mozzarella. Repeat the layering process twice. Spread both cheeses well to cover the pasta and keep it from drying out in the microwave.

Place the mug in the microwave, and cook for 2 ½ to 3 minutes until lasagna is heated through.

Let it cool for 1 minute.

Total Cost: $2.48

3. Creamy Chicken Casserole  

microwave mug recipes

Chicken is added to a mug full of peas, noodles and cheese to make creamy chicken casserole in St. Petersburg, Fla. Tina Russell / The Penny Hoarder

This rich and creamy mug meal is a great way to use leftover chicken, but chopped chicken lunch meat or canned chicken works just as well in a pinch.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup spaghetti noodles, broken into thirds: 22 cents
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half: 58 cents
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese: $1.70
  • 2 ounces chopped chicken: $1
  • 2 tablespoons frozen peas, thawed in cool water and drained: 20 cents
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder: 9 cents
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder: 11 cents
  • Pinch of salt and pepper: 4 cents

Put the pasta in a mug, and fill it with water until the pasta is covered.

Microwave on high for 2 minutes, then stir the noodles to keep them from clumping.

Microwave pasta for another 1 ½ to 2 minutes, depending on how firm you like your noodles.

Drain the pasta.

Combine the noodles and remaining ingredients in mug. Microwave for 2-3 minutes until heated through.

Let it cool for 1 minute.

Total Cost: $3.94

4. Taco Mug of Goodness

microwave mug recipes

Chips are added into a coffee mug as taco mug of goodness is prepared in St. Petersburg, Fla. Tina Russell / The Penny Hoarder

What’s a go-to recipe list without a mention of tacos? Nothing, that’s what.

You’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons canned black beans: 9 cents
  • 2 ounces cooked chicken (canned is fine): $1.00
  • 3 tablespoons salsa: 19 cents
  • 1 tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese: 42 cents
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream: 10 cents
  • 2-3 tortilla chips, lightly crumbled: 7 cents

Mix together first three ingredients in a mug.

Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes until heated through.

Top with crumbled chips, cheese and sour cream

Total Cost $1.87

5. Swedish IKEA-Style Meatballs

microwave mug recipes

Swedish IKEA-Style meatballs made in a coffee mug in St. Petersburg, Fla. Tina Russell / The Penny Hoarder

After a hard day of building flat-pack furniture (or, as I call it, playing with adult LEGOs), revive your sagging energy with this easy meatball-in-a-mug meal.

You’ll need:

  • 6 frozen mini meatballs: $1.07
  • 1 tablespoon flour: 4 cents
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder: 6 cents
  • ¼ teaspoon parsley flakes: 4 cents
  • ¼ teaspoon beef bouillon granules: 4 cents
  • Pinch of nutmeg: 2 cents
  • Pinch of salt and pepper: 4 cents
  • 4 tablespoons milk: 8 cents
  • 2 tablespoons water

Place the mini meatballs on microwave-safe plate and cover them with paper towel. Microwave on high for 1 minute or until heated through. Set aside.

Mix together flour, bouillon, parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir in water until smooth. Gradually blend in the milk.

Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring every 30 seconds.

Add the meatballs, and mix well to coat.

Microwave for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.

Let it stand for 1 minute.

Total Cost: $1.39

Your Turn: What’s your favorite microwave mug meal?

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Of course she had to try each one of these recipes in the name of science. She’s there for you like that.

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