Easy baked macaroni cheese little hands will love!
These macaroni cups are simple appetizers or perfectly portioned meals for kids.
These baked macaroni and cheese cups are made from scratch with a homemade cheese sauce that has a hidden secret inside (veggies!) The added nutrition is well hidden beneath the cheese and every bite comes together flawlessly for a comforting taste of your favorite dish. Everyone will enjoy these individual mac and cheese cups because they’re so simple but so comforting and tasty.
Healthy mac n cheese cups
These easy baked macaroni and cheese cups come packed full of calcium from three types of cheese plus an added boost of protein from low-fat Greek yogurt. The nutritional benefits from the hidden cauliflower are just the icing on the cake! You’re going to love feeding these mac and cheese cups to the kids and they’re going to love eating them!
- Elbow macaroni
For the cheese sauce, you will need:
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Grated Parmesan cheese
For the topping, you will need:
- Panko breadcrumbs
- Parmesan cheese
For the exact amounts, please see the recipe card below.
How to Make Easy Baked Macaroni and Cheese Cups
- Wash and cut your cauliflower head into floret-sized pieces.
- Place them into a saucepan with two cups of milk or just enough milk to cover the cauliflower.
- Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until fork-tender.
- While the cauliflower is cooking, prepare the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain the milk.
- When the cauliflower has finished cooking, drain the liquid and place the cauliflower into a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Return the cauliflower to the saucepan and stir in the yogurt, milk, and cheeses. Whisk together until smooth.
- Combine the pasta and cheese mixture until completely blended.
- Spray the inside of two muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray and then scoop your macaroni into each cup.
- In a small bowl, combine the panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.
- Sprinkle it over the top of each muffin.
- Bake in the oven at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes or until golden in color.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
How long are baked mac and cheese cups good for?
After being cooked, your leftovers will be good for up to 3-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. You could also freeze them in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Just thaw and reheat before serving.
Can I make mac and cheese cups in advance?
Yes, you can prepare these cups all the way up to the baking part, and instead of placing the pan into the oven to bake the mac and cheese, place a cover of foil or plastic wrap on top and put it into the fridge for up to 2 days before baking as directed.
What to serve with individual macaroni and cheese cups
These little cheesy pasta cups would be great served alongside other simple finger foods like fresh-cut veggies, french fries, or even chicken wings. Think of basic and simple appetizers and you’re pretty much set!
Looking for more delicious mac and cheese recipes? Check out these great suggestions!
- Cajun Shrimp Mac and Cheese
- Beer Cheese and Macaroni Soup
- Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe
- Bacon and Crab Mac and Cheese
- Spanakopita Mac and Cheese
- Lobster Mac and Cheese
Easy Baked Macaroni and Cheese Cups
Easy baked macaroni cheese little hands will love!
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 cups milk
- 16 oz elbow macaroni
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- Cut cauliflower into florets. Place in a saucepan with two cups of milk or until cauliflower is covered. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.
- Meanwhile prepare pasta according to package directions, drain.
- When cauliflower has cooked, drain liquid and place cauliflower in a food processor and blend until smooth. Return cauliflower to saucepan. Stir in yogurt, milk and cheeses and whisk until smooth. Combine pasta and cheese mixture until completely blended.
- Spray two muffin tins with non-stick spray. Scoop macaroni into each cup.
- In a small bowl combine panko and Parmesan. Sprinkle mixture over each muffin. Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden.
Amount Per Serving Calories 393Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 61mgSodium 518mgCarbohydrates 30gFiber 3gSugar 3gProtein 22g
Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness says
I don’t have kids to send to school, but I do have a husband who seems to be incapable of packing his own lunches for work.
Although, I don’t think I want to share these cups with him…so he can put his big boy pants on and make a sandwich 🙂 YUM
Have you looked into reusable bags? I buy these hemp ones and love them. Then, I just throw them in the wash every few days or so.
ANYWAY, these cups look awesome!
Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen says
I’m SO jealous that your kids are packing their own lunches! I would be tossing a few of these in for sure!!
Aimee @ ShugarySweets says
Oh my word these look too good. Also, I remember that trip 😉
Lisa @ Garnish with Lemon says
My kids would love these! Perfect for a school night meal! Pinned.
Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction says
What a fun idea for lunches!
Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures says
Yum! I think you have very competent and capable kids!
Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain says
I so can’t wait to try these bad boys!! How creative!
Louise Froehlich says
Where oh where is the recipe?
This is the problem with your web site, I can never find it!! Recipe that is! Help please.
The recipe is always midway down the post. I’m so, so sorry you are having trouble. I am happy to try to email this to you. Please let me know.
Louise Froehlich says
I found it. Many thanks! I either need new glasses or patience!!!
Matt Robinson says
These are so great Tanya, what an awesome idea. I will be making these for my sons soon, they will go crazy for them.
Crystal | Apples & Sparkle says
I think this is a great idea for kids lunches, and kudos to you for encouraging independence. I have to admit though I was so distracted as I was reading, but the delicious browned edges on the mac & cheese cups, these just look so good!
Jocelyn @BruCrew Life says
It’s a good day when we realize our kids are capable of doing more than they let on. Last year my kids packed their lunches almost every day. I get up to help with things like salad or hot soup…but for the most part they are on their own. Love these cute little mac and cheese cups…can I just have all of them for lunch?
Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel says
OH. EM. GEE. Macaroni and cheese cups sound FREAKING FANTASTIC. So gooey, cheesy and chewy in every bite! And that crust that forms up on the top and sides? YES PLEASE.
Katie Goldsworthy says
These look sooo good! Sharing on fb. Thanks for linking it up at Monday Funday!
Gwen @simplyhealthyfamily says
What a great lunch box treat! I’m always on the hunt for non sandwich ideas. So happy I found your blog! oxox
Sandwiches get old, this is a fun alternative!
Forget school lunches…I want these for my lunch!
These look yummy! Not to mention perfect for my non-veggie eating, macaroni and cheese-is-my-staple-food, picky lunch packer seven year old! I will be making these up on Friday while she’s at school (so she doesn’t see the cauliflower or all bets are off). Can I make a double batch and freeze them? Have you ever tried to freeze and pack in lunches frozen to be thawed by lunch? Are they good served cool/room temp?
BTW, I’m new to your website (thanks, Pinterest). I have found several recipes to try. Thanks so much!
I have not tried to freeze them, they didn’t last long enough! But I would think it would work as long as they had time to thaw before lunch.
Kimiko Kirihara says
Ah, so many questions!
1) What size muffin tins? You only say “two” but should they be large, medium, small, and how many, twelve muffins, six?
2) How big of a head of cauliflower?
3) Or, an even better tell, how much cauliflower should I have once it’s been pureed?
4) What’s the best time to turn on the oven, as it’s given at the last step, but you say to have it preheated?
5) What’s the purpose of the cauliflower, and can milk also be used?
6) Why does the cauliflower have to be cooked in milk if it’s just drained off and not used later? Can broth be substituted?
7) How many servings is this total? (this isn’t said anywhere in the instructions and you don’t indicate another more than “two muffin tins”)
I can’t WAIT to try this once everything’s more clear
I’ll do my best here Kimiko: I used a 12 cup standard muffin size pan for these. The cauliflower was not that large, it yielded about 1 to 1 1/2 cups pureed cauliflower. I usually turn on my oven as soon as I start cooking to ensure it is ready to go when I am. I wanted to add the cauliflower to add veggies into this dish instead of on the side, yes you could leave it out. I cooked the cauliflower in milk to add a little more sweetness to the vegetable, especially since I wanted this to be a kid friendly dish, yes broth or water would work as well. This will make 24 “muffins”.
Kimiko Kirihara says
Thank you very much! I’m so excited to freeze these to eat all winter once I make them (((: