What Is a Milk Substitute for Mac and Cheese? Find Out Here!
milk substitute for mac and cheese

A warm, handmade bowl of macaroni and cheese is everybody’s favorite. It’s a true American classic that complements almost everything and is comforting and soothing. It’s quite easy to put together, and there are several options to fulfill the preferences of different tastes. 

But what about folks that don’t take milk? If you’re searching for a replacement for milk in mac and cheese, this is the blog post for you. Continue reading to find the best milk substitute for mac and cheese.

What Is Mac and Cheese?

mac and cheese

Mac and cheese is a pasta dish made of macaroni and cheese sauce. There are many distinctive versions of this dish, each relying on where you are in the world. In most locations, people like to top it up with crispy breadcrumbs for a nice crunch.

The cheese sauce is what adds a heavenly taste to mac and cheese. To make it, just melt some butter, blend it with flour, and pour in the milk slowly while stirring over until it becomes thick. Then, you add your favored cheeses and mix them with the macaroni before baking.

Swapping out the milk for different elements changes the way it tastes.

What Is a Milk Substitute for Mac and Cheese?

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is an excellent milk replacement. It has a mild, slightly sweet taste. It truly is quite similar to milk once it’s melted. 

But there may be a clear distinction among the two. Cream cheese is thicker and spreadable, and that’s what makes your cooked macaroni and cheese even creamier.

To switch milk with cream cheese, you may simply use the same amount of heavy cream cheese. You can skip the butter, too, thanks to the cream cheese’s thickness. Your sauce will stay thick, creamy, and loaded with cheese.

It’s a good idea to melt or soften the cream cheese in an airtight container before adding it to the sauce. Here’s a fab tip: Experiment with different cream cheese brands to see what you want best. You may even try herb-flavored heavy cream cheese in your mac and cheese.

It provides a new taste twist with no greater effort. 

Plain Yogurt

Regular Greek yogurt works nicely as a substitute for milk. It’s like sour cream in texture and taste, so ‌you can use one in place of the other. Greek yogurt makes your pasta sauce creamier and provides a delectable tangy kick that you can regulate to your liking.

Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than ordinary, low-fat, or fat-free yogurt. Plus, Greek yogurt is great for your digestive system! You can enjoy mac and cheese guilt-free with this substitute. 

When you warm yogurt for cooking, remember to do it slowly. If you warm it too fast, it will separate into water ‌and fat, and that’s not what you want.

Warm it up either in a double boiler or a small saucepan. Remember to keep stirring and use low warmth while you’re making the sauce.

Sour Cream

Sour cream is a good milk substitute when you need a texture much like milk with an extra thrilling taste. It’s thicker than milk and a bit thicker than cream. It has a tangy, tasty flavor and a relatively sour taste, which provides a fascinating twist to mac and cheese.

You can use sour cream in the same amount as milk and make the sauce in an equal manner. But do not forget that bitter cream has a specific taste as compared to cream cheese. It’s much less impartial and less sweet, so you would‌ want to feature other substances to make its distinct flavor right.

To mellow out the acidity of sour cream, you could mix in sparkling, minced garlic or dried herbs. It may not remove the tang, but it will balance it nicely. You can also combine bitter cream with milk. Use half a cup of milk and half sour cream to create a sauce.

Sour cream can also replace Greek yogurt in mac and cheese recipes, considering they may be alike in consistency and flavor. You can easily change one for the opposite.

Almond Milk

bottle of almond milk

Almond milk is an easy-to-find milk alternative for mac and cheese. This is a tremendous choice for those looking for something without dairy.

Like coconut milk and some other kinds of milk, almond milk has a unique nutty flavor. You might like it or not, but you should try it with mac and cheese before deciding. Sweetened almond milk might be a higher desire for mac and cheese because it’s closer to ordinary milk.

Almond milk is thinner than regular milk, so it won’t make a creamy sauce on its own. To restore that, you may use more roux (flour and butter blend) or cheese.

Whipping Cream

When you change milk with cream, use whipping cream rather than double cream. Whipping cream is thinner, so it mixes more easily.

You can also use double cream and whipping cream interchangeably. Using cream as opposed to milk makes your leftover macaroni and cheese tremendously creamy and rich. You can skip the butter; however, it’s a delectable addition.

Keep in mind that using the cream will make the cheese sauce lighter in shade. If you need a more yellow mac and cheese, use a brighter cheese like orange cheddar. Both whipping and double cream may be used in the same quantity as regular milk.

Coconut Milk

For a non-dairy milk substitute, coconut milk works properly and is as easy to buy as any other dairy alternative. It does have a coconut tang to it, but it may not weigh down your taste buds as much as you think.

If you’re not into coconut flavors, you can mix it with a cup of water or add such things as herbs and garlic to tone it down. Sometimes, you can cross for coconut cream rather than coconut milk for a good, creamier sauce.

For great outcomes, move for unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk. Canned variations are usually thicker and creamier than bottled ones, so they’re an excellent preference.

Pasta Water

The most pocket-friendly milk alternative you can use is water. But don’t just use any hot cooking water. To make boxed mac and cheese with water, keep at least half of a cup of the pasta water when you drain the pasta. 

Pasta water already contains nutrients from your cooked pasta. Consider saved pasta water as a thicker enriched source of water. 

Put the pasta lower back within the pot, and add the butter, aged parmesan, cheese powder, and other seasonings. Then, mix in the starchy pasta water until it thickens. It might not be as creamy as some different alternatives, but it will still taste precise. Let it simmer a chunk after blending.

Soy Milk

Soy milk is a non-dairy milk alternative that works nicely as a regular milk alternative for mac and cheese. It has a special taste that no longer everybody likes. You could make it taste better by including other components. 

You can also use a sturdy-smelling and flavorful cheese to create an extra complicated flavor. Soy milk is much less sweet than ordinary milk but has a similar thickness. Go for unsweetened and simple soy milk.

If you choose vanilla-flavored soy milk, it may not combo nicely with the other mac and cheese flavors. It could make it too sweet, but that’s hard to stabilize with pasta.


This one may sound strange, but it’s worth a try. Mayonnaise has a particularly impartial and salty flavor, and it’s pretty fatty. Believe it or not, many chefs use mayonnaise as a substitute in brownies and other baked goods. 

If you are in a jam, stir in about two tablespoons of mayonnaise. You may need to add a little more salt, cheddar cheese, or maybe some parmesan to cover the mayo’s precise flavor. 

Oat Milk

oat milk

Let’s get back to dairy-free substitutes for milk, and oat milk is one you might like. Oat milk is a bit sweeter than ordinary milk. Unlike a few nut and grain-based milk options, it would not have a strong and overpowering taste.

When you use it in mac and cheese, it mixes well and may be difficult to taste. Like most substitutes, cross for the unsweetened oat milk version to maintain your recipe balance. 

Quinoa Milk

Quinoa milk is a plant-based milk. It truly isn’t common, so it may be a bit tougher to get your hands on. If you get it, try it in a mac and cheese recipe. This organic milk comes from quinoa seeds and water, like how nut milk is made.

Quinoa milk has a slightly sweeter and nuttier taste that is distinctively quinoa. When you add it to mac and cheese, the nutty flavor or taste, without a doubt, stands out and adds notable stability to the taste.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Make Mac and Cheese With Rice Milk?

Yes, you can. Rice milk tastes loads like cow’s milk. You or even your picky guests likely may not even be aware of the distinction in your mac and cheese.

But there may be a large difference in how thick it is. Rice milk is much less creamy and‌ watery. To make it creamier, just use melted butter and flour to thicken things up, or add extra cheese to the recipe. The cheese will make the lighter sauce stick together and deliver that cream consistency feel.

What Happens if You Use Water Instead of Milk in Mac and Cheese?

Using water as opposed to milk in mac and cheese will result in a much less creamy and less rich sauce. Milk contributes a creamy texture, fat content, and a subtle sweetness that water doesn’t have. 

To compensate for the lack of creaminess, you can modify by including extra butter, cheese, or a roux aggregate of butter and flour. While it’s a financially-friendly and popular choice, it may not give you the identical outcome that milk commonly brings to mac and cheese.

The Bottom Line

You might want to use something other than normal milk in mac and cheese for some motives. Like, maybe you ran out of ordinary milk. A milk substitute for mac and cheese can have a creamy texture without including fats or cholesterol. 

If you can’t have dairy, these non-dairy milk options are an amazing preference. At the end of the day, your replacement for milk in mac and cheese will rely on your alternatives and what’s available. 

You can check out other cool recipes that include milk substitutes here! We can’t wait to see your delectable creations. And if you are missing butter, take a look at our similar guide!

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