Learn how to make mac and cheese without milk so you can enjoy this indulgent side even if you've run out of milk! These substitutions and tricks are so fantastic that you won't even know it was made without milk! You'll even get an amazing recipe for milk-free macaroni and cheese!
Macaroni & Cheese Without Milk
I don't know about you, but milk is one of the items that always seems to run out too quickly in my house. Without having to trek all the way to the store, you can still enjoy this family-favorite side dish!
I'm going to give you some simple substitutions using items you already have on hand for when you're in a pinch. Additionally, I'll throw in a delicious made-from-scratch recipe that shows you how to make macaroni and cheese with no milk in the ingredients!
Making Kraft Macaroni & Cheese With No Milk
If you've got a box of store-bought macaroni and cheese in your pantry, you've probably noticed that it calls for some butter and milk. Don't worry, you can still whip up without having to run to the store for milk!
Since Kraft uses cheese powder, the milk is added to contribute to the creaminess, and the butter adds some extra richness. Of course, any liquid can turn the powder into melted cheese, but some work better than others!
Honestly, the best option is to replace your milk with extra butter. This will make it so ridiculously rich and creamy that you may never want to use milk again!
For a thicker consistency, use half & half or heavy cream instead of milk. If you want some extra tanginess, use the same amount of sour cream as you would milk!
Finally, another great choice is to use your preferred dairy milk alternative. Try your macaroni and cheese with almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk. Just make sure it is unsweetened.
Making Homemade Macaroni & Cheese With No Milk
Homemade macaroni and cheese is a little different since it uses freshly grated cheese instead of orange powder. Don't worry, you don't have to hunt for the best milk-free recipe, as you can use these tips and substitutions for any of your favorite recipes (even if they include milk in the ingredients!)
Best Milk Substitutes For Mac & Cheese
When it comes to swapping out milk in macaroni and cheese, there are two categories. The first one is dairy-free, which is great if you have any type of dietary restrictions. The second category is that you, for any reason, don't have the milk needed, but can still use dairy-based ingredients.
Dairy-Based Milk Substitutes
If you run out of milk and need some ASAP to finish up your mac and cheese, try out these delicious options!
1. Sour Cream
Using sour cream will make your mac & cheese wonderfully creamy but will also add a bit of tanginess to the flavor. Start off with 1 tablespoon of sour cream, and then add more as needed.
2. Shredded Cheese
Add your preferred variety of shredded cheese in a 1:1 ratio for the milk. This won't alter the flavor of your dish but can help to thicken it.
3. Cream Cheese
Cream cheese will help to thicken your sauce, add creaminess, and doesn't have a flavor that is too overpowering. Swap the milk for cream cheese in a 1:1 ratio.
4. Heavy Cream
Heavy cream is a great alternative as the flavor will be the same but with an added bit of richness. Swap them out in a 1:1 exchange.
Even if your recipe already uses butter, you can always add more to replace the milk! It will add richness and won't mess up the flavor, but go ahead and start with only half the amount that you would need of milk to make sure it doesn't become overly greasy.
6. Evaporated Milk
To substitute evaporated milk, start with only 2 tablespoons and use some pasta water to help dilute it.
Many milk-free macaroni and cheese recipes incorporate a roux to help thicken the cheese sauce. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour.
This can then be used as a substitute for your milk. Keep your pasta water to help thin out the cheese sauce as needed.
Dairy-Free Milk Substitutes
Try out these swaps if you need an option that does not contain dairy.
1. Pasta Water
After you're done boiling your noodles, go ahead and save some of the water. You can use this as a replacement for milk, but start small so that it doesn't thin it out too much.
2. Soy Milk
You can easily use soy milk instead of typical milk, but keep in mind that it does have a sweeter flavor. Use it in a 1:1 exchange.
3. Almond Milk
Almond milk definitely tastes like almonds, so only use it if you like the flavor. Start by using only half the amount of milk so that you don't alter the flavor too much.
4. Chicken Broth
Chicken broth is a great dairy-free option as it contributes a savory flavor that pairs well with macaroni and cheese. Start with just a few tablespoons and add more as needed.
5. Oat Milk
Only use unflavored, unsweetened oat milk so that you don't mess with the flavor of your dish too much. Then, you can swap it in a 1:1 exchange.
6. Other Milk Alternatives
There are a ton of dairy-free milk alternatives on the market, and you can feel free to use your favorite ones! Kinds of milk such as cashew milk, goat milk, coconut milk, rice milk, and more can all be used.
Just keep in mind the flavor of these types of milk and try to use unsweetened versions.
Can I Use Water Instead of Milk For Mac & Cheese
Yes, you can use water instead of milk. However, remember that it won't contribute any creaminess, thickness, or richness to the dish.
The best option would be to use one of the alternatives listed above, but water can be used if you are in a pinch.
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How To Make Mac & Cheese Without Milk
Here are two simple and easy options for some homemade macaroni and cheese without using any milk!
To get started, you'll need some dry macaroni pasta, cheese, and water. From there, you can decide if you want to keep it really simple and use evaporated milk or elevate it just a little more by using cream cheese and butter. You pick!
- Macaroni - 6 ounces
- Evaporated Milk - 6 ounces
- Cheese - 6 ounces
- Macaroni - 2 cups
- Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Cheese - 2 cups
- Cream Cheese - 8 ounces
How To Make Macaroni & Cheese Without Milk
Step 1: Place your 6 ounces of macaroni into a saucepan and add only enough water to just cover the noodles. Bring to a boil and stir frequently until the pasta is almost al dente (about 6 minutes).
Step 2: Immediately add in 6 ounces of evaporated milk and return it to a boil. Then, add 6 ounces of shredded cheese and reduce the heat to low. Stir for another 2 minutes until the cheese has melted.
Step 3: Season as desired and serve immediately.
Step 1: Boil your 2 cups of macaroni as directed on the packaging, drain it, and set it aside.
Step 2: In a saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Reduce the heat to low and add 8 ounces of cream cheese. Stir until melted.
Step 3: Add 2 cups of shredded cheese and the cooked macaroni into the saucepan and cook while stirring until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth.
Step 4: Serve immediately.
Dairy-Free Mac & Cheese
Obviously, aside from the milk, macaroni and cheese typically contain a few other dairy-based ingredients like butter or cheese. If you need the entire dish to be dairy-free, you can easily swap the butter and cheese out for your favorite dairy-free versions.
Now you know how to make macaroni and cheese without milk! Which substitution is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!
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How To Make Mac and Cheese Without Milk: Mac and Cheese without Milk (+Great Alternatives!)
- 6 oz elbow macaroni
- 6 oz evaporated milk
- 6 oz cheddar cheese (shredded)
- Place your 6 oz elbow macaroni into a saucepan and add only enough water to just cover the noodles. Bring to a boil and stir frequently until the pasta is almost al dente (about 6 minutes).6 oz elbow macaroni
- Immediately add in 6 oz evaporated milk and return it to a boil. Then, add 6 oz cheddar cheese and reduce the heat to low. Stir for another 2 minutes until the cheese has melted.6 oz evaporated milk, 6 oz cheddar cheese
- Season as desired and serve immediately.
- Boil your 2 cups elbow macaroni as directed on the packaging, drain it, and set it aside.2 cups elbow macaroni
- In a saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Reduce the heat to low and add 8 oz cream cheese. Stir until melted.1 tablespoon butter, 8 oz cream cheese
- Add 2 cups cheddar cheese and the cooked macaroni into the saucepan and cook while stirring until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth.2 cups cheddar cheese
- Serve immediately.
- Check out my post on the best pasta for mac and cheese and the best cheese for mac and cheese for some great ideas.
- These are two simple and easy options for making some mac and cheese without milk. Of course, you can always use your favorite milk-based recipes and just swap the milk out for a great alternative!
- Take a look at my tasty recipes that pair great with mac and cheese for a complete meal.
- You can keep any leftover macaroni and cheese stored in a sealed container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
- To freeze your macaroni, portion it out and place each portion into a storage bag or container. It can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- To reheat your macaroni, add a splash of milk, broth, or water and cover it tightly with foil. Bake it in the oven at 350°F (175°C/Gas Mark 4) until hot.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!