Substitute for Milk in Mac and Cheese

Substitute for Milk in Mac and Cheese

Whether you are making mac and cheese from scratch or one of the boxed varieties, milk is the one ingredient most recipes require. Nowadays, finding a substitute for milk in mac and cheese is easier than ever!

There are many reasons to want to substitute milk in mac and cheese. One reason is that you do not have milk in your refrigerator, or the milk you have on hand is spoiled. Another reason is that you might want to cut down on the dairy, and having a meal with cheese is more than enough. 

If you’ve already started preparing the mac and cheese and didn’t realize that you were out of milk, our list of milk substitutes will help. On the other hand, if you want to prepare a vegan mac and cheese, many of these substitutes for milk in mac and cheese are vegan.

It’s also easy to make Kraft mac and cheese without milk; just use one of the substitutes on our list, and your mac and cheese will taste great!

It’s always a good idea to keep a few nondairy shelf-stable milk containers on hand. These come in handy when you run into a situation where the milk you had in your fridge is no good. Just open one of these plant-based milk cartons; they usually come in a tetra pac which is shelf-stable. 

If you decide to forge ahead and create a mac and cheese dish from scratch using a wire cheese slicer will help you prepare the dish.

Our lists include seven plant-based substitutes for milk in mac and cheese as well as five dairy-based substitutes. Let’s get cooking!

Plant Substitutes for Milk in Mac and Cheese


Cashew Plant-Based Beverage

As far as the nut milk substitutes for mac and cheese go, cashew milk makes a great creamy addition. There are many vegan kinds of cheese with a cashew milk base, it makes sense why it is a delicious milk alternative for mac and cheese. 

In our kitchen, we think the cashew beverage is the best mac and cheese milk substitute. 

Taste Difference: Slightly nuttier, but the taste will end up very similar to the cow’s milk after adding all The pasta other ingredients. 

Texture Difference: More Creamy!

Pacific Foods Fair Trade Cashew Milk Made With Organic Cashew Unsweetened, 32 Ounce, (Pack of 6) Keto Friendly
  • Delicious mild and creamy flavor makes it refreshing by the glass and ideal for recipes
  • Made with Organic and Fair Trade Certified cashews - supports safe working conditions and sustainable growing practices in the farming communities
  • Carrageenan free, dairy free, soy free, and gluten free; vegan
  • Convenient shelf-stable cartons preserve the flavor and freshness of our simple recipes. Store in your pantry, and refrigerate after opening.
  • Unsweetened Original


Soy Milk/Soy Creamer

Soy milk or soy creamer can offer that creamy texture to your mac and cheese. The soy creamers tend to have more fat which is what you want. The fat content in the soy creamer will offer a creamy mac and cheese dish similar to what you will get when using cow’s milk. If you have soy creamer on hand then it makes a great substitute for milk in mac and cheese.

Silk Soy Creamer Gluten Free Non GMO Project Verified Quart, Original, 32 Oz
  • COFFEE’S NEW BEST FRIEND: Get your perfect cup of coffee and tea with a splash of Silk Soy Original Creamer
  • THE FLAVOR YOU CRAVE: Rich and smooth, creamy flavor
  • 25 CALORIES per serving
  • A TASTY CHOICE: A delicious option for a dairy-free lifestyle

Taste Difference: Not much!

Texture Difference: More Creamy! (if you use the soy creamer and not just soy milk)


Almond Milk Creamer

Can you use almond milk in mac and cheese? Yes, and you can buy almond milk anywhere. If you don’t have any on hand, just use one of the manual nut grinders to create a quick almond milk paste. The ground-up almonds can then be combined with water and put through a filter to make almond milk. The same technique works great for other nuts as well. What if you don’t have a manual nut chopper? Just use a food processor or blender to grind the nuts. You can then add this nut beverage to your mac and cheese. 

Silk Soy Creamer Gluten Free Non GMO Project Verified Quart, Original, 32 Oz
  • COFFEE’S NEW BEST FRIEND: Get your perfect cup of coffee and tea with a splash of Silk Soy Original Creamer
  • THE FLAVOR YOU CRAVE: Rich and smooth, creamy flavor
  • 25 CALORIES per serving
  • A TASTY CHOICE: A delicious option for a dairy-free lifestyle

Taste Difference: Slightly nuttier

Texture Difference: Less Creamy!


Coconut Shelf Stable Vegan Creamer

Purchase a bag of this now before you are in a situation where you don’t have a milk substitute. This powdered coconut creamer is shelf-stable and is an excellent addition to any well-stocked kitchen. Just add hot water or hot vegetable broth to this coconut creamer, and your mac and cheese will come out very flavorful and creamy. Purchase this excellent substitute for milk in mac and cheese, so next time you run out of milk, you’ll have this sitting there waiting for you.

Coconut Cloud: Shelf Stable Vegan Coffee Creamer | Keto Friendly, Unsweetened Coconut Milk Powder | Low Sugar, Dairy Free, Non-GMO, Plant Based, Gluten & Soy Free, USA Made, Original 6 oz
  • DELICIOUS ORIGINAL FLAVOR: Enhance your morning coffee with the light and delicious taste of our Coconut Cloud creamer! Or reconstitute with hot water for use as coconut milk in your favorite recipes.
  • COCONUT CLOUD is 100% dairy free powdered coconut milk. USE COCONUT CLOUD for liquid coconut milk in all your favorite recipes.
  • SIMPLE, HEALTHY INGREDIENTS: We believe in pure simple ingredients. Our non dairy creamer and drink mixes are made from fresh, premium coconut milk powder.
  • JUST ADD WATER: It's never been easier to enjoy your favorite drink, dairy-free. Simple add hot water, stir, sip and enjoy!
  • HAPPINESS GUARANTEE: Try us risk free for 14 days. While we are not able to accept returns for food products, we'd be more than happy to issue you a refund if you are unsatisfied with your purchase. Simple reach out to us from your orders tab.

Taste Difference: Slightly sweeter.

Texture Difference: More Creamy!


Veggie Broth

If you are really in a bind and don’t have any nut milk, or milk alternatives on hand, see if you have a container of veggie broth. The mac and cheese will taste much better if you make a roux with the broth first. This substitute for milk in mac and cheese will come out great if you follow the steps to make a roux. You can add this in place of cow’s milk, but be aware that the flavor and texture will be different. The surface will not be as creamy, and the flavor will be richer from the broth. You can add thickness to the veggie broth by using some nutritional yeast.

Taste Difference: More flavorful.

Texture Difference: Less Creamy!

Pacific Foods Organic Vegetable Broth, Low Sodium, 32oz, 12-pack Keto Friendly
  • Low Sodium organic vegetable broth that’s a perfect start to soups and side dishes
  • Simmered leeks, onions and garlic, with carrots, celery and vine-ripened tomatoes
  • Fat-free and gluten-free, suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets
  • Convenient resealable, twist open carton
  • Refrigerate after opening and use within 7 to 10 days


Butternut Squash

Whether you have fresh squash or the canned variety, it doesn’t matter. Although if you have some butternut squash in a can, you won’t have to bake or steam your squash to soften it. You will get a mac and cheese that is very healthy, creamy, and flavorful with the butternut squash.

Butternut squash is an excellent substitute for milk in mac and cheese just be sure to add the pasta water. Save some of the pasta water aside after boiling the noodles. The pasta water will add a smooth texture to your mac and cheese while helping the squash stick to the noodles. 

Taste Difference: More flavor!

Texture Difference: More Creamy! (In a unique way)

Farmer's Market Foods Organic Butternut Squash, 15-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12)
  • Farm fresh,sweet and silky butternut squash puree.
  • Very best for pies, baking, and soups
  • Rich, smooth and nutritious
  • Grown in the USA. Completely kosher.
  • Certified Organic Butternut Squash (Certified Organic by Oregon Tilth)


Riced Cauliflower 

You can purchase cauliflower that has a slight rice-like texture. The cauliflower can act as a substitute for the milk by binding the cheese onto the macaroni. Just add a little pasta water to the mac and cheese right before you add the cauliflower. Not only will you cut down on the dairy by using cauliflower, but you will instantly make the mac and cheese a little bit healthier.

Taste Difference: More flavor!

Texture Difference: More Creamy! (especially if you mash the cauliflower well)

Cascadian Farm Organic, Riced Cauliflower, Frozen Vegetables, Non-GMO, 12 oz Bag
  • RICED CAULIFLOWER: Add more veggies with this versatile riced cauliflower; swap out in fried rice, grain bowls and other quick side dishes, or pair with chicken for a delicious and healthy alternative.
  • CERTIFIED ORGANIC: Riced cauliflower is organically farmed and Non-GMO Project Verified.
  • QUICK AND EASY: Empty frozen cauliflower into a skillet on the stove, or empty into a microwaveable dish to heat for an easy dish ready in minutes.
  • WORKING WITH NATURE: At Cascadian Farm, organic farmers work with nature to build rich, healthy soil and preserve biodiversity and critical water resources. Our crops are grown without the use of genetic engineering or synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
  • CONTAINS: 12 oz
Substitute for Milk in Mac and Cheese

6 Ideas That Contain Dairy  For a Substitute for Milk in Mac and Cheese

Cream Cheese

If you look on some Reddit cooking forums, parents say that their kids love mac and cheese with cream cheese to substitute milk. While this might not sound good, I guess it’s just one of those things that you have to try.

The only way some people will try this is if they begin to prepare mac and cheese and then realize after that they are out of milk. Any cream cheese will do as a substitute for milk in mac and cheese. Be aware that you might want to leave out the butter if you use cream cheese to substitute milk in mac and cheese. 

Taste Difference: Richer 

Texture Difference: More Creamy and greasy!


Heavy Cream

People often ask can I substitute heavy cream for milk in mac and cheese? The answer is YES! Heavy cream is an excellent substitute for milk when making mac and cheese. Many chefs use heavy cream when making mac and cheese from scratch. If you are making the boxed mac and cheese, this will work too. 

Use less butter if you are going to use heavy cream. The cream has a much higher fat content, you won’t need as much butter in the mac and cheese if using this as a substitute.



Whatever plain yogurt you have on hand will work as a milk replacer. Greek yogurt is a tad bit healthier than regular yogurt. If you want to get the added benefits of probiotics in your mac and cheese, just be sure to add it when the noodles are not piping hot. Probiotics can get denatured in a hot environment.

The yogurt will give your mac and cheese a slightly tangy flavor. Using yogurt instead of milk will lighten up your mac and cheese dish, making it less calorie dense and more healthy. A more healthy version of mac and cheese with this yogurt substitute for milk in mac and cheese.

Taste Difference: Slightly tangy.

Texture Difference: More Creamy!



Adding extra butter as a milk substitute for mac and cheese is common. Just make sure you save some of the pasta water on the side and add that to the final product when you are in the mixing stage. 

Taste Difference: Richer.

Texture Difference: Less creamy!


Sour Cream

Believe it or not, sour cream is a common milk substitute for mac and cheese. If you want a very rich and cheesy mac and cheese dish, then sour cream is the substitute you need to choose. Sour cream mac and cheese is not light on the calories – LOL! 

Most people you serve it to won’t even know that you replaced the milk with sour cream; you’ll just see them coming back for more. Yes, you can substitute sour cream for milk in mac and cheese! Many recipes for baked mac and cheese call for sour cream as one of the main ingredients. So using it as a substitute for milk in mac and cheese is a great idea.

Taste Difference: Slightly tangier.

Texture Difference: More Creamy!


Powdered Milk

Nowadays, most people don’t have powdered milk in their cupboards. But if you happen to have a few packs of this, it can be a great milk substitute for mac and cheese. Powdered milk has a long shelf life, you can freeze it, and you can use it for baking sweets.

Taste Difference: Not much.

Texture Difference: More Creamy!

Anthony's Whole Milk Powder, 2 lb, Gluten Free, Non GMO, Made in USA
  • Premium Whole Milk Powder
  • Batch Tested and Verified Gluten Free
  • Non-GMO, rBST Free, with no artificial colors or flavors!
  • Product of USA, Packed in California
  • Add it to coffee, tea, hot cocoa, smoothies, shakes, baked goods, creamy mashed potatoes, dry blends, and more! Or simply reconstitute for a glass of milk!

Other Substitutes for Milk in Macaroni and Cheese


If you genuinely don’t have any of these other ingredients on hand, then just use water. Use the pasta water. When you almost finish boiling the pasta, take a spoon and remove ½ a cup of the pasta water. Using pasta water will provide a little more creaminess and allow the butter and cheese to stick to the noodles. 

Taste Difference: Less flavor.

Texture Difference: Less creamy!

FAQS and TIPS on MAC and Cheese

Tips for How To Make Kraft Mac and Cheese Without Milk

  • Choose one of our substitutes above. 
  • Mix well. 
  • Add a bit of warm pasta water if one of the substitutes is a lot thicker than milk.

It all comes down to personal preference. If you are the type of person (like me) that does not like sour cream, then perhaps the cashew beverage will be better tasting. Cashew milk gives a naturally creamy texture to Kraft Mac and Cheese, as well as a ton of flavor. You can’t go wrong with adding a cashew beverage; the mac and cheese will only taste better. Our number one pick for a substitute for milk in mac and cheese is definitely the cashew beverage!

What vegetable goes with mac and cheese? 

Choose a vegetable on the lighter side since mac and cheese tend to be a heavy dish.

  • Arugula salad with dried cranberries
  • Roasted cauliflower
  • Steamed broccoli 
  • Roasted Brussel sprouts
  • Baby Kale salad
  • Pan-seared spinach with garlic
  • Cucumbers marinated in salt and vinegar
  • Steamed asparagus with a sprinkle of salt and drizzle of olive oil

What are some Good Mac and Cheese Sides?

Great side dish ideas for mac and cheese. Broccoli and mac and cheese.

Since mac and cheese are heavy on carbs and fat, it is beneficial to make a side that includes a low-fat protein or a healthy vegetable. Low fat mac and cheese sides will balance the mac and cheese meal. Whenever I create meals, I am always trying to balance the intake of gluten and carbs. I make sure not to eat a prolific amount  of any one type of food group, especially gluten. 

  • Baked tofu.
  • Beyond meat burger with a gluten-free bun. 
  • Coleslaw with mango We love how light and refreshing this coleslaw dish is, and the fact that it doesn’t use oil!
  • Parsley salad with quinoa.
  • Baked salmon. (or any baked fish)
  • Any of our vegetable dishes above will also make a great mac and cheese side dish.