Substitute for milk in mac and cheese

Substitute for milk in mac and cheese
Substitute for milk in mac and cheese

Mac and cheese, also popular as Macaroni and cheese, is a sweet dish that originates from the English. The main ingredients you will need to prepare are macaroni pasta, milk, and cheese sauce. However, you can customize your mac and cheese by incorporating other ingredients such as meat, vegetables, and breadcrumbs. There are so many ingredients to use as a substitute for milk in mac and cheese.


What to look for in a substitute for milk in mac and cheese.

Milk is an important ingredient in mac and cheese because it is used to boil the pasta and make it smooth and creamy. After boiling the pasta milk will not go into waste because it will be used to make a cheese sauce. Also, it gives the cheese source more body and richness because the pasta will release some starch into it as it cooks. A good substitute for milk in mac and cheese should be able to make the pasta creamier and smooth or make a good sauce.

The list below has the best alternatives for you. Note that some are made from dairy products, so if you are avoiding milk completely make sure to use non-dairy products.

1. Yogurt

So you have no milk left but you realize you have some yogurt in the fridge. The good news is that you can use it as an alternative and still have a tasty, smooth and creamy mac and cheese. Use less amount of yogurt and water until it matches the same amount of milk your recipe calls for.

Yogurt is highly nutritious, for example, it is a good source for proteins and calcium. It has many health benefits as well, for instance:

  • Builds immunity
  • It is good for bone health. Yogurt contains a lot of calcium which can strengthen or maintain your bone density.
  • Aids weight loss
  • Yogurt has been linked with the reduction of yeast infection.


Yogurt is a perfect alternative for milk when preparing a smooth and creamy mac and cheese. Additionally, yogurt is healthy widely available just like milk.

2. Unsweetened almond milk

Almond milk can be made in two ways. You can blend almonds with water and then strain the mixture to remove any solids left. The other method is by adding water to almond butter. This is the perfect choice for vegans or people who are allergic to dairy products. Almond milk has a creamy texture and a pleasant flavor the same as regular milk. Most commercial almond milk brands come in a different flavor, but the unsweetened one is best. I prefer homemade almond milk since it is easy to make.

Readymade almond milk can be found in various supermarkets or groceries. Add the same ratio of almond milk as the one your recipe calls for dairy milk. Most brands of almond milk are enriched with minerals, proteins, and vitamins. Other products are customized with calcium and other additional nutrients. Almonds are linked with so many health benefits but only a few of them apply to almond milk. This is because when making the milk almonds have to be skinned off first. A large portion of antioxidants and fiber are thrown away when you blanch the almonds. Also, adding water reduces the concentration of nutrients.


Almond milk is the best substitute for milk in mac and cheese for people allergic to dairy products. It contains a similar texture and flavour of the regular milk. Use the same equal amount of almond milk when preparing your mac and cheese.

3. Soy milk

Also known as Soya milk is a plant-based drink made from soya beans. To make soy milk first you need to soak the soybeans overnight. Then grind, boil and filter to discard the remaining particulates. Soy milk is a good substitute for regular milk because it holds all its properties. For instance, it can add texture and mac your mac and cheese creamy.

So if you are searching for a vegan substitute for milk in mac and cheese, soy milk is the perfect choice. It is packed with many nutrients such as proteins, potassium, vitamin B and it can be fortified with vitamin D and calcium. Further, it has a lot of proteins almost equal to regular milk and yet it has low calories compared to whole milk. However, there are concerns that soy contains isoflavones that may facilitate the growth of breast cancer. The main health benefits of soy milk are that it can help reduce cholesterol, menopause symptoms, and improve fertility.


Soy milk is a perfect substitute for milk in macaroni and cheese for people allergic to dairy products. It is packed with a lot of proteins and vitamins.

4. Water

If you are out of milk and you don’t have any of the above ingredients stick with water. However, expect some texture and flavor changes to your dish. Adding butter to water will put some fat in your mac that milk would have. Follow the following instructions to make your mac and cheese sweet, smooth and creamy as usual. You will need the following ingredients:

  • Two cups of macaroni
  • 3 cups of water
  • One tablespoon of butter
  • 8oz cream cheese
  • Two cups of shred cheese


  1. Boil Macaroni in water
  2. Drain and set it aside
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan
  4. Add cream cheese and melt it on a low heat
  5. Add macaroni and shred cheese
  6. Mix vigorously until all cheese melts mix properly
  7. Pour your macaroni in a baking dish
  8. Sprinkle shred cheese
  9. Bake for 15 minutes
  10. Serve gooey!!

I use this method sometimes even when I have some milk left in the fridge. Powdered milk can be used too in this situation. You can consider using hempseed milk as an alternative of milk if these ingredients don’t match your preference.


If you don’t have any milk left you can still make delicious mac and cheese using water. Add a spoon of butter in each cup of water so that it can put some fat in the recipe just like milk does.

Nutritional Facts Summary Table

Item Calories Total Fats Carbohydrates Proteins Source Works Best In
Yogurt 61 (per 100g) 3.3g 4.7g 3.5g Dairy product Smoothies, desserts, dips
Unsweetened Almond Milk 13 (per 100ml) 1.1g 0.1g 0.5g Plant-based milk Cereal, coffee, baking
Soy Milk 33 (per 100ml) 1.8g 1.7g 2.8g Plant-based milk from soybeans Smoothies, coffee, cooking
Water 0 0g 0g 0g Essential fluid Hydration, cooking, beverages


What can you use instead of milk in mac and cheese?

In mac and cheese recipes, you can use alternatives like water, chicken or vegetable broth, or non-dairy milk (like almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk).

What can I use if I have no milk?

If you’re out of milk, consider using water, broth, or non-dairy options like almond milk or soy milk, depending on the recipe.

Can I substitute butter for milk?

No, butter and milk have different functions in recipes. Butter provides fat and flavor, while milk adds liquid and moisture. Using butter instead of milk could lead to a different texture and taste.

Can I replace milk with water in mac and cheese?

Yes, you can use water in place of milk in mac and cheese, but keep in mind that using water might result in a less creamy and less flavorful final dish. Using water will change the overall taste and texture.


There are many substitutes for milk in mac and cheese, depending on your dietary needs and preferences. Some good substitutes include heavy cream, sour cream, yogurt, almond milk, and coconut milk. The best substitute for you will depend on the flavor and texture you are looking for in your mac and cheese.

Yuki Tanaka

Written by Yuki Tanaka

I'm from Utashinai and I love tasty food and nice words. I also write blogs, take pictures of food, and create recipes. Cooking and baking are my favorite things to do!

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