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Substitute for Milk in Mac and Cheese


If you are a Mac and cheese lover and making a change in diet or completely out of milk, there is no need to crush the cravings for your dish. There are other tasty and healthy substitutes you can try out. The article below takes a look at the best substitute for milk in mac and cheese. Read on to find out more.  

jar with milk next to dish with mac and cheese

Milk does not just make mac and cheese creamy; it also adds some flavor and makes the dish rich. Over the years, the health benefits of milk have been a topic of debate; however, the nutritional values are just too impressive to deny. It is a good source of multiple nutrients, including – potassium, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium, magnesium, to mention a few.

Best Substitutes and Alternatives

Here are eight alternatives of milk in mac and cheese, the benefits, and some preparation tips.

1. Almond Milk

Nutritionally, almonds are rich in fiber, healthy fats, and protein. Almond milk produces a sweeter cheese sauce. Also, because it is thinner and less creamy, it helps in preparing moderately creamy recipes. If you love your mac and cheese this way, Almond milk will make a good alternative. But if you do not, you can add some flour and either butter or cheese to make it thicker and creamier.

Apart from making your mac and cheese sweeter, almond milk would cause no other change to your dish.

Cooking Tips

  • Almond milk should be substituted for milk at a ratio of 1:1
  • The more the butter, the creamier the recipe

2. Oat Milk

Oat milk is another healthy alternative. Oat milk in mac and cheese is an excellent alternative for vegetarians and lovers of gluten-free diets. And like almond milk, it is naturally sweet.

Its thickness level compared with regular milk is almost the same, so it does little or nothing to the thickness of your recipe. But if you want your recipe creamier, you will need butter or any other thickener of your choice.

Cooking Tips

  • Use the same quantity of oat milk you use for regular milk
  • Vegetarians and all who prefer it less sweetened should use unsweetened oat milk

3. Coconut Milk

You can use coconut milk to make varieties of mac and cheese recipes. If you want to curb your diary intake, coconut milk is a perfect match.

When used for mac and cheese, especially the canned types, it makes the recipe creamier and thicker. Depending on individual preference, though, unsweetened ones might make a butter sauce. However, its coconut flavor will make your dish taste different from one made of regular milk.

Cooking Tips

  • Use the same quantity of coconut milk you use for regular milk
  • Use unsweetened

4. Soy Milk

Soy milk is either flavored or unflavored. Unflavored soy milk would leave your mac and cheese a little less tasty than the regular milk one. If you are a buff of flavorsome dishes, you can use vanilla or any other flavor of choice. However, that would greatly alter the taste of your mac and cheese.

Soy milk is much thicker, at least than almond milk, so you can expect your sauce to come out creamier.

Cooking Tips

  • You can add some additional butter and salt to make it tastier
  • Soy milk should be substituted for regular milk at a ratio of 1:1

5. Cashew Milk

Over the years, cashew milk has gained prominence in the nutrition world. Besides the fact that it is made from the nut, which contains vitamins and healthy fats, it is chock-full of proteins and minerals.

It would leave your mac and cheese with a mild nutty flavor and a taste similar to that of regular dairy milk. Also, it is inherently creamy so that you can have a thick and creamy sauce.

However, mac and cheese made with cashew milk are not suitable for those allergic to nuts.

Cooking Tips

  • Replace cashew milk with dairy milk at a ratio of 1:1
  • Cashew milk comes thick; you won’t be needing a thickener

6. Cream Cheese

This is one of the best substitutes for milk in mac and cheese. When used as a substitute for milk, cream cheese offers a mild sweet taste; it is thicker and provides a spreadable consistency. One beautiful fact about this milk substitute is that it doesn’t interfere with the flavor of your mac and cheese. However, due to the extra thickness it offers, your cheese will be creamier than usual.

Cooking tips

  • It is easier to melt your cream cheese before adding to your sauce. 

7. Sour Cream

Opt for sour cream if you want a similar texture with your milk but a more complex flavor. This milk substitute provides a thicker consistency and a tangy sour flavor. The flavor beautifully balances that of your mac and cheese. 

To reduce the acidity level in your sour cream, add some fresh garlic or dry herbs. Although sour cream will make your dish creamier, you can add a little water to reduce the effect. 

Cooking tips

  • Sometimes, try adding some sour cream and milk to create a balance. 

8. Yogurt

Yogurt is another perfect substitute for milk. When used as a milk substitute in mac and cheese, yogurt gives your dish a creamier sauce and adds delicious flavor to it. This is because yogurts get heated up fast and tend to split into water and fat. 

Cooking tips

  • When replacing your milk with yogurt, use the 1:1 ratio measurement

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make Mac and Cheese without milk?

Sure, you can. If you are one of those who do not enjoy milk in mac and cheese, you have an option of making your dish with no milk. Just add extra cheese and butter to create a creamier sauce.

What difference does it make if my mac and cheese sauce is without milk?

Milk adds flavor to the cheese sauce and keeps the water content moderate.

Can I use these substitutes with any variation of mac and cheese?

You can experiment with a few variations. It boils down to individual preference of taste. Each of the substitutes mentioned in this article gives different flavors, which may not be appropriate for all variations of mac and cheese.

Are all these substitutes healthy for me?

This is a common question that is quite difficult to answer.
Generally, they are all nutritious. Most of the substitutes mentioned above are rich sources of vitamins and minerals. However, if you stay on special diets, you’d need to review the content of your milk substitute to confirm if it satisfies your dietary needs.

Mac and Cheese Recipe to Try

Turmeric Mac and Cheese

plate with pasta and cheese



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