mac and cheese

No Milk For Mac And Cheese? Try These 15 Substitutes

Last Updated on May 2, 2022 by Share My Kitchen

Start by grabbing your boxed mac and cheese from the cupboard, then get a pan. But, unfortunately, you have run out of milk.

Don’t worry! There is a quick and simple solution that doesn’t require you to go to the store. In this article, you will be reading about 15 different milk alternatives in mac and cheese that have been tried and tested.

Some were horrible, admittedly, like sweetened condensed milk. But others were actually better than plain milk. So, what is the best alternative to milk used for Kraft Mac and Cheese?

No Milk For Kraft Mac and Cheese

Finely shredded cheese is the best milk substitute for Kraft mac and cheese. A standard Kraft mac and cheese box can be made with a handful of shredded cheese. Cream cheese, heavy cream, butter, evaporated milk, olive oil, pasta water, and stock are all options to replace milk used for mac and cheese.

15 Substitutes for milk Used for Kraft Mac and Cheese

  1. Shredded cheese: mix some water to thin the sauce; 1:1 ratio
  2. Cream cheese: mix with water, and add one tablespoon at a time
  3. Cream: 2 tbsp of cream and 2 tbsp water
  4. Butter: melt the butter, then add 2 tablespoons
  5. Evaporated Milk: 2 tbsp of evaporated milk and 2 tbsp of water
  6. Roux: 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of flour
  7. Olive Oil: just add 1 tbsp at a time
  8. Pasta Water: use up to 1:1, but add in slowly
  9. Soya Milk: use up to 1:1 ratio, but add in slowly
  10. Almond Milk: use up to 1:1 ratio, but add in slowly
  11. Sour Cream: add 1 tbsp at a time
  12. Yogurt: add 1 tbsp at a time
  13. Powdered Milk: mix in with water, with a 1:1 ratio
  14. Stock: up to 1:1 ratio, but add in slowly
  15. Mayonnaise: add 1 tbsp at a time

Important Note

If the sauce needs to be thinned a little, just add some water.

Best Milk Substitutes for Mac and Cheese

Below is a list of all the substitutes that have been tried and tested, including how each one affected the dish.

Generally, the cream cheese and shredded cheese gave the best results.

But the go-to vegan or non-dairy choices are pasta water, stock, or alternative milk, like oat or soybean.

Milk gives the Kraft Mac and Cheese a creamy taste. So, you need something to substitute it with if you find yourself without milk.

Substitute Taste Texture Verdict
Shredded Cheese Cheesy Slightly thicker Great
Cream Cheese Creamy and slightly cheesier Thicker Great
Heavy Cream Not a lot of difference Creamier Great
Butter Richer, but less cheesy Slightly thicker Great
Evaporated Milk Not a lot of difference Creamier Great
Chicken Stock Meaty and tasty Not a lot of difference Great
Powdered Milk Similar taste Not a lot of difference Great
Roux Slightly richer Thicker Good (but required some effort)
Mayonnaise Slightly sweeter Slightly thicker Good
Pasta Water Less cheesy Slightly thin Good
Soy Milk Slightly sweet Not a lot of difference Good
Sour Cream Tangy Slightly thicker Good (but new)
Yogurt Sweet and tangy Slightly thicker Good (but new)
Olive Oil Too oily Slightly greasy Not recommended
Almond Milk Unique Not a lot of difference Unusual
Condensed Milk Distasteful and unpleasant Creamier Not recommended

Shredded Cheese

The best way to replace milk in your mac and cheese is with any extra cheese in your kitchen.

Just make sure to finely grate the cheese so it melts quickly in the butter and cheese powder mixture.

How much cheese should I use?

Begin by shredding 90g of parmesan cheese to substitute 1/4 cup of milk used for an entire regular box of Kraft mac and cheese.

This cheese is approximately 50% more than the equivalent amount of milk. But, if you love cheese, go on and add them.

It is recommended to add a minimum of 60g of shredded cheddar cheese as a milk substitute in a ratio of approximately 1:1.

Then, if you need to thin the sauce a bit, add one or two tablespoons of water.

What types of cheese can I use?

Every hard block of cheese can substitute milk. Parmesan cheese was used for this recipe, but cheddar and almost all other types of hard cheeses will work perfectly.

Verdict

Taste: Deliciously cheesy

Texture: It’s a little thicker than usual, but it’s not much of an issue.

This is definitely the best way to replace milk. You may also choose to add it even if you have milk.

Cream cheese

Alright, so maybe shredded cheese does not work for you. Or perhaps you don’t have some, but have a tub of cream cheese just waiting to be used.

Then this is the right solution for you.

Cream cheese has variety and creaminess that are perfect additions to your mac and cheese.

Are you looking for cream cheese with sundried tomato or garlic cream cheese?

Yes, the plan is not to go to the grocery store. However, once you have tried cream cheese with your boxed mac and cheese, you won’t go back.

How much cream cheese should I use?

Combine cream cheese and some water, then add 3 tablespoons of the mixture to substitute Kraft’s recommendation of 1/4 of cup milk (60ml).

This amount prevents the dish from becoming too thick.

These are the measurements for a 7.25oz box of Kraft mac and cheese.

Verdict

Taste: The cream cheese’s mild cheesiness adds a delicious, but subtle flavor to this dish.

Texture: Thicker. It is recommended to add the cream cheese into a hot pan to make sure that it melts, and it mixes properly with the butter and cheese powder.

This solution is truly amazing. So, you may want to consider adding cream cheese from this point forward.

Heavy cream

Heavy cream is an excellent substitute for milk, mainly since it doesn’t alter the flavor of mac and cheese.

If you prefer your dish not too heavy or with high calorie content, you can use less cream and add some water as well.

How much heavy cream should I use?

Combine 2 tablespoons of cream and 2 tablespoons water to substitute the needed 1/4 cup of milk in the recipe.

However, you have the freedom to adjust the ratios to make your dish richer.

Verdict

Taste: There is no discernible difference in the taste. Therefore, this is a great choice for those who love traditional mac and cheese.

Texture: Slightly creamier. It’s not much thicker than milk, but it’s a little.

You probably wouldn’t have known that the milk is substituted if you were not told.

Butter

If you are interested in making your mac and cheese richer and less cheesy, you can add more butter. But don’t worry, it’s still delicious.

However, do not add too much butter as your dish already contains a good amount of it.

Butter works well as long as it’s melted properly. So, add it to a hot pan and mix it thoroughly.

How much butter should I use?

First, add 2 tablespoons (28g) of butter to the mixture, but make sure it melts and mixes well with the cheese powder and butter.

You need roughly a 1:2 substitution ratio of butter to milk.

It is alright to add more butter. However, make sure you stir it well enough to melt the butter and incorporate it with the cheese powder before adding more.

Verdict

Taste: Richer; can mask its flavor of cheese if you aren’t careful and add too much.

Texture: Slightly thicker, but not too much.

This substitute does a great job overall.

Evaporated milk

Alright. Important Announcement: Evaporated milk is NOT the same as condensed milk.

This is mostly for those who accidentally buy the wrong can at the store.

Don’t worry though! It is still possible to substitute milk with condensed milk, but fair warning, it is not that good.

On the other hand, evaporated milk can work wonderfully as a substitute for milk. Especially if it is mixed with water before use.

First, heat the evaporated milk to remove half of its water content. It then makes sense to replace regular milk with a 50:50 mixture of evaporated milk and water.

The final result has a similar taste and consistency when using regular milk.

How to substitute evaporated milk for regular milk in mac and cheese?

In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of evaporated milk and 2 tablespoons of water.

Next, add the evaporated milk and water mixture to the mac and cheese, butter, and cheese powder mixture.

Verdict

Taste: Not much difference.

Texture: Not much difference.

It works well as a substitute. This is also a great choice if you already have some evaporated milk on hand.

Roux

Roux is one of the most commonly recommended substitutes for milk needed for a mac and cheese recipe.

It is also typically used to thicken up a sauce or dish.

Therefore, the mac and cheese became thicker as you might expect. But it had a slightly lower level of richness than if you just added butter.

A roux is a great option if you want your mac and cheese to be creamy and thick. Now, you only need a little bit more flour and butter.

How to use roux in mac and cheese?

  • Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of flour with the butter mixture and stir until well combined.
  • Cook at minimum of 60 seconds to get rid of any raw flour flavor
  • Mix the mac and cheese in a pan with the other ingredients (cheese powder butter and macaroni)
  • If you need to thin the sauce, add a few tablespoons water

Verdict

Taste: Slightly richer than using milk, but not as rich as adding pure butter.

Texture: Thicker than normal.

It works well, and it doesn’t change the flavor too much. However, it takes more effort than other alternatives.

Olive oil

Olive oil can be used to replace milk. It is not exceptional, but it can be used in a pinch.

The prior methods and substitutes work better. However, these are the two main factors that substitutions depend upon:

  • Personal preference
  • You do not have any other ingredients

The mac and cheese became a little oily, and a tad greasy after using olive oil as a substitute.

It’s possible that there was too much oil. Therefore, it is not particularly recommended to use a 1:1 ratio, as the rest of the ingredients.

How much olive oil should I use?

Begin by adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the mixture with the butter and cheese powder. Then, stir well until the cheese powder is incorporated into the sauce.

Add another tablespoon (or less) and continue to mix until the cheese powder is fully dissolved and coated the macaroni.

Verdict

Taste: It is too oily; you can also taste the oil.

Texture: It is slightly greasy.

Pasta water

Pasta water, or sometimes called ‘liquid gold.’

It is the water that remains after you have cooked the macaroni. So, everyone should have some.

It looks slightly cloudy and gray in appearance, as it’s filled with starch which helps to bind sauce to pasta.

However, only use the minimum amount of water possible to cook your pasta for best results.

This makes the starch concentrated.

Also, they should have this information on the box!

How much pasta water should I use?

Add pasta water as a substitute for milk in a ratio of 1:2. Therefore, you will need to add 2 tablespoons of pasta water for a 7.25oz box of mac and cheese.

Then, if necessary, continue adding pasta water until the cheese powder mixture is fully emulsified.

Verdict

Taste: This enhances the butter’s flavor, but overall it is good.

Texture: It is a little thin. However, you can heat the macaroni for an additional few seconds to combat the thin texture after you have mixed the ingredients. The dish will become slightly thicker as some of the water evaporates.

This is a good substitute, especially when you consider that you don’t need any other ingredients.

Soya milk

Important Note: ANY vegan milk will work. Although it hasn’t been tested for this article, oat milk would be great.

Now, soya milk is an interesting option.

It gives the mac and cheese a little sweetness and almost has the same consistency as milk.

It is a great substitute for milk in Kraft mac and cheese.

How much soya milk should I use?

You should use a ratio of 1:1, and make sure to use plain unsweetened milk.

Soya milk is very similar to regular milk in many aspects, so it makes no sense to alter the proportion of what you add.

Verdict

Taste: It is slightly sweet. This is also where personal preference comes in as it caters for specific tastes.

Texture: Not much difference.

You might already have soy milk at your home and you will plausibly like it enough to use it as a milk substitute.

Almond milk

Almond milk is just one of many alternative milks that you might have in your fridge or cupboard. However, almond milk is different from other types of milks since it has a distinct taste.

This flavor is too distinct to be paired with a savory and cheesy dish.

Although, almond milk may work according to your preference.

It’s okay to give it a try. But make sure to use almond milk and not the sweetened.

How much almond milk should I use?

It is recommended to start with a 1:2 ratio, and increase the amount of almond milk as needed.

This allows you to retain the benefits of the milk binding the sauce, as well as gradually introducing the new flavor.

Verdict

Taste: You will surely enjoy the unique taste if almond milk is already in your pantry. However, remember to avoid using sweetened almond milk.

Texture: Not a lot of difference.

These options are entirely up to the individual’s personal preference.

Sour cream

At first, you would not be able to tell the difference between regular milk and sour cream.

After trying a few more mouthfuls, however, the dish will taste quite tangy.

If you are a fan of sour cream, do not hesitate to try it.

How much sour cream should I use?

Begin by adding one tablespoon to the dish and thoroughly mixing it in.

Once the cheese powder is incorporated into a smooth, emulsified sauce, you can stop adding sour cream. Give it a try and let your taste buds decide if they are satisfied.

Verdict

Taste: A little tangy.

Texture: It becomes a little thicker than normal.

You may want to consider using it as a substitute if you are in the mood to do something new.

Yogurt

Yogurt, another milk substitute, has the power to divide people according to their preference.

It is possible for you to prefer yogurt over sour cream, but you could still detect a strong tang and an additional flavor in the dish.

Unflavored, unsweetened yogurt is the best substitute for milk. The test was done with unflavored Greek yogurt.

How much yogurt should I use?

Mix it in one tablespoon at a time until you are satisfied with the consistency and taste.

Verdict

Taste: It has a noticeable flavor; sweet and tangy.

Texture: Not much difference. Although it is very slightly thicker.

It is a fine substitute for milk in your Kraft mac and cheese.

Powdered milk

Powdered milk makes a great stock ingredient to have in your kitchen cupboard.

So, if you don’t have any on hand, get some when you are out to get groceries, and you’ll never run short of milk again.

You can easily mix powdered milk and water to make the milk you need for your mac and cheese.

How much powdered milk should I use?

Mix the powdered milk and water according to the package instructions. Then, replace the milk in a 1:1 ratio.

Verdict

This is the perfect substitute. It will be hard to believe that you didn’t use regular milk.

Chicken Stock

Chicken stock is a viable option to use as a substitute for milk, but you are open to try any type of broth or stock.

If you don’t want the dish to taste too salty, it is recommended to use a low sodium version.

How much stock should I use?

Use stock to replace the milk in a 1:1 ratio.

If you don’t prefer to add too much extra flavor to your dish, dilute the stock prior to adding it.

Verdict

The flavor that the stock gave to the mac and cheese was great. It wasn’t as creamy as milk, but it definitely wasn’t bland.

It is a good substitution for milk.

Mayonnaise

Surely almost everyone has a jar of mayonnaise kept in their fridge.

Although if it hasn’t been used for months, or even years, then it is recommended to get a new container. However, if the jar is still very fresh, it can add creaminess to your mac and cheese.

Quick Tip: Add a pinch of mustard or ketchup with the mayonnaise to add some flavor.

How much mayonnaise should I use?

Add one tablespoon of mayonnaise at a time into the bowl until you are satisfied.

Verdict

Mayonnaise does not satisfy everyone’s personal preference. However, if you are a fan of it, it is possible for you to enjoy its flavor mixed with your mac and cheese. This is just like with the other flavorful alternatives.

How to make kraft mac and cheese without milk?

In order to prepare Kraft mac and cheese without the use of milk, cook the pasta according to the instructions and measure the amount of butter needed. Then, add the milk substitute of your choice.

Once the pasta has been cooked, add the butter, cheese powder, and milk substitute until you are satisfied with the consistency and taste of your mac and cheese.

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