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Looking for a great substitute for milk in mac and cheese? How about 15 ideal options? Keep reading to find out how you can use items you may have in your kitchen to replace milk in any macaroni cheese recipe.
Mac and cheese also referred to as macaroni and cheese, macaroni cheese or macaroni pie is a favorite in most homes. This cheesy dish made of cooked macaroni pasta, cheese sauce, and sometimes meats, breadcrumbs, and spices like black pepper and paprika is usually enjoyed as a side for dinner.
But, what if you’re making some mac and cheese and you have no milk in the kitchen, can you actually replace it?
The good news is that you can replace milk in any mac and cheese dish, as you can see in this list of substitutes for heavy cream in mac and cheese, as well as the other great options listed below.
What does milk do for mac and cheese?
Milk is often used to boil the pasta for macaroni and cheese. By so doing, this makes the mac and cheese recipe creamier.
Milk is also used as the base for many cheese sauces used to make a macaroni pie.
Do you have to use milk when making macaroni and cheese?
What are the milk substitutes that work in mac and cheese?
The best alternatives for milk in mac and cheese include shredded cheese, heavy cream, heavy whipping cream, cream cheese, sour cream, evaporated milk, almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, coconut milk, cashews and yogurt.
Each will be discussed in more detail below with conversion ratios shown.
One of the best alternatives for milk in a macaroni cheese recipe is shredded cheese. Whether you have shredded cheddar, mozzarella or Parmesan, these will work for adding this nice cheesiness and creaminess to a mac and cheese dish.
When using shredded cheese as an alternative for milk, make sure to add in a little bit of water, or chicken broth to make the recipe moist and creamy. Use shredded cheese to replace milk on a 1:1 substitute ratio.
Can I use heavy cream in place of milk in mac and cheese? Yes, you can use heavy cream in place of milk in a mac and cheese dish. Heavy cream will take the place of milk and make the pie really creamy. In fact, many people seem to really enjoy mac and cheese with heavy cream instead of milk since it is so decadent and indulgent.
You can replace milk with heavy cream on a 1:1 ratio. Or to be more specific, use 1 oz of heavy cream for every 2oz (or 1 cup) of macaroni a dish calls for.
Heavy whipping cream
Like heavy cream, heavy whipping cream is another good milk alternative for mac and cheese. As milk is supposed to do, heavy whipping cream will make your macaroni and cheese dish creamy.
Use about 3 oz of heavy whipping cream for every cup of macaroni used in the dish.
You can make a delicious cheesy macaroni pie recipe with cream cheese and a grated cheese like cheddar, Parmesan, or even mozzarella. Therefore, cream cheese is a great alternative for milk in mac and cheese.
To make a simple cream cheese mac and cheese recipe with no milk, simply cook the macaroni until done, then make a cheese sauce with butter, cream cheese and shredded cheese. Once done, pour the cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce and coat well. Then serve or make extra cheesy by pouring into a baking dish and topping with more shredded cheese for a baked mac and cheese dish.
Generally, 4 oz of cream cheese works for every cup of raw macaroni used in the recipe.
Sour cream is another ideal substitute for milk in macaroni and cheese. Use sour cream the same way you would use milk in any macaroni pie recipe.
If you don’t mind the dairy, evaporated milk can also be used to take the place of milk in mac and cheese.
Evaporated milk can be used as the base for a really smooth and creamy cheese sauce, or you can add it directly into the cooked pasta, together with grated cheese for some creamy and cheesy mac and cheese.
Many people don’t mind using evaporated milk on a 1:1 ratio with regular milk.
But, some other people prefer to thin out the evaporated milk with equal parts water and evaporated milk so its closer to the consistency and flavor of whole milk.
Replace regular milk with thinned out evaporated milk on a 1:1 ratio as well.
Whether you’re trying to make a dairy free mac and cheese dish, or you’re simply just trying to replace the whole milk in the dish, almond milk can be used.
Almond milk macaroni pie tastes great, but it is lighter than regular mac and cheese.
Use a 1:1 substitute ratio of unsweetened almond milk to regular whole milk.
If you’re looking for a creamier plant based milk to substitute for milk, then oat milk is your best bet. Oat milk thus makes a great alternative to milk in mac and cheese.
Use unsweetened plain flavored oat milk as you would regular milk in your dish.
Meaning, for every cup of milk a recipe calls for, replace with 1 cup of unsweetened oat milk.
Another ideal replacement for milk in macaroni and cheese is soy milk. With soy milk, you can make a creamy, cheesy vegan dish without any nuts, dairy or soy.
Use plain flavored unsweetened soy milk which has a flavor that is slightly bean-like to make a creamy vegan mac and cheese.
In addition to the soy milk, most vegan mac n cheese recipes use ingredients like vegan butter, nutritional yeast, vegan cheese and seasonings like salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, nutmeg and also vegetable broth to add that rich flavor to the cheese sauce.
Please note that if soy milk is all you have on hand, but you’re not necessarily looking for a vegan mac n cheese recipe, you can also just use the soy milk together with your regular mac and cheese ingredients. It doesn’t have to be used only for vegan mac n cheese.
Use a 1:1 ratio of soy milk to regular whole milk.
Full-fat coconut milk is also another ideal alternative for regular milk in macaroni pie.
Like oat milk, almond milk and soy milk, full fat coconut milk gives you the option to make vegan mac n cheese.
You can also use coconut milk if this is all you have on hand even though you’re not making a vegan dish. Just use this ingredient in the same way you would regular milk in the recipe, and voila— a very effective milk substitute for mac and cheese!
Cashews are another substitute for milk in mac n cheese that can be used in place of regular milk to make a cheese sauce for vegan macaroni cheese.
To make a cashew cheese sauce, you’ll need ingredients like soaked cashews, coconut cream, nutritional yeast, miso paste, as well as seasonings like garlic and onion powder.
Yogurt is another good alternative for milk in a macaroni pie. Plain greek yogurt will work best and make a really creamy recipe.
Use about 1/4 cup of plain greek yogurt for every cup of macaroni used in the recipe.
What is a good substitute for milk in macaroni and cheese?
There are quite a few good substitutes for milk in macaroni and cheese as shown above, but, a really good mac and cheese milk substitute is actually evaporated milk in my opinion.
It gives just the right amount of extra creaminess and richness without feeling excessive. This makes it the perfect milk substitute for cooking mac and cheese.
There you have it! Over 12 amazing ways to replace milk in macaroni cheese. These milk substitutes make it easy to make regular mac and cheese, vegan mac and cheese, dairy free mac and cheese and more. This means you may not even have to leave your kitchen for many of these substitutes!
And, if you’re looking for more ways to substitute regular milk in other recipes, check out these substitutes for milk in french toast and these replacements for milk in cornbread here.