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Can You Make Macaroni and Cheese Without Milk

If there is a list of the ultimate comfort food, we bet Mac and cheese would be placed in the number 1 position. Cravings for this meal can arise anytime, even when you’ve run out of milk. In such a case, is it still possible to enjoy a plate of this creamy, cheesy goodness? Thankfully, the answer is yes. It’s possible to cook an incredibly delicious plate of mac and cheese without milk. The secret lies in what you use in place of milk. Best of all, it’s extremely easy to whip up a plate. Keep reading as we dive into the recipe for creating this awesome mac and cheese combo without regular milk. Can You Make Macaroni and Cheese Without Milk?

Read Also: Gluten-Free Pasta Recipe

What Can You Use Instead of Milk in Mac and Cheese?

What Can You Use Instead of Milk in Mac and Cheese?

The time has come to reveal the star of this recipe. The secret ingredient that makes it possible for you to enjoy a plate of cheesy goodness is nothing other than cream cheese. It gives your sauce thickness and richness, improving the overall flavor of the meal. Other ingredients that complement cream cheese include sour cream and pasta water. You can replace pasta water with chicken broth to cook the noodles in. 

Ingredients Needed for Mac and Cheese Without Milk

Gather the following ingredients to prepare a plate of mac and cheese minus the milk.

  • Elbow macaroni noodles
  • Mild and sharp cheddar cheese. Mild cheddar cheese makes the sauce creamier, while sharp cheddar cheese adds flavor.
  • Sour cream
  • Cream cheese
  • Mustard powder
  • Other spices like garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. 

The Recipe

Making mac and cheese without milk is a cakewalk once you know the right ingredients. Follow these stepwise instructions. Boil a pot of salted water. Add elbow noodles and cook macaroni as per the instructions on the package. Alternatively, you can replace salt water with chicken broth. 

  • Keep stirring until the liquid is mostly absorbed.
  • Melt the cream cheese and sour cream in another saucepan over medium-low heat.
  • When the noodles are boiled, add mustard powder and pasta water. Now, add the cream cheese mixture to the noodles.
  • Keep stirring until the mixture has completely melted into the noodles.
  • Mix in other spices such as garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper.
  • Once the spices are thoroughly mixed, add sharp cheddar cheese. Stir the mixture till the cheese has completely melted.
  • That’s it. Garnish your meal with whatever you like and serve it to yourself or others.

How to Thicken Mac and Cheese Without Milk?

How to Thicken Mac and Cheese Without Milk?

It is possible to make thick, creamy mac and cheese without milk. The secret ingredient here is flour, which thickens the sauce. Follow this recipe for creating thick mac and cheese without milk.


  • Oat milk (A 1:1 swap for regular milk with a thick milk-like consistency).
  • Chicken broth
  • Flour to thicken the sauce.
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt
  • Dijon mustard   

The Recipe

  • Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
  • Whisk the flour and chicken broth in another pot.
  • Warm the oat milk in another saucepan. Combine it with the flour and chicken broth mixture.
  • Keep missing till the sauce thickens according to your desired consistency.
  • Now, reduce the heat to low. Mix in the shredded cheese, mustard, and salt.
  • Keep stirring till the cheese melts. The sauce should be smooth.
  • Take out the cheese sauce from the heat.
  • Put the pasta into the saucepan. Stir till every ingredient is thoroughly mixed.

Other Good Substitutes for Milk in Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is a versatile dish. It can be customized with or without milk in various ways. If the recipe above has gotten you excited, you might want to learn about or experiment with other milk substitutes as well. Here are some other great milk replacements.

1. Yogurt


Want to improve the nutritional profile of your mac and cheese without compromising on the thickness? Yogurt is the ingredient for you. It’s naturally thick and has a higher protein content. The best yogurt to substitute for milk in mac and cheese is Greek yogurt. If you are using another type, ensure that it is not sweetened.

2. Coconut Cream

Coconut Cream

Coconut cream is the perfect substitute for those looking for a lactose-free milk alternative. Coconut cream is naturally sweet. So, its flavor is easily neutralized by a strong-flavored cheese in this dish. Do not confuse coconut cream with coconut milk though. The latter can make your mac and cheese sweeter than desired.

3. Plant-Based Milks

Plant-Based Milks

Various plant-based milks are available in the market. Depending on your preferences, you can use rice, soy, cashew, or almond milk, although any type of plant milk will give you the desired results. Some milks are thinner, while some are thicker, so you may have to adjust their amount to achieve the desired thickness level of the sauce.

4. Flour and Butter Mix (Roux)

Flour and Butter Mix (Roux)

Roux, the mixture of flour and butter is another great substitute for milk. Roux is a thickening agent and works perfectly with broth or water. The flavor of roux becomes more intense when it’s cooked. So, it is important to pair it with cheese. This will ensure that you get the creamiest and thickest plate of mac and cheese.

Read Also: Best Recipes with the leftover food

Serving Mac and Cheese

Serving Mac and Cheese

A plate of mac and cheese can be served with various side dishes. For some people, the plate itself can be a side dish. In such cases, you can serve mac and cheese with the main course. Here are some options.

  • Roasted broccoli: Broccoli florets, seasoned and roasted, are deliciously crisp. It’s the perfect side dish with mac and cheese.
  • Sauteed spinach: Sauteed spinach gets ready in a couple of minutes. It goes very well with your plate of creamy goodness.
  • Classic Caesar salad: Caesar salad, with ingredients like kale and cheese, can also be a good accompaniment to mac and cheese.
  • Brussel sprouts: Brussel sprouts get ready in less than 15 minutes. You can prepare them alongside mac and cheese to serve both together.

Summing Up

There you go! Now, there’s no need to worry if you crave a plate of creamy mac and cheese but don’t have milk at hand. Use the recipe above to create a bowl of this deliciousness and enjoy it with your loved ones. You can even experiment with other milk substitutes and find out how they complement the meal. Bon Appetit!