Whether you’re out of milk or don’t have a box, this post will show you how to make a delicious batch of macaroni and cheese without milk kids are going to devour.
It’s got the perfect amount of creamy goodness, and you’ll learn my #1 milk alternative secret and 15 other ways to solve the no-milk problem.
Can You Make Mac and Cheese without Milk?
You can certainly make a tasty mac and cheese without milk! Using chicken broth and half, you create a velvety smooth sauce that coats the noodles perfectly.
I’ve found these two ingredients are the best alternative since most of us have them on hand, and they make a great “solution” that blends well with the cheese.
That being said, there are countless other ways you can make a creamy cheese sauce in this post.
Here’s what you’ll need to make top-notch mac and cheese without any milk:
- Pasta: use any shape for this mac and cheese.
- Half & half: gives the cheese sauce a creamy texture.
- Chicken broth: cuts the half & half.
- Flour: thickens the sauce.
- Shredded Cheddar cheese: the king of mac and cheese recipes.
- Salt: enhances the other flavors.
- Dijon mustard:
How to Make Mac and Cheese without Milk
This recipe is just as simple to make as the original. Follow the directions below, and you’ll achieve that velvet cheese sauce consistency:
- Cook the pasta
Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. If using water in this recipe, reserve ½ cup before draining.
- Whisk – Don’t skip this step
Whisk the flour and chicken broth or pasta water and set aside.
- Start the cheese sauce
Warm the half and half in a large pot or saucepan. Add the flour and chicken broth mixture and whisk until the sauce thickens.
- Finish the sauce
Reduce the heat to low and stir in the shredded cheese, salt, and mustard. Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
Remove the cheese sauce from heat. Transfer the pasta to the saucepan and stir until everything is combined.
Keeping It Creamy
The recipe above and these tips below will guarantee a creamy macaroni and cheese.
When in doubt, add cheese
If your mac and cheese looks a little too runny, toss in a ½ cup of extra cheese until you reach the desired consistency.
THE Flour Trick
If you want a creamier sauce without adding tons of butter, take advantage of the flour trick used in this recipe. Mix 2 tablespoons of flour with about ½ cup of the milk alternative you are using, and add it to the cheese sauce.
Mac and Cheese Milk Substitutes
Here’s the part where I share the abundance of milk substitutes for creamy mac and cheese.
Make sure to read the descriptions for the amount of liquid needed; some are a 1:1 swap (1 ¾ cup x liquid for 1 ¾ cup milk), while others aren’t.
Pick your milk substitute from the list below, and then use the recipe in this post to make Mac and Cheese without milk!
- Pasta Water
1 cup of pasta water has enough starch to help the mac and cheese sauce thicken up, but it won’t be as creamy as the original. I recommend adding a little extra butter to add flavor.
- Chicken Broth
About 1 cup, the mac, and cheese won’t be as creamy, but it will still taste good.
- Oat Milk
A 1:1 swap for regular milk with a thick consistency like milk. It’s a great alternative.
- Heavy Cream
This will make the mac and cheese very creamy. You can use it as a 1:1 swap for milk or cut it in half with water or chicken broth.
- Almond Milk
A 1:1 swap for regular milk. It’s a little more watery than milk or oat milk, so use the flour trick in this recipe for the best results.
- Coconut Milk
A 1:1 swap for regular milk will give the sauce a creamy, rich texture. Make sure to give it a whirl in the blender to emulsify the coconut cream and liquid.
- Cashew Milk
Also a 1:1 swap for regular milk.
- Soy Milk
1:1 swap for regular milk.
- Hemp Seed Milk
1:1 swap for regular milk.
- Sour Cream
1:1 swap for regular milk.
- Cream Cheese
4 tablespoons cream cheese + ¾ cup warm water. Whisk the mixture until it’s smooth.
Plain, unsweetened works best. 1:1 swap for regular milk amount.
- Powdered Milk
Use the package directions to prepare 1 ¾ cup of liquid.
- Evaporated Milk
Evaporated milk – a 1:1 swap for regular milk.
- Make a Roux
Use equal parts ¼ cup butter and ¼ cup flour to create a roux, then add enough water or chicken broth to make 1 ½ cups liquid.
Boxed Mac & Cheese without Milk
If you’re making boxed mac and cheese, you can easily sub in one of the substitutes listed above for milk; great options are chicken broth, half and half, almond milk, or evaporated milk.
How to Store Leftover Mac & Cheese
When you make a batch of mac and cheese and have leftovers, let it cool down to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
To reheat, add 2 tablespoons of water, chicken broth, or milk alternative for each cup of pasta to help reconstitute the sauce and microwave it until hot. You can also reheat it on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring constantly.
Leftover mac and cheese can be sent to school in a thermos, making it a delicious kid-friendly lunch option.
What to Serve with Mac and Cheese
While we all would love to enjoy creamy mac and cheese as a meal on its own, here are some delicious options to pair it with:
- Perfect, Juicy Baked Chicken
- Healthy Italian Turkey Burgers
- Pan-Seared Chicken
- Everyday Side Salad
- Roasted Broccoli or Broccolini
Creamy No Milk Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound pasta, any shape
- 1 cup half & half
- ½ cup chicken broth or water
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- In a large pot, over medium-high heat, bring water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Once the pasta is cooked, start on the cheese sauce.
- Warm 1 cup of half and half in a saucepan over medium heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together ½ cup chicken broth or water and 2 tablespoons of flour until there are no lumps, set aside.
- When the half and half is warm and you begin to see steam rising, whisk in the water-and-flour mixture. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens slightly to the consistency of heavy cream, for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to low and stir the shredded cheese to the half and half. Add the salt and dijon mustard. Continue to stir until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy. Turn off heat.
- Add the pasta to the pot and with a large spoon, combine the sauce with the pasta until it’s evenly coated.
- Serve the mac and cheese immediately while still hot. Leftovers will keep for up to a week and can be reheated. If the sauce is a little dry after reheating, mix in a splash of water to make it creamy again!