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What Can I Use Instead of Milk in Kraft Mac and Cheese? (21 Options!)

Here are 21 easy Kraft Mac and Cheese milk substitute ideas including non-dairy options, plus fun add-ins to jazz up your dish!

Kraft Macaroni is one of the most kid-loved foods in the world. You can find it in almost any family home.

It’s easy to make, and ready in about 15 minutes.

Plus it’s perfect for a quick kid’s lunch or dinner when you’re in a pinch.

There are only a couple of extra ingredients required to make it. But even the most prepared mom can run out of those items from time to time.

So what happens when you drain your noodles, dump in the cheesy powder, throw in the butter, and realize you’ve run out of milk?

Luckily, there are plenty of milk alternatives you can use instead.

We’re sharing the best Kraft Mac and Cheese milk substitutes, plus fun ways to jazz up your dish. And we even include some delicious recipes using macaroni noodles!

What is Kraft Mac and Cheese?

Large white bowl filled with orange Kraft Mac and Cheese on wooden table.

If you’re not familiar with Kraft macaroni, it’s a simple boxed pasta with dry noodles and a packet of cheese powder.

You’ll just need a 1/4 cup of milk and 4 tablespoons of butter to elevate the cheese sauce to a creamy consistency.

It has a famous blue box and a distinctive taste that you either love or hate. But, most people love it!

21 Kraft Mac and Cheese Milk Substitute Options

Here are 21 ingredients you can use in place of milk in your Kraft Mac and Cheese in case you happen to run out when you’re in the middle of cooking up a box. These are the best options for taste and texture.

And you can choose your substitute based on convenience or personal preference.

For the majority of the liquids, you can substitute at a 1:1 ratio.

Substitutes Using Dairy Products

1. Heavy Cream

Whipped heavy cream in a white bowl with whisk and bowl of white powder.

Heavy cream is a common ingredient most have on hand. It’s very similar to regular milk but just slightly more rich and creamy.

If you use heavy cream as a substitute, your macaroni will taste exactly the same. But it will be creamier and more luscious.

2. Goat Milk

Two glass bottles of goat milk in a wooden bowl with ice cubes.

If you don’t have cow’s milk, but happen to have goat’s milk on hand, you can use it in your macaroni. Goat milk tastes virtually the same as whole cow’s milk. It’s creamy, mild, and slightly sweet.

So it won’t change the taste or texture of your dish.

3. Evaporated Milk

Evaporated milk in can next to measuring cup on a burlap cloth.

Evaporated milk is the perfect Kraft Mac and Cheese milk substitute. After all, it’s just regular milk with 60% of the water content removed.

To reconstitute evaporated milk, you just need to combine equal amounts of milk and water. So for Kraft macaroni, you’ll need 1/8 cup evaporated milk and 1/8 cup water.

4. Sour Cream

Sour cream in white bowl next to wooden spoon and blue kitchen towel.

If you don’t mind a little tanginess in your macaroni, you can substitute milk with sour cream or a sour cream substitute like kefir or buttermilk.

Simply add the sour cream a tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

5. Cream Cheese

Cream cheese in a white bowl garnished with chives on wooden cutting board.

Cream cheese is a great way to add some extra creaminess to your macaroni. Just watch out for those extra calories.

For best results, mix in your cream cheese over low heat a tablespoon at a time.

6. Double the Amount of Butter

Melted butter in small white mixing bowl next to wooden basting brush.

Here’s a good substitute that requires no extra ingredients. Butter! You’ll already need 4 tablespoons of butter for your macaroni, so just double the amount.

You may lose some of the creaminess, but it will taste virtually the same.

And if you don’t have butter, you can always use a butter substitute like margarine or a light oil.

7. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt in blue bowl next to wooden spoon on whitewashed table.

Greek yogurt is a similar substitute to sour cream or cream cheese. But, it’s a healthier option.

It will add a little more texture and tanginess to the macaroni. And you’ll want to add it a little at a time just like sour cream or cream cheese.

RELATED: Healthy Greek Yogurt Alfredo (Faux Fettuccini)

8. Roux

Large white gravy boat with cream colored roux and specs of seasoning.

If you don’t want to use plain old butter as a milk substitute, you can try adding a roux to your Kraft Mac and Cheese.

You’ll just need 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour. This will help thicken up the macaroni and it won’t change the flavor.

Non-Dairy Milk Substitute Options

Here are some non-dairy milk substitute options for Kraft Mac and Cheese.

These may help those who are lactose intolerant, but you should be aware that there is still technically dairy in the dish in the form of whey.

So, even if you use plant-based milks or other alternatives, there is still a risk of reaction.

9. Soy Milk

Soy milk in glass jars next to large wooden ladle filled with soy beans.

Soy milk originated in China. You can make soy milk by soaking ground soybeans. And it’s readily available in grocery stores.

This alternative is pretty close in nutritional value to regular cow’s milk. And it has a similar consistency.

It’s also the closest in flavor to regular milk when compared to other non-dairy milk.

10. Almond Milk

Almond milk in a glass jar next to a bowl of whole almonds.

Almond milk is one of the most popular non-dairy milk alternatives. You can buy it sweetened or unsweetened, and even with vanilla flavoring.

The best almond milk for Kraft Mac and Cheese is plain unsweetened almond milk.

Flavoring varies by brand, but it generally has a mild nutty taste that won’t make too much of a difference in macaroni.

(You can even use almond milk as a buttermilk substitute!)

11. Coconut Milk

Whole and halved coconuts sit next to small glass of coconut milk.

If you don’t mind macaroni with a slightly sweet taste and coconut flavor, you can try coconut milk. It’s not the ideal Kraft Mac and Cheese milk substitute, but it will do in a pinch.

It has a consistency closer to evaporated milk, so it will make your macaroni creamier. And if you’re using canned coconut milk, be sure to avoid the coconut cream at the top!

12. Cashew Milk

Cashew nuts in large rustic wooden spoon with some spilled onto wooden table.

Cashew milk is one of the easiest nut milks to make at home. And it has a sweet, slightly nutty flavor.

It’s similar enough to cow’s milk that it won’t make a big difference in your macaroni.

13. Oat Milk

Oats on large wooden spoon next to glass of oat milk on wooden tray.

Here’s a relatively new dairy-free milk option. Oat milk! Oat milk is made by blending oats with water, and you can even make it at home.

It has an oat-like aftertaste and a fair amount of sweetness.

And it has lots of nutritional benefits, including aiding with digestion, lowering blood sugar, and lowering cholesterol.

14. Hemp Milk

Hemp milk glass sits next to bowl of hemp seeds and miniature wooden ladles.

This milk substitute is a little harder to find. But you can order it online, or find it in some specialty grocery stores.

Hemp seed milk comes from the hemp plant which is a variety of cannabis. And, although it’s related to a certain drug, hemp and hemp seeds have no THC and are completely legal.

It’s a good source of omega 3’s and is great for health.

However, it does have a strong nutty flavor that not everyone enjoys. So you might want to try it before you use it.

It’s also thicker than regular milk, so it will make a creamier mac and cheese.

15. Rice Milk

Rice milk is poured into glass next to rice on wooden spoon.

Rice milk is another great, dairy-free alternative. You make rice milk by grinding and soaking rice. And it’s a great substitute for those who have an allergy to dairy, nuts, and soy.

16. Olive Oil

Large jar of olive oil surrounded by fresh green olives spilling from basket.

You can use olive oil or an olive oil substitute to replace milk in a pinch. It will create a slight change to the consistency of your macaroni. And the taste won’t be quite the same. But, your macaroni will still be good.

Add olive oil a tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. You will not need an entire 1/4 cup of olive oil!

17. Vegetable Oil

Several bottles of vegetable oil on store shelves with golden yellow caps.

If you don’t have olive oil, you can also use vegetable oil or a vegetable oil substitute. Vegetable oil is lighter than olive oil, so it won’t change the taste of your macaroni as much.

You can use it as a substitute the same way you would olive oil.

RELATED: How Long Does Vegetable Oil Last?

18. Chicken Broth

Chicken broth in glass bowl surrounded fresh carrot, onion and celery.

Chicken broth is a decent milk substitute for macaroni. It will add a little bit of extra flavor, but if you don’t mind a slightly different Kraft Mac and Cheese experience it will do just fine.

Most people keep chicken broth on hand, so it’s a convenient alternative. However, if you don’t have any in your pantry you can use a chicken broth substitute like beef broth, bone broth, or veggie stock.

19. Powdered Milk

Large clear glass kitchen bowl piled high with powdered milk on a square of burlap.

Powdered milk is a great food storage staple because it lasts much longer than regular milk and it doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

To reconstitute the powdered milk, follow the instructions on the packaging. An example is 2 tablespoons of powder to 1 cup water. Then use 1/4 cup of the mixture to substitute for regular milk.

20. Pasta Water

Large red cook pot filled with simmering pasta water with a wooden kitchen utensil.

If you can’t get your hands on a non-dairy milk and the thought of olive oil isn’t appetizing, you can use a little bit of pasta water.

The starchiness from the pasta makes the water a little thicker and it’s a quick fix.

However, your macaroni may be runnier, and you’ll lose out on a little bit of flavor.

21. Water

Glass pitcher of water pouring water into a small drinking glass on a wooden table.

If you accidentally dump out your pasta water. You can use regular water as a last resort. It won’t add any extra flavor or thickness to your macaroni, but it’s a passable substitute in a pinch.

The macaroni will be a bit soupy and blander than usual, but still not drastically different.

Ways to Dress up Your Kraft Macaroni

Now that we covered the best Kraft Mac and Cheese milk substitute options, here are some fun add-ins for extra flavor, texture, and nutritional value.

You can use these ingredients to turn your boxed macaroni into a full meal!

More Cheese:

Try experimenting with different cheeses! When it comes to cheese, the sky is the limit. There are so many options out there. Just avoid sliced cheese (with the exception of American cheese) because it will be harder to mix in.

Shredded cheese is the easiest to add to macaroni.

Here are some good options to try:

  • Cheddar cheese
  • American cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Gouda cheese
  • Pepper Jack cheese
  • Monterey Jack cheese

Protein Add-Ins:

Adding protein will truly elevate your Kraft Mac and Cheese and turn it into a meal. Here are some easy, kid-friendly add-ins:

  • Crumbled bacon
  • Diced hot dogs
  • Canned chicken
  • Diced ham
  • Mini pepperoni
  • Cooked ground sausage
  • Cooked ground beef

Vegetable Add-Ins:

You can also throw in some vegetables. This is a great way to get picky kids to eat their greens:

  • Spinach
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms

Recipes with Macaroni

And here are some easy and delicious recipes using macaroni that we know you’ll love. Each of these dishes is kid-friendly and you can throw them together in a snap!

Island-Approved Hawaiian Mac Salad

Bowl of Hawaiian macaroni salad with carrots on wooden cutting board next to kitchen towel.

Easy and Cheesy Chicken Macaroni Casserole

Wooden spoon with chicken macaroni casserole lifting out of baking dish.

Easy Crock Pot Minestrone Soup

Slow cooker full of minestrone soup surrounded by kitchen towel and bread.

More Like This

Did we answer all your questions about how to substitute milk in Kraft mac and cheese? Let us know if we missed anything in the comments!

And here are some other great cooking tips and resources to try:


Thursday 26th of January 2023

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