I mean, who doesn’t love mac and cheese? That’s arguably one of the most favorite childhood dishes that even the young at heart still love. It’s cheesy, delicious, and best eaten when warm. You can never go wrong with baked mac and cheese at any time of the day.
When prepping this iconic dish, the recipe calls for milk which some might be intolerant. You can still enjoy a warm mac and cheese without milk by using almond milk as a substitute. Here are also some substitutes that work well for this recipe: soy milk, rice milk, wheat milk, chicken or beef stock, and water.
Let’s see how these substitutes can substitute regular milk on a classic mac and cheese.
Making Mac and Cheese Without Milk
1. Almond Milk
Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian or a lactose-intolerant, it might be heartbreaking that your favorite dish contains whole milk. Good thing that most cooks these days are being innovative and are considering using substitutes for most milk-based dishes. One of the healthy milk substitutes you should consider is almond milk.
Almond milk made from fresh almonds is packed with protein and other essential nutrients. The best thing about it is that you can easily make one at home with just a blender and water. Substitute a cup of milk with one cup of almond milk. You will see that the mac and cheese has a lighter body but still creamier.
If you like to thicken the sauce, just add more cheese or mix some rue. Using this kitchen hack will not even have a single difference with the taste, texture and aroma.
2. Soy Milk
The next alternative you can use is another protein-rich goodness, soymilk. Made from fresh soybeans, soymilk is a healthy substitute as well as it contains fewer calories but packed with nutrients. I personally like using soy milk since it has a fuller body compared to almond milk which is lighter.
Mac and cheese is said to be not so healthy food for kids and adults alike. But, by substituting other ingredients such as using soy milk instead of whole milk, you can get more benefits from this simple dish.
Replace one cup of soy milk over one cup of milk. Make sure to add the soy milk once the baked mac is almost done so it can incorporate well with the cheese. Making it more thick and saucy.
3. Rice Milk
Next is rice milk, which is a surprisingly good alternative beverage when you can’t have milk. My nephews and nieces like pairing this up with their favorite cereals. They all attested that it’s pretty much similar to milk since it’s also sweet and tasty. The same goes for substituting it as an ingredient for mac and cheese.
If you don’t like almonds or soy, rice milk can be a good fit for you. The more options, the better. It’s texture is quite the same as almond milk, quite light but delicious. The substitution is also easy on this one which is 1:1. You can add more if your macaronis absorb too much liquid when cooked.
4. Wheat Milk
The last vegan-friendly milk product on our list is wheat milk. Quite darker in color compared to the previous runner ups, but it has rich goodness that can level up with whole milk. Even when consumed by itself, it has a hint of sweetness and richness, you won’t even go back to regular milk anymore.
Which is why it’s also an excellent substitute for milk in mac and cheese. You can follow the 1:1 ratio for this recipe and make sure to mix it well with your dish to ensure a more creamy outcome. It also pays to add in more cheese just to increase the body of the sauce.
5. Chicken or Beef Stock
No milk? No problem. If you got some leftover chicken or beef stock from the fridge, that can be a good alternative instead. You can also use those cubes to season with your water if you don’t have any stock available. The advantage of using this substitute is that it will bring more flavor to a typical mac and cheese. You can choose whether you like it beefy or more chicken-flavor.
Just simply follow the recipe on how much liquid it needs and that would be the content of stock you should use. You can either mix the cheese beforehand or mix them all together, whichever is easier for you. This substitution wouldn’t even require your dish to add more salt as it is tastier and has that umami flavor that you’ll surely love.
Last but not the least is the simplest and easiest of them all, water. Yes, when all comes downhill, no milk or chicken stock, then water it is. I’m not saying that this is going to be the best mac and cheese you’re ever going to make but it still works. Save yourself from buying in the store back and forth.
First, cook the water and the cheese so you can make a cheese sauce from it. Just season it with salt and pepper until it tastes good. Voila! You have an easy-peasy cheese sauce without milk. It’s healthier and safer for those who have intolerance from whole milk or allergies to other plant-based milk.
It’s important to note that the body of the sauce might be different since it’s only water. Just be mindful of the amount of water you’re putting to ensure that the cheese sauce will remain creamy and thick. For a cup of milk, use the only ¾ of water for the cheese sauce, depending on how much your recipe calls for liquid content.
Are you supposed to put milk in mac and cheese?
Technically speaking, yes. If you’re making a classic mac and cheese recipe, for sure it needs milk. The milk is responsible for creating a thicker and fuller cheese sauce that will seep inside the macaronis. No wonder every bite is like an explosion of pure cheesy flavor.
Can you make mac and cheese without milk?
Yes, especially if milk is unavailable or you are allergic with. You can simply use other milk substitutes, chicken stock, or just simply water. Remember, that the real star of this dish is the cheese. The milk is replaceable but not the cheese. So whether you use milk or not, the only difference it will make will be the texture.
Can I skip milk when using store-bought cheese sauce?
Yes, you can. Actually, you no longer need milk when you choose the ready to use macaroni sauce. All you need to do is cook it right away together with your macaronis. It was designed that way for the convenience of consumers.
Can you make cheese sauce with water instead of milk?
When you got no choice left, yes. It might be a little different but not too noticeable. Increase the amount of cheese to achieve a fuller and richer flavor.
You don’t have to skip mac and cheese today just because you ran out of milk. Know that there are a ton of substitutes that you can use to make your recipe happen. All it takes is an open mind with a little bit of creativity.