Skip to Content

Ditch the Dairy: Making Kraft Mac and Cheese without Milk

A bowl of golden, velvety mac and cheese straight from the iconic blue box of Kraft is a nostalgic comfort that many of us can’t resist.

But what if you’re lactose-intolerant, have run out of milk, or just looking for a twist on the classic recipe? Fear not, because we’ve got a game plan for you — a lactose-free recipe that doesn’t skimp on taste or creaminess.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the art of crafting Kraft Mac and Cheese without a drop of milk, ensuring that your cheesy cravings are not just satisfied but celebrated, lactose intolerance or not.

Popularity & Importance of Adaptations for Kraft Mac and Cheese

The love for Kraft Mac and Cheese is universal, crossing generations and cultures. It’s a food of choice for those in a time crunch, college students in need of a study break, and anyone who appreciates a warm, simple meal.

The need for lactose-intolerance adaptations or substitutions, though, has become increasingly common, with more individuals seeking dairy-free options for various reasons. This shift towards inclusivity and customization is not just a trend—it’s the permanent revolution in food choices.

Our mission is to make sure that nobody has to miss out on their favorite comfort food, no matter their dietary restrictions.

What’s the Deal with Milk in Mac and Cheese?

Milk plays a crucial role in traditional mac and cheese recipes, serving to establish a creamy texture while also tempering the sharpness of the cheese.

Specifically in the Kraft version, the signature sauce hinges on the combination of powdered cheese and milk. However, for those with intolerances or in situations where milk is unavailable, there are solutions at hand.

The primary objective is to explore alternatives that can effectively mimic the function of milk in the dish, which fundamentally contributes to achieving a rich, velvety smooth consistency.

Ingredients Substitution for Kraft Mac and Cheese

As a dairy product, milk is a staple in traditional Kraft Mac and Cheese recipes. But not to worry, because there are plenty of great substitutes you can use instead:

Lactose-Free Substitutes That Work

First, let’s focus on those who are lactose-intolerant. If you’re part of this group, dairy products with high levels of lactose — a type of sugar found in milk — can cause gastrointestinal distress. The good news is that there are many lactose-free alternatives to choose from:

Unsweetened Almond Milk — The Standard Substitute

Almond milk is a crowd favorite for a reason. Its nutty undertones can complement the cheese while creating a creamy consistency. Make sure to opt for unsweetened to avoid any odd flavors infiltrating your mac and cheese.

Coconut Milk — For a Velvety Finish

Coconut milk adds a rich and buttery taste, perfect for adding depth to your mac and cheese. This alternative is a bit richer, so adjust the quantity based on how creamy you prefer your mac.

Lactose-Free Milk — The Closest Match

If you’re just lactose intolerant and not dairy sensitive, lactose-free milk is your simplest substitution. It’s the closest taste and nutritionally similar to regular milk, making it a seamless swap.

Soy Milk — When All Else Fails

Soy milk can excel as a binding agent, given its natural thickening properties. You may find that it doesn’t add much flavor to the dish, which can be a plus for more delicate palates.

Plain Yogurt or Sour Cream — The Tangy Alternative

Surprisingly, a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream can provide a creamy texture while adding a slight tang to your mac and cheese. Just whisk it into the cheese sauce until smooth.

Cooking Instructions for Mac and Cheese Without Milk

As with any mac and cheese recipe, it all boils down to the cooking technique. Follow these steps for a lactose-free version:

Step-by-Step Guide to Creaminess

  1. Boil the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente.
  2. In a separate pot, melt your margarine or butter over medium heat.
  3. Slowly whisk in your alternative “milk” of choice.
  4. Sprinkle the powdered cheese mix into the “milk” mixture and whisk until it forms a smooth, thick sauce.
  5. Combine the drained pasta with the cheese sauce, stirring until every piece is coated.
  6. Cook together for an additional minute or two, allowing the flavors to meld and the sauce to fully thicken.

Tips on Achieving the Perfect Texture and Flavor

The real challenge in making Kraft Mac and Cheese without milk is nailing the consistency and flavor, which can be a delicate balance. The secret lies in getting the proportions just right.

Begin by adding slightly less milk substitute than the original recipe suggests, then gradually adjust in small increments until you achieve the ideal level of creaminess.

It’s important to note that you have the flexibility to add more “milk,” but once it’s in, you can’t remove it. This process allows you to tailor the mac and cheese to your preferred taste and texture, ensuring a satisfying and delicious outcome every time you make it.

Variations and Additions to Amp Up Your Mac

If you’re feeling adventurous or just want to switch things up, there are plenty of ways to elevate your lactose-free Kraft Mac and Cheese. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Crispy Bacon Bits — A Salty, Savory Addition

Who can resist the allure of crispy bacon? Its smoky richness pairs beautifully with the cheese sauce, adding a layer of complexity to the dish.

Diced Jalapeños — For the Bold and Spicy

For those who like to walk on the wild side, adding some heat from diced jalapeños can take your mac and cheese to a whole new level. The balance between the heat and the creamy cheese is a match made in comfort food heaven.

Caramelized Onions — The Sweet and Tender Component

Caramelized onions can bring a touch of sweetness and tenderness to the boldness of cheese. Their golden-brown hue only amplifies the beauty of the golden pasta.

Feel free to experiment with your mac and cheese. Add spices, herbs, or other veggies. The beauty of this dish is that it’s incredibly versatile. Make it your own.

4 Other Substitutes for Milk in Mac and Cheese

If you’ve exhausted the lactose-free options, here are some other substitutes to consider:

Oat Milk — The Trendy Go-To

With its growing popularity, oat milk is a trendy and delicious alternative for mac and cheese, adding its naturally sweet flavor to the mix.

Cashew Milk — The Cream of the Crop

Cashew milk is thick, creamy, and smooth, making it an excellent choice for those who want to craft an indulgent, creamy mac and cheese.

Veggie or Chicken Broth — The Unlikely Hero

Believe it or not, broth can create a lighter, more savory mac and cheese dish. It’s also a great way to infuse more flavor if you prefer a less creamy dish.

Water — The Basic

In a pinch, water can be used as a last resort. However, it’s going to lack the creaminess that milk substitutes provide, so additional adjustments to the recipe may be needed.


We’ve shown you a plethora of options for Kraft Mac and Cheese without milk, and this is just the beginning. Mac and cheese is firmly in the realm of lactose intolerance-friendly and flexible-to-taste cooking.

Whether you’re a parent looking to prepare a quick meal for your family, a lactose-intolerant individual, or a college student seeking a tasty yet undemanding recipe, rest assured you can recreate the magic of the classic mac and cheese right at home.

Remember to keep experimenting to find your perfect blend and to share your tricks with others. With a little knowledge and some turns of the pot, everyone can savor the joy of the iconic blue box, lactose-free and delicious as ever.


Kraft Mac and Cheese without Milk

A creamy, delicious mac and cheese recipe that is completely lactose-free. Perfect for those with lactose intolerance or anyone looking to switch up their traditional mac and cheese.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people
Calories 158 kcal


  • 7.25 oz Kraft Macaroni and Cheese 1 box
  • 1/4 cup almond milk you can use any other lactose-free milk alternative
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup soy milk optional
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt or sour cream optional
  • Additional ingredients for variations bacon, jalapeños, caramelized onions (optional)


  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions and drain.
  • In a separate pan, melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add in the almond milk and stir until combined.
  • Gradually add in the cheese sauce mix from the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese box, stirring constantly until well blended.
  • If desired, add in soy milk for a creamier texture or plain yogurt/sour cream for tanginess.
  • Once the cheese sauce is smooth, add in the cooked pasta and mix until well coated.
  • For additional variations, add in desired ingredients (bacon bits, diced jalapeños, caramelized onions) and stir until evenly distributed.
  • Serve hot and enjoy your delicious mac and cheese without milk!


  • Feel free to adjust the amount of milk alternative and additional ingredients to your taste preference.
  • For a thicker sauce, use less milk; for a thinner sauce, use more milk.
  • Adjust cooking time according to desired texture of pasta (al dente vs. fully cooked).
  • This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for larger servings.
  • Refrigerate any leftovers and reheat in the microwave or stove for a quick and easy meal.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 158kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 5gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 314mgPotassium: 93mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 162IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 85mgIron: 1mg
Keyword kraft mac and cheese without milk
Did you make this recipe?Mention @CooksCrafter or tag #CooksCrafter!
5 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


Tuesday 19th of March 2024

As a lactose-intolerant mac and cheese lover, this is a game-changer! Excited to try it with almond milk. Has anyone else experimented with different non-dairy milks? How did it turn out?

Andrew Gray

Tuesday 19th of March 2024

Almond milk works great as a substitute for dairy milk in mac and cheese! It adds a subtle nutty flavor and creamy texture. It's a must-try for lactose-intolerant mac and cheese lovers.