4 Best Butter Substitutes for Mac And Cheese

One of the most favorite comfort foods across America is macaroni and cheese. Whether homemade or out of a box, every recipe calls for butter and cheese.

Butter, a dairy product like cheese, is among your non-dairy list of restricted foods. Or perhaps your doctor has asked you to reduce your fat intake, or there may be other reasons you need to avoid butter in your diet.

There is hope for you to continue to enjoy the buttery richness of this yummy dish. Here are some viable substitutions for butter when you’re making mac and cheese.

butter substitute for mac and cheese

Margarine Substitute

Butter is made from milk, whereas margarine comes from vegetable oils and water. Vegetable oils have polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats – the good fats.

For vegan diets, margarine is a good option because It’s plant-based, and margarine is similar in texture and flavor to the butter.

= 1 cup margarine can replace 1 cup butter

Oil Substitutes

It is possible to substitute plant-based oils for butter. Popular ones are coconut oil, vegetable oil, olive oil, and canola oil. 

Oils are not the same consistency as butter, so it will be necessary to add a smaller amount carefully. Too much oil can ruin the cheese sauce and make your mac and cheese soupy.

= 3/4 cup oil is a substitute for 1 cup butter

Ghee Substitute

Ghee is butter that has been clarified – simmered and strained until all the water is removed. It has a nutty flavor and adds a rich flavor to recipes.

Those on a non-dairy diet can use Ghee. The clarifying process removes lactose and caseon that causes dairy intolerance and water.

= 1 cup of Ghee can be used as a substitute for 1 cup of butter

Heavy Cream Substitute

The cream will not help those on a non-dairy diet, but it can create a rich, thick, mouth-watering sauce for macaroni and cheese.

Butter comes from cream, a dairy product made from the higher-fat layer skimmed from the top of milk before it is homogenized.

Other cream-style options may include sour cream and cream cheese.

If you use heavy cream to create the sauce for your macaroni and cheese, you’ll need to adjust your measurements. You will need to use less cream, or your sauce will be runny. If using cream cheese, you may need to add a little oil to create a creamy texture.

= 1/2 cup heavy cream should be a good substitution for 1 cup butter, or

= 8 ounces of cream cheese plus 1-2 tablespoons of oil will replace 1 cup of butter


Can I make boxed mac and cheese without butter?

Boxed macaroni and cheese recipes call for butter to add a richer flavor. You can omit butter or add cream cheese or sour cream as flavors.

What can I use instead of butter in mac and cheese?

There are several substitutes available to replace butter in mac and cheese dishes. Try margarine, oil, Ghee, cream cheese, heavy cream, or sour cream. 

About Rachelle

Hi, I'm Rachel! I love cooking and finding new recipes but was always missing one of the ingredients in my kitchen. I created Can I Substitute? for people like me who are one substitute away from a great meal. If you're looking for great ingredient substitutes you've come to the right place. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.