9 Substitutes for Butter in Mac and Cheese: Can’t tell the difference!

9 Substitutes for Butter in Mac and Cheese

The basic flavoring ingredients usually run out when we crave any particular dish. This often happens with me every time I look for butter.

So, over the last few times, I have been unintentionally experimenting with my mac and cheese with different butter substitutes and came with almost good and some off-turning results as well.

With my experience and some smartness, let me introduce you to some variants used in place of butter, whenever you run out of it.

Can you make Mac and Cheese without butter?

Can you make Mac and Cheese without butter

Butter is one of the basic ingredients in the preparation of mac and cheese. If you have any allergies to dairy products and butter, then go for ghee as a safe option. But being completely vegan is also your point then use margarine. It is the best and immediate substitute for the butter in your macaroni.

Nutritional Value of Butter

If you search for a nutritional value per 100 grams of butter. You will find out that 81 grams constitute fat with 215mg of cholesterol, 24 mg of potassium, and 11 mg sodium.

It has only 1% protein containing calcium, Vitamin D, and cobalamin. And a total carbohydrate of 0.1g which is equivalent to nothing. Therefore, butter is a high source of fat which is enough to increase your 717 calories lonely.

9 Substitutes for Butter in Mac and Cheese

Substitutes for Butter in Mac and Cheese
Peanut Butter

1) Ghee


Dairy-free product ghee can undoubtedly be used in alternate to butter. Ghee is less greasy and purer as compared to butter.

Also known as clarified butter, it is unpasteurized and has no added salt or preservatives. Ghee can be easily projected at home and add its nutty essence to all the dishes.

  1. To make ghee at home: Collect the large bowl of cream presented over evaporated milk.
  2. Wisk it well until your cream becomes solid.
  3. Pour into a cotton cloth and drain out the excess milk and moisture by wringing out properly.
  4. Transfer into a pan and place over the gas stove on high flame.
  5. Stir occasionally and wait till the solid milk separates and completely convert the white butter into ghee.
  6. Drain into a jar for storage and tada your homemade ghee is ready to rock down your dishes.   

Replace it with your butter in the mac and cheese for lip-smacking flavor. Pour the same amount as butter. It will not affect any texture and taste of your pasta, rather make it more toothsome.

2) Sour cream

Sour cream
Sour cream

“Once you start adding a sour cream into your food you just can undo the process.” This is what sour cream lovers say! It adds a similar occult when used in mac and cheese too. Even I will recommend you to must involve a tablespoon of sour cream in the macaroni whether you have butter or not.

Use as the same amount of butter, It will add a pinch of tangy flavor into your mac and cheese. The texture will be smooth and creamy. If you like the tanginess, you can increase its amount by reducing the milk in the preparation next time.

3) Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is a lot like sour cream with a relatively thicker consistency and pungent taste. Add it right after spilling the milk into the container to combine well with other elements.

Use plain Greek yogurt, the flavored ones won’t work for the mac and cheese. The pouring amount will be equal to butter.

The texture will be thick and fine but the taste will represent a punch of sourness into the macaroni.  

4) Margarine


If you are a vegan, you will be aware of margarine as an exact substitute for butter. The interesting fact is that it is made from water and plant-based oils.

Where on the one hand, the demand for dairy products is constantly exploiting innocent animals. We have such mind-boggling alternates as well.

There is no difference in taste and texture except the one that margarine is plant-based while butter is not. The quantity to be poured into your mac and cheese is the same.

The texture and thickness of the prepared dish will also be identical.   

5) Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a heavenly spread to be eaten with butter, oatmeal, pancake, muffins, and whatever item you wanna include it with. I was in a little doubt while adding it into my mac but at the same time was quite sure about its sweet and earthly taste.

I have cast down the same 3tablespoons as I pour butter. The taste was yum and nutty. The crunch feel was far aesthetic. The texture was a little thick but still well intermingle the mac and cheese together.

Tip: If you don’t like a peanut in common, then avoid the peanut butter and try almond instead. It is good for those who are ready to go with peanut butter in every dish. I am not such a hater, so I like it to be consumed occasionally for some unique and different taste.

6) Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin Puree
Pumpkin Puree

Don’t ask me how I have gone this far to try a pumpkin puree in my mac? The previous night my mom made a baked pumpkin casserole for the diner. I liked the taste and the next evening when craved for mac, found out that the butter is over.

I knew that it has no such taste and will probably not destroy the savoriness of my beloved food item. So, I risk it in place of butter and waited for the final taste.

The texture was thick as compared to the normal one. A strong flavor of pumpkin is felt in the taste. I just loved it and will suggest you try as well.

7) Cream cheese

Cream cheese
Cream cheese

Some people mistook cream cheese as paneer. So, let me clarify in the beginning that both are different.

The paneer is only derived from milk whereas cream cheese is obtained from both milk and cream in the ratio of 1:2. The same amount will be added as butter. It will give a rich and creamy taste with a slightly thick texture to your gravy.

You can keep it as a forever good option with other ingredients of your mac and cheese. A pinch of tang was even mouth-quenching to relish your dish.

8) Bacon grease

Bacon grease
Image from: SimplyRecipes

If a bacon fat cooks at your home at regular intervals. Then, for sure you have a jar of bacon grease in your refrigerator. And if you have this, then there is no need to look for any other alternate. Bacon grease is friendly for every dish to be cooked or stir-fried in.

The amount will remain the same as butter and the taste and texture will be constantly thick and thoroughly superior to go for.

9) Ricotta


I have bought this Italian cheese to enlighten up my pasta and used the leftover in this mac and cheese recipe in place of butter. The cheese was quite thick so I use it less as compared to the amount of butter I use.

And guess what, I was right about the ricotta. It gave a thick creamy sauce along with a sweet impression in my mac and cheese.

So, the point to keep in mind here is to use relatively 20% less cheese as compared to the butter. The taste was like an admirable Italia mac and cheese.

Bonus information:

  • Never use olive oil as a substitute: Olive oil will turn your mac and cheese more into an awkward curry dish than a cheesy one. It never went well with cheese from the start and will give a bland and oily taste to your mac.
  • Add mayonnaise as sauce thickener: As mayonnaise can’t be used as a substitute for the butter. But you can use it any time with ghee or any other alternative to thicken and give a pinch of sweetness to the cream.    

Can I just not pour butter?


Some diets call for no butter food, in that case, avoid the butter.

But it will affect the texture and taste of your mac-cheese as well. The creamy gravy and macaroni will not be combined perfectly with each other. You will also need a special focus while whisking the cornflour into the milk for gravy preparation. The chances of forming lumps are high without the presence of butter.

Moreover, instead of sautee the minced garlic and onions in butter, you have to directly pour them into boiling milk to become soft. The dish overall will feel clumsy if you do not pour butter or any other substitute in it.  

Do you need butter for Mac and Cheese?


Yes, butter or at least one immediate substitute is necessary for mac and cheese at various points.

It is a core ingredient to finely meld all the ingredients together. A handy one to thicken the cream as much as you want.

The substitute is possible because of the fat-rich property to produce the same texture and heaviness as butter does to a cream. So, if not have a butter we better look forward to them but if ask for a need. Then yes, it is needful.  

The Importance of Butter in Mac and Cheese

 Butter in Mac and Cheese

Just like every ingredient in a recipe is used due to its magic and unique taste.

Similarly, Butter also has its significance in mac and cheese:

  • Right from the beginning to the end butter has its important function to perform in the preparation of mac and cheese.
  • First, it is required at the time to sautee the minced garlic, onion, and other veggies for the crisp.
  • Also, when arranging and making a cream ready for macaroni. To slowly drizzle the cornflour into the melted butter and beat gradually while pouring the milk. The absence of butter will easily allow chunks to form into the gravy.
  • Butter is also necessary for thickening a milk gravy.
  • It adds a perfect flavor or space for the macaroni to mingle well in mouth-watering cream.

Running out of the butter is okay but do not remove it off from the dish permanently. Otherwise, your mac and cheese will lose its actual essence.

Final words

I hope your doubts have cleared down after reading the article. You can use any of the above-mentioned alternates as a substitute for butter in your mac and cheese preparation.

Look at the availability of one of them at your home and; good to go with them. I will assure the fine and good taste after their addition.

Do not forget to share your experience. Plus, feel free to ask any queries in the comment sections below.

So, what did you think about the best substitutes for butter in Mac and Cheese? Please, feel free to leave your comments below!

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