What Can I Substitute For Butter In Mac And Cheese?

Nothing comes close to good old mac and cheese, no matter how many fancy pasta dishes you try. Besides cheese and flour, butter is a vital part of mac and cheese, but some people can’t digest it. So, here we discuss substitutes for butter that will keep the yumminess. 

If you think you have to say goodbye to mac and cheese because you don’t like or can’t have butter, that’s not true. Several ingredients work as perfect substitutes for butter. So I wondered what you could substitute for butter in mac and cheese? 

Margarine is the best butter substitute for mac and cheese. But other items like sour cream, oil, plain yogurt, and cream cheese also work perfectly in mac and cheese. 

Let’s dive deep and read about these fantastic butter substitutes in mac and cheese. 

8 Best Substitutes For Butter In Mac & Cheese 

If you want to enjoy the same creamy, cheesy and buttery texture of mac and cheese but want to make it without butter, that’s a possibility. Butter is unnecessary in the dish, and replacing it with something similar won’t make a huge difference. 

What Can I Substitute For Butter In Mac And Cheese

Butter mainly makes the dish creamier and thicker, but we can achieve the same texture with a similar ingredient. Here are some of the best alternatives to add in place of butter- 

#1 Margarine 

Margarine has a similar taste and texture to butter, so it’s the most apparent butter substitute. In addition, margarine can be the best thing to replace butter with if you are a vegan. This plant-based food is made with oil and water without adding any dairy. 

Moreover, margarine is healthier than butter as it contains less cholesterol and saturated fat. Margarine is mainly made from plant-based oils like- canola, soybean oil, palm oil, olive oil, etc. 

#2 Sour Cream 

Sour cream is another great substitute for butter in mac and cheese. Sour cream adds a great taste and texture to the dish, making it even more delicious. Sour cream is not only a replacement for butter but also for milk. 

If you use sour cream, you no longer need to add milk to mac and cheese. But sour cream is relatively high in calories and fat, so you may want to reduce the quantity. Plus, sour cream will make mac and dish slightly tangy, so using too much can make the dish very bad. 

#3 Oil 

Plant-based oils like olive oil, canola oil, or other vegetable oil are another excellent substitute for butter. But using oil can be tricky since too much of it can ruin the dish. So add as little as just a teaspoon to keep the consistency and flavors right. 


Olive oil is the best replacement for butter in mac and cheese. It also gives the recipe a nice flavor. 

#4 Cream Cheese 

Cream cheese makes your mac and cheese extra gooey and creamy so you won’t feel the absence of butter. Also, if you are using cream cheese, you no longer need to add milk since it gives the dish a rich texture. 

Don’t add too much cream cheese, as it may make your noodles sticky. Adding very little oil with cream cheese prevents the pasta from getting sticky. 

#5 Plain Yogurt 

Plain yogurt is another healthy and creamy substitute for butter. Yogurt will make your mac and cheese very creamy and enhance the flavors even more. Skip milk when adding yogurt, as it’s enough to give a thick consistency to the recipe. 

#6 Heavy Cream 

Another best substitute for butter is heavy cream. It will not only make your mac and cheese rich but also will enhance the flavors. 

#7 Ghee 

You can use ghee or clarified butter if you don’t like butter in mac and cheese. Ghee can make your dish richer and thicker while adding a nice nutty flavor to the dish. 

#8 Mayonnaise 

Mayonnaise is again an excellent substitute for butter. Mayonnaise has a similar taste and texture to sour cream, making your dish slightly tangy. Be careful with the quantity if you don’t like your mac and cheese to get too sour. 

sour cream

Recipe For Mac And Cheese Without Butter 

Here is a mac and cheese recipe without butter. It’s delicious, creamy, and pretty simple to cook. Let’s take a look. 


  • 8 punches macaroni 
  • 2 quarts water 
  • 8 ounces sour cream 
  • 16 ounces shredded cheddar cheese 
  • 1 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • ¼ tsp black pepper 
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes 


  1. Boil water in a large saucepan with salt. Add macaroni and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until soft. Drain and rinse the macaroni with cold water, drain again and keep aside. 
  2. Take a large bowl and combine macaroni, sour cream, mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, pepper, and chili flakes. 
  3. Transfer it to a lightly greased baking dish and bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 325°F. Let the mac and cheese cool for a few minutes before serving. 


Should I Use Equal Quantities Of Butter Substitutes?

The quantity varies depending on which substitute you are using. For example, if you use oil or margarine instead of butter, you can swap them with equal amounts. But the quantity should be less for creamier and heavy items like sour cream, cream cheese, or mayonnaise.

Are All Butter Substitutes Vegan And Dairy Free?

No, all-butter substitutes are not vegan and dairy-free. The only vegan replacements are- vegetable or plant-based oils and margarine. Rest all are made from dairy products.

Does Mac And Cheese Without Butter Taste Bad?

No, mac and cheese without butter do not taste bad. Although butter is a vital ingredient to make the sauce thick and creamy, you can achieve the same texture using similar ingredients.


Your mac and cheese will taste as good with the above-mentioned butter substitutes. Make sure to add them in the right quantities to get a similar taste and consistency. Now that you know some great replacements for butter, it’s time to gather the ingredients and make finger-licking good mac and cheese.

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Diptesh Desh

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