The 10 Best Substitutes For Butter In Mac And Cheese

What can I use instead of butter to make creamy mac and cheese? The best substitutes for butter in mac and cheese are margarine or ghee. Other replacements include heavy cream, cream cheese, plain yogurt, olive oil, coconut oil, tahini, and peanut butter. For a tangy option, try mayonnaise.

Butter is made by churning the cream component of milk. Cow’s milk is most commonly used, and the resulting product contains a high amount of saturated fat.   The purpose of butter in mac and cheese is to add a rich, creamy texture and flavor to the sauce. The butterfat in butter also helps prevent the macaroni from sticking together and adds a pleasing glossy appearance to the dish.

Best Substitutes For Butter In Mac And Cheese


Margarine is made from vegetable oils. It is a suitable replacement for butter in mac and cheese because it can provide the required texture required by the dish, although it may lack some of the rich taste of butterfat.

Margarine is the most commonly used substitute for butter in most kitchen applications. Like butter, margarine comes in a semi-solid form and is available in convenient blocks, sticks, or spreads.

Margarine can be substituted at a 1-to-1 ratio for butter in mac and cheese.


Ghee is a variety of clarified butter that contains slightly more fat than butter. It is made by slowly heating butter and removing the milk solids.

Most of the water content also evaporates, leaving a highly concentrated, rich buttery liquid. Ghee is a common ingredient in Indian cooking.

Using ghee in mac and cheese works well, providing the same rich, buttery taste as butter. It is also a good alternative for anyone sensitive to lactose as it contains significantly less than butter.

Ghee delivers an incredible creaminess and moreish-rich flavor when used as a substitute for butter in mac and cheese. It blends perfectly into the cheesy sauce and will produce a rich, gooey, buttery-flavored blend.

Ghee can be substituted for butter at a 1-to-1 ratio in mac and cheese.

Heavy Cream

Butter is cream in a different form, so using heavy cream in your mac and cheese will result in a similar flavor and creaminess.

Heavy cream will add a rounded depth to the dish and make it a perfect comfort food.

Heavy cream contains a high-fat content that prevents it from curdling when heated, so it is an ideal substitute in dishes like mac and cheese, where a heavy, rich sauce is required. The flavor also won’t detract from the cheesy taste of the meal.

You may also use the cream to replace the milk in the mixture when making mac and cheese.

Stir in the heavy cream slowly when substituting it for butter to create the roux for the cheese sauce, and use enough to get it to the required consistency.

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is a soft cheese made from a blend of milk and cream. It has a mild, sweet taste and is frequently used as a spread on bagels or for baking.

Using cream cheese as a stand-in for butter in mac and cheese will deliver a dense, sumptuous silky texture to the dish.

When using cream cheese instead of butter in mac and cheese, you will also need to add a tablespoon of oil, like margarine, olive oil, or ghee, to get it to blend with the roux in a similar way to butter.

It also helps to melt or soften it first to get it to blend evenly in your recipe.

Cream cheese is a particularly good substitute for butter when making boxed mac and cheese mixes that may lack a full body, rich, creamy texture.

Adding a few knobs of cream cheese to Kraft mac and cheese will give it extra delicious creaminess.

Use cream cheese as a substitute for butter in a 1-to-1 ratio but remember to add a small dash of oil to create a creamy mixture.

Plain Yoghurt

Yogurt is made using yogurt cultures to ferment the milk. Double thick or Greek yogurt would be the most suitable replacement for butter when using yogurt in mac and cheese.

Plain yogurt can provide a creamy richness to mac and cheese sauce. It also won’t throw the familiar cheesy flavor balance off too much and can create a pleasing rich texture.

Yogurt can also be used to replace the milk in mac and cheese. Stir in as much as required to obtain the necessary texture and creaminess.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is frequently used as a healthier alternative to butter.

While it can be used to create the roux while making mac and cheese, it must be used sparingly, so the mixture doesn’t become slimy or lose its distinctive cheesy taste.

We do not recommend using olive oil in place of butter for mac and cheese, but in a pinch, it will work to prevent the noodles from sticking together.

However, it will not provide any of the rich taste you will get from butter in this dish.

When using olive oil as a substitute for butter, only use a teaspoonful to replace the butter required by the mac and cheese recipe.

Coconut Oil

Like olive oil, coconut oil is a dairy-free, healthy alternative to butter. It can be useful when making the roux for mac and cheese, but it won’t add any of the rich texture like butter.

If you use coconut oil instead of butter, you will require additional flavorings or cheese to give the dish its distinctive thick, rich sauciness. Use it sparingly to avoid the mixture becoming oily rather than thick and creamy.

When using coconut oil as a substitute for butter in macaroni and cheese, only use a fraction of the amount required by the recipe. Usually, a quarter or less is sufficient.


Tahini is a creamy butter paste made from sesame seeds. It is commonly used in Mediterranean and middle eastern cuisine.

The nutty, buttery paste looks like peanut butter but isn’t as sweet. Tahini has a high-fat content, making it a suitable substitute for butter in mac and cheese, especially for anyone who needs to avoid dairy.

Add enough tahini to provide the consistency of sauce you require without overwhelming the flavor.

Peanut Butter

Smooth peanut butter can be used as a creamy substitute for butter in macaroni and cheese. It will provide a glossy, rich texture but may alter the taste slightly.

Also, remember that most peanut butter varieties include a high salt content, so you may need to reduce the amount of salt required in your mac and cheese recipe.

The peanut butter will give the mac and cheese sauce a delectable creamy richness and texture.

This substitute for butter in traditional mac and cheese may not be for everyone, but it can add a different dimension to a familiar dish.

Replace butter in mac and cheese with peanut butter in equal amounts or to taste.


Mayonnaise is made from oil, egg yolk, and an acid, like vinegar or lemon juice.

It is, therefore, not the most likely choice to replace butter in mac and cheese, but there is enough oil in the mix to create a creamy roux if you are in a pinch.

Use considerably less mayo than butter if you make the substitution, as mayo has a notably tangy taste that will come through in mac and cheese.

Using too much mayonnaise may also render the mixture oily rather than creamy, as it lacks fat content.

Unless you enjoy the additional flavor, only use a quarter of the amount of mayonnaise when substituting it for butter.