Can You Make Mac And Cheese With Heavy Cream Instead Of Milk?

When next you’re making a casserole dish, don’t fret when you find out you’re out of milk. Heavy cream is a perfect substitute for milk in mac and cheese. And your guess is right, it surely will be creamier and smoother.

Heavy cream is a dairy product made by homogenizing milk and milk fat. It has a milk fat composition of no less than 36%, which makes it perfect for creamy, sensational dishes.

While you’re planning to include heavy cream in your grocery shopping list, you should also know how to use it as a milk substitute in mac and cheese.

Can you substitute milk with heavy cream in mac and cheese?

Yes, you can.

Heavy cream is also a dairy product and a great alternative to milk in mac and cheese.

Moreover, if you don’t mind a very rich and creamy mac and cheese casserole, you’ll love heavy cream and may never go back to using milk.

How to make mac and cheese with heavy cream

This recipe makes mac and cheese for 8 people.


  • 16 ounces of elbow macaroni pasta
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 4  cups of  heavy whipping cream
  • 3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½  cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • ½  tablespoon of black pepper


  • If you don’t want the excessive creaminess of heavy cream, you can dilute it with water in a ratio of 3:1
  • Boil the macaroni until it is al dente, then drain off the water
  • Set a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter
  • Afterward, stir in the flour. Stir continuously to prevent lumps from forming
  • Then, add the heavy cream and stir continuously until you have a thick and creamy mixture
  • You can now whisk the three different kinds of cheese into the creamy mixture
  • Add the salt and pepper and allow it to cook for a few minutes
  • The cheese should melt into a smooth and creamy cheese sauce
  • Afterward, pour the sauce over the cooked macaroni and stir
  • Make sure the sauce evenly coats the macaroni
  • Serve hot with meatballs, meatloaf, roasted vegetables, or coleslaw

Other substitutes for milk in mac and cheese

1. Butter

Make a quick roux by melting butter and flour. ½ cup of butter with ¼ cup of flour is enough to replace one cup of milk for creamy and thick mac and cheese. In addition, butter helps to make mac and cheese smooth and soft.

2. Cream cheese

Cream cheese is always a part of some people’s cheese combo when making mac and cheese. You can make do with this cheese without any other dairy product.

Replace milk with cream cheese in a ratio of 1:1 for thick, creamy and cheesy casserole. But just so your dish is not too thick and creamy, you can leave out butter.

3. Evaporated milk

If you prefer whole or skim milk, evaporated milk is a good substitute for milk in mac and cheese. Use equal amounts of evaporated milk to replace whole or skim milk. Moreover, evaporated milk is sweeter and creamy.

4. Sour cream

Sour cream is creamy and has a more complex flavor. If you run out of milk or you want a different and tangy taste, use sour cream.

Use as much sour cream as you would use for milk. Just like heavy cream, sour cream makes a richer and creamier mac and cheese casserole.

But if you don’t want this thickness, add water to make the sour cream lighter. Also, if you don’t like the tanginess of sour cream, you can sweeten it or balance it out with garlic.

5. Yogurt

If you want to replace milk with yogurt, you have to be careful. You should not heat yogurt too rapidly, otherwise, it’ll become lumpy. Plain or Greek yogurt are good options if you’re not eating dairy-free.

Heat the yogurt separately before adding it to the sauce. The sauce will be a little sour with yogurt if you don’t mind.

6. Half and half

Half-and-half cream is a mixture of cream and milk in equal amounts. Substitute milk with half and half in a ratio of 1:1 to make a creamy, smooth, and thick mac and cheese.

7. Water

You may find this quite hard to believe, but you can make a bowl of creamy mac and cheese with water and no dairy or milk. If you have doubts, use pasta water.

But this alternative is best for people who want to reduce their calorie and fat intake. Also, if you don’t mind a soupy mac and cheese, you can go with this alternative.

8. Whipping cream

Whipping cream is a creamy and thicker milk alternative but has more calories. Just like heavy cream but less fatty, it gives mac and cheese a richer taste and flavor.

However, if you think whipping cream will make your mac and cheese too creamy and thick, dilute it with water.

9. Plant-based milk

Oat milk, soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, rice milk, and hemp seed milk are types of plant-based milk. They are vegan-friendly and low-fat milk options that are perfect for mac and cheese.

Use equal parts of your favorite plant-based milk to replace cow’s milk if you’re vegan or have a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance.

Is a bowl of mac and cheese healthy?

Mac and cheese can be healthy if you consume it in moderate amounts. This casserole dish has high amounts of calories because of the many dairy ingredients it contains.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1 cup of mac and cheese contains:

  • 310 calories
  • 13g protein
  • 9g fat
  • 44g carbs
  • 3g sugar
  • 2.3g dietary fiber
  • 15.1mg cholesterol
  • 869.4mg sodium
  • 151.2mg potassium
  • Vitamins and other minerals that contribute to your recommended daily value


Does milk make mac and cheese go bad quickly?

Yes, it does.

Meals that contain dairy have a shorter shelf life. Always keep mac and cheese leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent spoilage.

Do not refrigerate mac and cheese leftovers for more than seven days. But you can keep it frozen for up to three months.

Is heavy cream the same as whipping cream?

No, it is not.

Heavy cream and whipping cream are two different types of cream with different fat compositions. Heavy cream contains 36% milk fat or more while whipping cream contains 30 to 35% milk fat.

Does mac and cheese with heavy cream have more calories?


Heavy cream contains more calories than whole milk. So it’ll increase the number of calories in mac and cheese.

Can you make mac and cheese without eggs?

Yes, you can.

Mac and cheese will come out perfect without eggs. Eggs contribute to the smoothness and creaminess of mac and cheese.

You can also achieve this with buttermilk, applesauce, aquafaba, and without eggs or any of these substitutes.


As you learn recipes, it’s better you also know substitutes for major ingredients in the recipe. No one loves to realize that they are out of a major ingredient in the middle of cooking.

Now you know heavy cream will make a delicious bowl of mac and cheese just as milk would. You can buy more heavy cream than you need for coffee and desserts.

Thanks for reading.

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