Kraft Mac and Cheese Without Butter – How to Make

Published Categorized as Journal, Ingredients Tagged

When you’re whipping up a delicious bowl of mac and cheese, the last thing you want is to be missing ingredients. So, what happens when you make Kraft mac and cheese without butter? Is there a proper substitute? Actually, there are several! Join us as we explore the many options you have for making your next box of Kraft mac and cheese without butter.

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Table of Contents

What Happens If You Make Kraft Mac n Cheese Without Butter?

Honestly? Not much of anything!

If you make Kraft mac and cheese without butter, you won’t be ruining the dish. Indeed, the rest of the ingredients–the milk, cheese, and noodles– will be enough to pull your mac and cheese together just fine and the texture and overall appearance of your mac and cheese won’t change much.

You may be wondering why it is that Kraft recommends you add butter to your mac and cheese in the first place. Butter adds richness to the flavor of the dish and may increase the creaminess of the sauce–a little. Still, for many people, the depth of flavor that butter adds to mac and cheese is a one-of-a-kind, comforting taste that some can’t fathom going without.

So, how can you make do without butter in your Kraft mac and cheese? There are several options you have for substituting other ingredients in your mac and cheese other than butter that, in some cases, may taste even better to your taste buds. Moreover, some substitutions prove to be weight-friendly as they can help shave over 100 calories off of your next bowl of Kraft mac and cheese!

Want to know more? Keep reading to find out our best recommendations for substituting butter in your Kraft mac and cheese!

Kraft Original Flavor Macaroni & Cheese (7.25oz Boxes, Pack of 35)

What Can You Substitute For Butter in Kraft Mac and Cheese?

There are many things you can substitute for butter in mac and cheese. Feel free to experiment with virtually anything that has a similar taste or texture to butter. But be advised that depending on what you use, the flavor, texture, and overall appearance of your mac and cheese could end up radically different!

Check out a few of the substitutions that we find to work well the next time you want to swap butter.


Adding yogurt to your mac and cheese may sound weird, but it isn’t really! Yogurt is a lighter and fresher option than butter, though it does add a slightly tangy aftertaste to your mac and cheese. Nevertheless, adding yogurt in place of butter can add a level of richness to your boxed macaroni without the added calories that butter often brings.

To add yogurt to your next bowl of Kraft mac and cheese, simply distribute your yogurt at a 1:1 ratio for butter. Heat over low heat if cooking over the stove, or consider adding it last once you’ve shut off your heat as yogurt often curdles at high cooking temperatures.

Mix thoroughly to get your yogurt evenly distributed and feel free to add as much or as little yogurt as you want to get the desired flavor and texture.

Note: Your mac and cheese will be slightly thicker when you are using yogurt. To thin it out, add a little extra milk or pull back on the amount of yogurt you add.

Whole Milk Yogurt Plain 32oz

Sour Cream

The addition of sour cream to mac and cheese is much like adding yogurt, but with slightly less tang. Still, you can expect your mac and cheese to have a slightly tangy aftertaste that will increase depending on the amount of sour cream you choose to add.

Like with yogurt, you’ll want to replace your butter in the Kraft mac and cheese with the same amount of sour cream at a 1:1 ratio.

The result will be a thicker and richer cheese sauce, which you may really like. If you do find that you like the addition of sour cream to your mac and cheese and wish to add even more, just be sure to add a few additional spices such as garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper to the mix to help keep your mac and cheese from beginning to taste too bland.

Kraft Breakstones All Natural Sour Cream, 8 Ounce -- 12 per case.

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is thick and has great depth of flavor which is why cream cheese is a great substitute for butter when making Kraft mac and cheese. We’d even go so far as to say that you may like the cream cheese substitute for mac and cheese even better than butter! It also helps that you can buy reduced-fat varieties of cream cheese to replace butter if you are looking to watch your weight.

When adding cream cheese to your Kraft mac and cheese, you can do so with the same amount of butter as you’d normally put in the recipe. Since cream cheese is thick, you may wish to thin it out a little with additional milk. The thinning process can be done gently over stove heat or in a separate bowl depending on your preference.

Kraft Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese Spread - Cup, 3/4 Ounce -- 100 per case.

Additional Cheese

Surprisingly adding the same, more, or slightly less cheese than you would butter to your Kraft mac and cheese can get you really delicious results! You can opt to choose anything from shredded cheddar cheese to parmesan or even mozzarella to replace your butter. The result will be stickier and heavier mac and cheese, but definitely not void of cheesiness or flavor!

To get started with this process, simply add a little cheese at the same time you would add the butter. Start with slightly less cheese than you would butter, and increase the amount of cheese you want according to the taste and texture you desire.

Adding additional cheese not only thickens your cheese sauce but makes it so that you barely miss the buttery flavor for all the melted goodness it’s been substituted with. Just be careful when adding cheese over stovetop heat; adding too much too fast can result in a clumpy mess!



Think mayonnaise may taste unappetizing in mac and cheese? Actually, you may not be able to tell the difference! Mayonnaise, when used at a 1:1 ratio in place of butter, won’t cause your dish to become mayo-flavored, however, it may add a level of sweetness to the mac and cheese that you may or may not like.

To try it, simply mix in the same amount of mayo that you would butter at the same time you’d normally add your butter to your Kraft mac and cheese recipe. Mix thoroughly until the mayonnaise is dispersed throughout.

That’s it! The mayo will thicken the texture of the mac and cheese slightly, so if you like a thinner cheese sauce, feel free to add more milk or other alternatives for milk in mac and cheese.

Note: If you’re wondering, “Can you make mac and cheese without milk?” the answer is yes! Simply replace the milk with water or broth.

365 by Whole Foods Market, Mayonnaise, 32 Fl Oz

Vegan Butter

Adding vegan butter to your mac and cheese is definitely a good idea if you have any on hand! Vegan butter is made to taste like regular butter but without animal byproducts. It is also healthier for you and lower in calories to boot! So, if you happen to have vegan butter stashed in your fridge, feel free to use a little in place of butter and you’ll hardly notice the difference! 

cashew butter


This may go without saying, but you can certainly use margarine to replace butter in your Kraft mac and cheese recipes. In fact, some boxes even explicitly state that you can easily swap margarine for butter in the recipe.

So, if you’ve got margarine on hand don’t be afraid to use it! The flavor will be nearly identical to using real butter.

Parkay Margarine Spread, 13 Ounce Bowl -- 12 per case.

Coconut Oil

People often like to use coconut oil in place of butter for its various nutritional benefits. Although we haven’t personally tried coconut oil for butter in Kraft mac and cheese, it is certainly worth giving a shot.

When you do, be sure to only add a little of the coconut oil at a time, and don’t add any more than the recommended amount of butter to your mac and cheese. If you overdo it, you might end up with an oily and slimy mess…and no one wants that!

BetterBody Foods Organic Naturally Refined Coconut Oil with Neutral Flavor and Aroma, 56 Ounce

Healthy Substitute For Butter in Mac and Cheese

There are several substitutes that you can use for Kraft mac and cheese without butter that’d be considered healthy. Many of them we’ve talked about previously, but here is a list of healthier options for butter substitutes in mac and cheese in case you missed it:

  • Yogurt (Whole or Low-Fat)
  • Cream Cheese (Whole or Low-Fat)
  • Coconut Oil (Avoid If Seeking to Lower Cholesterol Levels)
  • Vegan Butter
  • Margarine
  • Low-Fat Cheese
Kraft Original Flavor Macaroni & Cheese (7.25oz Boxes, Pack of 35)

Kraft Mac and Cheese Without Butter Calories

Because a box of Kraft mac and cheese is about 360 calories prepared for one serving (remember that there are about three servings in a box), then you can expect Kraft mac and cheese made without butter to be about 222 calories for a serving.

This is calculated by taking the number of calories in a full box and subtracting from it the calories contained in four tablespoons of butter needed for preparation.

Of course, if you plan to substitute your butter with something in its place you will need to add the amount of calories of the substitute into your totals to ensure you know how many calories you are consuming if you are watching your weight.

Do You Need Butter For Kraft Mac and Cheese?

Can You Make Mac and Cheese Without Butter?

It is very possible to make Kraft mac and cheese without any butter substitute at all! To do so, simply forgo the butter in your next Kraft mac and cheese bowl, and voila! The texture and overall appearance of the dish won’t change much, except that you may notice that the mac and cheese is a bit thinner than usual.

Where you are likely to notice the most change is in terms of flavor… the mac and cheese won’t be nearly as rich. Still, if you don’t mind missing out on richness, then you’ve saved yourself a little over 100 calories while still being able to enjoy the meal you love!

Mac and Cheese Substitute For Butter

In general, remember that any of the aforementioned substitutions can be used for butter with very little difference made to the flavor and texture of the dish. These substitutions not only work well for Kraft mac and cheese but for homemade mac and cheese dishes as well. 

There are countless options for mac and cheese dishes that use a variety of ingredients, including mayo, yogurt, sour cream, and more. And some of them may taste even better than you’d expect!


What shouldn’t you put in Kraft Mac and Cheese instead of butter?

Kraft mac and cheese with olive oil? Don’t do it! 
You can use heart-healthy olive oil in mac and cheese instead of butter if you’d like, however, you may not like the results. Start slow and use only a little if you really want to use it. Know, however, that olive oil doesn’t do much in terms of taste, and in fact, the flavor of olive oil can be quite overpowering and end up ruining the dish. Moreover, olive oil may change the texture of your mac and cheese to become slimy and unpleasant. Overall, we simply would not recommend this butter replacement option. 

Kraft Mac and Cheese No Butter, No Problem!

Though you may not have butter on hand, you likely have other ingredients that can work to take your boxed Kraft mac and cheese to a whole new level. Try surprising additions such as cream cheese, mayonnaise, yogurt, sour cream, and additional cheese to cause your mac and cheese dish to really shine.

Not feeling up to these substitutions? Try skipping the butter altogether. No matter what you do, there are definitely ways around having no butter for your mac and cheese. Enjoy!

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By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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