This one-pot almond milk mac and cheese is so simple and creamy! The perfect comfort food made vegan, lactose-free, and dairy-free with just 3 ingredients.

A spoonful of lactose-free mac and cheese with almond milk.

In this post you’ll learn:

Why You Will Love This Lactose-Free Mac and Cheese

  • 🌱 Vegan, lactose-free, dairy-free, plant-based alternative to the good old mac n cheese.
  • ⏳ Just 3 ingredients (excluding salt & pepper) for a quick but maximum flavor.
  • 🥛 The secret? Boiling your macaroni in almond milk for that creamy homemade cheese sauce.
  • 🚀 It’s a beginner-friendly recipe!
    • It’s honestly similar to making instant noodles, just that it takes a bit longer!
A bowl of dairy-free mac and cheese in a white bowl, with two more bowls in the opposite corners.

Ingredients

  • Almond milk: The creamy base for a luscious sauce. Be sure to get unsweetened almond milk.
  • Macaroni: Use whole wheat for a hearty and wholesome dish.
  • Vegan cheese: Any variety works, adding creamy, lactose-free goodness.
    • Use cheddar for a classic mac and cheese, gruyère or mozzarella cheese for one that is meltier.
    • I personally use vegan gouda and mozzarella since that’s what is widely available here in the Netherlands where I live!
    • Feel free to add some parmesan cheese or a sharp cheddar cheese to add an extra layer of flavor
  • Salt and pepper: Classic seasonings, adjustable to your taste.
  • Nutmeg (optional): A hint of warmth, the secret flavor booster. Optional, but highly recommended!
The six ingredients of lactose-free mac and cheese with almond milk with labels.

Can you use almond milk in mac and cheese?

Yes, almond milk works great for mac and cheese! Just be sure to get an unsweetened version. If it doesn’t say “unsweetened” or “no sugar”, it is likely that it’s a sweetened version.

Do NOT use regular/sweetened almond milk since this will make the mac and cheese sweet, which is hard to neutralize. If you only have sweetened almond milk, I prefer that you use other plant-based milk (such as oat or soy milk) that is unsweetened instead when making mac n cheese.

Do I not need to use butter for this recipe?

Nope, you don’t have to! This 3-ingredient vegan mac and cheese starts by boiling the macaroni in almond milk, so you don’t even have to glaze the pot. Plus, the vegan cheese and almond milk are enough to make a creamy sauce.

A heaping bowl of 3-ingredient vegan mac and cheese on a white bowl with a blue napkin.

Step-by-step Instructions

Boil almond milk until it bubbles, about 6-8 minutes on medium to high heat.

Add macaroni to the boiling almond milk. Let it cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, or follow package instructions. Taste test towards the end to check if the macaroni is done.

If your macaroni is not done yet but your pot is already getting dry, add extra almond milk or water. This is just because every macaroni brand absorbs different amounts of liquid as they boil.

Once the macaroni is done, the almond milk will thicken, resulting in a creamy pasta sauce.

Mix in vegan cheese, salt, pepper, and optional nutmeg.

Stir until everything turns into creamy perfection. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve immediately and dive into pure comfort. Enjoy the creamy goodness!

Why Boil the Macaroni in Almond Milk Instead Of Water?

Boiling macaroni in almond milk infuses it with a rich, nutty flavor, creating a creamier base for your mac and cheese. You can, of course, boil the macaroni in water, but then you would need to either make a roux, or add some flour/cornstarch to thicken the almond milk for a sauce consistency.

Top Tips

My milk is forming a thin skin as it boils: If that’s happening, no worries. That’s normal and totally ok. Just stir it every now and then to mix it completely. If you do want to geek out about it, check out this article from Delighted Cooking.

Adjust liquid quantity: Since each macaroni boils differently, you might need to add more water or almond milk if it gets too dry.

Cheese Choices: Explore different vegan cheese brands and types to find the one that melts and tastes best for you. Combining different cheeses can also add depth to the flavor.

Two bowls of mac and cheese dairy free, with some vegan cheese on the left.

Seasoning Sensation: Don’t shy away from experimenting with seasonings. Add a pinch of garlic powder, a dash of paprika, or even some dried herbs to customize the flavor to your liking.

More cheesy flavor: If you’d like to make it cheesier but still keeping things healthy, add some nutritional yeast to the pasta. Nutritional yeast will add an cheesy flavor without adding too many calories into the dish to still keep things light and healthy!

Serving Suggestions

If you’d like to add some more veggies to this dairy-free mac and cheese, here are some delicious options!

  • Pan-seared or grilled vegetables
  • Add spinach 2-3 minutes before your mac and cheese almond milk is done so that the spinach will wilt in time
  • Add some sliced mushrooms or diced carrots to the pot to boil together with the macaroni. You might need more liquid in this case.

Also don’t forget to garnish this dish. Some of my favorite herbs to serve this with are thyme and parsley!

A bowl of mac n cheese with almond milk with a spoon and another bowl peeking at the bottom.

This almond milk mac and cheese also pairs well with garlic bread. You can either make these delicious Pita Garlic Bread Toast Chips, use your regular sliced bread for this Sliced Bread Garlic Bread, or use an artisanal whole wheat loaf for a Healthy Garlic Bread version.

Jazzing Up This One-Pot Mac n Cheese

My favorite way to jazz this up is to bake it! Cook your macaroni until 5 minutes before the supposed cooking time such that your macaroni is still undercooked. Then transfer to a baking dish. Bake in the oven at 390°F (200°C) for about 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

You can also sprinkle some additional cheese and/or breadcrumbs on top for a nice crusty baked mac and cheese with almond milk!

Storage and Meal Prep Instructions

Storage: Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days. When reheating, add a splash of almond milk or water to restore the creamy consistency.

Meal Prep: This lactose-free mac and cheese is fantastic for meal prep! Cook a batch ahead of time, store it in individual portions, and you’ve got quick and delicious meals throughout the week.

You can reheat it either on a stovetop or a microwave. Just be sure to add a splash of almond milk or water to get that creamy, luscious cream sauce consistency!

Three portions of three ingredient vegan mac and cheese almond milk with a blue napkin.

Freezing: I do NOT recommend freezing this mac n cheese with almond milk as it will change the texture of the pasta.

FAQ

Does almond milk thicken when heated?

Yes, as you boil almond milk, some water will evaporate and it will result in a thicker consistency. This process does take some time so you have to be patient.

Will almond milk thicken with flour?

Yes, it will. In fact, flour thickens most liquid so this is a great option. If you’re running low on flour, you can also use cornstarch to thicken any sauce.

What can I use instead of milk in mac n cheese?

Any unsweetened plant-based milk is an excellent substitute for regular milk. Some examples include soy milk, oat milk, or cashew milk. Just make sure you get the unsweetened version.

If it doesn’t say “unsweetened” or “no sugar” in the box, it is most likely the sweetened one.

Can I use almond milk instead of milk in mac and cheese?

Absolutely! Almond milk is a fantastic lactose-free alternative for mac and cheese, offering a creamy texture without compromising on flavor. Just be sure to get the unsweetened version.

Can you make mac n cheese with vanilla almond milk?

While vanilla almond milk may work in dessert recipes, it’s NOT a good choice for savory dishes like mac and cheese. You can however use unsweetened almond milk, as I have done in this almond milk mac and cheese recipe.

Close-up of a bowl of lactose-free mac and cheese with almond milk, with a spoon scooping it on the right side of the bowl.

Looking for more tasty mains?

For more pasta recipes, check my Creamy Tandoori Sauce Pasta recipe, especially if you like a spicy kick. Or check out my Korean Gochujang Ramen Noodle here.

If you’d like some creamy easy vegan recipes, check out this 3-Minute Oil-Free Vegan Mayonnaise recipe or its variations such as this Yuzu Aioli, BBQ Aioli, Sambal Aioli, or this Smoked Paprika Aioli.

A spoonful of lactose-free and dairy-free mac and cheese with almond milk.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

3-Ingredient Almond Milk Mac and Cheese (Lactose-free, Vegan)

This one-pot almond milk mac and cheese is so simple and creamy! The perfect comfort food made vegan, lactose-free, and dairy-free with just 3 ingredients.
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 3 ingredient vegan mac and cheese, almond milk mac and cheese, lactose free mac and cheese
Servings: 3 servings
Calories: 431kcal
Author: Jem @ The Fruity Jem

Ingredients

  • 8 oz whole wheat macaroni (227 grams)
  • 1 cup vegan cheese (75 grams) any kind will do
  • 3 cups almond milk unsweetened (710 ml)

The Seasonings!

  • ¼ teaspoon salt more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg (OPTIONAL)

Instructions

  • Pour the almond milk into a pot and bring it to a boil on high heat. This takes about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the macaroni to the boiling almond milk. Cook the macaroni over medium heat for 8 minutes, or as per package instructions. Do a taste test towards the end to check if the macaroni is done.
    If your macaroni is not done yet but your pot is already getting dry, add extra almond milk or water. This is just because every macaroni brand absorbs different amounts of liquid as they boil.
  • Once the macaroni is done, the almond milk will also thicken by now to form the sauce.
    Add the vegan cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg if using. Turn off the heat and stir to combine well.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning according to your preferences, then serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

Cooking Tips
  • If there is a thin skin of milk forming on top of the milk, no worries. That’s normal and totally ok. Just stir it every now and then to mix it completely.
  • Since each macaroni boils differently, you might need to add more water or almond milk if it gets too dry.
Nutrition Tips
  • If you’d like to add some more veggies to this 3-ingredient vegan mac and cheese, here are some delicious options!
    • Pan-seared or grilled vegetables
    • Add spinach 2-3 minutes before your mac n cheese with almond milk is done so that the spinach will wilt in time
    • Add some sliced mushrooms or diced carrots to the pot to boil together with the macaroni. You might need more liquid in this case.
  • For more tips, read the post above, including seasoning tips and storage & meal prep instructions.