can you make pasta roni without milk

Pasta Roni is one of the simplest meals to make – but can you make Pasta Roni without milk?

All the dry ingredients are in the box, and all you need to add is milk, water, and occasionally butter to complete a satisfactory pasta dish.

The time you have started making pasta Roni and realize that your milk has gone bad, don’t panic!

Here are the top substitutes for milk in Pasta Roni and how to make boxed pasta using just water and dry ingredients.

You can make Pasta Roni without milk by adding extra water, cream cheese, or another milk substitute. The pasta will cook the same and taste very similar.

How Can You Make Pasta Roni Without Milk?

making pasta roni without milk

To successfully make pasta Roni without milk, you need a substitute ingredient.

Milk is the ingredient that binds the dry ingredients together and makes the mixture creamy without clumping.

The key part of milk that does this is fat.

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While there is a certain amount of fat in the pasta and seasonings mix itself, it needs a liquid component to get that creamy texture.

If you’re looking for a substitute for milk, there are two factors to take into consideration: what ingredients you have on hand and how creamy you want your pasta to be.

Water and Cream Cheese

For the creamiest option (even smoother and thicker than milk), use cream cheese.

Of course, even softened cream cheese is not liquid, so you’ll have to replace the milk with water first.

Tip: Use the same amount of water as milk and add 2-3 tablespoons of cream cheese.
cream cheese and water

Once the cream cheese is mixed in with the seasonings, stir the meal slightly until the cheese melts and combines.

It might take a little longer than regular pasta Roni would. However, it will be worth it for the creamiest pasta Roni you’ve ever tasted.

This is less of a substitute and more of an upgrade if you want thicker, richer pasta. Of course, it’s also higher in fat than any regular milk you’ll use since cream cheese is less healthy.

But it’s the higher fat levels that make food taste better, makes things creamier, and overall improves the dish.

If you don’t have cream cheese, don’t throw just any cheese into the mix!

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The softness of cream cheese is what makes it easier to melt and mix. Other cheeses will be too hard and create a grainy or goopy texture to the sauce.

Other Milk Products

milk products

Of course, if you don’t have milk but have heavy cream, half-and-half, or yogurt, any of these things will work as fat in pasta.

The thicker a product is, the more likely it will be clumpy, so mix carefully.

While you can use any dairy-based liquid, make sure that the flavoring is correct.

Yogurt works well, but not if it’s flavored (you don’t want vanilla or strawberry pasta Roni).

Choose a milk product that will combine well and that you don’t mind using.

Tip: Half and half is a great option, as it’s the closest to milk.

Margarine or Butter

the butter or margarine

Margarine and butter work well to add some fat to the sauce, but they tend not to mix well with water.

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While you can use either of these ingredients in your pasta Roni, you shouldn’t use too much.

Margarine and butter are almost pure fat and can coat the noodles in grease instead of mixing. 

If you don’t have any dairy products other than butter, toss a tablespoon or two into the pot before you start cooking.

It will add enough fat to combine the sauce ingredients and mix the seasoning pouch without overdoing it.

Make sure that if you are using margarine or butter you also add enough water.

Add water instead of milk in this case, and prepare for a thinner sauce. It will taste a little richer, but the texture won’t be as creamy.


try the water

If you don’t have milk, odds are you don’t have cream cheese or butter on hand either.

That’s okay; you don’t need them to make a successful bowl of Pasta Roni.

Instead of using milk, leave some extra water in the pan. Water doesn’t have any fat in it, so it won’t create the same creamy texture as a sauce with milk in it.

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However, water is a great liquid because it’s naturally vegan, gluten-free, and will not affect the taste of the pasta Roni itself.

Pasta Roni flavor packets already have multiple seasonings and ingredients. 

While milk or some kind of dairy is helpful for creaminess, it doesn’t affect the taste of the Pasta Roni simply leaves it out and uses water instead.

It will make it just a bit healthier!

Although the sauce will be much thinner without any kind of added fat, the powdered dairy and cheese in the sauce packet will add some. The sauce will add flavor and moisture to the dish.

It might not be as creamy as milk, but it will get the job done!

Non-Dairy Milk Substitute

try non dairy milk

If you are vegan and trying to create as healthy a life as possible, you might want to try a non-dairy alternative.

There are a few Pasta Roni recipes that are naturally dairy-free, but most of them have some dairy in the dry ingredients.

Tip: Always check the box before buying it if you’re trying to be dairy-free!

Unfortunately, lower fat substances like soy or almond milk don’t work as well in Pasta Roni.

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This is because the pasta uses the fat in the cow milk to bind the seasonings together and make a creamy sauce.

The soy or almond milk won’t do the same thing, and you will end up with clumpy sauce.

If you do want to use a milk substitute, coconut milk and cashew milk contain the highest levels of fat. They will provide the creamiest texture for your sauce.

Coconut milk is likely the best option but will alter the taste of the pasta a little. Cashew milk has a more neutral flavor but doesn’t blend as well.

Tip: Make sure your non-dairy milk substitute is unflavored!

Frequently Asked Questions

questions about pasta roni

If you are still wondering about pasta Roni with no milk or other related questions, here are some of the more commonly asked questions on the web.

How Do You Make Dairy-Free Rice-A-Roni?

Rice-a-Roni tends to have a very similar makeup to Pasta Roni, except with pre-cooked rice instead of pasta. You can make Rice-a-Roni without milk.

You can use water, margarine, or other dairy substitutes. It doesn’t necessarily need cream cheese, as rice is usually stickier than pasta.

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What Is the Best Substitute for Milk When Cooking?

The best substitute for milk is usually heavy cream or half and half. Plain yogurt also works, depending on the recipe.

If you don’t need a certain amount of fat to bind other ingredients together, you can also use non-dairy alternatives.

How Can You Tell if Milk Is Safe to Use?

If you want to use milk but aren’t sure if it’s sour, check the expiration date.

Throw it away if it’s beyond that date. However, some milk goes bad before the expiration date.

Here are some signs of bad milk:

  • A sour taste or smell
  • A yellowish look
  • Any inconsistencies in texture

So, Can You Cook Pasta Roni Without Milk?

Not only can you make Pasta Roni without milk, but it is also relatively easy to do so!

All you need to do is add a little extra water to the bottom of the pan, thicken it with some butter, or make it extra creamy with cream cheese or yogurt.

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No matter how you do it, the pasta Roni will taste just as good and be satisfying and filling.