best substitute for milk in pasta

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Are you making a pasta recipe? Don’t have any milk and realized you’re all out while you’re making pasta? Here are the best ways to substitute for milk in pasta!

Best Milk Substitute For Pasta

Creamy pasta dishes like mac and cheese, vodka pasta, Alfredo pasta or even a simple creamy garlic Parmesan pasta are typically made with milk. Milk helps to add moisture, flavor and a light creaminess to pasta. But what if you have none, or maybe you want to use something else?

You definitely can still use at least 9 other ingredients in place of milk with great results. The best part is you won’t be sacrificing any taste as these substitutes make some really smooth creamy sauces for pasta.

So, what are the best milk substitutes for pasta?

The best milk substitutes for pasta are heavy cream, cream cheese, half and half, Greek yogurt, creme fraiche, evaporated milk, powdered milk, almond milk and coconut milk.

These substitutes can help you to enjoy deliciously creamy pasta even when you are out of milk. The best part is that even though none of these stand ins are an exact flavor match for whole milk, they work quite well. What’s more, you may have many of these in your home!

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Best substitutes for milk in pasta

Heavy cream

Heavy cream

Heavy cream is a very suitable substitute for milk in pasta sauces. Heavy cream can ensure that pasta sauce is creamy and flavorful and while it is thicker than milk, it does make for some really delicious creamy pasta.

Use about ½ cup of heavy cream for every pound of pasta. Heavy cream can be used as a replacement in every type of pasta dish that calls for milk including baked mac and cheese, vodka pasta and more.

Also, read more about the best substitutes for heavy cream in pasta here.

Cream cheese

Cream cheese

Cream cheese can also be used to make a creamy pasta. Cream cheese adds creaminess and cheesy goodness to pasta sauce and you can be sure that your pasta will be very moist and delicious.

Use about ½ cup of cream cheese for every pound of pasta.

Half and half

Half and half is half whole milk and half heavy cream and works great as a substitute for milk in pasta.

Half and half will work well in pasta because it has a thinner consistency and will add appropriate creaminess without adding too much thickness.

Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt also works in place of milk for pasta. While it is not a very popular substitute, greek yogurt with garlic and butter makes a deliciously creamy sauce that has a lot less calories than most other creamy sauces.

You’ll never believe how rich and creamy greek yogurt sauce really is and how good it is in pasta!

Creme fraiche

Creme fraiche

Creme fraiche can also be added to pasta sauce to make a creamy pasta recipe. When using creme fraiche instead of whole milk, it is important to also add some water to the pasta sauce in order to thin out the sauce and prevent it from being super thick.

Evaporated milk

Evaporated milk

Do you happen to have a can of evaporated milk in your pantry? If you do, you can use this creamier milk in place of whole milk. 

Evaporated milk is richer and creamier than whole milk, but once it is thinned out, it makes a very comparable replacement for whole milk.

I typically use diluted evaporated milk, i.e half water and half evaporated milk to make mac and cheese, Alfredo sauce, vodka sauce and any other creamy sauce to go with my favorite pasta dishes.

Powdered milk

Powdered milk

Powdered milk can also be used as a milk substitute for pasta. You can easily use powdered milk like you would use regular milk by simply making a mixture of the two ingredients.

To make 1 cup of milk using powdered milk and water, use 4 tablespoons of the powder for every cup of water. Mix well until properly combined.  Use this mixture in the same way you would use regular milk when making creamy pasta.

Almond milk

almond milk

Almond milk offers you a way to make a vegan pasta or vegan pasta sauce as it is a plant based milk.

If you’re looking for a vegan substitute, then you can make a nice creamy sauce with ingredients like almond milk, olive oil, chopped onions and garlic, all purpose flour (for thickening the sauce), vegan cheese (for adding creaminess) and your favorite herbs and spices.

It is important to use a bit of flour if you’re using almond milk as it is slightly thinner in terms of consistency compared to whole milk. Also, read more upon almond milk alternatives here.

Note, you can also use it if you’re not vegan. Just use it like you would use whole milk in a 1:1 substitute ratio.

Coconut milk

coconut milk

Coconut milk is another plant based milk that can be used to substitute for regular milk in pasta.

Full fat coconut milk is the best option – avoid thinned out coconut milk.

To make pasta with coconut milk, all you will need is a can of full fat coconut milk, chopped garlic and onions, olive oil, your favorite seasonings, salt and optionally, tomato sauce or puree.

If you have coconut milk on hand and you want to use it in place of regular milk for pasta, use a 1:1 substitute ratio of whole milk to coconut milk.

These are the best substitutes for milk in pasta dishes that are creamy. Thankfully, you can easily find at least 4 of these readily available in your refrigerator. This means if you’re currently in the process of cooking a pasta recipe and noticed you have no milk, you can complete your recipe without going to the store! Also, feel free to check out the best substitutes for whole milk here.

More dairy substitutes


Best substitutes for milk in pasta

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