Does Kraft make dairy-free mac and cheese?

Kraft is one of the most well-known brands when it comes to boxed mac and cheese. Their classic blue boxed mac and cheese is found in many households and is a childhood favorite for many. But what about those who can’t consume dairy or choose not to eat dairy products? Is there a dairy-free option made by Kraft?

The Short Answer

Yes, Kraft does offer some dairy-free boxed mac and cheese options. However, they are limited compared to their traditional dairy-based packaged mac and cheese products.

Overview of Kraft Mac and Cheese

Kraft first introduced its boxed macaroni and cheese in 1937. It was an instant hit and affordable convenience food during the Great Depression era. The first boxes contained elbow macaroni noodles, dried cheddar cheese powder, and salt. Instructions were to mix the pasta and cheese powder with milk and butter. Over the decades, Kraft has expanded its macaroni and cheese line with new shapes, recipes, and flavors. Some of their popular varieties today include:

  • Original flavor
  • White cheddar
  • Three cheese
  • Deluxe sharp cheddar
  • Microwave cups

Kraft mac and cheese is made using enriched wheat flour in the pasta and real dairy products like milk, cream, and cheese in the cheese sauce powder. For consumers avoiding dairy due to lactose intolerance or lifestyle diet choices, Kraft’s traditional macaroni and cheese has been off limits.

Dairy-Free Diets on the Rise

In the past decade especially, dairy-free diets have been on the rise. There are several reasons for this growth:

  • Rising rates of lactose intolerance – It’s estimated that 75% of the world’s population struggles to digest lactose in milk.
  • Increasing dairy allergies – About 2.5% of children have a dairy allergy.
  • Animal welfare concerns – Some avoid dairy for animal rights reasons.
  • Environmental impact – Dairy farming contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution.
  • Plant-based diet trend – Consumers seeking healthier, more natural options are cutting back on dairy.

As more consumers go dairy-free, brands like Kraft have responded by developing alternatives.

Kraft’s Dairy-Free Mac and Cheese Options

Kraft has introduced a few dairy-free boxed mac and cheese products to appeal to the plant-based market. Here are the current varieties they offer:

Cheddar Style

Kraft launched a Cheddar Style Macaroni & Cheese made with plant-based ingredients in 2019. Instead of milk and cheese, it’s made with potato starch, soy protein concentrate, coconut oil, and natural flavors. It has a similar creamy texture and taste to their Original Cheddar cheese packets. The pasta is made from wheat flour.

White Cheddar Style

Kraft White Cheddar Style Mac & Cheese is another dairy-free option made with plant-based ingredients like potato starch, soy protein concentrate, and coconut oil. It mimics the flavor of their crowd-pleasing White Cheddar mac and cheese.

Gluten-Free Rice Pasta

For gluten-free consumers, Kraft offers several kinds of Gluten Free Rice Pasta Mac and Cheese. Two examples are the Gluten Free White Cheddar Rice Pasta and Gluten Free Cheesy Rice Pasta flavors. Both contain rice pasta, whey protein concentrate, and natural flavors.

While these are gluten-free, they are not dairy-free since they contain milk-derived whey protein. But for those avoiding gluten who can tolerate dairy, they provide a mac and cheese option.

Nutrition Comparison

How does the nutrition stack up between Kraft’s dairy and non-dairy macaroni and cheese products? Here is a table comparing some of the nutritional information per serving (about 1 cup prepared):

Mac and Cheese Variety Calories Fat Carbs Protein
Original Kraft Mac & Cheese 380 18g 44g 12g
Kraft Cheddar Style Mac & Cheese 330 12g 51g 11g
Kraft White Cheddar Mac & Cheese 400 20g 44g 13g
Kraft White Cheddar Style Mac & Cheese 330 12g 51g 11g

In general, Kraft’s dairy-free mac and cheese options are similar in calories, carbs, and protein compared to their traditional mac and cheese. The dairy-free versions tend to be a bit lower in fat since they use plant oils instead of milk fat.

Taste Reviews

How well do Kraft’s dairy-free mac and cheese varieties stack up to the taste and texture of the original? Here are some reviews from consumers who have tried them:

Positive Reviews

  • “The cheddar style tastes very close to the real thing! My daughter is lactose intolerant and was so excited.”
  • “I was skeptical but Kraft nailed it with the white cheddar plant-based version. Hard to tell the difference.”
  • “My son has a severe dairy allergy and he loves the Cheddar Style mac and cheese.”
  • “I’m vegetarian and was pleased that Kraft made a pretty convincing dairy-free mac and cheese.”

Negative Reviews

  • “The texture of the dairy-free version is a little too gummy. It doesn’t have that creamy smoothness.”
  • “The plant-based cheese sauce smells funny, not like the original.”
  • “I wanted to love this but the taste is slightly off. It lacks the tang of real cheese.”
  • “As a lactose intolerant person, I was disappointed. The dairy-free cheese powder is gritty and bland.”

As you can see from the mixed reviews, creating plant-based alternatives that mimic the exact taste and texture of dairy cheese products is challenging. Kraft seems to have come reasonably close with their dairy-free mac and cheese but there is still room for improvement according to discriminating consumer palates.

Availability and Pricing

The dairy-free Kraft mac and cheese varieties are not as widely available yet compared to their traditional macaroni and cheese products. The Cheddar Style and White Cheddar Style dairy-free options seem to be primarily sold at Walmart stores so far. The gluten-free Rice Pasta mac and cheese versions are more widely distributed in stores like Target, Walmart and mainstream grocery chains.

Pricing is a bit higher for the dairy-free mac and cheese. On, a 7.25 ounce box of Kraft Cheddar Style Mac and Cheese is $1.98 compared to $1.24 for a 7.25 ounce box of Kraft Original Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese. So there is about a 37% price premium for the plant-based version.

Do-It-Yourself Options

For more variety, consumers can also choose to make easy dairy-free mac and cheese from scratch at home. There are lots of recipe options using plant-based ingredients like:

  • Plant milk (soy, almond, oat)
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Tapioca starch
  • Potato or carrot
  • Coconut oil
  • Vegetable broth

Some well-tested recipes yield delicious dairy-free cheese sauces that coat the pasta in creamy, gooey goodness. Making homemade vegan mac and cheese allows tailoring flavors and customizing nutrition. It also gives access to a wider world of unique flavors beyond just cheddar-style cheese. But it does require more hands-on work than dumping packaged powdered cheese sauce into cooked pasta.

The Future of Dairy-Free Mac and Cheese

Kraft has made a good start offering some dairy-free boxed mac and cheese options in popular flavors like cheddar and white cheddar. However, there is likely a lot more innovation to come in this product category. Here are some possible directions for the future:

  • More diverse flavors – Move beyond just cheddar to offer other cheese varieties like nacho cheese, Swiss, pepper jack, etc.
  • Improved taste and texture – Get closer to the creamy, cheesy goodness of the original through processing innovations.
  • Expanded distribution – Make dairy-free options as widely available as traditional Kraft mac and cheese.
  • Nutritional enhancement – Boost nutrition by adding vegetables, proteins, vitamins to the dairy-free recipes.
  • Lower price – Bring down the price premium vs. original through economies of scale in production.

There is likely significant opportunity for Kraft to attract more dairy-free consumers and grow market share. Other competing brands are also likely to join this space and push for innovation. The dairy-free mac and cheese category seems poised for substantial growth and development to meet consumer demand.


Kraft has taken steps to diversify its iconic macaroni and cheese product line to meet the needs of dairy-free eaters. While the options are still limited compared to their full range of traditional mac and cheese, Kraft offers respectable dairy-free versions in popular flavors like Cheddar and White Cheddar. Reviews are mixed on how close they come in taste to the original, but they provide an easy option for those avoiding dairy. With some further improvements to taste and texture, plus greater availability and affordability, Kraft could capture a bigger share of the growing dairy-free market. The company seems headed in the right direction to compete in the evolving modern food landscape by making plant-based alternatives to its classics. With some creativity and strategic vision, Kraft could become a leader in dairy-free comfort foods.

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