Abstract Al–4.5 wt% Mg alloys reinforced with and without BN were fabricated by pressureless infiltration method and then their tensile properties and microstructures were analyzed. Since the spontaneous infiltration of molten metal occurred at a temperature of 800 °C for 1 h under nitrogen atmosphere, it was possible to fabricate the Al composites reinforced with BN and control alloy without BN. A large increase in strength in the case of the control alloy is related to the in situ formation of AlN particles as well as grain size refinement. In the composite reinforced with BN, additional AlN was formed by the interfacial reaction of the BN and Al melt as well as AlN by the in situ reaction. In addition, the grain size in the composite reinforced with 7.5 vol% BN further decreased to about 4.0 μm and exhibited approximately 3.5 times reduction in the grain size of the commercial alloy. Consequently, a further strengthening in the composite resulted from both the BN artificially added and AlN formation (by the in situ reaction and interfacial reaction) and grain refinement.