Velveeta has been a very popular cheese product for over a century now. During this time, its recipe has changed substantially. Technically, Velveeta isn’t cheese, but its rich and creamy texture remains as inviting as ever. So what to do if you want a Velveeta substitute for your recipe?
The most important part is getting its rich and creamy texture right. Equally important is the melting property, which makes Velveeta so unique. Often, it’s a cheese (or cheese product) that can fill this role. Yet, care is necessary to incorporate the unique properties of Velveeta in its alternatives.
Let’s see what these substitutes are and how we can make the best of them.
Top Velveeta Substitutes To Try
1. American Cheese
American cheese is an excellent pick to replace Velveeta. They are cousins of sorts, with both these processed cheese products having similar properties. American cheese is soft, creamy, and has a low melting point.
All these properties allow it to run as a Velveeta doppelganger in many recipes. You could swipe in American cheese where necessary for a recipe without worrying too much about other changes. But there are other changes to consider. It has a creamy and salty flavor, so it’s best used for grilling, pasta, macaroni, or similar dishes.
The cheese you want here is the soft and creamy young Gouda. Aged gouda is prized for its taste and flavor. However, its exotic tastes and firm texture aren’t meant to replace Velveeta. So, the better pick here is young Gouda.
It’s a good pick if you don’t want to use processed cheese for your culinary trysts. The smooth gouda with a low melting point will fit most recipe requirements quite well.
It’s important to consider here that gouda is exotic and tends to be expensive. While it will substitute Velveeta cheese, it might be overkill to use gouda for most of those recipes.
3. Cheddar Cheese
Cheddar cheese is often used when cooking. If your recipe can work with it, Cheddar becomes a good substitute for Velveeta. It has a sharp taste – and that can be a good thing! In fact, you could employ Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese as a substitute for a few recipes and get great results.
Its pungent flavor and melting point bode well for some recipes like sandwiches and grilled cheese. However, it has a different color and texture compared to Velveeta, so that will have some effect on your recipe. Mostly, it won’t be a problem.
4. Swiss Cheese (Gruyere)
Swiss cheese like Gruyere is another good, but exotic option for some recipes. It has a low melting point and a good texture that will go well with most recipes that use Velveeta. But its use carries a similar problem as gouda. This is an expensive, exotic cheese that might not be the best choice for Velveeta recipes.
As with gouda cheese, the better choice is to use young Gruyere for this purpose. Aged gruyere is more expensive and firmer, so it won’t quite serve as well as a replacement.
Mozzarella has moxie! This very versatile cheese finds use in plenty of recipes. It’s creamy, somewhat salty, and has a low melting point. You could probably shove mozzarella into pretty much any recipe. And yes, those recipes include the ones that use Velveeta. This versatile, low-calorie cheese will replace Velveeta without a worry.
6. Cheez Whiz
This processed cheese product has become something of a symbol of decadence and bad eating habits. To be fair, the lion’s share of that blame lies with its association (or users confusing it with) Easy Cheese. The latter comes in an aerosol can and tends to give a bad name to all cheese products.
Anyways, Cheez Whiz is very easy to melt and finds great use with sandwiches, burgers, nachos, and more. Some find the feel of umami once the cheez whiz flavoring makes an appearance. This flavorful, seasoned processed cheese is a good replacement for Velveeta in most recipes.
7. Pepper Jack
It’s spicy, semi-soft, and has a great flavor. Pepper Jack melts quickly and is tasty with a touch of hot flavoring. The deliciously flavored cheese is a good replacement to Velveeta, though its unique touch of flavoring may change the taste slightly. Still, it’s not a big problem, especially since the flavor is delicious and can match most recipe requirements.
Is Velveeta Real Cheese?
Velveeta is classified as processed cheese, though it’s not technically cheese. Well, cheese was a primary ingredient when Velveeta first launched about a century ago. But a hundred years is a long time, especially in the current age where technology, composition, and processing change at a breakneck pace.
The Velveeta you’ll find on store shelves today doesn’t contain cheese. The primary ingredients now are protein concentrates of whey and milk, and fat, with a dose of preservatives. That’s one reason why the FDA issued a warning to Kraft foods (the company that owns Velveeta). Kraft responded by changing labels on the “cheese” from pasteurized process cheese spread to pasteurized prepared cheese product.
In a broad sense, it represents where the food industry is headed. This so-called cheese is one example, but many ice creams as we know today are actually classified as frozen desserts. That’s because many of them no longer contain substantial amounts (or any amount) of milk or cream.
Anyways, coming back to the topic, Velveeta still melts quickly and has its unique taste and texture. Melting isn’t that big of a deal for many varieties of cheese. This one sets itself apart by going clump-free as it melts. Plus, that velvet-like texture, from which its name is derived, makes a huge difference in the appearance and mouthfeel.
To sum up, Velveeta doesn’t have enough cheese content to be classified as real cheese. It is now presented as a cheese product.
Velveeta Cheese Sauce In A Quick Homemade Recipe
Do you need to whip up a Velveeta cheese sauce and test drive one of the alternatives listed here? Well, this recipe will lead to exactly that purpose. Our goal is simple – we’ll make cheese dip (sauce) without using Velveeta. We’ll also keep it close to the taste and texture that Velveeta has to offer.
There are two ways to go about this recipe. One uses a microwave, while the other goes with a slow cooker or crockpot.
- American cheese: 8 oz
- Cheddar cheese: 4 oz
- Milk: ¾ cup
Put all these ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Mix it up a bit, though it’s not necessary to blend. Place it in the microwave and start it off, about 3-5 minutes should be enough, though you’ll have to check on the progress often.
Pause the microwave every minute and stir the mix a bit. It can feel a bit stiff at first, but it will get better every minute. Once you hit the right consistency, stop and take the sauce out of the microwave.
That’s it! Your DIY cheese sauce is ready. It’s best to serve or use this immediately as it’s not really intended for storage or use over a prolonged time.
Skipping Velveeta Cheese From A Recipe
Velveeta is popular and is used in several recipes. Though things have changed for this age-old favorite and it’s not classified as a cheese anymore. It hasn’t been cheese for several years now, even though it does still have a very similar taste and texture as the good old times.
There are plenty of reasons people look for a Velveeta substitute. Its classification as a “processed cheese” or “cheese product” is one of those reasons. Of course, there are times when you need a substitute because you don’t have it at home and don’t feel like swinging by a store. Whatever your preference, the alternatives listed here should help you hit upon a good choice.