It’s National Velveeta Cheese Day (aka Super Bowl) and you’re out of the cheese. What do you do?
No, you don’t need to rush to the store at this hour of the day. There are plenty of substitutes for Velveeta Cheese that will make your life easier without sacrificing flavor.
Cheez Whiz, American Cheese, and Swiss Cheese are the closest Velveeta Cheese substitutes. Other similar alternatives include Gouda, Mozzarella, Sharp Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Fontina, Eden Cheese, etc.
In this post, I’ll give you 11 different options to try in order to find one that suits your palette.
- What is Velveeta Cheese?
- 11 Best Velveeta Cheese Substitutes
- What Does Velveeta Cheese Taste Like?
- Velveeta Cheese Uses
- What Is Velveeta Cheese Made Of?
- Can You Make Velveeta Cheese at Home?
- Where Can I Buy Velveeta Cheese?
- Does Velveeta Cheese Need to Be Refrigerated?
- Final Words
What is Velveeta Cheese?
Velveeta is a processed cheese product containing 55% milk, water, whey, and emulsifiers. It’s also high in sodium.
When compared to real cheese, Velveeta cheese melts better and has a longer shelf life.
Another identifying feature of Velveeta is that it is white or pale yellow and is marketed in bright yellow color packaging. It’s super easy to spot out when you’re in a grocery store.
Velveeta Cheese should be melted prior to consumption, used in recipes that call for melted cheese where texture isn’t important or cubed into dips. There’s no such thing as eating Velveeta straight up.
Why is it called “Velveeta”?
The name refers to a process used in the cheese’s manufacture, which involves the use of vegetable oil or margarine.
11 Best Velveeta Cheese Substitutes
If you’re looking for a low-fat cheese that can easily be melted, Velveeta might be your best bet.
But if you want something with less sodium and more calcium or protein, the below alternatives will get the job done.
1. Cheez Whiz
Creamy and super processed, Cheez Whiz is a close cousin to Velveeta Cheese. It’s similar in terms of creaminess and fat content at 50%.
In my opinion, Cheez Whiz has more flavor than Velveeta but it doesn’t melt as well (unless you add cornstarch). Like Velveeta, it’s packaged in a bright yellow can and is marketed for melting.
You might want to add Cheez Whiz into your recipes if you’re looking for a nice creamy texture. My suggestion would be to try this as is first and see whether or not you like it before substituting it for Velveeta.
2. American Cheese
As the name suggests, American Cheese is a very popular cheese for grilling cheeseburgers.
American cheese can be bought in the deli or dairy section of your grocery store. It’s slightly saltier than Velveeta and has less fat content at 48%. This might work well if you’re looking to lower your sodium intake.
You’ll have to cut American Cheese into cubes in order to melt it. It’s great for making grilled cheese sandwiches and quesadillas.
Simply place the slices in a frying pan, set them on low heat, and allow the cheese to melt. Once it’s at the texture you like, remove the pan.
3. Swiss Cheese
Swiss cheese is a pretty well-known cheese for being very mild and smooth flavored.
It’s also high in calcium and has less fat content than both Velveeta and American Cheese at 40%.
In this case, you might need to add more seasoning to compensate for the lack of flavor.
Swiss Cheese melts really well and has a smoother texture than Velveeta. It’s also sold in cubes or slices.
To melt Swiss Cheese, simply place slices or cubes in a frying pan and set it to low heat. After a couple of minutes, it should easily melt into your preferred texture.
4. Gouda Cheese
Gouda is perhaps one of the cheeses most commonly used to replace Velveeta Cheese as it melts well and has a very strong flavor that can easily overpower a recipe.
This is a Dutch cheese that has been aged for 10 to 18 months or more. It’s a semi-hard cheese with a mild, slightly peppery flavor.
Gouda is similar to Cheddar Cheese in that it has been aged for several weeks or months and becomes stronger in flavor as the aging process progresses.
It’s also lower in fat content than American Cheese at 40% while containing more calcium than both Velveeta and American Cheese.
Gouda Cheese is sold in cheese wheels but can be sliced into cubes or shredded as well. It’s great for melting and making grilled cheese sandwiches and quesadillas.
Gouda also has a slightly nutty taste that will complement many recipes!
5. Sharp Cheddar Cheese
A very popular hard cheese with a pungent flavor that is sold in blocks or slices, Sharp Cheddar Cheese has been aged for at least the length of time it takes to age Swiss cheese.
Sharp Cheddar Cheese is similar to Gouda, except it contains more calcium and slightly less fat content at 38%.
It has a strong taste and works better in recipes than as a standalone cheese.
It’s also perfect for melting. To melt Sharp Cheddar Cheese, slice it into cubes or shred it and place it into a frying pan set to low heat.
Let the cheese sit in the pan until it melts to your desired texture but be sure not to stir too much as you don’t want the cheese to become sticky.
6. Mozzarella Cheese
Another popular hard cheese that is usually sold in blocks or shredded, Mozzarella Cheese is great for melting as it has a very low-fat content of 33%.
It is also high in calcium and protein. It’s significantly saltier than all the other cheeses listed here but it is very flavorful.
Mozzarella Cheese melts well and has a smooth texture, unlike Velveeta. It’s great for melting so you can add cubes to your food or make anything from grilled cheese sandwiches to recipes that call for melted cheese, in which case you can shred the cheese instead of slicing it into cubes.
You can replace Velveeta with mozzarella cheese without too many changes to the taste and consistency of your recipe.
It’s not my favorite, but it does work if your main objective is to make shredded cheese for enchiladas or nachos.
7. Pepper Jack Cheese
This cheese has a spicy kick to it that you can’t get from any other cheese on this list. It’s medium-hard and sharp-tasting, but the spice grows less intense as it’s aged longer.
It also contains more calcium than American Cheese at 415 mg per 100 grams while having a lower fat content of 36%.
Pepper Jack Cheese is an uncooked cheese that you can shred for nachos and quesadillas. It also melts well if placed in a frying pan set to low heat; however, it works better as a stand-alone cheese than something you can add to your sandwich or other recipes.
8. Fontina Cheese
Fontina Cheese is an Italian cheese that tastes like a cross between Gruyere and Burrata. It’s similar to Mozzarella Cheese in that it has a low-fat content of 32% but it doesn’t melt easily on its own.
Instead, you can use Fontina Cheese to make quesadillas or burritos as it can stand on its own as a filling.
It’s also used in many recipes that call for mozzarella cheese, including some homemade pizzas!
Fontina Cheese has a nutty flavor and is much sharper than Mozzarella Cheese so keep that in mind if you plan to use it as an alternative to Velveeta.
9. Gruyere Cheese
Made in the same style as Emmental or Swiss cheese, Gruyere is a hard, nutty-tasting cheese that has been aged for over six months to intensify its flavor.
Gruyere has a medium fat content of about 45% but contains less calcium than both Mozzarella and Fontina Cheeses.
It’s great for melting, including quesadillas and sandwiches, and is perfect for cooking as it keeps its shape so you can make things like lasagna with it.
It also has a nutty taste that will compliment any sandwich but it won’t be enough to stand on its own in most recipes.
If you are making a quesadilla, add some shredded Gruyere to your filling or melt some into the cheese that went around the outside of your tortilla.
If you choose to replace Velveeta with Gruyere Cheese in your recipe, keep in mind it is quite salty so taste before serving and adjust if necessary.
10. Eden Cheese
This cheese is unique as it’s made from raw, unpasteurized goat’s milk and aged for at least two months. It has a soft texture that won’t melt well on its own so you’ll need to shred it instead of slicing it into cubes or slices.
It also tastes really good when melted in sandwiches! However, the flavor of Eden Cheese is very strong and pungent, so you will need to use it in recipes that have already been given the flavor a kick.
When mixed into chili, this cheese adds an extra depth of flavor but doesn’t make the chili spicy so don’t worry if your guests aren’t big into spice! It also goes well with nachos.
If you find a recipe that tastes wonderful with normal cheddar cheese, try replacing the cheddar with Eden Cheese for a unique taste!
11. Grana Padano Cheese
The final cheese on our list is made in the same style as Parmesan Cheese. It has a nutty taste, but it’s less intense than Gruyere or Fontina Cheeses and some people even say it tastes a little sweet!
Like most of the cheeses listed here, Grana Padano is not melted well on its own, but that’s because it has a very low-fat content of only 20%.
It goes great with toast and can be sprinkled over your pasta or risottos to give them a unique flavor.
Because of its high calcium levels (329 mg per 100 grams), Grana Padano is also great for people who need to boost their calcium intake.
If you plan to use it as a substitute for Velveeta in quesadillas or sandwiches, add it after cooking and heating up your sandwich or wrap.
What Does Velveeta Cheese Taste Like?
It tastes cheesy! Some people say it tastes like plastic, but that’s probably because of its bright orange color.
You can also get a sharper or milder version depending on how long the cheese has been aged. The longer it’s aged, the more pungent (sharp) it will taste.
When Velveeta Cheese is melted, it has a bit of an oily texture but melts well. If you are eating it straight out of the package or if you’re using it in cooking, be careful not to get burned as its oil content will heat up your tongue.
Velveeta Cheese Uses
Velveeta Cheese has very few uses, and the majority of people know it as a topping for nachos.
However, if you are looking to make something other than Velveeta Dip with your Velveeta, check out these recipes:
Delicious recipes that use Velveeta Cheese:
- Vegetarian Queso Dip: Serve this dip with tortilla chips, and you’ve got the ultimate snack.
- Breakfast Scrambled Eggs: To make a slightly healthier breakfast, try making scrambled eggs in your oven with Velveeta Cheese and diced chiles.
- Cheesy Hash Browns: This is a great way to make your favorite snack in bulk for the whole family, and you can make a few different hash brown recipes if the picky eaters in your life prefer theirs crunchy or soft.
What Is Velveeta Cheese Made Of?
Like most processed cheeses, Velveeta Cheese is made with milk and powdered milk. The longer it’s aged, the sharper its flavor will be.
If you look at the packaging, it has a long list of ingredients, some of which look scary, to be honest:
- Milk protein concentrate
- Whey protein concentrate
- Sodium phosphate, and 2% or less salt
- Calcium phosphate
- Lactic acid
- Sorbic acid
- Sodium citrate
- Sodium alginate
- Cheese culture
Can You Make Velveeta Cheese at Home?
Yes, you surely can!
If you prefer to make your own cheese, there are a few recipes online that will teach you how to turn regular milk into Velveeta Cheese.
Here’s a handy recipe by Lynn you can try today: https://youtu.be/OBgx7NUVzwg
Where Can I Buy Velveeta Cheese?
The best place to buy Velveeta Cheese is at your local grocery store. If the store doesn’t have it, just ask them and they should be able to order it for you.
You can also find it in most stores near the other cheeses or dairy products as well as near the hot dogs/hamburgers at a convenience store.
Does Velveeta Cheese Need to Be Refrigerated?
It’s optional. Since Velveeta isn’t real cheese, it doesn’t have the same bacteria in it that other cheeses do. However, you can store Velveeta Cheese in the fridge if you’d like to.
If you want a cheese that will hold up well in your cooking, then Velveeta Cheese should be on your shopping list.
But, if you don’t have it available, the aforementioned substitutes for Velveeta cheese are worth a try.