If you’re looking to substitute for Velveeta in a recipe, there are a variety of different cheeses and cheese products that are sure to do the trick. Cheeses such as American, Cheddar, Swiss, and Gouda, as well as products like Cheez Whiz, can keep your dishes tasting delicious when used appropriately.
Velveeta is a processed cheese that’s been in production since 1918, though the recipe has changed significantly since then. While not technically cheese, people prize Velveeta for its rich, creamy texture. However, with over 13 grams of sodium and nearly 200 grams of fat per box, Velveeta isn’t always a top ingredient choice for home chefs.
The Velveeta substitute that you choose will often depend on your recipe, especially those that call for a specific cheese consistency. Taste, price, and availability are also important considerations when selecting a suitable replacement.
We’ve taken into account all of the above to bring you a list of the top five Velveeta substitutions available at your local grocery store.
Recommended Velveeta Substitutes
1. American Cheese
American cheese, like Velveeta, is a form of processed cheese. It contains milk fats, milk, and whey combined with ground cheddar and Colby. J.L. Kraft first patented the recipe in 1916, and his cheese quickly became popular for its smooth texture, rich taste, and low price point.
Velveeta’s original purpose was to mimic the taste of American cheese, and so the two are very similar when it comes to flavor. American cheese is also easy to melt, though it has a slightly gummier consistency than that of Velveeta.
It’s easy to find American cheese in any of the same supermarkets that sell Velveeta, and it’s often available for cheaper. In countries outside of the U.S. and Canada, it’s often much easier to find American-style cheese than it is Velveeta. You can only purchase this brand in North America, Panama, the Philippines, South Korea, and Hong Kong.
You can use American cheese in just about any dish that calls for Velveeta, including dips and sauces. If you need a thinner consistency, try adding an emulsifying agent to your recipe to mimic the melting effects of Velveeta. You should use American cheese in a 1:1 ratio for the best flavor.
Got leftover American cheese? Preserve it by freezing.
2. Cheddar Cheese
Cheddar cheese also boasts a similar taste to both Velveeta and American cheese. However, real cheddar doesn’t get processed in the same way as these two cheese products. Instead, cheesemakers prepare cheddar in the traditional fashion. Milk gets cultures then acidified to form curds, which are then drained, concentrated, and cheddared before aging.
Young, mild cheddars make the best Velveeta substitute, as they have a creamy texture and mellow flavor. Aged, sharp cheddars are sometimes too rich or pungent to use in recipes that call for Velveeta. It may compete with or even overpower other important flavors.
Fortunately, it’s easy to find young cheddars in just about any cheese aisle, and they’re often more affordable than their aged counterparts. You can substitute cheddar in a 1:1 ratio for Velveeta, though with sharp or flavorful cheddars, you may want to reduce the amount of cheese you add.
Cheddar is much thicker than either Velveeta or American cheese and so may not be the best choice for sauces and dips. Instead, it works well as a spread in recipes such as grilled cheese or nachos. If you wish to thin it out, you can try adding an emulsifier to your recipe.
3. Swiss Cheese
Swiss cheese is another substitute made using traditional cheesemaking techniques. However, unlike cheeses such as cheddar, Swiss is soaked in brine to give it a distinctive salty flavor. This process also creates the pockmarked appearance for which Swiss cheese is famous.
Because it melts in an even, gooey fashion, Swiss cheese can make a good substitute for Velveeta in certain recipes. However, it often has a stronger, nuttier flavor than Velveeta. Gruyere and Emmental are both relatively mild and savory, making them some of the best Swiss cheeses to use as a replacement.
While Swiss cheese tends to melt more evenly than cheddar, it’s still much thicker than Velveeta. It works best as a replacement in recipes such as baked goods or casseroles, where the cheese gets incorporated into the dish. However, Gruyere and Emmental can also work in recipes for dips and sauces to make a thicker, gooier end product.
4. Gouda Cheese
Gouda is a mild, versatile cheese that melts well at low heat. There are many different styles of Gouda, from young, mellow varieties to aged selections that boast a stronger flavor. Because Velveeta is relatively mild, it’s best to opt for a young Gouda that won’t overpower other elements of your dish.
When melted, Gouda has a creamy consistency that’s thinner than cheeses such as cheddar but still thicker than Velveeta. However, it works well in most dishes, including dips and sauces.
When melted, Gouda has a creamy consistency that’s thinner than cheeses such as cheddar, but still thicker than Velveeta. However, it works well in most dishes, including dips and sauces.
When using Gouda, you may want to use slightly less than a 1:1 ratio during substitutions. As a stronger cheese, a little bit of Gouda goes a long way in a dish intended for Velveeta. Adding some cream or milk to your dish is a good way to thin out the cheese while mellowing the flavor.
Keep in mind that Gouda can be sweeter than other cheeses and thus may not be the best replacement for bold, savory dishes. Instead, it works well as a Velveeta substitute in lighter dishes such as appetizers and desserts.
5. Cheez Whiz
Cheez Whiz is a type of processed cheese spread very similar to Velveeta in taste and consistency. However, while Velveeta comes in a solid form, Cheez Whiz has a creamy, melted texture straight out of the container.
You can substitute Cheez Whiz for Velveeta in a 1:1 ratio in most recipes. Thanks to its thin consistency, it goes particularly well in sauces and dips and can even work on its own as a spread.
Keep in mind that Cheez Whiz may not be the best choice for dishes such as baked goods and casseroles. It will thin out any recipe to which it’s added, which may result in a watery or undercooked end result. If you need to thicken things out, it may help to add extra starch or flour into the mix.
The only downside to substituting with Cheez Whiz is that it’s not quite as healthy as real cheese alternatives. When used as a Velveeta replacement, though, it offers a result more true to taste and texture. When in doubt, Cheez Whiz provides an affordable, readily available alternative to Velveeta in the kitchen.
Here are some common questions people have about Velveeta:
Velveeta is processed cheese, meaning that it contains cheese components in addition to emulsifiers and other dairy products for easier melting. Ground cheese, milk, and protein concentrates are combined with an emulsifier such as sodium citrate to create a smooth and creamy texture during the manufacturing process.
While Velveeta originally contained real cheese as its main ingredient, nowadays, it’s made primarily from protein concentrate, milk and milk protein, fat, and preservatives, as well as a sodium citrate emulsifier. According to the FDA, instead of being labeled a “cheese spread,” Velveeta must be labeled a “cheese product” due to its low cheese content.
Many popular kinds of cheese, such as cheddar or Swiss, tend to sweat and break apart instead of melting evenly when heated. Thanks to the addition of an emulsifier, Velveeta is designed to melt easily and evenly. It’s popular in dips and sauces thanks to its thin, silky consistency.
Despite its superior melting capabilities, you should use Velveeta in moderation. It’s high in fat and sodium, with a standard 32-ounce box containing more than 13 grams of sodium, over 700 mg of cholesterol, and almost 200 grams of fat. Using a replacement for Velveeta cheese such as cheddar or Swiss cheese is often the healthier choice in recipes.
While Velveeta is high in fat, sodium, and cholesterol, it’s not necessarily bad for you in moderation. However, lactose intolerant individuals may want to avoid eating Velveeta, as it may cause more digestive upset than regular cheese. It contains 9.3% lactose, which is much higher than cheeses such as American, which usually contains a maximum of 5% sodium.