Is Velveeta American Cheese?

When it comes to cheese, many Americans have a strong preference for the creamy and melty variety. And one name that often pops up in this context is Velveeta.

Given that its appearance is similar to traditional dairy-based American cheese, many people wonder if Velveeta really is the same type of cheese. Below you will learn about the origins, ingredients, and classification of Velveeta.

Let’s get into it!

What Is American Cheese?

Traditional American cheese is typically a blend of cheddar, Colby cheeses, washed curd cheese, or granular cheese. Other ingredients may include salt, water, spices, coloring, and emulsifying agents such as sodium phosphates.

The cheese blend must contain a certain percentage of real cheese to be considered a true American cheese. According to Healthline. “The cheese blend should not comprise less than 51% of the final product’s weight”.

American cheese is a processed cheese that undergoes heating, emulsifying, and blending to create its distinctive texture and flavor. This cheese is known for its smooth and creamy consistency, making it a popular choice for cheeseburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, and dips.

What is Velveeta?

Now, what the heck is Velveeta?

It was created by the Monroe Cheese Company in the early 20th century and acquired by Kraft in 1927. Kraft Heinz owns the brand today.

Velveeta is primarily made from a combination of milk, canola oil, whey protein concentrate, cheese culture and various additives. The cheese-making process involves blending these ingredients with an emulsifying salt, such as sodium citrate, which gives Velveeta its characteristic smooth texture and the ability to melt.

Is Velveeta Actually American Cheese?

Due to its unique formulation, Velveeta cannot be classified as a traditional American cheese. Specifically, Velveeta does not contain 51% or more of real cheese to be considered American cheese (source). Rather, it is classified as a “Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product”.

You can see the difference between a real American cheese and Velveeta by reviewing the ingredients that follow:

Boar’s Head American Cheese Ingredients: American Cheese (Milk, Salt, Cheese Culture, Enzymes), Cream, Sodium Phosphates, Paprika, Annatto, Salt

Velveeta Original Ingredients: Skim Milk, Milk, Canola Oil, Milk Protein Concentrate, Sodium Phosphate, Contains Less Than 2% Of Modified Food Starch, Whey Protein Concentrate, Maltodextrin, Whey, Salt, Calcium Phosphate, Lactic Acid, Sorbic Acid As A Preservative, Milkfat, Sodium Alginate, Sodium Citrate, Enzymes, Apocarotenal And Annatto (Color), Cheese Culture, Vitamin A Palmitate.

Final Thoughts

While Velveeta may not be classified as American cheese, it remains a beloved ingredient in many American households. Its smooth texture and excellent melting capabilities make it a favorite for macaroni and cheese, nachos, and creamy dips. It has even gained popularity as an ingredient for various recipes by a offering convenience factor and of course, a generous amount of flavor.

While Velveeta may not be classified as traditional American cheese, it still holds a special place in the hearts and kitchens of many cheese lovers across the nation.

Armed with this newfound knowledge about Velveeta, you can now make a more informed decision regarding whether this cheese is an ideal choice for you and your family!

Image Credit – Mike Mozart/flickr