Is Velveeta Actually Real Cheese or Not?
2024/02/02

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Ask any American what they think of Velveeta, and they'll surely have an opinion. Love it or hate it, Velveeta is one of those products that has seemingly been around forever (well, it was invented in 1918, so that's true). Plenty of us see it on supermarket shelves, in recipes handed down from our moms and grandmas, and of course as one of the and mixed into .

The Pioneer Woman herself is not shy about using Velveeta in some of her recipes. It's one of the easiest ways to make queso, and we in every shape and form. "You gotta love its processed, homogenized simplicity," as Ree Drummond says of her

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. But we get why you might eye it suspiciously. With it's distinctively orange-yellow color, consistently creamy texture, and oddly long shelf life, you might be wondering is Velveeta real cheese? Well, we're here to give you all the ooey gooey details and finally get to the facts about Velveeta.

Ryan Dausch

What is Velveeta?

Since 2002, Velveeta has been labeled as a "pasteurized prepared cheese product." What does that even mean? Because of the ingredients and the way it is prepared, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not consider it real cheese. However, it does contain many of the same ingredients that make cheese, namely milk and cheese culture. It just happens to have a lot of other processed ingredients in it that do not fall within the legal definition of "cheese" accordingly to our government agencies.

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Velveeta Original Melting Cheese Dip & Sauce

Velveeta Original Melting Cheese Dip & Sauce

That wasn't always the case, of course. Velveeta began its long, creamy career as a way to repurpose cheese scraps and byproducts. (The year of 1918 was during World War I, after all! No need to waste.) After experimentation, the result was a velvety texture once it melted, hence the name. The formulation changed in 1953 to the cheese product we know today. Our take? Call it cheese or call it processed cheese product. We simply call it delicious.

What kind of cheese is Velveeta?

Velveeta is one of a kind, that's for sure! Since the government says it isn't technically cheese, Velveeta doesn't have an exact cheese kind. The closest flavor association would be American cheese in terms of flavor, texture, and color.

What is the best substitute for Velveeta?

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