Is Velveeta Real Cheese? Or Is It Just Delicious Plastic?

It’s never the best sign when you’re eating something and have to ask, “Is this ‘food’ an actual real thing? Or does it just resemble one?” I know I’ve certainly eaten my fair share of mud thinking it was delicious fudge, for instance. But, even though we can all get skunked every now again by fake food, there are those products out there, like Velveeta, that ride the line so closely that it may not even be discernible. Today we take a closer look at whether Velveeta is real cheese or simply a tasty yellow brick!

What is Velveeta?

Velveeta was invented in 1918 by Emil Frey, an employee at the Monroe Cheese Factory. He created it as a way to conserve the runoff waste of their imperfect cheese wheels. Its name is meant to convey its velvety meltability. And it’s a great name. I may lobby to name my firstborn Velveeta. It has an extremely mild taste and a bright orange hue that would make the sun jealous.


Why Velveeta Is the Best “Cheese”

Here’s why Velveeta deserves more respect than it gets and why it truly deserves to be called “liquid gold.”

Alright, now what we’ve all been waiting for…Velveeta may look like cheese, smell like cheese, and even taste like cheese, but it is technically classified as a “pasteurized process cheese product.” Though Velveeta was originally made from real cheese (sure it was runoff, but still), it is now mainly whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate, milk, fat, and preservatives. It’s cheese adjacent. 

Is Velveeta gluten free?

Though it may not technically be cheese, Velveeta is officially a gluten-free processed cheese product. Its ingredient list does not include wheat or any other source of gluten, so it is perfectly safe to consume as part of a gluten-free diet.

What is Velveeta made of?

Velveeta is made from substances including whey, milk, milk protein concentrate, modified starch, canola oil, and cheese culture. It makes you wonder what it must have tasted like before, when it was made from cheese wheel shreddings! Would you still be able to buy it unrefrigerated? Speaking of…

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Does Velveeta go bad?

Velveeta is billed as being a “shelf-stable cheese product.” When stored in its original packaging, in a dry place, out of direct sunlight and at room temperature, Velveeta will stay fresh for a really, really long time. Fresh, unopened Kraft foods Velveeta cheese is safe to consume for at least six months past the packaging date that has been printed on the box. 

Is Velveeta American cheese?

Velveeta isn’t exactly American cheese, but it’s pretty close. Much like the Kraft Singles, it’s a processed cheese product made with whey, milk solids, and emulsifying agents that give it that perfect meltiness. 
Okay, so it may not be actual cheese, but is that really going to stop America from using this decadent, simple stuff in their queso dips, and mac n’ cheese? I certainly don’t think so! So melt a big brick of it down, grab your surfboard and hang ten on a big “cheese product” tidal wave! Surf’s up, people!

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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