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What do we really know about Velveeta
We took a look at the cult-favorite cheese product.
Velveeta is, no doubt, a cult classic, but what do we actually know about this beloved cheese? In 1928 Velveeta was introduced to the masses by Kraft Foods, and in the 1930s it became the first cheese product to merit the American Medical Association's seal of approval. Although today its most popular use is, of course, to make macaroni and cheese, it was first introduced as a "sauce" to be served "over toasted sandwiches of peanut butter and pickles." Sounds good, right? Maybe not.
Click here to see the Velveeta Recipe (Slideshow)
To develop a more mainstream appeal, in 1953 Velveeta was reformulated as a cheese spread, and was designed to have a taste that replicated American cheese with a more "velvety" texture, hence the name. Through the years this processed cheese product, which Kraft refers to as a "fun, family-friendly" food, has shown its versatility in recipes like queso dip, grilled cheese sandwiches, cheesy broccoli soup, and even Velveeta fudge. It has also gained a major fan following since the '20s. Today, there are several websites and Facebook pages dedicated to Velveeta’s cheesy goodness and nostalgic quality.
Velveeta was created as a way to reuse extra cheese
Velveeta wasn't so much discovered as it was invented, and even stranger is the fact that it's actually the second cheese invented by Swiss immigrant Emil Frey. Frey emigrated to the US with his father, who was also a farmer and cheese maker, and eventually ended up working for the Monroe Cheese Company in New York. First, he was tasked with creating a cheese that could be used in lieu of an imported cheese called Bismarck, and he did. His first cheese was the soft, spreadable, and amazing Liederkranz, and it was so popular the factory was shipping out more than a ton of cheese a day just to keep up with demand. That was in 1889, and it wasn't until 1918 that he discovered his second famous cheese.
At the time, the company had opened another location that mainly produced Swiss cheese. They had a problem, though — it was difficult to sell cheese wheels that were damaged, and that was a lot of product they didn't want to go to waste. Knowing Frey had already had success creating new cheeses, they sent him some samples and asked him to come up with a product that used these cheese scraps. After some serious experimentation — most of which was done on his own home stove — he came up with a product that not only used all the cheese scraps that might have otherwise gone to waste, but he also produced a cheese with a texture unlike any other. It was the texture — described as velvety — that he named Velveeta for.
How exactly is Velveeta made?
A variety of orange-hued cheeses were originally used to concoct a rectangular slab of Velveeta, though the process has since changed somewhat. Using special machinery, as Insider reports, the chunks of leftover cheeses were ground up into small pieces, then an emulsifier designed to stabilize emulsions was added into the mixture. An emulsion is a dispersion or a mixture of two liquids that normally wouldn't play well together, like oil and water. "These liquids can be mixed together by force, like with a strong whisk or homogenizer," Food Crumbles reports.
The most common example of an emulsion is that of water and oils, like vinegar and olive oil. They can be mixed by hand, but once the action stops, the two antagonists will split again. While there are quite a few emulsifiers used in the food production process, common ones include egg yolks, egg proteins, mono- and diglycerides, esters with fatty acids, and polysorbates.
Now, that's how Velveeta used to be made, with emulsifiers and unused cheese pieces, but those aren't the ingredients used anymore. Because the manufacturing process for Velveeta has changed over time, many other factors had to change with it as well. This includes some legal updates, such as how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies cheese products like Velveeta, which are now "pasteurized recipe cheese product" (via The Daily Meal ).
Velveeta Dinner Recipes:
1. Serve a family favorite with this recipe for Velveeta Easy Mac and Cheese!
2. Add some cheese to your Tex-Mex with this Creamy Cheesy Chicken Chili!
3. Make a gooey pressed sandwich with this easy Cheesy Pizza Panini Sandwich!
4. This creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup would go wonderfully with French bread!
5. Turn our favorite dip into dinner with this Velveeta and Rotel Baked Chicken Pasta!
6. Tuna casserole is one of our family&rsquos favorite dishes, but I never thought about adding Velveeta. This recipe for Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole looks delicious!
7. Make mac and cheese the easy way &ndash in the Crockpot! This Slow Cooker Creamy Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese recipe looks so simple!
8. This hearty Cheesy Chicken Chowder would be so yummy on a cold day!
9. I love one-dish dinners. They just save so much time. Definitely making this One Dish Queso Chicken Bake!
10. This Velveeta Spicy Chicken Spaghetti is a neat twist on traditional spaghetti!
11. Put a salad on the side when you serve this Broccoli and Cheese Potato Soup!
12. This Ritz Cracker Macaroni and Cheese is a crunchy way to make basic mac and cheese!
13. Serve these Cheesy Beef Burritos on Taco Tuesday!
14. Use Velveeta to make this creamy Enchilada Soup &ndash just like they serve at Chili&rsquos!
15. This Crockpot Beefy Macaroni and Cheese would be a great one-pot meal!
16. Hamburger soup is a favorite dinner of ours. I love the idea of adding cheese in this Cheesy Hamburger Soup recipe!
17. This recipe for Broccoli, Bacon, and Potato Chowder makes a hearty soup your family will gobble up!
18. Save this Velveeta Casserole recipe for a busy weeknight meal!
19. I love the taste of cooked onion in food, so I just know this Onion Lovers Macaroni and Cheese recipe is to die for!
20. Put your slow cooker on in the morning to make this Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti!
21. Let the kids have bowl after bowl of this Super Easy Cheesy Potato Soup!
22. Serve this Easy Cheesy Orzo with a main dish!
23. Add Velveeta to your hamburgers with this Stuffed Ranch Burgers recipe!
24. Love Cuban food? See how you can make these Cuban Empanadas with Velveeta!
25. Oh my. This recipe for Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Casserole combines two of my very favorite things. There&rsquos no way this isn&rsquot amazing!
26. Serve burgers a new way with this recipe for Cheeseburger Soup!
27. This Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice is a perfect way to serve several courses in one dish!
28. The kids will love having this simple Tater Tot Casserole for dinner!
29. Have baked chicken and potatoes at once in this Crockpot Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and Chicken recipe!
30. This cheesy Shepherd Pie Casserole will be a big hit with our kids!
Velveeta Dinner Recipes and Resources:
Pick up these handy affiliate resources from Amazon to start making these delicious Velveeta dinner recipes yourself!
About Kelli Miller
My husband (Ricky) of 20 years, our three wild and wonderfully different boys, five totally spoiled little dogs, a plethora of wild cats, and I live at Miller Manor! It is a 100 year old Colonial Style Farmhouse that is surrounded by hundreds of acres of farmland, in a small town on the coast of Southern Alabama.
Why Isn&apost Velveeta Cheese?
1. Its Ingredients List
The official list of Velveeta ingredients is as follows: Milk, Water, Whey, Milk Protein Concentrate, Milkfat, Whey Protein Concentrate, Sodium Phosphate, Contains 2% or less of: Salt, Calcium Phosphate, Lactic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Alginate, Enzymes, Apocarotenal, Annatto, Cheese Culture.
Meanwhile, the ingredient list for most cheeses is milk, rennet, and maybe a little bit of salt. But the longer ingredients list isn&apost the most startling element here.
Here’s the thing: you shouldn’t need to add whey to a cheese, because whey is actually produced during traditional cheesemaking (it’s the liquid that’s left after the milk has curdled and been strained).
2. All Those Added Preservatives
While many varieties of supermarket cheese do have preservatives, true cheese doesn&apost actually need artificial additives, because the cheesemaking process actually creates natural preservatives.
Non-starter (NS) bacteria are the second wave of bacteria that appear in cheese during the cheesemaking process. Mainly made up of mesophilic lactic acid bacteria, these naturally occurring organisms contribute to the flavor and storage ability of different cheeses.
Velveeta, on the other hand, contains quite an array of distinct coloring and preserving agents.
Basically it can’t be called real cheese because it has so many additives in it.
3. It&aposs Lacking in Calcium, but Not in Lactose
One ounce of Velveeta contains 13 percent of your daily value for calcium, as opposed to cheddar, which contains 20 percent. But even though Velveeta has less calcium, it actually has more lactose.
It might seem strange, but cheese actually doesn&apost contain all that much lactose. While it is made from milk, the natural process of making cheese removes much of the lactose -- or milk sugars -- which are consumed by the bacteria that are turning the milk into cheese, much in the same way that yeast eats away at the sugar in grape juice to turn it into the alcohol in your favorite bottle of wine.
But Velveeta can&apost say the same about its product. Because Velveeta is not put through the natural processes of cheesemaking, it actually ends up with a whopping 9.3 percent volume of lactose, as compared with actual cheeses like Swiss (3.4 percent), Roquefort (2 percent), or Stilton (.8 percent). Velveeta actually has more lactose than milk itself -- which has a lactose content ranging from 4.8 to 5.2 percent, and is much closer in makeup to evaporated milk, at 10 percent lactose.
Homemade Velveeta Cheese and Cheez Whiz
These homemade versions of the popular process cheese foods are not only easy to make they are made with real cheese with no unwanted preservatives. Mild cheddar cheese, milk, and cream cheese are among the ingredients, and a little gelatine makes the faux Velveeta—or American cheese—solidify into a block. You can use white or orange cheese depending on how you want the finished product to look.
The softer "Cheez Whiz" mixture is excellent warmed and added to hot macaroni, creamy soups like this 4-ingredient broccoli cheese soup, or vegetables, or use it as a warm dip with any number of additional ingredients.
The American cheese substitute is similar to the popular processed cheese, Velveeta. It's great for sandwiches, crackers, dips, and snacks. And it melted nicely in a basic grilled cheese sandwich. Or add it to a white sauce for vegetables, casseroles, or pasta dishes.
The American cheese (Velveeta) recipe makes about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds and the Cheez Whiz clone makes about 2 cups.
When you first glance at the packaging, Velveeta looks as though it's relatively low in calories. But you should read the serving size and number of servings for each container. Velveeta packaging lists a serving size of 28 g, slightly less than 1 oz. That 28 g of cheese product has 80 calories. While that may seem like a small number, the packaging also lists that there are 32 servings in each package of Velveeta. That means one box of Velveeta has more than 2,500 calories. The light version has slightly less, weighing in at just under 2,000 calories.
8 Lowbrow Velveeta Recipes to Cook Before the Shortage
The easily meltable, highly processed cheese-like substance Velveeta is in short supply, reports USA Today. Many stores are running out of the processed cheese known as Liquid Gold to Velveeta lovers, but widely criticized by most 𠇏oodies.”
Ad Age was the first to report thatꃪst Coast grocery stores seemed to be running out of Velveeta cheese. But when USA Today asked Kraft (the company behind Velveeta) to discuss specific reasons for the shortage, representatives were very, very vague.
Kraft spokesperson Jody Moore did give this questionable response, though:
Processed cheese is a seasonal product? We’re confused. Moore continued by saying, “It is possible consumers may not be able to find some Velveeta products on store shelves over the next couple of week.“
But, but…how is a product that stays good for years𠅊nd contains just milk, whey, water, weird food additives, and coloring—in short supply?
Culinary historian Ken Albala says Velveeta may see a spike in interest around Super Bowl time—then notes that this doesn’t make sense because the event is nearly a month away. So, everyone is confused and no one knows anything except there might be a Velveeta shortage.
Nevertheless, there’s no time like the present to recommend the lowest brow recipes you can make with Velveeta before you can’t get your paws on any.
Click through the gallery for 10 lowbrow Velveeta recipes to cook before the “shortage.”
RO*TEL® AND VELVEETA QUESO
This cheese dip is salty and wonderful, especially when paired with a cold brewskie. The easy-to-make dip requires little more than Velveeta, Ro*Tel diced tomatoes and green chilies, and Jimmy Dean Sausage.
Get the recipe.
PAULA DEEN'S CHOCOLATE CHEESE FUDGE
Leave it to the queen of health food to create fudge squares infused with Velveeta. Yes, the recipe calls for two 16-oz boxes of powdered sugar, one cup butter, and 1/2 lb of Velveeta (in case you were wondering).
Get the recipe.
"This recipes is absolute trash. With a capital T. But sometimes it's okay to get a little trashy," says Mandy Rivers of recipe blog South in Your Mouth. We couldn't agree with her more. The magical filling for these sliders combines pork sausage, ground beef, and the aforementioned "liquid gold."
Get the recipe.
VELVEETA POTATO BITES
Are you a lover of potato croquettes? Are you also a lover of processed cheese? Then these crunchy, popable potato balls with a gooey cheese center are for you.
Get the recipe.
CORNBREAD AND VELVEETA CASSEROLE
This is hearty, warming comfort food at its best. It's beefy, cheesy, and feeds six to eight seriously hungry diners.
Get the recipe.
Still wondering what to serve guests at your Super Bowl party? These quesadillas are as simple as microwaving Velveeta and Rotel in a bowl, stirring in chicken and onions, and scooping the mixture onto a crisped tortilla.
Get the recipe.
EASY CHEESY MEATLOAF WITH VELVEETA CHEESE
When making meatloaf, why wouldn't you stuff it with over a pound of creamy processed cheese?
Get the recipe.
Velveeta adds a creamy, rich, cheesy flavor that mozzarella and ricotta just can't compete with. Sometimes, lowbrow versions of Italian classics are just so typically American and essential to life.
Get the recipe.