You may not find it on any fancy charcuterie board, but Velveeta cheese is a staple of many recipes. This ingredient is key to whipping up tasty, comforting meals.
Velveeta is technically classified as a cheese product, not a cheese because it contains milk protein concentrate, whey, and other dairy-based ingredients. Velveeta was first invented in 1918 and has been a staple for many American families ever since. Velveeta is a popular ingredient in grilled cheese sandwiches, mac & cheese, soups, and other cheesy dishes, thanks to its smooth texture and excellent melting ability.
However, sometimes you cannot use Velveeta in a recipe. For example, maybe you do not have any on hand or are trying to avoid dairy.
Whatever the reason, if you need to substitute another ingredient for Velveeta, here are a few alternatives.
1. Swiss Cheese
What Americans call Swiss cheese is the name for many different varieties of medium-hard cheeses from Switzerland. The most common type is Emmental.
Swiss cheese works well as a replacement for Velveeta because it also has a mild flavor and melts quickly. You can use Swiss cheese in sandwiches or even make fondue if you’re feeling fancy. Some people even prefer Swiss cheese over Velveeta because it does not taste as artificial. Just be careful when buying Swiss cheese, as aged varieties have a sharper taste.
2. Monterey Jack
Monterey Jack is a Californian white, semi-hard cheese. Like Velveeta, it has a mild flavor and a low melting point, making it an excellent addition to mac & cheese, pasta recipes, and more. Monterey Jack comes in many varieties. For example, you can buy Pepper Jack cheese, which is cheese flavored with spicy peppers.
Monterey Jack melts similarly to Velveeta. Therefore, you can use it to replace Velveeta in hamburgers, chilis, mac & cheese, and more. If you want to add more flavor to your dish, you can use a Pepper Jack variety. However, for picky eaters, Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack cheese may be too intense.
3. American Cheese
The creators of Velveeta invented it intending to mimic the taste of American cheese, so it makes sense that the original would make an excellent substitute. American cheese is also processed cheese that has a mild, salty flavor and melts well. The main difference is in the manufacturing process.
American cheese is so similar to Velveeta in texture and flavor that you can use it as a substitute in pretty much any recipe. It goes well in pasta dishes, sandwiches, hamburgers, and any dish that calls for a melty cheese. However, if you were looking for a healthier, more natural-tasting substitute for Velveeta, American cheese is not the product for you as it is just as processed.
If you want to elevate your dish, you can replace Velveeta with Gouda cheese. Gouda is a Dutch cheese made out of cow’s milk. It comes in several different varieties, including young, matured, and even smoked. Young Goudas have the mildest flavor and work best as a Velveeta substitute. However, if you want to add more flavor to your dish, you can pick a smoked Gouda or a sharper-aged variety.
Gouda melts exceptionally well, so it is a good substitute for Velveeta in pasta dishes or even on hamburgers. It has a mild taste, but it is still distinctive. If you are cooking for picky eaters who turn their nose up at any hint of cheese, the difference between Gouda and the processed taste of Velveeta may be too much for them.
5. Daiya Cheddar Cheeze Sauce
Suppose you are lactose-intolerant or vegan but still crave your favorite cheesy pasta or a hint of umami on your vegetables. In that case, vegan alternatives to Velveeta are the ingredients for you. One of the most popular ones is Daiya cheese sauce.
Daiya is a famous vegan brand that makes dairy alternatives without soy or gluten, making it perfect for people with allergies. The Cheeze Sauce comes in liquid packets that you can pour into pasta sauce or over vegetables. However, it already comes in a liquified form, so you cannot use it in sandwiches or veggie burgers; you will need to find another dairy-free cheese product.