Velveeta brings a little comfort to the party, whether you're serving a platter of spicy nachos for the big game or gooey grilled cheese sandwiches at a kid's birthday gathering. Named for its velvety texture, Velveeta melts evenly without separating, making it ideal for any recipe calling for soft American cheese.
Best Way to Melt Velveeta
Processed cheese may contain as little as 50 percent real cheese – that's why foods like Velveeta call themselves "pasteurized cheese product" rather than "cheese." The ingredients include extra dairy, emulsifiers, salt or other artificial ingredients like preservatives and food dyes.
Velveeta quickly solidifies as it cools down after heating. You can slow this process two ways. Incorporate about 1/4 cup milk or a can of Rotel dip into the melting cheese. This will change the consistency, but it will remain liquid longer.
The best way to melt Velveeta is in a double boiler or in a metal bowl set on top of a pot of gently boiling water. Heating in a microwave is more labor intensive, as you have to take the cheese food out and stir it every 30 to 45 seconds until it's completely melted. If you don't stir frequently, the edges may burn. If you're having a party, keep the cheese warm in a fondue pot or melt it in a slow cooker with a few tablespoons of butter.
Velveeta cheese dip is a game-day favorite. You can make a quick dip by adding a jar of salsa, or you can introduce more complex flavors by sauteing garlic and onion and then adding the cheese, chopped chilies, chili powder and hot sauce. For Velveeta nachos, drizzle the warm sauce over tortilla chips and top with chopped tomato and sliced jalapenos.
Substitute Velveeta for Cheez Whiz on a Philly cheesesteak. Saute thinly sliced beef, pile it onto a sub roll and top with cooked peppers, onions and melted cheese. Make cheese soup by cooking onions in butter and stirring in a tablespoon of flour. Add chicken broth and Velveeta. Cook until thickened and bubbly. Top with chopped tomatoes and sliced green onion. For a heartier soup, add cooked chicken.
To make a juicy Lucy, put a slice of Velveeta between two hamburger patties and pinch the edges together before cooking. You can also put cubed cheese inside meatballs.
Line a bread loaf pan or two mini pans with plastic wrap, leaving enough wrap to fold over the loaf of cheese. This helps form the block of cheese and makes it easier to remove from the pan.
Combine 6 tablespoons of dry milk powder and a 1/4-ounce package of unflavored gelatin. Add 1 cup of boiling water and 16 ounces of grated cheddar cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and the ingredients are combined.
Pour the cheese into the loaf pan and fold the plastic wrap over the top. Refrigerate until the loaf is set. Use a food processor instead of mixing by hand for a smoother finished product. You'll need to act quickly so the hot water completely melts the cheese.
Pasteurized Cheese Storage
Unopened boxes of Velveeta cheese are shelf stable. You may have noticed that they're not always kept with the other cheeses in the refrigerated case. At home, you can store it in a cool, dry spot out of direct sunlight until you're ready to use it. Check the use-by date — the cheese should still be good, unopened, for up to two weeks beyond that date.
Transfer the cheese to a plastic storage bag or wrap it in plastic after it's opened. Store it in the refrigerator for up to eight weeks.
The texture of processed cheese may change if the cheese is frozen. It won't go bad in the freezer, but the melted product may not be as velvety. If Velveeta is exposed to air, it will harden. Simply slice off the hard bits and use the rest as you normally would.
- Bon Appetit Basically: What Is Processed Cheese, and Should We Eat It?
- Escoffier: What’s Going on With American Cheese?
- Velveeta: Recipes
- Food Network: Juicy Lucy
- King Arthur Flour: The Secret Ingredient Chefs Won’t Admit Using: And How to Make it at Home
- Does It Go Bad?: Does Velveeta Cheese Go Bad?
- Reference: What Is the Shelf Life of Velveeta Cheese?