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Real Food Homemade Cheez Whiz & Homemade Velveeta (gasp!)

Homemade Velveeta & Homemade Cheez Whiz - with all real food ingredients!

I know, I know – the very idea of Cheez Whiz and Velveeta are the very anti-thesis of real food, that good-for-you, nourishing, feel-good food that leaves you wanting more. Even typing their names makes me feel a little like I’m writing heresy.

But since I keep seeing recipes from people I love and respect who swear “it’s just better with Velveeta” – everything from queso dip to broccoli casserole to swearing that a Philly cheese steak just ain’t a Philly without squeeze cheese AND since I am so so passionate about providing easy ways for people to stop eating processed food, I figured it was time to figure out a real food version of these highly processed foods. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, I prepared myself for a complicated process (those “foods” do have about a gazillion ingredients, after all), but surprisingly, both of these projects take less than 10 minutes and a very small handful of ingredients: cheese, milk, gelatin, and salt (and a touch of cream, if desired). Super, super easy.

I was thinking of adding cream of tartar, since it adds the lovely squishy consistency to homemade play dough, but after I used it in my first batch of homemade Velveeta, I decided the extra bit of squishy texture wasn’t worth the chalky texture that came with it, so I left it out and the subsequent batches worked just fine.

(UPDATED to add: I should Google these things before I try developing new recipes! I realized many many other people have thought of using cream of tartar in their homemade Velveeta too – and some leave it in, some skip it. That would have made my life so much easier….)

So, first things first – does homemade Velveeta actually melt and act like store-bought Velveeta? Answer: You bet. It melts beautifully, firms up beautifully, and just basically acts like you want homemade Velveeta / Kraft singles / basic processed cheese product to work.

Secret to the wise: If you’re making queso dip or any other nacho-like pourable/dippable sauce, don’t go the extra step of making homemade Velveeta so you can just turn around and melt it again. Use the homemade Cheez Whiz recipe below instead and don’t wait for it to firm up before adding the other ingredients – it’s just so much simpler!

So, with that, let’s take a look at our ingredients. You’ll notice that not only are homemade Velveeta and homemade Cheez Whiz not garbage, but they’re actually nourishing. Exactly the way we want it….

 

Gelatin: The Secret to Success in Homemade Velveeta & Homemade Cheez Whiz

I’ve written before about why gelatin is such a desirable ingredient in a healthy diet and why it’s important to use grass-fed bovine gelatin, so it’s no surprise that I’m thrilled that gelatin is the ingredient that makes homemade Velveeta and homemade Cheez Whiz work. Gelatin provides the velvety texture, the ability to melt and rechill, and it increases the protein content.

What’s even better is that it really does make some recipes simpler. For example, I came up with a pretty delicious stovetop macaroni & cheese when I wrote my book, The DIY Pantry, but I hadn’t yet discovered homemade Velveeta, which honestly makes homemade macaroni & cheese even easier. Makes me want to go make some macaroni and cheese just so I can use more homemade Velveeta….

What’s your favorite dish that uses either Velveeta or Cheez Whiz?

Homemade Velveeta - with all real food ingredients!

 

Homemade Velveeta

  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons grass-fed gelatin (see where to buy grass-fed gelatin)
  • 12 ounces cheddar or Colby cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt

Lay plastic wrap in 4″ x 9″ loaf pan and set aside. (Yes, plastic wrap. Like with marshmallows, there are a few times when even a natural mama is happy for plastic wrap. See where to buy PVC, BPA, and plasticizer free plastic wrap, if desired.)

Pour milk and cream (if using) in a small saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over to soften. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then heat slowly over medium-low heat until steaming, but DO NOT BOIL.

Meanwhile, shred cheese and pulse in a food processor with the salt. When the milk is hot, turn on the food processor and with the motor running, slowly pour the milk-gelatin mixture over the cheese and process until completely melted and very smooth, 30-60 seconds. Scrape into prepared pan and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least three hours. Keeps up to one week in the refrigerator.

 

Homemade Cheez Whiz - with all real food ingredients!

 

Homemade Cheez Whiz

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon grass-fed gelatin (see where to buy grass-fed gelatin)
  • 6 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Have two 8-ounce squeeze bottles at the ready – like these ones or these BPA-free ones. (Sometimes I just use one bottle and plop the rest in a bowl to scoop up with chips).

Pour milk in a small saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over to soften. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then heat slowly over medium-low heat until steaming, but DO NOT BOIL.

Meanwhile, shred cheese and pulse in a food processor with the salt. When the milk is hot, turn on the food processor and with the motor running, slowly pour the milk-gelatin mixture over the cheese and process until completely melted and very smooth, 30-60 seconds. Pour into prepared containers and chill for at least 1 hour. Keeps up to one week in the refrigerator.

 

Homemade Cheez Whiz - with all real food ingredients!

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This post may contain affiliate links, including those from Amazon.com, which means we earn a small commission off your purchases. And here's the thing: We only mention services and products that we think are truly worth your attention, whether they're free, paid, or otherwise. This site relies on YOUR trust, so if we don't stand behind a product 110%, it's not mentioned. Period.

Comments

  1. Wendy says

    So cool!! I love cheez whiz but refused to eat it once I started learning about the junk. Can these be frozen for later?

    • Kresha Faber says

      I haven’t tried freezing them, but it *might* work. My only hesitation is due to the milk – the texture might crystallize during freezing and not be very smooth when thawed. But again, I haven’t tried it! Maybe make a batch and freeze just a small portion of it to see if it works for your purposes?

      Good luck – and enjoy!

  2. Glynis says

    I vowed never to buy cheez whiz for my family, so my kids don’t even know what it is! But now if I could make my own, I’d be happy to feed them celery and “cheez whiz” just like I grew up with ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks. Can’t wait to try it.

    • Kresha Faber says

      Totally the same with my kids! They don’t know what Cheez Whiz is, but they sure love this squeeze cheese nonetheless. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I hope your kids love it as much as mine do!

  3. Mandy says

    Does the “velveeta” recipe make the equivalent of a 1 lb brick of the store bought stuff, 2 lb, or something else?

  4. says

    I’m so excited to find this!!! Velveeta has been one of my naughty vices since going “real food”, although I haven’t bought it in ages because it’s so expensive. Can this be made without a food processor? Like with an immersion blender, perhaps?

    • Kresha Faber says

      Hmm…. well, the problem with an immersion blender is that the mixture needs to be churning while the cheese melts, although I suppose if you heated the milk in a large saucepan, then added the cheese to the milk IN the pan while it melted, then blended with the immersion blender, it MIGHT work. The only issue I can think of is that the mixture is fairly thick, which is why I don’t recommend a stand blender. Perhaps try it with the Cheez Whiz recipe first, where there’s more liquid and see if you like the result, then try the Velveeta?

      Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Caren says

      I used a blender to make this and it worked just fine (a very cheap, old blender). You do have to work quickly as the milk cools quite fast but the cheese came out smooth and delicious.

    • Kresha Faber says

      Y’know, I haven’t tried it, but that MIGHT work. I suspect you might have to pressure can it like you do when you can meat products due to the pH, but I’ve never done it and I’m far from a canning expert.

      Anyone else care to chime in?

      Thanks for a great question.

  5. Emily smith says

    I LOVE you for this! Just made some “Cheez Whiz” for taco salad, because that’s what we always had on it growing up and it’s just not the same without it! I haven’t allowed myself to buy any for about a year (and rarely before that) because it’s trash and so expensive!! Making this I assumed it’d be good, and worth a try, but wouldn’t really taste like the jar. IT IS SO MUCH BETTER!! Wasn’t very thick right away, but I’m eating my taco salad with it anyway. Hoping it firms up nice in the fridge and we can use it for soft pretzels. Thanks so much for this awesome recipe!!

    • Kresha Faber says

      You’re so welcome! And if it doesn’t firm up like you like, just add a bit more gelatin next time. I find that my favorite for dipping for nachos is slightly more gelatin than the Cheez Whiz recipe but less than the Velveeta recipe. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Mmmm… now makes me want to go make some soft pretzels… ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Kresha Faber says

      No, what you have is collagen hydrolysate – an excellent way to get collagen in your diet and very similar to gelatin, but it is made in such a way that it won’t thicken liquids. That way you can stir it into smoothies or your coffee and not end up with jello. But for cheez whiz and velveeta, you’ll need the red can.

  6. Sandy says

    Wow this turned out nice, I made the Velveeta one. Next I want to make the Cheese Whiz.
    My only problem was I didn’t want the milk to boil and it was steaming but it didn’t totally mix in with the cheese cause it got cold. I don’t care though…it will melt anyway in foods.

    Thank you for the recipe….even the hubby thought it was really good and he is a velveeta mac & cheese fan

  7. Nancy says

    Hi there, I live in a country where you can’t get velveeta and I’ve tried making queso many times with different cheeses, but the consistency is always too stringy. Is the gelatin what softens it? Also do you need to chill, or can you eat directly (without it being stringy?) Thanks a bunch!

    • Kresha Faber says

      I’m not entirely sure I understand what you mean by “stringy,” but this cheese has always been pretty smooth for me, and yes, it’s due to the gelatin. You don’t need to chill it (although it should be stored in the refrigerator), although it will firm up a bit while it sits at room temperature. If you want to keep it runny or super-soft, you’ll have to keep it a bit warm. But warm queso dip is yummy too!

      Does that help at all?

      • nancy says

        Thanks for responding! Yes, it does help. By stringy, I mean, even when it’s hot, it doesn’t melt right, and the cheese separates into strings instead of being gooey, no matter how much milk I add. I’ve only been able to achieve gooey texture with velveeta, unfortunately, but I’ll try out your recipe and see how it goes. Thanks again

  8. kevin says

    first of all, this is a terrific website that ive been looking for everywhere ! love the recipes u’ve shared. i have several questions if you dont mind ! ๐Ÿ˜€

    iam heavily interested with the cheeze whiz, however, if you put it inside the bottle, will it still goes out smoothly ? because in my experienced, i tried making cheese sauce before, and it got hardened and cracked all over the cheese sauce only in about an hour.

    and for the second one, will the velveeta cheese melts as quick as it should be ? because im trying to make a cheese steak, and im not sure either to use your velveeta or cheeze whiz recipe, but im sure i have to reheat both cheese on top of the meat and im not sure if velveeta can melt quickly on the meat…

    and whats the difference on using heavy cream and not using it ?

    iam really thankful if you reply this <3

    • Kresha Faber says

      Thanks! I hope you continue to find the site useful. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yes, the Cheese Whiz recipe is specifically designed to be able to put in a bottle and stay both soft and squeezeable. The gelatin is what keeps it from hardening, separating, or breaking like other cheese sauces.

      I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “quick as should be,” but in my experience, this homemade Velveeta melts as quickly as the store-bought variety, so you should be able to use them interchangeably.

      The heavy cream in the Velveeta recipe is merely for mouthfeel and a slight bit of thickening and body in the cheese block, but it doesn’t affect the performance of the Velveeta at all.

      Does that help?

      Enjoy your cheesesteak! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Kresha Faber says

      Hmmm…. that’s an interesting idea. I haven’t tried it, but as long as the soup stays warm, I would imagine it would work quite well. Again, I haven’t tried it, so I’m not entirely sure, but that’s the closest “real food” substitute I’ve seen for canned cheddar cheese soup! Brilliant. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. kevin says

    your cheez whiz recipe is EPIC ! i tried it and it turns out smooth and fantastico ! love it, thanks a lot ! however i do have an issue though,, why is it kinda white and pale..
    iknow im using cheddar cheese but urs turns out to be attractive yellow ! in my country, only cheddar cheese is available.. is there any way for me to make it as attractive as yours ? thanks !

    • Kresha Faber says

      Well, the pictures above were taken using cheddar cheese, and the color will just be according to however much coloring is used by your brand of cheese. Cheddar is naturally white, but cheese companies have made it “normal” to color it orange and each brand does it differently. If you really want to deepen the color, try adding a few drops of carrot juice (which you would have to make using a juicer or high speed blender) or turmeric for a more yellow hue. If you’ve got annatto at your local health food store, you could crumble a bit of that in, but it can affect flavor more easily than the others if you add too much.

      So, there are a few ideas! I hope they help. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • kevin says

        so it would be better to add carrot juice, or tumeric powder right ? how many drops/dashes should i use for your recipe so that it wouldnt destroy the flavor ?
        thanks a lot for responding <3

        • Kresha Faber says

          Yes, carrot juice, turmeric powder, or fresh juiced turmeric root – any of them should work. And it all depends on the color your cheese starts at and what color you desire. I would juice one large carrot, which will give you 1-2 ounces juice, then while the motor is running with the cheez whiz, slowly dribble about 1 ounce of carrot juice in and see if you like the color. If not, turn the motor off and taste it to see if you can taste the carrot. If not, add more carrot juice. If yes, add a teaspoon of turmeric power or half an ounce or so of turmeric juice.

          So, as you can see, it’s just a matter of your starting color, your desired color, and your vegetables on hand. For example, typically farm-fresh carrots will have both stronger flavor and brighter color, whereas conventional carrots or even organic carrots that have been in a cooler for a couple of months will be more neutral in flavor, so just use what you have and make it the way you want! ๐Ÿ™‚

          Have fun!

          • kevin says

            hey im just curious, its just that i can only find tumeric powder as seasoning.. should i use that or not ? since it smells so bad and i think it will ruin the taste..
            or theres specific tumeric powder that can be used as coloring ?
            thx..

          • Kresha Faber says

            The turmeric powder you have as a seasoning is one and the same as the one you would use for coloring. I agree the smell of the powder (especially if it’s old) can be a bit overwhelming, but a little bit goes a long way and it’s used by MANY food manufacturers for exactly this purpose, so use just a tiny bit and see if you like it. Next time you can decide whether to use more, less, or skip it.

            Good luck!

    • Kresha Faber says

      I haven’t tried it, but the beauty about gelatin is that it will gel *almost* anything, so I would think that it would firm up just fine. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not sure the flavor would be quite right, though. However, if you’re needing to avoid milk, then those would be the closest substitutes, so by all means, go for it!

  10. Cody Evans says

    If I want to use the Whiz for pouring over nachos, should I just skip the chilling part and only let it cool slightly before pouring it on and eating? Thanks again for helping us find a healthier way to enjoy some old classics!

    • Kresha Faber says

      Yes, that would be a great way to make nachos – and it’s easier too! (Compared to chilling it, then reheating it to make it pourable…) ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Cody E says

    I made the velveeta and then tried to make velveeta/Ro-tel dip like I would with the store bought Velveeta. After much microwaving and stirring I ended up with a clumpy, stringy glob. I couldn’t get it to mix. Should I avoid the microwave and heat it more gently on the stove? What should I do? I used cheddar by the way.

    • Kresha Faber says

      Oh, shoot! That’s always frustrating! Yes, avoid the microwave, as once gelatin boils (or get zapped, in this case), the proteins get all scrambled and they create a mess, as you experienced. Even on the stove, anything with gelatin should be kept well below a simmer – just to steaming is sufficient.

      To make a Ro-Tel dip, I would make the Cheez Whiz recipe, then over low to medium-low heat on the stovetop, stir in all the other ingredients and heat it until it’s the temperature you like for serving.

      I hope that helps!

  12. Rob says

    Thanks so much for the Cheez Whiz recipe. For dinner tonight I made up a quasi=steak & cheese concoction with some beef leftovers but it was missing the cheez whiz. Looking for a homemade recipe I quickly found your site and was one click away from ordering the Great Lakes Gelatin from Amazon when I asked my wife if she ever heard of it. She went immediately to our pantry and pulled out a nearly full can of the stuff. We also had some of the squeeze bottles on hand. I had a batch done in 10 minutes (including cleanup) and it is chilling in the fridge as I type.

  13. Durga says

    Hi Kresha,

    Was wondering if there was a substitute for the gelatine in the recipe as I’m pure vegetarian
    and don’t eat gelatine.
    The recipe sounds awesome and would like to try it with a substitute.

    The site is wonderful. Loved the fermented section and am looking forward to your reply.
    Thanks.
    Durga.

    • Kresha Faber says

      Well, I’ve never tried it with vegan jel or agar agar, but those would be the typical vegetarian substitutes.

      I’ve heard good things about this gelatin alternative from Mary Jane Butters: http://shop.maryjanesfarm.org/ChillOver-Powder Again, I haven’t tried it, so I’m not sure it would work with the cheese in the same way the gelatin does, but it’s certainly a viable contender! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Good luck.

  14. jessica says

    Soo…can anyone tell me what happens if the milk accidentally boils? I use ceramic pots and pans, which heat and cool a lot slower. I’m wondering if I’ll completely ruin either of these recipes if the milk boils for a few seconds.
    I want to make a healthier version of apples & cheese and have figured out how to sub everything except velveeta. Also, I’m wondering if I should bother with the Velveeta and just make the Whiz, as the apples & cheese bake in the oven and the Velveeta will just melt anyways.

    • Kresha Faber says

      So, to answer your second question first, yes, I think you’ve got a great idea: just use the Cheez Whiz recipe – it’s simpler!

      And as for boiling, if the milk DOES boil, the recipe won’t be ruined flavor-wise, but the texture may be wacky. It will either keep the gelatin from gelling (which is most common) or make it clump up a bit. Basically, you just need to get it warm enough to melt the cheese when you pour it in the food processor, so keep a close eye on it and pull it off early if necessary. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I hope that helps! And enjoy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Angela says

    To quote the old Velveeta commercials–
    Velveeta Cheese! Colby, Swiss and Cheddar! Nothing more! Nothing better!

    • Kresha Faber says

      Goodness! You’re certainly welcome to make the cheese first, if you so prefer. Cheddar is not difficult, but takes awhile. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Heidi Bandulet says

    I tried the cheez whiz recipe using a 9 cup food processor and it came out perfect! It can’t be easier. I’m so glad I can once more indulge in such a childhood comfort food and share it with my kids. I have yet to try it using agar powder for a vegetarian recipe. When I do, I’ll report back. Thanks!

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