Today's Battle: AMERICAN CHEESE! (aka Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product... yum)




I know, I know...


It's not real cheese...processed blah blah blah...preservatives blah blah blah...you only use cheese from French free roam, high IQ cows blah blah blah... but over 40 percent of American homes buy Kraft singles, and that doesn't count other brands.

And yes... there are lots of great natural cheeses out there, but American cheese has its place, and that place is anywhere you need a comforting, creamy, silky melted cheese..uh..pasteurized prepared cheese product (PPCP). American cheese is perfect for a gooey Grilled cheese sandwich, melty goodness on your hamburger, creamy homemade mac n cheese...not to mention nachos and dips. Natural cheeses just don't melt the same way.

So, let's find which is the best buy for our hard-earned dollar.

Tale of the Tape


Kraft Singles... 16 slices / $3.28 / 27.3 cents per oz

Velveeta.........16 slices / $2.68 / 22.3 cents per oz

Great Value.....16 slices/ $1.48 /12.3 cents per oz


What I saw


All three are pretty similar in looks, with the exception of Kraft having a pinch more fake orange color.

The wrappers, at least today, all worked like they should. I would note that I buy Great Value often and have had occasional issues getting the chee..uh..PPCP out of the wrapper. Like getting cheez whiz out of a baggie.

The Kraft slices are the sturdiest. not nearly as floppy, making me wonder if it may be a little less melty.


And In Steps The Champ...





I was kinda surprised how little name-brand competition Kraft Singles has. Other than store brands, Velveeta was the only other easily available brand.

Am I the only one that will sometimes eat a slice of PPCP straight outta the wrapper?

Well, that's how I started the testing.

The Kraft wasn't especially good at first taste. It begins with a flavorless plastic-y feel, but after a second, it begins to melt in your mouth to a creamy, but slightly clumpy texture. The flavor is good.

I did a melt test on all 3 brands by putting each in a 250-degree pan and watching what happened. I was surprised, given the solidity of this slice, to see that at 20 seconds it was the only slice with any signs of melting. Although at 40 seconds, it was pretty much melted, I thought it still had a little bit of a plastic feel and a bit less flavor compared to the other two.


Always a Fighter...


Great Value always seems like a good choice to save some money. ( Jams excluded!)

Taking a bite, this slice has instant taste and begins melting immediately. It melts very smoothly and evenly, to the point of being a little sticky on the roof of your mouth.

I thought if I could throw any of these not-cheeses at my ceiling needing one to stick...I'd pick GV.

I tried all three. None did. : (

In the melt test, GV apparently is made of whatever they make welders gloves from. It showed no visible signs of melting, and after 1 minute in a 250-degree pan, I could still pick up the slightly melted slice.

When I tasted the semi-melted CCAP, it was surprisingly creamy, but holding its shape somehow. The flavor and texture were both nice, better than Kraft, I thought.

I make grilled cheese sandwiches with this brand fairly often, and they are delicious, but I wonder how it would do where a smoother, more saucy feel is needed, like mac n cheese or queso dip.


Velveeta Ooozes in to the Ring...


Eating Velveeta right from the wrapper, it immediately begins to melt in your mouth and has a full sharp flavor. It melts evenly to a velvet-smooth texture. It has a slightly different flavor than the other two, but not as much as you might think.

In the melt test, it melted pretty rapidly in the 250-degree pan and at 40 seconds was a pool of gooey cheese lava. I can understand why it's a favorite for making mac n cheese.

Another plus for Velveeta, it has 40 calories per slice, compared to 60 for the other two.


And The Winner Is...


Actually, I'll start with the loser.

Kraft Singles to my taste, has a bit less flavor than the other two and has a more plastic texture. Add to that, that it's more expensive than the other two ( twice as much as Great Value! ) and it's an easy choice to be the first eliminated.

After that, it gets tougher.

Cost aside, I think Velveeta wins. And, it's 1/3 less calories. But, it's also nearly double the cost of Great Value.

I think for my kitchen, I'll award a very narrow victory to Great Value. It works great for grilled cheese and adds just the right amount of smoosh to burgers.

But...if I have mac n cheese in my menu planning , I would welcome the excuse to spend more for Velveeta.


Next up : I'm thinking spaghetti sauces, or BBQ sauce. Tell me in the comments what you'd like to see!



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