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American cheese is prepared from a mixture of milk, milk fat, and solids, with other fats and whey protein.

A type of processed cheese made from cheddar, Colby, or comparable cheeses is modern American cheese. With a creamy and salty taste, it is mild, has a medium-firm consistency, and has a low melting point.

It can be yellow or white. Annatto is with yellow American cheese and colored.

American Singles

Sometimes it is called “American slices” or “American singles” instead of the word cheese. In the US, it is a kind of pasteurize processed cheese, according to the Code of Federal Regulations.

The taste and texture of American cheese will differ based on the percentage of cheese versus additives. Also, as determined by the food producer, the color can change from orange, yellow to white.

Sliced American Cheese placed on a wooden board

Processed American cheese has three types. They are individually folded cheese slices, tiny pre-sliced blocks, and large blocks. Block cheese variety was the only one available before cheese slices came. It is, thus, often called classic or traditional American cheese.

Although criticized for its high fat and sodium content, it is still used in daily cooking. Hence, it melts well and contains a large amount of calcium and protein.

It is a processed cheese, which suggests that it is a cheese that starts as another cheese that has already been made. It is then further more smooth.

What I didn’t know, though, is that this is how it was historically made, generally starting with Colby or Cheddar. It normally doesn’t even start with real cheese now. Things such as milk, whey, milk fat, milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, and salt are in the ingredient list.

Nutritional Content

It has a laundry list of the ingredients you need to decode.

  • Cheddar cheese (milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes)
  • Whey
  • Water
  • Protein concentrate
  • Sodium citrate
  • Calcium phosphate
  • Milk fat
  • Gelatin
  • Salt
  • Sodium phosphate
  • Lactic acid as a preservative
  • Annatto
  • Paprika extract (color)
  • Enzymes
  • Vitamin A palmitate
  • Cheese culture
  • Vitamin D3

American cheese is not considered a genuine cheese, either. “pasteurized cheese product. So, there’s an official cheese designation lacking.

Serving Size28g
Total Fats7.3g (11% of Daily Value)
Saturated Fats4.3g (21% of Daily Value)
Trans Fats0.3g
Cholesterol27.8mg (9% of Daily Value)
Sodium364.7mg (15% of Daily Value)
Total Carbs2.4g (1% of Daily Value)
Dietary Fiber0g (0% of Daily Value)
Total Sugars1.6g (3% of Daily Value)
Added Sugars~%
Protein4.8g (10% of Daily Value)

Best for Grilling

It is the resounding winner of melty cheeses. When melted, it refuses to detach, allowing for a delicious pool of cheese on top of cheeseburgers. When you make a grilled cheese sandwich and have cheese oozing out the sides as you break it into half (diagonally, of course).

Does Mcdonald’s Serves American Cheese?

Technically, Mcdonald’s doesn’t serve their American cheeseburgers with cheese. They are serving a “cheesy substance” made of cheese and other ingredients. Just 60 percent cheese and 40 percent fillers are included. It is officially referred to as a pasteurized cheese food product (cheese product) like Velveeta or Kraft singles.

Melting Cheese in a Yummy Juicy Burger

Mcdonald’s uses a special edition designed for them (presumably to lower their costs).

The cheese used in its cheeseburger has around 60 percent natural cheese. A combination is 51 percent cheddar and 9 percent other cheese, according to McDonald’s. The remaining 40 percent are other ingredients.

History of American Cheese

British colonists developed cheddar cheese soon after they arrived in North America. The imitation Cheddar Yankee, or American, although it is known as yellow or store cheese.

Instead of the traditional but more costly cheddars also made and sold in the United States. The word American cheese soon started to refer to the processed variety.

Homemade American Cheese


  • One and a half teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 12 oz Colby cheese (About 3 cups)
  • 1 tbsp whole milk dry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • Half cup whole milk


  1. Cover a disposable 5×4 inch aluminum loaf pan with plastic wrap, using enough to hang the excess over the edges.
  2. Sprinkle the gelatin in a small cup over the water and let it sit for about 5 minutes before the gelatin softens.
  3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, add the shredded cheese, dry milk powder, salt, and tartar cream together. Do this until 3 pulses are combined.
  4. In a tiny saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Remove the heat. Whisk in the softened gelatin immediately until the mixture is full and smooth.
  5. Switch on the food processor so that it works. Then add the hot milk mixture to the cheese mixture slowly until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl down.
  6. Move the cheese to the prepared pan immediately. Working quickly, to remove most air pockets, pack the cheese tightly into the loaf pan, then smooth the surface.
  7. Tightly fold the overhanging plastic against the cheese surface and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  8. The cheese has added 1 month in the refrigerator, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

Types of American Cheese

There are many types of cheese available

Buttermilk Blue

It is an American blue cheese that comes from Wisconsin. The cheese is made from Jersey and Holstein cows with raw milk. It is aged for a minimum of 2 months in cellars. This results in a creamy and crumbly texture, fresh and mellow aromas, and tangy and piquant flavors.


It is a cheese from pasteurized cow’s milk. It is a combination various cheeses such as Cheddar, Provolone, and Swiss cheese. Its texture, though the flavors are buttery and mildly spicy, supple, smooth, and gooey.

Different types of American Cheese

Cup Cheese

This is a cheese made from the raw milk of a cow. It comes from Pennsylvania, where it has been developed for centuries by the Amish and Mennonites. It has a soft texture that is comparable to molasses, and its flavors are strong and sour.


It is an American replica of the popular cheese from Munster, traditionally made in France. This one is from pasteurized cow’s milk. The texture is smooth, supple, and elastic under its orange rind.


It can no longer be legally referred to as “cheese” because blended cheeses are no longer used. It must be branded as processed cheese, cheese products, etc.

Common Questions

Is American cheese real cheese?

Oh, it’s not cheese, as you may have guessed, at least not legally. The FDA calls it a pasteurized processed American cheese product. It needs to be more than half cheese for a food product to be a genuine cheese.

What is American cheese called in Canada?

In Canada, there is no such thing as cheese. The normal option is Cheddar. You should also ask for processed cheese if you want Kraft Singles.

Is there plastic in cheese?

One audience was inspired to wonder if this is why “cancer is on the rise.” Another wondered why Kraft puts plastic in its cheese. No, the plastic isn’t there.

Is American cheese the same as Velveeta?

Velveeta is the brand name for a processed cheese product with a softer and smoother texture. It tastes like an American cheese than a non-processed cheese.

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