Best American Cheese Substitutes

American Cheese Substitutes

​Let’s talk about American cheese.  I know there are some people out there…the cheese snobs…who are actually offended by it.  

They are the ones who say it’s not real cheese, it looks like plastic and they would never eat it.  

Me, on the other hand, embraces the processed cheese product we call American cheese.  

I like Land O’Lakes white American cheese sliced fresh at the deli counter and I like rubbery orange stuff wrapped in plastic known as Kraft singles.

I see its value and so do many millions of other people in the world.  There’s a reason why the most popular burgers in the world are topped with American cheese slices. 

American cheese is great for certain recipes.  A grilled cheese sandwich made with yellow American cheese and served with a bowl of tomato soup brings back fond memories to so many people in the United States. 

​Like I said above, nothing beats a cheeseburger topped with yellow cheese, ketchup and mustard.  

American cheese is usually put in a cheese sauce because it has a mild flavor, smooth texture and melts well. 

If for some reason you don’t have American cheese or just want to try something new with similar results, this article will give you some of the best substitutes.


What to look for in American cheese substitutes

There are plenty of options in the grocery stores that you can use in place of American cheese.  The best American cheese substitutes will have a mild flavor, smooth texture and low melting point.  

American cheese melts better than most other cheeses.

These are the characteristics that make American cheese great for burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches. 

The reason American cheese is so versatile is because it doesn’t overpower the recipes that it is used in.  It’s a mild cheese that works well in many dishes.  

The best American cheese substitutes will allow you to make your recipes without much difference in the flavor and texture you’re used to. 

​American Cheese Substitutes

American Cheese Substitutes - Block of cheese

Colby Cheese

Colby cheese is an orange cheese from Wisconsin.  It’s a mild cheese made from cow’s milk and is considered semi-hard.  It’s a good substitute for American cheese.

American Cheese Substitutes - Colby

Muenster Cheese

Muenster cheese is another type of cheese made in the United States. It has a soft texture and can be sliced and used the way you’d use American cheese.  When used in grilled cheese sandwiches and on burgers, it melts the way American cheese melts. 

American Cheese Substitutes - Muenster

Monterey Jack

Monterey Jack cheese originated in California and is a semi-hard cheese with mild taste.  It can be used in quesadillas and burritos, but also can be an excellent choice in grilled cheese sandwiches and on burgers. 

American Cheese Substitutes - Monterey Jack

Fontina Cheese

Fontina is an Italian cheese with a soft texture.  It melts nicely and can be slices and used in sandwiches and sauces.  When melted it has a creamy texture and is an excellent substitute for cheese sauces when you want a little more flavor.

American Cheese Substitutes - Fontina

Havarti Cheese

Havarti cheese is from Denmark and is a great substitute for American cheese when you want something to melt well and have a different flavor.

Provolone Cheese

Provolone cheese is Italian and is semi-hard.  It’s a good substitute for American cheese when you want to make a grilled cheese with a little bit of a sharp flavor. You will notice that the longer the provolone the aged, it gets a sharper flavor.

Cheez Whiz

Yes.  I said it.  The bright orange stuff that comes in a can makes a mean cheesesteak.  That’s what they do in Philadelphia and I didn’t want to believe it…but it’s good. It has a salty flavor that works well with the steak and grilled onions. 

Velveeta Cheese

This is another processed cheese that has similar characteristics to American cheese. It can be used in cheese sauces and queso dips.  It was developed in the United States during the early 1900s. 

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Cheese that Would Not Be Good American Cheese Substitutes

These types of cheese would not be good substitutes for American cheese, either because of texture or flavor.

​Fresh mozzarella is too soft and moist to use as an American cheese substitute. 

Oaxaca cheese is a Mexican cheese that is similar to mozzarella cheese.  It is a stringy cheese that is really good, but not a replacement for American cheese.

Any hard, dry and granular cheeses like parmesan and Romano.  These kinds of cheese don’t melt well and have a strong flavor.  An American cheese substitute should have a milder flavor. 

So here are some great American cheese substitutes.  But at the end of the day, nothing compares to a slice of American cheese on a burger.

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