When it comes to modern cuisine, there are few ingredients nicer and more delectable than Velveeta cheese – a commonly used ingredient in Italian cuisine, and other indulgent dishes from around the world.
However, as nice as this cheese can be, there is still a need to prepare it correctly – otherwise risking turning this dream food into a nightmare.
One of the best ways to melt it so that it is just right is in the microwave, where it can then be added to other dishes without it burning.
But what is the best way to do this, and what dishes could it be used for?
What Is Velveeta Cheese?
Velveeta is a brand of soft cheese developed in the United States in the mid to late 1910s by the Velveeta Cheese Company – a company that was eventually purchased by Kraft Foods Inc. in 1927.
Similar in taste and texture to ‘American cheese’, Velveeta is a popular favorite throughout the United States, and is a common item on numerous world dishes produced throughout the country – most notably in Italian and Mexican cuisine.
As one of the first cheeses to be granted the seal of approval by the American Medical Association, Velveeta went onto become a household name, with numerous different products bearing its distinctive brand name.
Is Velveeta ‘Real’ Cheese?
Despite being referred to as Velveeta cheese, it is not technically classified as a form of cheese in the eyes of the Federal Department of Agriculture, who instead classify it legally as a ‘pasteurized process cheese product’ – due to the fact that it is no longer made from real cheese, instead consisting predominantly of milk protein concentrate.
What Does It Taste Like?
Being similar in taste to American cheese, Velveeta is described as tasting mild and creamy, being a great middle of the road cheese product, and easily paired with numerous other flavors and cuisine styles.
This makes it a versatile ingredient for many dishes – both under the Kraft name and in cooking – as well as a firm favorite for many. As of the 21st century, Velveeta cheese continues to be sold in the United States, Canada, Panama, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and South Korea.
How To Microwave Velveeta Cheese
The most common way to prepare Velveeta cheese is to melt it in the microwave, after which it can then be poured atop another dish and browned in the oven. This might seem like a simple method, but a good outcome depends on certain steps being followed.
To begin, cut or shred the Velveeta cheese into smaller pieces. This will not only ensure the process is quicker and doesn’t take as long, but it will also ensure that there aren’t any thick lumps in the middle of the cheese.
The next step is to place the cheese in a microwave safe bowl or container. This will not only protect the cheese, but will also avoid mess, and damage to the microwave itself.
You should also cover the container with a lid or plate. This will stop the cheese from drying out in the microwave, and will help to keep it cheesy and moist. It will also avoid mess during the cooking process, and will save you having to clean the microwave later.
To begin with, microwave the cheese at 50% power for approximately 15 seconds – before stopping the microwave, removing the lid, and checking the condition of the cheese.
Continue to do this in short increments until you are satisfied with the cheese’s condition and temperature.
Once the cheese is cooked, remove it from the microwave and be sure to use it straight away – otherwise the cheese will quickly cool and become hard once more.
The cooling of the cheese can also cause it to become rubbery – something that will affect the taste of the cheese in general, and potentially ruin your meal.
What Additional Tips Are There?
As well as the above steps, there are some additional tips you could take note of to improve your dining experience – both during cooking and eating.
Add Milk Or Butter
Before putting the Velveeta cheese in the microwave, another tip is to add milk or butter before you turn it on. This can be good for keeping the cheese moist, and will stop it from drying out.
Adding milk or butter can also enhance the taste, allowing the salt from the butter to permeate the cheese and add more complexity to the flavor of the cheese.
Is It Safe To Melt Velveeta In A Microwave?
Not only is it perfectly safe to melt Velveeta cheese in the microwave, it is also a delicious addition to any dish once you have done so. However, there are some things you could watch out for to ensure you stay safe and enjoy your meal.
Microwave Safe Containers
First, you need to ensure you are melting your Velveeta in a microwave safe container. This will ensure that the cheese melts properly, and that nothing happens to the container or microwave during cooking.
Containers that are not microwave safe could potentially melt (if plastic), explode (if thin glass), and be very dangerous (if metallic), and as such, choosing the right kind is important.
Ensure Cheese Hasn’t Gone Bad
You also need to make sure that the Velveeta cheese itself is still in date and edible. If it is not, then you could potentially make yourself ill, or encourage more bacteria to grow in the microwave.
Signs that Velveeta has gone bad can be seen in the appearance of the cheese, the feel and texture of the cheese, and the smell that the cheese gives off. If something doesn’t seem right, then do not microwave it.
Check Expiration Dates
When consuming any dairy products, it is always important to check the expiration dates to see whether they are still considered edible or not. If the expiration date has expired, then be sure to throw it away instead of eating.
Use Short Increments
When microwaving it is also important to microwave in short increments, and to stir the cheese well in between each session.
This will ensure that the cheese cooks properly all the way through, and that it doesn’t explode or ‘pop’ in the microwave – creating a mess and potentially ruining your meal.
It also pays to be cautious when handling hot containers – especially those that contain cheese, which could scold your skin if it comes into contact with it.
This could cause serious burns and potentially life changing injuries – depending on the heat – so you should always be careful when removing it from the microwave.
How Long Does It Take?
Generally speaking, an average microwave should take between 2 and 3 minutes to melt shredded Velveeta cheese – making it a quick and easy method to achieve cheesy deliciousness.
Larger amounts of cheese, or indeed that which has not been shredded, will take longer to melt, and as such adjustments in timeframe will need to be made.
What Other Methods Are There?
Of course, using the microwave to melt Velveeta cheese doesn’t have to be your only option, and there are a couple of other methods you can try.
Melting On Stove
You could also achieve the same finish by melting on the stove – however this is a process that grants you less control, and can be more time consuming and involved than using the microwave.
The best way to do this is to keep the heat low, and add butter to the saucepan to stop the cheese from sticking to the bottom.
Melting In Slow Cooker
You could also melt the cheese in a slow cooker – although it is worth pointing out that this is a much more time consuming process, and one that creates undue mess and fuss for such a simple task.
However, if this is your only option, then be sure to combine the cheese, milk, and butter to the pot, on a medium heat – being sure to stir regularly to stop the cheese from congealing. This can be particularly good for making homemade fondue.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about Velveeta cheese, and the best ways to melt it in the microwave for cooking.
It’s true that Velveeta cheese has many uses in cooking and food, and that there are many different things you can add it to for a delicious meal. However, without the right preparation and methods, this culinary dream can soon become a nightmare.
So if you are intending to melt Velveeta cheese in the microwave, then be sure to follow this technique. Something tells me you won’t be disappointed!
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