What is Cheez Whiz?

Cheez Whiz is a processed cheese sauce or spread produced by the major food manufacturer Kraft Foods. It has an orange color and a mild, tangy flavor. Cheez Whiz was first sold in 1952 and continues to be popular today, over 70 years later.

What is Cheez Whiz

Cheez Whiz was developed by a team of Kraft's food scientists in the early 1950s, led by Edwin Traisman. Traisman later went on to develop the flash freezing process for McDonald's French fries.

Kraft wanted to create an easy-to-use cheese sauce that could mimic the texture of the sauce used in Welsh rarebit, a popular dish in Britain made with melted cheese sauce poured over toast. They marketed it as a convenient shortcut for making Welsh rarebit at home.

Cheez Whiz was first released in Britain in 1952 before launching in the United States in 1953, where it also became widely popular. It is now sold in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, and Venezuela.

Cheez Whiz Ingredients

The original 1950s formula for Cheez Whiz contained a significant amount of real cheese. However, over the years the recipe has evolved.

Today's version contains whey, milk, canola oil, milk protein concentrate, and other milk byproducts instead of cheese.

The full ingredient list is:

  • Whey
  • Milk
  • Canola oil
  • Maltodextrin
  • Milk protein concentrate
  • Sodium phosphate
  • Contains less than 2% of modified food starch, salt, lactic acid, whey protein concentrate, mustard flour, Worcestershire sauce (vinegar, molasses, corn syrup, water, salt, caramel color, garlic powder, sugar, spices which contains celery), sodium alginate, sorbic acid as a preservative, color added, cheese culture, enzymes, natural flavor

So while Cheez Whiz includes some dairy-derived components like whey and milk, it no longer contains real natural cheese. The FDA categorizes it as a "processed cheese product."

Uses of Cheez Whiz

The unique smooth, creamy texture and mild tangy cheddar-like flavor of Cheez Whiz makes it a popular choice as either an ingredient or topping for various dishes:

  • Cheesesteaks: Cheez Whiz can often be found drizzled over Philly cheesesteak sandwiches
  • Nachos: It's commonly used a dipping sauce or topping for nachos along with spicy taco meat, beans, etc. The fast-melting capability makes it an ideal nacho cheese.
  • Hot Dogs: Hot dogs with Cheez Whiz topping is a popular easy meal
  • Casseroles or Mac & Cheese: Cheez Whiz makes a convenient substitute for cheddar cheese sauce from scratch in comforting casserole dishes
  • Dips for snacks: Many people use Cheez Whiz as a dip for pretzels, potato chips or veggie sticks for parties or game day spreads

So while it may have some dubious ingredients, Cheez Whiz remains a beloved sauce for providing quick melted cheesy flavor to various dishes and snacks.

Key Takeaway: Thanks to its smooth, creamy texture and tangy cheddar-like taste, Cheez Whiz is often used as either an ingredient or topping to add fast melted cheesy richness to food like cheesesteaks, nachos, hot dogs, casseroles, and dipping sauces.

Nutrition Facts of Cheez Whiz

Given that it's a highly processed food product, one may wonder - is Cheez Whiz healthy?

Let's look at the nutrition facts per 2 tablespoon (33 gram) serving of original Cheez Whiz:

  • 80 calories
  • 3g sugars
  • 5g fat (1g saturated)
  • 410mg sodium (27% DV)
  • 5mg cholesterol

So a couple of key downsides from a health perspective:

  • High in sodium: With 410mg or 27% the daily recommended amount of sodium per small 2 tbsp portion, eating a larger serving of Cheez Whiz contributes excessive amounts of dietary sodium for most people
  • Saturated fat & cholesterol: It provides a moderate quantity of cholesterol and saturated per serving. People with high cholesterol should avoid eating large amounts.

On the other hand, a small serving of Cheez Whiz can fit into a balanced diet, especially for people without high blood pressure or cholesterol issues. Enjoying it occasionally is fine for most healthy individuals. It can provide a fun, nostalgic food experience.

Just be mindful of portion sizes since overindulging in any highly processed food too frequently isn't recommended. Apply the once in a while treat rule for good health.

Storage and Expiration

Knowing proper storage methods helps extend the shelf life and reduce food waste. So how long does an unopened jar of Cheez Whiz last? And what about after opening?

Here are some Cheez Whiz storage tips:

  • Unopened: 6 to 9 months from the "best by" date printed on label when stored properly
  • After opening: Consume within 2 weeks
  • Refrigerate after opening: Keeps for up to 3 months
  • Freezing: Can help shelf life last even longer - up to 6 months frozen though texture may change with thawing

And it's easy to recognize when Cheez Whiz has gone bad via:

  • Smell: Unpleasant or sour smell means its spoiled
  • Appearance: Mold, unusual color changes, watery or lumpy texture signals it should be discarded

Being aware of storage methods and signs of spoilage allows you to avoid wasting Cheez Whiz that's still safe and tasty to eat.

Varieties of Cheez Whiz

Beyond the familiar traditional Original Cheez Whiz found in most grocery stores, Kraft Foods has introduced a number of additional flavors and varieties over the years:

  • Cheez Whiz Light
  • Cheez Whiz Tex Mex
  • Salsa Con Queso
  • Cheez Whiz Italia
  • Cheez Whiz Bacon
  • Cheez Whiz Pimento

So spice lovers can enjoy zesty flavors like Tex Mex or salsa con queso Cheez Whiz. And it's possible to find more unique tastes like Cheez Whiz Italia or Cheez Whiz bacon. There are plenty of options for every palate preference.

The various flavors can make Cheez Whiz even more versatile in recipes calling for a quick easy cheese sauce with a twist.

Is Cheez Whiz Real Cheese?

This is a controversial question that often gets debated. Technically, Cheez Whiz is not a real cheese since it contains no actual cheese ingredients, just milk byproducts like whey and milk protein concentrates.

However, it does deliver the classic melted cheese sauce experience that many people love on dishes like nachos, cheesesteaks, etc. So while it may not meet the strict cheese purist definition, Cheez Whiz still satisfies cheesy cravings thanks to its velvety, tangy cheddar-esque flavor.

At the end of the day, does it really matter whether this iconic comfort food is "real" cheese or not? What matters most is enjoying foods you love in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet.


Is Cheez Whiz made with real cheese?

No. Originally Cheez Whiz contained real cheese, but today's version uses whey, milk byproducts and other dairy-derived ingredients instead of actual cheese.

What's the best way to melt Cheez Whiz?

Cheez Whiz melts easily without separating. To maintain best texture, avoid boiling. Instead, gently heat while stirring over low heat until smooth consistency is reached or microwave.

Can you freeze Cheez Whiz?

Yes. Freezing extended shelf life up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Is Cheez Whiz gluten-free?

Yes, Cheez Whiz doesn't contain any gluten ingredients. But those with celiac should still check labels for potential cross-contamination.

Can pregnant women eat Cheez Whiz?

Occasional small servings should be fine but pregnant women would want to limit Cheez Whiz and other processed foods high in sodium. Consult doctor with any diet concerns.


Cheez Whiz holds a special place as an iconic American original that's graced everything from cheesesteaks to home cook casserole creations for over 70 years now.

Its popularity endures today despite some dubious processed ingredients because that distinct zingy orange cheesy goodness offers a mouthwatering flavor in such an incredibly quick and convenient way.

Thanks to its versatility to make numerous dishes instantly more craveable, Cheez Whiz will likely continue melting its way into our hearts for decades yet to come.

AGAH Productions
AGAH Productions