Velveeta is a pasteurized cheese product used in many recipes from macaroni & cheese to queso dip. This iconic American cheese product is made by Kraft Foods, but is Velveeta gluten-free? Let's find out!
What is Velveeta Cheese?
Similar to American Cheese, Velveeta cheese is a processed cheese product that melts with a smooth consistency. It's melting capabilities make it great for nachos, casseroles, or even fudge.
Kraft's "liquid gold" cheese product gained popularity as far back as the 1930's, when the company touted Velveeta for its nutritional value. Since then it has remained popular for its convenience, superior melt-ability, and maybe a bit of nostalgia.
Ingredients in Velveeta
Velveeta makes several versions of its shelf-stable cheese products. The ingredients in Original Velveeta are as follows:
Skim Milk, Milk, Canola Oil, Milk Protein Concentrate, Sodium Phosphate, Contains Less Than 2% of Modified Food Starch, Whey Protein Concentrate, Maltodextrin, Whey, Salt, Calcium Phosphate, Lactic Acid, Sorbic Acid as a preservative, Milkfat Sodium Alginate, Sodium Citrate, Enzymes, Apocarotenal, and Annatto (Color), Cheese Culture, Vitamin A Palmitate Contains: Milk
Velveeta primarily consists of milk, oil, and thickening agents. At first glance, there are a few possible ingredients that some might be wary of, like modified food starch or maltodextrin, but generally speaking, none of these ingredients are derived from or likely to contain gluten.
Is Velveeta Gluten-Free?
While Kraft does not label this product with a gluten-free claim, Velveeta is considered by most to be gluten-free. It does not contain gluten ingredients, nor does it have a source of gluten listed in the ingredient statement. It is considered safe to consume for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
As far as gluten-free labeling, Velveeta is not specifically labeled gluten-free nor is it certified gluten-free. The Kraft-Heinz company is not currently validating this product through their own internal testing, nor through external validation methods.
Is Velveeta Safe for Celiacs?
Yes, considering there is no gluten or gluten-containing ingredients found in Velveeta cheese, this product is considered safe to consume for someone with Celiac Disease.
Persons with Celiac Disease have an autoimmune reaction to the gluten protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Currently, the label does not indicate any of these ingredients are in Velveeta cheese.
Are Other Velveeta Products Gluten-Free?
Velveeta carries more than just their famous blocks of cheese. From cheese sauce and shreds to dinner kits, find out which products are gluten-free below.
Is Velveeta Cheese Sauce Gluten-Free?
Yes, as with Velveeta cheese, Velveeta cheese sauce does not contain gluten ingredients. It is considered free of gluten and is considered safe to consume on a gluten-free diet.
The ingredients in Velveeta cheese sauce are as follows:
Whey, Milk, Canola Oil. Whey Protein Concentrate, Milk Protein Concentrate, Contains Less Than 2% Of Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Potassium Phosphate. Modified Food Starch. Lactic Acid, Sodium Alginate, Sorbic Acid As A Preservative, Paprika And Annatto Extract (Color), Milkfat, Cheese Culture, Natural Flavor, Enzymes, Contains: Milk.
Kraft also make Cheez Whiz cheese sauce, which is can also be considered gluten-free.
Are Velveeta Cheese Slices Gluten-Free?
Yes, velveeta cheese slices are also free of gluten ingredients. It is considered free of gluten and is considered safe to consume on a gluten-free diet.
Are Velveeta Cheese Shreds Gluten-Free?
Yes, Velveeta cheese shreds are gluten-free. The shreds contain Velveeta cheese, cellulose powder, and potato starch to prevent caking.
Contrary to some opinions, cellulose powder and other anti-caking agents added to shredded cheeses are considered gluten-free.
Are Velveeta Shells & Cheese Gluten-Free?
No, Velveeta shells and cheese are not gluten-free. The pasta included contains wheat.
Are Velveeta Cheesy Potatoes Gluten-Free?
No, this product is not gluten-free. The seasoning used in Velveeta cheesy potatoes contains wheat flour.
Are Velveeta Skillets One Pan Dinner Kits Gluten-Free?
No, this product is not gluten-free. The Velveeta skillets dinner kits all contain wheat flour.
Does Kraft Label for Gluten?
Yes. According to Kraft's FAQ page:
- Kraft advises that they label their products in accordance with the FDA.
- They will label for all sources of gluten.
- If gluten is added to the product, it will be listed in the Ingredient Statement.
Kraft elaborates on their gluten policies to add:
- Food starch and modified food starch listed in the ingredient statements of Kraft Heinz’s products often refer to corn starch.
- If a Kraft Heinz’s product uses food starches from a gluten-containing source, such as wheat starch, the source is always identified in the ingredient statement.
- A gluten-containing grain as a direct ingredient will list the grain using commonly known terms such as “wheat, barley, rye and/or oats.”
- A source of gluten as a component of another ingredient, such as flavors or modified food starch, will list the grain in parentheses after the ingredient in the ingredient line. For example, “natural flavor (contains rye).”
- Only certain Kraft Heinz products are labeled with a gluten-free claim on the front of the package. These products have been tested and validated to contain less than 20 ppm gluten. Other products do not have gluten ingredients, but unless the product has been validated through testing, Kraft does not label the finished product as gluten-free.
Please note: The Kraft-Heinz company advises those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance to carefully read labels each time you purchase an item to obtain the most up to date and accurate ingredient information.
If you'd like to read more in-depth information about Kraft's labeling processes, you can read this article about Philadelphia cream cheese where I cover everything I could find out how Kraft labels their products.
Gluten-Free Velveeta Substitutes
While Velveeta is considered gluten-free and safe to consume, you may be seeking other alternatives for various reasons, like availability or cost. Here are some more gluten-free velveeta alternatives:
- Walmart's Great Value Brand Melt'n Dip Easy Melt Cheese has virtually the same ingredients and is labeled gluten-free.
- Aldi's Clancy's Brand Cheese Melt is labeled Naturally Gluten-Free.
- Most grocery stores carry their own private label version of velveeta, check the labels for gluten ingredients or a gluten-free claim.
The Answer and Bottom Line
While Velveeta cheese is not specifically labeled gluten-free, it is considered to be gluten-free and safe to consume for someone with Celiac disease or gluten intolerances.
Granted, there are people who will only trust products labeled gluten-free or whom do not trust processed foods or large companies. Even still, Kraft appears to take its labeling practices seriously and does label for any source of gluten in a product.
The responsibility is ultimately up to the consumer to read labels every time and make a determination for themselves about whether or not to consume Velveeta cheese products.
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Disclaimer: The information in this article is the personal opinion of the author and for educational purposes only. This is not medical or nutritional advice. Please consult a doctor or medical professional before making changes to your diet or regarding any health related decisions. Ingredient information was accurate at the time of posting but should always be verified by the consumer by checking the product ingredient label for the most up to date information.