The 10 Best Substitutes For American Cheese

What can I use instead of American Cheese? The best substitutes for American Cheese are Colby, Cheddar, Muenster, Velveeta, Cheese Whiz, Monterey Jack, Havarti, Swiss Cheese, Mozzarella, and Oaxaca. Sodium citrate can be added to wide cheese varieties to create melted recipes that require American Cheese.

Using American Cheese in dishes is often more about its texture than the taste. American Cheese is a processed product that can be white or orange. As most cheeses go, it has a mild flavor, but its popularity is in the way it melts and the delicious gooey texture.

The low melting point makes it a popular addition to burgers and is perfect for toasted sandwiches.

The Best American Cheese Substitutes

Colby Cheese

Colby was one of the original ingredients of American Cheese. A long time ago, scraps of cheese, including Colby, were added to the melting pot to blend into delicious creamy American Cheese.

Use Colby cheese exactly as you would American Cheese. It is a high-moisture cheese with a mild taste.

Despite having a firmer, springier texture to American Cheese, it melts well and can be used to make sauces and dips or added as slices on burgers.

Cheddar Cheese

American Cheese is a direct descendant of Cheddar. This delicious melty cheese originated when bits of Cheddar and other cheeses like Colby was blended with additives to create a desirable consistency.

The taste of Cheddar is similar, but it can be a little sharper than one would expect from American Cheese, which has taken on a far more diluted profile.

Cheddar on its own does not melt well, and you will need to add an emulsifier like sodium citrate when baking or when creating cheese sauces and dips. 

Many kinds of cheese instantly separate and turn into a rubbery layer covered in oil when heated, while American cheese retains its creamy consistency. The secret to its consistently melty, goo factor is the presence of sodium citrate.

It is a handy ingredient in the kitchen which allows you to use almost any cheese to create a curdle-free, runny sauce or dreamy mac and cheese base.

Slightly less Cheddar is required if the taste is the primary consideration when using it as a substitution for American Cheese. However, it is a popular, mild cheese, so it is usually used at a 1:1 ratio in dishes.

Muenster Cheese

The taste of Muenster is pretty similar to American cheese, but the texture gives it away. However, it melts well and delivers a soft, creamy result in baked items.

Muenster can also be used to create cheesy sauces for many dishes. So long as you add a suitable liquid and a dash of sodium citrate to prevent it from curdling, the resulting texture and flavor profile will be very close to American Cheese.

Muenster cheese can be used at a 1-to-1 ratio as a substitute for American Cheese.


For melted sauces and dishes like Mac and Cheese, Velveeta is an excellent substitute for American Cheese. The gooey processed cheese will deliver similar results with an almost identical texture profile.

Velveeta is definitely not for anyone looking for a healthier substitute for American Cheese – unfortunately, all the delicious creamy deliciousness is packed with additives.

Velveeta can be used instead of melted American Cheese at a ratio of 1 to 1.

Cheese Whiz

This is not the healthiest option, but if you need a quick, saucy, melty alternative to American Cheese, Cheese Whiz can be a delicious substitute.

Cheese Whiz is perfect as an alternative to American Cheese in dips and sauces. It can be used without stressing about the dreaded cheesy-oil separation that can happen when heating many other types of cheeses.

Use Cheese Whiz in the same ratio as you would American Cheese in dishes. A 16-ounce jar of Cheese Whiz equals 1¾ cups of melted American Cheese.

Monterey Jack

Monterey Jack, especially the high moisture kind, works well as a substitute for white American Cheese and delivers a similar taste and texture to recipes.

It is readily available and melts well, so it can be used to make creamy cheese sauces.

Monterey Jack can be used in equal amounts to the American Cheese required in a dish.


If you have run out of white American Cheese, try using Havarti cheese. It has a similar color and mild flavor that won’t stand out or overwhelm dishes where it is being used as a substitute.

The semi-soft texture provides a versatile option that can be used as it is in things like salads and sandwiches. It can also be melted to make sauces and fondues or to create creamy mac and cheese.

Havarti should be used at a 1-to-1 ratio in place of American Cheese.

Swiss Cheese

The familiar, soft texture and mild taste of Swiss Cheese can work well as a substitute when you don’t have American Cheese available.

The taste is slightly sweeter and more distinctively ‘cheesy’ than American Cheese but without being unpleasant or overwhelming.

The light color of Swiss cheese makes it a suitable substitute for white American Cheese. It works better as a stand-in for American Cheese in an unmelted state, like in sandwiches or sliced on burgers.

Use Swiss Cheese in the same ratio you would use American Cheese.


Although American Cheese is undeniably decadent, it isn’t the healthiest food, especially when used as a melted cheesy topping.

Mozzarella offers a lower-fat alternative to American Cheese without distracting from the delicious, melted cheese experience.

The taste of Mozzarella is relatively mild, even when compared to American Cheese.

While it can be a healthy, satisfying cheesy substitute for American Cheese, feel free to add some chopped herbs or spices to bring it to life in dishes.

Use Mozzarella in the same ratio as you would use American Cheese.

Oaxaca Cheese

Although Oaxaca and America Cheese have different textures, Oaxaca melts well and can be a convincing stand when baked in American Cheese.

The stringy, semi-hard texture melts into buttery goodness when it is heated.

Oaxaca cheese has a similar taste profile to Mozzarella, but its cheesy texture, when melted, won’t disappoint if you don’t have American Cheese available.