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How To Make Homemade “American” Cheese

I have made my own yogurt, and I’ve made my own butter….but I have never attempted to make my own cheese. It’s been on “my list” of things I want to eventually try, but fairly far down because I figured it was pretty complicated. That was until I ran across a recipe for American Cheese that sounded quite easy! Besides, I was really craving a good grilled cheese sandwich…so I decided to go for it.

I don’t know about you, but when I think of “American Cheese” I think of something like Kraft Singles. But Kraft Singles aren’t really “cheese”…they are a “pasteurized prepared cheese product” and contain a highly processed mixture of ingredients such as water, milk, milkfat, milk protein, whey, food coloring, flavorings, and emulsifiers.

Doesn’t sound very appetizing does it? So how come they are so dang delicious in a grilled sandwich or melted over a cheeseburger? I’ll tell you why…because American cheese has great MELTABILITY! (completely made up word there.)

Luckily there is a way to make your own “processed cheese” with just a few pantry items and some “real” cheese thrown in that is every bit as gooey delicious as its Kraft counterpart but much better for you.

Homemade American Cheese

Adapted from a recipe at America’s Test Kitchen

Makes 1 pound

  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
  • 12 ounces Colby cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon powdered milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

Line 5 x 4-inch disposable aluminum loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing excess to hang over sides. (I only had a bread loaf pan available, so I ended up doubling the recipe and using that.)

Mix water and gelatin in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes.

Combine cheese, milk powder, salt, and cream of tartar in a food processor and pulse a couple of times until combined. Cream of tartar is a great stabilizer that holds all ingredients together but I just wanted to let you know that it is also a natural alternative for bleach! Cream of tartar has a lot of uses in the household so make sure you have it available at all times.

Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan and remove from heat, then stir in the softened gelatin until dissolved.

With the food processor running, slowly add hot milk mixture to cheese mixture until smooth, about 1 – 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Immediately transfer cheese mixture to prepared pan. Wrap tightly and chill at least 3 hours.

Then when you unwrap it a few hours later…….

…….get ready for the best grilled cheese sandwich of your life!

By the way….the cheese can be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 1 month.

I can’t wait to make it again and add some coarse ground black pepper….or maybe some jalapenos! 🙂

Homemade “American” Cheese

Jill Nystul
Adapted from a recipe at America's Test Kitchen…  I have never attempted to make my own cheese. It’s been on “my list” of things I want to eventually try, but fairly far down because I figured it was pretty complicated. That was until I ran across a recipe for American Cheese that sounded quite easy!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Chill for 3 hrs
Total Time 20 mins
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 184 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
  • 12 ounces Colby cheese shredded
  • 1 tablespoon powdered milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

Instructions
 

  • Line 5 x 4-inch disposable aluminum loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing excess to hang over sides.
  • Mix water and gelatin in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Combine cheese, milk powder, salt, and cream of tartar in a food processor and pulse a couple of times until combined.
  • Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan and remove from heat, then stir in the softened gelatin until dissolved.
  • With the food processor running, slowly add hot milk mixture to cheese mixture until smooth, about 1 – 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  • Immediately transfer cheese mixture to prepared pan. Wrap tightly and chill at least 3 hours.

Nutrition

Serving: 8servingsSodium: 420mgCalcium: 317mgVitamin C: 0.2mgVitamin A: 455IUSugar: 1gPotassium: 94mgCholesterol: 42mgCalories: 184kcalSaturated Fat: 9gFat: 14gProtein: 11gCarbohydrates: 2gIron: 0.3mg

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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

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