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Is Velveeta Cheese Keto Friendly? [What You Must Know]

We all know that yummy “cheese” known as Velveeta. Whether you use it to make some nacho cheese out of it or to amp up your Mac & cheese, there’s nothing like it.  With cheese, most of them are considered keto-friendly. However, Velveeta falls in this gray area that may lead to confusion. 

The original Velveeta cheese may be eaten in moderation while following a keto diet. Velveeta cheese is higher in carbohydrates than other milk-based non-processed cheeses, with 7 grams of carbohydrates for a 1/4 cup serving. Small amounts may be ok, but can quickly add up.

In this article, I’ll cover why you may or may not want to include velveeta cheese in your ketogenic diet, how many carbs are in velveeta cheese, what it’s made of, and some better alternatives you may want to consider.

Is Velveeta Allowed On Keto?

Velveeta cheese is moderately keto friendly, meaning it has some carbohydrates, so you’ll just have to be a little more cautious if you do include it in your ketogenic diet.

Most other websites will tell you to stay away from velveeta, but if you can act responsibly and be mindful of your portion size, there’s no reason to avoid it completely. Within the context of staying in ketosis and weight loss, velveeta can be incorporated into your ketogenic diet. 

 So yes, velveeta is allowed on a ketogenic diet, you simply need to be mindful of your portion size since it is quite calorie dense and contains more carbohydrates than other milk-based cheeses.  

Weight loss is still a matter of energy balance. 

i.e., you must expend more energy (calories out) than you consume (calories in).

Regarding ketosis, so long as you restrict carbohydrates low enough (whatever that amount is for you), ketosis can be established and maintained regardless of the food source. a.k.a. you won't be kicked out of ketosis.

How Many Carbs Are In Velveeta?

Relative to other cheeses, velveeta has more carbohydrates, and that’s because velveeta is no longer made from real cheese as it once was in the past. 

 A 1/4 cup (67g) serving of velveeta cheese provides 7 grams of total carbohydrates.  

Most individuals following a ketogenic diet typically range between 20 and 50 grams of net carbs per day in order to established and stay in ketosis. So long as you keep this in mind, fitting in a serving of velveeta cheese is definitely a possibility.

Just remember, you’re doing so at the expense of not eating something that can be potentially more satiating and nutritious.

While I would always recommend using your carbohydrates on things such as vegetables, including slight amounts of “forbidden” foods occasionally won’t hinder your results.

If it leads you to binge on other junk food, then yes… 

Read: Is Gluten Free Pizza Keto?

What’s Velveeta Made Of?

They made the original velveeta cheese from actual cheese back in the day, but today’s version of velveeta cheese is different. While they derive the main ingredients from dairy, there is no actual cheese in the present-day velveeta cheese.

Velveeta Cheese Main Ingredients:

  • Whey
  • Milk
  • Canola Oil
  • Whey Protein Concentrate
  • Milk Protein Concentrate

Aside from the canola oil, velveeta cheese is primarily made from milk and milk-derivatives (whey). You can almost say that what velveeta is to cheese is what margarine spread is to butter.

Is Velveeta Bad For You?

I never really say whether something is “good” or “bad” for you, because honestly… everyone has an opinion.

Within the context of weight loss, you can incorporate velveeta cheese and still lose weight. There may be better options out there in terms of food quality, but you’re an adult and can make your own choices.

 At first glance, there is nothing inherently detrimental about the key ingredients in velveeta. However, if you’re lactose-intolerant or sensitive to lactose, stay away. 

Compared to a standard cheddar cheese which has a lactose content of around ~2%, velveeta cheese averages around 9%. So, even if you could eat small amounts of regular cheese without too much stomach upset, you may experience discomfort with velveeta cheese.

Beyond that, you can’t eat it unless it’s melted… so if you like to snack on cheese like me then velveeta just won’t cut it. 

Alternatives To Velveeta On Keto

There are plenty of low-carb velveeta cheese knock-off recipes floating around, but for alternatives… it just depends what you’re looking for.

As a first option, I would always recommend you use real cheese instead of Velveeta. 

Most cheese that is naturally made by curdling milk are relatively low in carbohydrates. For example, the same 1/4 cup (67 grams) of velveeta that gives you 7 grams of net carbs, when compared to cheddar cheese, only provides 1 gram of net carbs. 1

If you’re looking for more of that queso/melted cheese sauce, then I would recommend taking some of your favorite cheese and melting them in a pot with more keto-friendly ingredients. 

Below is what I like to do to make a lower-carb version of velveeta (and much yummier).

  • 1/2 lb Cheddar (I like Dubliner Irish Cheddar)
  • 1/2 lb Pepperjack Cheese
  • 1/2 cup regular sour cream
  • 1 8 oz block regular cream cheese
  • 1 10 oz can Rotel (optional)
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp mild chili powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder

I’ll throw all the ingredients in a pot on the stovetop using low-heat until it’s all melted together. Use whatever cheese you like and experiment with the different ingredients. Try adding a bit of marinara sauce, which is keto friendly by the way, and you have a great dip for whisps or pork rinds.

You can also use fresh garlic and onion if you desire, and sometimes I toss in jalapeños for a kick.

The Takeaway

While velveeta may not be the most ideal choice in cheese on a ketogenic diet, you may still enjoy it in moderation while following a ketogenic diet. 

A single serving of velveeta cheese (1/4 cup) has roughly 7 grams of net carbs, so be mindful of your intake and include it in your carb count for the day. 

My first recommendation would be to stick to real cheese, but velveeta can also work in a pinch or if you just have a hankering for it.

If you'd like to learn more about keto friendly cheeses, please click on one of the links below:

Is Colby Jack Cheese Keto Friendly?

Is Provolone Cheese Keto Friendly?

Is Goat Cheese Keto Friendly?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is special about Velveeta Cheese?

Velveeta cheese has a very smooth consistency, mild taste, and a striking orange hue. What actually elevates the cheese is its ability to melt which makes it a great base for dips.

How do you preserve Velveeta cheese after opening?

Velveeta cheese is very shelf stable. However, there are a few things you need to ensure tp effectively store Velveeta cheese. Firstly it's important to wrap up the opened piece of cheese. Secondly, store it in a cool and dry place to avoid any mold.

Is Velveeta a natural cheese?

Unfortunately, Velveeta is not a natural cheese anymore. Most Velveeta available in the market is pasteurized processed cheese.


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