Guess what? An improved, updated version of this recipe can be found in my new cookbook Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats. Preorder it now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local indie bookstore!
Since I come from the western side of Pennsylvania and not the eastern, my iconic sandwich familiarity has always centered around chipped chopped ham or kolbassi instead of cheesesteaks. And whether for better or worse (I’m not trying to start another PA culture war) we don’t put Cheez Whiz on our pork products out there in the “Burgh.
In fact, apart from a college-era flirtation with Tostitos-brand “queso” in a jar, I stayed away from gelatinous cheese spreads of all kinds, preferring to melt shredded cheddar over my nachos or throwing a few hunks of Velveeta into my mac and cheese sauce if necessary. I’m not sure I’ve ever tasted true Cheez Whiz in my life, to be completely frank.
But when Danielle requested a homemade Cheez Whiz recipe after reading my nostalgic ode to broiler nachos, how could I say no? Plus, I had an ace up my sleeve in the form of Grant Achatz.
Yes, that Grant Achatz, modern chef extraordinaire, the one whose recipes encourage me to buy things like huge tubs of soy lecithin for caramel popcorn in foam form, and to dehydrate bacon in my oven for hours at a time.
The following recipe is based on the cheese filling in Alinea’s Cheese, in Cracker dish. See, my little experiments are adaptable for everyday cooking, folks. And just to be sure the taste was on point, I enlisted my husband for a few rounds of testing. He of the ballpark tastebuds concurs: this is good stuff.
Homemade Cheez Whiz
Total time: 5 minutes
Makes 2 servings
- 4 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 oz. cream cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 cup milk
In a small food processor, combine the cheddar, cream cheese, sugar, mustard, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Bring the milk to a simmer in a small saucepan or in a heat-safe cup in the microwave (45 seconds should do it).
Pour the milk over the cheese mixture and blend in the food processor until smooth. Serve immediately.
NOTE: Add 1/2 cup of chopped sauteed chorizo or a pan of sauteed diced veggies—equal amounts of onion, tomato, and peppers (banana or bell, your choice) to the cheese after blending to recreate the queso fundido of your dreams.