Kitchn Love Letters

These American Cheese Slices Are the Ultimate Grilled Cheese Upgrade

published Jan 8, 2022
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Credit: Rochelle Bilow

I am a big, big cheese fan. If my supermarket had done a Spotify Wrapped-style evaluation of my year in groceries, it would have said something like, “Your top product this year was cheese. You bought 45 different types of cheese. There were occasions when all you bought was cheese. Girl, that is a lot of cheese.”

Credit: Rochelle Bilow

Although I love the high-end, ultra-funky stuff, I have a soft spot for kid-friendly American slices. They’re definitely in my top five. So when I discovered that my favorite grocery store brand of cheese (and other dairy items) was offering an upgraded American slice, I had to investigate. I’m happy to report that these slices, made by Organic Valley, are truly luxe and worth every penny.  

What Is American Cheese?

American cheese gets a bad rap for being “overly processed,” but at its heart, it’s essentially just cheese and butter. The combination of those two ingredients are what give it superior meltability — and make it such a great choice for grilled cheese sandwiches. American cheese can be white or orangey-yellow. There’s no flavor difference between the two varieties, but annatto, a flavorless shrub fruit, is used to create the iconic hue. Fun fact: The team at Organic Valley shared with me that white slices are more popular on the East Coast.

The most popular brands of American cheese tend to have a long ingredient list (upwards of 15 items), which keeps it fridge-stable for longer. Although I throw no shade at processed foods, I wondered if whittling down the list would make the flavor of this cheese shine through. So I put my slices to the ultimate test: a grilled cheese sandwich.

Credit: Rochelle Bilow

My Honest Organic Valley American Cheese Slices Review

These. Are. Awesome. They melt just as well as my old standby American slices. They do have a higher price point (a 6-ounce pack retails for $5), but I think they’re worth the cost. Not only are they thicker — more cheese for your buck! — but they also do taste better. The Organic Valley slices are just the right amount of sweet and creamy. The slim ingredient list accounts for the superior flavor, as does the fact that Organic Valley’s cows are raised on a pasture.

I also appreciate that my dollars go to support a farmer-owned co-op; Organic Valley is owned by all the members of the cooperative (currently, there are just under 1,800 farms), and was founded with the intention to sustain small family farms.

You can find this cheese in grocery stores across the country, including small natural food stores and larger chains, like Whole Foods and Sprouts. If you’re a grilled cheese fan, I highly recommend picking up a pack.

What cheese goes into your perfect grilled cheese sandwich? Let us know in the comments below.