The Truth About Dollar Tree's $1 Cheese

Dollar Tree is known as a great source of budget-priced cleaning supplies, school supplies, party supplies... in fact, just about anything ending in "supplies." What many people tend to be a bit more dubious about, however, is Dollar Tree's groceries. While its food selection is somewhat limited, Dollar Tree does actually carry a decent selection of affordable snacks and even frozen foods such as a surprisingly palatable $1 ribeye steak and "pretty decent" $1 cheeseburgers.

They do, however, have some foods that are definite duds, chief amongst them being their absolutely abysmal cheese. Well, not all the cheese is completely worthless. Dollar Tree does sometimes offer bricks of non-generic cheese that The Penny Hoarder admits is actually okay. "This is the real stuff, and for such a good price," the site promises. Dollar Tree's generic sliced and shredded cheese, however, comes in for a whole lot of well-deserved hate. Here's why.

Dollar Tree's generic cheese isn't real cheese

As food blogger Sensational Finds points out, Dollar Tree's Sunny Acres sliced cheese is not even labeled as cheese. The label reads "American Slices Pasteurized Processed Sandwich Slices" and a look at the ingredients reveals that it was obviously concocted in a laboratory rather than a dairy. While it does contain "milk protein concentrate," this ingredient comes fifth on the list, after water, food starch, partially hydrogenated soybean oil (is there such a thing as fully-hydrogenated?), and modified food starch. What are the other tasty ingredients, you may be wondering? These include salt, natural flavor, sodium phosphate, stabilizer (xanthan, locust bean, guar gums), sorbic acid, lactic acid, and artificial color.

Anything in there sound even remotely tasty? Compare this to the list of ingredients of some actual cheese, in this case, Tillamook sharp cheddar: cultured milk, salt, enzymes, and annatto (this last-named ingredient a type of natural food coloring). So what do these two cheeses (or cheese and "cheese") have in common? They both contain salt. Yes, well, so does the ocean. Salt alone does not a cheese make, although it could make for a slightly tastier cheese-like product.

Dollar Tree cheese will not melt

If you're wondering what non-cheese with water as the main ingredient does when heated, the answer is: not melt. The Penny Hoarder surmised that "nothing short of nuclear fire" could cause this cheese-ish substance to melt, and it seems they may be right. YouTuber Sonyabeonit grilled three types of Dollar Tree sliced cheese — American-style, Swiss, and Jalapeño — for almost 10 minutes, and they turned into something resembling blackened, solid plastic and looking entirely unlike any form of cheese.

When it comes to melting, the shredded cheese is no improvement on the sliced. YouTuber CassieTV tried to melt Dollar Tree's "Pasteurized Process Topping," the Sunny Acres Mexican Blend Shreds, and found that baking them for five minutes didn't even cause them to heat up, much less get even a teensy bit melty. A user of the Lipstick Alley home and lifestyle forum also write of her experiments with Dollar Tree shredded cheese, saying she was unable to get them to melt in a frying pan, a microwave, or even in an oven, and she finally had to give up on her quesadilla dinner. This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, when the package itself actually states, "This product is not formulated to melt."

What you can do with Dollar Tree cheese

Hilariously enough, Dollar Tree does seem to think their cheese-like products can actually be used for cooking purposes. The Dollar Tree website provides a lengthy list of recipes that can be made using their grocery selection, and amongst the more cheese-centric recipes are a nacho casserole, Irish nachos, breakfast burritos, deviled eggs with cheese and bacon, garlic "cheddar" biscuits (the quotes are ours, not theirs), cheesy potato casserole, bacon ranch cheese ball, pizza quesadillas, chili cheese dip, and cheesy broccoli egg bites. The funniest part of this is, though, that even in their own carefully-styled photos, the cheese still doesn't look at all melted.

One thing you can say about Dollar Tree cheese: It's pretty durable. This cheese might just be the perfect thing to do some DIY re-roofing or spackling a hole in a wall, or you could maybe even use it to patch up a leaky boat... and don't forget, the stuff's basically inflammable, too. Maybe you could even make like the fourth little pig and build your house out of it since it's unlikely you could huff and puff and blow the stuff down. If eating ooey gooey melted cheese isn't your end game, it seems its possibilities could be endless.