What color is American cheese?

A recent disagreement on this topic by two people* nearly resulted in gunplay.

Is American cheese orange or yellow?

*OK, one of them was me.


It can be either. There’s a spectrum that ranges from the ‘yellow American’ which can be close to white, to the ‘orange American’ which has a substantial amount of red in it’s color. These colors were based on variations in actual cheeses because of the differing amounts of beta-carotene found in milk in different locations, and at different times of the year. Using the description ‘yellow’ is confusing because it could refer to either the paler or darker version of the product depending on the consumer’s perspective.

It comes in white and orange. No yellow.

Depends on how much and what kind of dye is used. You realize that the colors of cheese in the stores is not natural in all cases?

So one person saying yellow and the other saying orange could both be right, since they may be looking at different samples.

Amber. :stuck_out_tongue:

If by different samples you mean different products, then yes. I seriously doubt any major manufacturer of American cheese would allow color variation within a single product.

Yellowish-orange is the actual color. **Lumpy **is right because amber is a name given to a color between orange and yellow.

In “yellowish-orange,” orange is the headword (the main core of meaning), and yellowish is the modifier. It’s naming a subset of the various shades of orange. The modifier can be separable, but the headword is what counts the most. So it’s orange. If it were “orangish-yellow,” it would be basically yellow.

I learned this from Crayola when I was very young. When they use composite color names like blue-green or red-orange, the second word in each phrase is the main color. I found this for myself by mixing crayon colors on the paper. First I would lay down the base coat of, say, blue. Then go over the top of it with green. This produced blue-green. It looked more green than blue, because green was on the top. If you put the green first and added blue on top, it would be what Crayola calls green-blue. Whichever color goes first (on the bottom) is less apparent, and the second one that goes on top is the main color. In other words, the word order reveals the apparent color proportions. This only works for English; in French or something, the order of modifier and headword would be reversed.

Black or white huh?

More precisely, yellowish-white and yellowish-orange.

I grew up eating tons (and tons!) of WHITE American Cheese.

So…I’m going with white. I can’t vote that in the current poll, though.
But the very next poll I see that has white as an option, I’m (probably) going
to vote that way.


Orange unless you’re at Subway, then it’s white.

Most of the American cheese that I see is dyed orange. However, there is white American, as others pointed out, and I’ve seen some that is more yellow than orange.

I vastly prefer yellow orange colored American or Cheddar cheese. Yeah, I know it’s dye, for the most part, but it’s what I’m accustomed to.

Most of what I’ve seen is orange-colored, though I have seen and eaten slices of white. There’s probably no real taste difference, but I feel that white goes better on sliced-apple-and-peapod sandwiches (the recipe actually calls for mild white cheddar, but I’ve never able been to find that).

Forget the white variety; this poll is strictly about the yellow or orange Kraft American Singles product (should have said that in the OP, I know).

And the poll is designed only for those who think it is strictly one or the other (yellow vs. orange, that is).

As of now the votes are split evenly right down the middle. Clearly the color is about midway between yellow and orange. The only question is whether it’s yellow-orange or is it orange-yellow? Or exactly in the middle, as the poll suggests?

I call it orange. My parents called it orange. My grandmother called it yellow.

That’s not American cheese, at all. It’s “Processed Cheese Food.”

Real American cheese is classified as white or yellow, even though the white is closer to yellow and the yellow is closer to orange. If you must classify Kraft Processed Singles, I would use the white and yellow monikers. There is no such thing as “Orange American” cheese even if the description is more accurate. While the cheese may arguably be orange in color, it is properly known as Yellow American.

All American cheese is processed food product. They’re not all the same, but none of them are ‘real cheese’ in the traditional sense.

I stand corrected. I would have bet that there was American cheese that was not required to be labled as processed, but it appears that I would have lost that bet. Still, Kraft Singles are a hell of a lot less cheese-like than many alternatives.

It also appears that google has more returns on Orange American than Yellow American, so I guess I’m wrong on this all around. It’s still white and yellow, to me.