No food embodies the essence of the U.S. palate quite like American cheese. The square-shaped (and occasionally orange-tinted) food item is widely beloved from sea to shining sea -- particularly those individually wrapped slices sold by Kraft Heinz. Even though Kraft Singles aren't actually cheese (according to FDA regulations), the dairy-derived, plastic-wrapped product has delighted consumers for decades. Now, the brand is introducing a trio of new flavors for any fans eager to enhance their Kraft Singles rotation: Jalapeño, Garlic & Herb, and Caramelized Onion.
This isn't the first time the food conglomerate has introduced additional Kraft Singles flavors beyond the classic original. But as the first new flavors released in nearly a decade, it's a noteworthy occasion (at least, it is for a food-centric website). Along those lines, if you're wondering whether any (or all) of the new Kraft Singles flavors are worth a purchase, well ... we were, too.
Given our immense interest in these intriguing new Kraft Singles flavors, we were able to obtain samples of each variety to taste test (courtesy of Kraft Heinz). If you are curious about the various details and nuances of the Jalapeño, Garlic & Herb, and Caramelized Onion flavors, we've got you covered. Without further ado, here's our comprehensive review of the new Kraft Singles flavors.
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What's In The New Kraft Singles Flavors?
Since three new Kraft Singles varieties are set to arrive in stores this January, we can infer some slight variations will exist between flavors -- though they're relatively minor. The commonalities found in each new Kraft Singles flavor far outweigh any differences.
For starters, the package for each variety notes it's "made with real dairy" in a presumed attempt to ward off any claims of artificiality regarding the brand's American cheese product. Of course, this underscores the highly processed nature of Kraft Singles (no matter the flavor) -- something reflected in the ingredient list for each new flavor. There's a bevy of identical ingredients found in each new Kraft Singles flavor, including cheddar cheese, whey, milkfat, milk protein concentrate, calcium phosphate, and sodium citrate.
As for variations between flavors, the Jalapeño flavor lists jalapeño pepper puree -- made of peppers, vinegar, salt, and the ever-mysterious "natural flavor" -- among its main ingredients, with dried jalapeño peppers among its lesser components. The Caramelized Onion flavor mentions onions, caramel color, and onion powder near the end of its ingredient list, while the Garlic & Herb variety contains (wait for it) garlic powder, dried garlic, and the generically-named "spices" towards the bottom.
How Long Are The New Kraft Singles Flavors Available And Where?
Kraft Singles are enormously popular, with an estimated 25% of U.S. households having the brand's plastic-wrapped American cheese slices in their fridge at any given time according to Kraft Heinz. Still, based on the company's research, it appears a wide swath of the population is ready and willing to try additional flavors beyond its classic slices -- meaning there's little reason to expect the newest Kraft Singles won't be in stores for the foreseeable future.
When announcing its newest flavors, Kraft Heinz told Today that "fans of the iconic brand can now expand their taste buds with these new additions to the Kraft Singles portfolio." While the company didn't specifically confirm the Jalapeño, Garlic & Herb, or Caramelized Onion flavors are set to be permanent additions, it also offered no indication that any of the three are scheduled to disappear once they've arrived in stores in January 2024.
How Much Do The New Kraft Single Flavors Cost?
As we received the product early for review, we can't say for certain what the projected or expected cost will be for either the Jalapeño, Garlic & Herb, or Caramelized Onion Kraft Singles varieties. Of course, while the yet-to-be-released flavors will provide consumers with a variation on its traditional plain flavor, we're confident the price point won't differ much -- or at all -- between flavors.
Since a 12-ounce package containing 16 slices of regular Kraft Singles costs roughly $4.28 in the Lowell, Massachusetts area as of January 2024, and a 16-ounce package with 24 slices costs around $4.98, we'd bet dollars to cheese slices that each new flavor rings in at a near-identical price. We suppose a premium of sorts may be applied to the new flavors in certain stores depending on the vendor. But we can't comprehend a world where it'll break the bank price-wise compared to the classic Kraft Singles.
What's The Nutrition Information For The New Kraft Single Flavors?
Somewhat surprisingly, the nutritional information for each new Kraft Singles flavor is exactly the same -- a tidbit of information that seems to demonstrate the highly processed nature of these food items. Still, if you're able to set aside that aspect, there are some positives to be found among the new Kraft Singles' nutritional info.
For starters, each slice contains 50 calories -- a relatively reasonable amount considering the average adult needs to ingest between 2400 and 3000 calories per day, according to WebMD. Beyond the general calorie count, each individual slice of the new Kraft Singles flavors also comes with 3 grams of protein, no added sugar, and 280 milligrams of calcium (a substantial amount of the recommended daily calcium intake). All things considered, the nutritional information for the new Kraft Singles flavors isn't nearly as bad as you may expect.
How Do The New Kraft Single Flavors Compare To The Original?
First and foremost, there's one clear difference between the classic Kraft Singles American cheese and the three new flavors: None of the new varieties share the bright (and unnatural) orange hue of the original.
Beyond the divergent aesthetic appearance, each new flavor is also comprised of slightly different ingredients than what's in the classic Kraft Singles flavor; for instance, the original contains annatto and oleoresin paprika, both of which are responsible for creating its trademark orange color. The new Kraft Singles flavors also seem to be a smidge better nutritionally speaking than what's offered by the original, as well, as the classic Kraft Singles version has 60 calories compared to the 50 calories found in each slice of the new Jalapeño, Garlic & Herb, and Caramelized Onion varieties.
The texture of the three new Kraft Singles flavors was extremely similar to the original, though, which made a certain amount of sense (it's a group of highly processed cheese slices individually wrapped in plastic, after all). In other words, the new flavors were sort of mushy when cold, and melted to gooey perfection when warmed inside a grilled cheese.
Carmelized Onion Kraft Singles Verdict: Grab A Package For Your Next Batch Of Burgers
We've always felt Kraft Singles are best when served between buttered pieces of bread on a grilled cheese; no cheese melts better than American, after all (a viewpoint we're sure all-time fictional chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) from "The Menu" agrees with). Consequently, our evaluation of each new Kraft Singles flavor was twofold: eating it cold straight from the package, and melted inside a grilled cheese. And after taste-testing the Caramelized Onion variety we were impressed by the subtly flavorful nature of these caramel-colored American cheese slices.
Perhaps the best factor working in the Caramelized Onion flavor's favor is the lack of actual onion chunks. While visible specks were present in the Jalapeño and Garlic & Herb varieties, the completely smooth appearance and matching texture of the Caramelized Onion flavor was a plus.
In short, we found its flavor to be extremely reminiscent of a fresh-toasted onion bagel. We didn't necessarily love it as the centerpiece of a grilled cheese sandwich but feel it would be a fantastic choice for a cheeseburger of some kind (including beef or turkey). Simply put, if you melt this Kraft Singles flavor atop, say, a piece of grilled chicken as the secondary component, we're sure it'll more than hold its own.
Jalapeño Single Kraft Singles Verdict: A Delightful Mildly Spicy Winner
Of the three new Kraft Singles flavors, the Jalapeño was our runaway favorite. It may not have been as hot as we'd prefer -- or as we expected, for that matter, given it's a jalapeño-forward food item. But seeing how the mildly spicy profile hardly diminished the pleasant experience of eating this Kraft Singles variety (whether warm or cold), we gladly overlooked its relative lack of spiciness.
For one thing, the Jalapeño Kraft Singles flavor was eerily similar to the queso sold by Moe's Southwest Grill (in the best way possible). We're not entirely sure we'd be able to distinguish this Kraft Singles flavor when hot and melted from a cup of Moe's queso in a blind taste test.
Quite frankly, that similarity helped make this the only new Kraft Singles American cheese variety capable of anchoring a grilled cheese on its own. We could imagine plenty of additional culinary avenues for this flavor, as well -- in particular, the Jalapeño variety would work well as a replacement for pepper jack cheese in just about any sandwich.
Garlic & Herb Kraft Singles Verdict: Perfectly Suited For An Italian-Style Dish
We had high hopes for Kraft Singles' new Garlic & Herb version before tasting it and even expected the flavor would outclass its fellow new varieties. However, despite our relative enjoyment of this garlic (but not so herb)-tasting slice of American cheese, we came away thinking it felt like an afterthought compared to the Caramelized Onion or Jalapeño flavors.
Part of the issue may lie in the utter lack of herbs used to make this Garlic & Herb-flavored product. After all, according to the ingredient list, there are no actual herbs used in the making of this Kraft Singles variety (not any worth highlighting, at least, beyond the hopelessly uninformative "spices"). As a result, the first half of this flavor's name easily dominated our palate upon ingestion, and gave us similar vibes to the Papa John's garlic dipping sauce.
Then again, while we may not go out of our way to purchase this particular Kraft Singles variety again in the future, we didn't hate the garlicky American cheese variety by any stretch, either. So if you're a fan of subtle garlic and cheese, you'll likely walk away satisfied with this new Kraft Singles flavor, too.
Read the original article on Mashed.