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The History of Cheez Whiz

Cheez Whiz was not the first commercially processed cheese — that was created in 1911 by Walter Gerbe and Fritz Stettler in Switzerland. However, it was Canadian-born James L. Kraft who earned the U.S. first patent for processed cheese in 1916. His formula closely mimicked Gerbe and Stettler’s formula, though it’s unclear whether he knew about it. Kraft’s cheese was included in World War I rations and quickly became a world-famous brand. Cheez Whiz grew out of this tradition, but it wasn’t created for an American market. In 1950, Kraft began developing a pre-packaged cheese sauce for use on Welsh rarebit, a dish popular in the UK. Top food scientists, including Edward Traisman (who later developed the way McDonald’s flash froze its French fries), worked on the development of the product. The result? Cheez Whiz, an intentionally mild-flavored cheese sauce that served as a perfect shortcut for tedious Welsh rarebit recipes. Cheez Whiz was introduced in Britain in 1952 and was an immediate hit. In July 1953, it was introduced to the United States, where it quickly became synonymous with American cuisine. It continues to have a place on store shelves today and is especially popular on cheesesteaks and other iconic dishes.

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