Wednesday, October 6, 2021

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe

Cheddar cheese crackers are one of the few things I've really missed since I embarked on a healthy ketogenic diet in 2019 (and lost nearly 60 pounds). The only acceptable replacement I've found for those famous, small, square cheese crackers in the bright red box with the cutesy name are Defy Foods' yummy keto cheddar crackers, which are only available online and, like all high quality commercial keto foods, cost significantly more than their unhealthy, conventional counterparts.

Recently, I began experimenting with my own homemade keto cheese crackers recipe, inspired by recipes from two of my favorite low carb recipe developers. I combined elements of both their recipes and added some powdered, dehydrated, real cheddar cheese for an extra flavor boost. This past weekend, I finally perfected my version. Both my husband and I couldn't be more thrilled with the results!

I am sharing not only my delicious new keto cheese crackers recipe but also my product review of the Defy Foods keto cheddar crackers, which I will still keep in the freezer for when I don't have time to bake them from scratch.

Crisp, Salty and Satisfying Keto Cheese Crackers with photo of crackers on plate
My healthy, homemade low carb crackers are bursting with real cheddar cheese flavor

My Inspiration for This Recipe

When I decided to try my hand at making homemade cheddar cheese crackers, I started by searching for recipes on my two favorite low carb keto recipe developers' blogs, Carolyn Ketchum's All Day I Dream About Food and Maya Krampf's Wholesome Yum. Carolyn and Maya are two of my go-to gurus for reliable, delicious recipes that support my low carb lifestyle. 

Carolyn's Keto Cheese Crackers with Pepper Jack looked great, but I'm not a big fan of pepper jack cheese or red pepper flakes. I also wasn't sure that adding garlic powder to the dough would give me the classic flavor I was looking for. The recipe also called for brushing the thinly rolled out dough with melted butter and then sprinkling it with coarse salt before baking. While it sounded delicious, I preferred to start with fewer ingredients and fewer steps for my first attempt.

Maya's Low Carb Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe had fewer ingredients and steps. However, the optional nutritional yeast "for cheesier flavor" wasn't something I had on hand, since I didn't care for the taste the few times I had tried using it as a substitute for grated cheese.

Recipe Experiment #1: Tasty, But Not Quite There Yet

Since I wanted my crackers to have a strong cheddar cheese flavor, I replaced the optional nutritional yeast in Maya's recipe with Vermont sharp cheddar cheese powder. 

The resulting crackers were quite tasty. However, I wanted them to have a stronger cheddar flavor and be a bit more buttery and salty. In addition, the small, fragile squares of thinly rolled dough were quite prone to tearing as I transferred them to the parchment-lined baking sheet.

Recipe Experiment #2: We Have a Winner! 

For my second batch, I changed a few things when I was making Maya's cheddar dough:

  • I substituted twice as much Vermont sharp cheddar cheese powder for the optional nutritional yeast.
  • I increased the amount of salt from 1/4 teaspoon to 3/8 teaspoon. 
  • After stirring together the dry ingredients, instead of combining them with the egg first, I stirred them into the melted cheese along with the egg.

I also made several other changes based on Carolyn's pepper jack cheese crackers recipe:

  • The dough was rolled out on a silicone baking mat sprinkled with almond flour (using parchment paper on top to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin). After pricking and cutting the  dough, it was much easier to just slide the mat onto the baking pan instead of lifting and transferring the fragile squares of raw dough.
  • I used a pizza cutter to slice the sheet of dough into approximately 1-inch squares. (I also didn't worry about trying to cut perfectly parallel and perpendicular lines, since I wouldn't succeed in any event!).
  • Before putting the crackers in the preheated oven, I brushed them with melted butter and sprinkled them with coarse salt.
  • This time, I baked the crackers at 300 ℉ instead of 350 ℉, left them in longer, turned off the oven when they were barely golden brown and left them inside to finish developing their color, cool slowly and crisp up.

Maya and Carolyn are extremely talented, very experienced low carb recipe developers. Combining elements from both their recipes and adding the Vermont sharp cheddar cheese powder turned out to be a winning strategy. This new version produced dozens of perfectly crisp, deliciously salty, buttery cheddar cheese crackers that tasted absolutely amazing! 

My husband adored them, too. (In fact, he might easily have devoured the entire batch on the spot if I hadn't set aside a small plate of these crackers to photograph for this recipe!)

Plate of prepared keto cheese crackers

Wholesome, Homemade Low Carb Cheddar Cheese Crackers That Everyone Will Love

I'm really excited to share my new keto cheese crackers recipe! 

For the many people who follow a low carb or ketogenic diet and have been searching in vain for buttery, salty, flavor-packed low carb crackers that don't cost an arm and a leg, these scrumptious bite-sized savory snacks will satisfy those cravings. Unlike the conventional grocery store kind, these are made with minimally processed, "real food" ingredients. 

These crisp, delicious, high protein cheese crackers are tasty enough for everyone can enjoy, whether or not they are trying to cut back on highly processed foods with empty calories.

They're wonderful to bring to holiday parties or get-togethers with family and friends any time of year. You can indulge without "cheating" on your low carb diet and no one who tastes them will guess that your homemade cheddar crackers are made with almond flour instead of wheat flour.

Who says you can't enjoy holidays treats without gaining weight?

How to Make Keto Cheese Crackers

These irresistible keto cheese crackers are quite easy to make. However, low carb baking is quite different from conventional baking methods. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind, especially if this is your first experience baking with almond flour.

Photo of keto cheese crackers with recipe ingredients

Choose High Quality Ingredients for the Best Taste and Texture

This recipe calls for only a few ingredients, so the quality of each one will have a major impact on the taste and texture of your homemade crackers. 

For the best flavor, buy a block of good, sharp (or very sharp) Vermont cheddar cheese and grate or shred it yourself just before making this recipe. Cabot Creamery cheddar, which Carolyn Ketchum recommends, is one of my favorite brands, too. 

I used King Arthur Better Cheddar Cheese Powder for these keto cheese crackers, which I had purchased for another recipe and like very much. King Arthur Baking Company (formerly King Arthur Flour) has a a well deserved reputation for excellence and baking expertise. I have relied on their products and recipes for decades. 

It's important to use fresh, finely ground and blanched almond flour for most low carb keto baking recipes. My favorite is Maya Krampf's Wholesome Yum premium almond flour.

You will need two kinds of salt: fine sea salt (or table salt, if you prefer) and coarse or flaked salt. For the dough, I used Redmond Real Salt Ancient Fine Sea Salt, an unrefined, unprocessed sea salt with trace minerals and no additives. It's comparable to pink Himalayan sea salt, but has been "mined in Utah since 1958 from an ancient seabed protected from modern pollution."

After pricking, cutting and brushing the thinly rolled out dough with melted butter, I sprinkled the tops of the crackers with a combination of coarse sea salt and crushed Maldon sea salt flakes before baking. The Maldon sea salt flakes were too coarse to use straight from the package, but crushing them with my fingers and mixing them with the regular coarse sea salt turned out to be the perfect topping.

Use a Silicone Baking Mat and Unbleached Baking Parchment to Roll Out the Dough

Rolling out and cutting the dough on a silicone baking mat and then sliding it onto your baking sheet is much easier than rolling the dough between sheets of baking parchment and cutting and transferring the small, fragile squares to the pan. The best known brand, Silpat, commands a premium price. Fortunately, I've also had good luck with much less expensive silicone baking mats.

It's essential to cover the raw dough with a large sheet of baking parchment paper when you're rolling it out, so that it doesn't stick to the rolling pin. These days, I only use unbleached baking parchment. (Who wants to risk leaching chlorine bleach into their homemade baked goods?) I find the flat, 12" x 16" pre-cut sheets of unbleached baking parchment much easier to use than wrestling with a piece torn from a roll whose curl stubbornly refuses to flatten out. 

Use a Large, Microwave-Safe Bowl and a Sturdy Silicone Mixing Spatula for Making the Keto Cheese Crackers Dough

I often use my 2-quart Pyrex measuring cup as a large mixing bowl, especially for recipes that require melting ingredients such as butter, chocolate or cheese in the microwave. The handle provides a good grip on the microwave-safe glass bowl as you incorporate the dry ingredients and the egg into the melted cheddar cheese.

The best tool for the job is a sturdy, stiff rubber spatula. I prefer the DI ORO Seamless Series Large Silicone Spatula for this purpose, which was named "Winner: Best All-Purpose Spatula" in Cook's Illustrated's March 2017 Silicone Spatulas Equipment Review (paid subscription required)

Roll Out the Dough as Thinly and Evenly as Possible 

The thinner you roll the dough, the crisper your crackers will be. Try to roll out the sheet of dough to as uniform a thickness as possible, which will help the crackers bake at the same rate. (You may want to make the dough near the edges slightly thicker to prevent the outermost row of crackers from browning too quickly.)

Use a Pizza Wheel With a Plastic Blade to Cut the Dough Into Strips and Then Squares

The plastic blade cuts through the dough cleanly without slicing into your silicon baking mat. It's also faster, easier and safer than cutting the small squares with a knife. The OXO 1065872 Good Grips 4-inch Pizza Wheel and Cutter for Non-Stick Pans is very similar to the one I own (which is no longer made) and gets excellent customer product reviews.

If You Are Using a Countertop Oven, Divide the Dough Into Quarters and Bake It in Four Batches

The built-in double wall ovens that came with our 1950s ranch-style house died several years ago. Since then, we have been making do with a countertop oven. (If you are considering one, I encourage you to read Sylvestermouse Cynthia's recent Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Toaster Oven product review.) 

Photo of unbaked keto cheese crackers on silicone mat in small baking pan

Obviously, having to use a much smaller silicone baking mat and pan (approximately 8.5" x 12.5") that could fit inside my large toaster oven took much longer than using a large silicone mat and baking sheet and baking in a full-size oven. However, as you can see from my photos, it is certainly doable. 

Keto Cheddar Cheese Crackers Recipe

Photo of prepared keto cheese crackers on a small plate
These buttery, low carb crackers will satisfy your cravings without kicking you out of ketosis. They're yummy enough to share with carb-loving friends and family of all ages, so they're perfect for holidays, football games, parties, kids' lunchboxes and everyday snacks. 

Prep Time   20 minutes

Cook Time  30–60 minutes

Total Time   50–80 minutes

Servings       8–10

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 ½ cups finely ground and blanched almond flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 2 Tbsp good quality sharp cheddar cheese powder
  • 3/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • Coarse salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 ℉. Place a large silicone baking mat on your counter, table or other work surface and sprinkle it with almond flour.
  2. Grate or shred the sharp cheddar cheese into a large microwave-safe bowl or a 2-quart (8-cup) Pyrex measuring cup. 
  3. Stir together 1 ½ cups of the almond flour with the cheddar cheese powder and salt.
  4. Microwave the cheese on High at 30-second intervals, stirring with a large, sturdy rubber or silicone spatula until the cheddar is completely melted and has a smooth consistency. 
  5. Stir in the almond flour mixture and the egg and use the spatula to "knead" the dough against the the sides of the bowl. Then, turn out the dough onto a lightly greased sheet of parchment or waxed paper and use your hands to squeeze and finish kneading the dough into a compact ball. The dough should be soft and pliable and feel a bit oily. If it's too sticky to work with easily, you can either chill it for 15 minutes or so or work in another tablespoon or two of almond flour.
  6. Flatten the ball of dough and shape it into a square patty, then place it in the center of the prepared silicone baking mat. Cover it with a large sheet of baking parchment (or wax paper) and roll it out as thinly and evenly as possible (no more than 1/8-inch thick).
  7. Use a pizza wheel with a plastic cutting disc to slice the sheet of dough into small squares or rectangles approximately 1-inch wide (although you can make them wider, if you prefer). You should end up with between 5 dozen and 8 dozen (60–100) crackers, depending on how thinly you roll the dough and what size you make your squares or rectangles.
  8. Prick the tops of the crackers with a fork or toothpick, brush them with the melted butter and sprinkle them with the coarse salt. Then transfer the silicone mat carefully onto a large baking sheet and place it in the preheated oven. 
  9. Bake until the crackers turn a light golden brown and the edges begin to crisp up (approximately 15–30 minutes, depending on the size and thickness), then turn off the oven and allow them to remain inside until they are firm to the touch. Keep a close eye on the color of the pieces around the edges. If they are browning faster than the ones in the center, remove the darker pieces and let them cool at room temperature while the rest of the crackers cool down more slowly inside the warm oven. 

I like to store these keto cheese crackers in single layers, separated by paper towel, inside an airtight tin or large Stasher silicone food storage bags, which are extremely easy to seal and unseal. Layering them with paper towels helps absorb ambient moisture and keep them crisp. However, if they last more than a day or two, you can just pop them back into a 300 ℉ oven for a few minutes. Just be sure to keep an eye on them so they don't get too brown.

Defy Foods Cheddar Crackers Product Review

There are very few healthy, low carb crackers on the market. The ones I have tried have been disappointingly dry and bland, with one notable exception: Defy Foods Keto Cheddar Crackers

These delicious gluten-free, grain-free, ketogenic diet-friendly cheddar cheese crackers have only 2g of net carbs and are made from wholesome, high quality ingredients. In addition, Defy Foods is a small business start-up and these cheddar crackers are the first (and, so far, only) product in their line. As a result, they're a bit on the pricey side. However, if you don't have the time or the inclination to bake your own keto cheese crackers from scratch, these are the next best thing.

As of this writing, they can only be purchased online, and until last week they could only be ordered directly from the Defy Foods website. However, they just launched on Amazon, with free Prime shipping, which is great news for Amazon Prime members! Amazon is also promoting this launch with a 15% off digital coupon. There is no way to know how long this promotional discount coupon will remain valid, so now is the best time to order a few bags of these delicious low carb crackers if you want to give them a try!


My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

My First Year on The Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read More Recipe Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors


Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors


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12 comments:

  1. Your recipes for Cheddar Cheese Crackers sounds delicious and I do love cheese crackers! I've never considered making my own, but what fun. Thank you for sharing your researched and developed through trials recipe. I already know I am going to love them.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for that lovely compliment, Miss Mouse! I hope you have a chance to try these delicious, healthier cheddar cheese crackers. I will look forward to hearing what you think of them!

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  2. How nice that you have perfected a recipe for Cheddar Cheese Crackers which meets your taste test, yet still contains the ingredients which fit within your dietary requirements. Well done, Margaret.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for the kind compliment, Elf! I’m delighted with the results of my recipe experiments and am very happy to be able to share both this recipe and my review of the yummy Defy Foods Cheddar Crackers with others as well,

      Delete
  3. It is unfortunate that nutritious products are more expensive than mainstream products that are poorly made. Kudos to you for finding a recipe to make a healthier version of cheese crackers!

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    Replies
    1. Brenda, I agree. Adapting elements of recipes from two of the top low carb keto recipe developers and adding my own twist to create my own version that tastes just like a popular brand of cheddar crackers will give me and others another more affordable, homemade alternative.

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  4. Oh Margaret these sound just yummy! I wonder if we can get Vermont Cheddar Powder here in Canada? I know we can get the Kraft stuff that they put in Mac'n'cheese, but not sure if that is Keto or not. I will have to look into this further and I do hope that I can find reasonable alternatives if I can't get what you show. I love crackers and miss them as well. So I will be on the hunt. Thanks for the recipe, now off to the kitchen to play!

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    Replies
    1. Olivia, I can’t wait for you to try these. I know you will absolutely love them! Unfortunately, Amazon.ca doesn’t carry the King Arthur Baking Better Cheddar powder. They do have the Hoosier Hill Farm White Cheddar Cheese Powder, which also works fine for this recipe, but only in a 2-pound jar. If you love these crackers as much as I do, it might be worth the investment, or you might be able to split a jar with someone. (I would avoid the powdered cheddar labeled as being for popcorn.) Hope that helps! 💗

      Delete
  5. Margaret you are incredible with the Keto recipes. Honestly, I want to go to your house to eat them - I know I'd never make these, but I want to try them! They look superb. Wow, your Keto series is truly fantastic. You're very detailed in your article presentations and also creative with substitutes and coming up with your own added ideas. Oh yum, I want to try these!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Barbara! These are really amazing. I wish you lived close enough for me to bake you a batch!

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  6. Oh these Cheddar Cheese Crackers do sound delicious!I do like crackers and these sound a great low carb alternative. Thank you for sharing your recipe with us and all your great cooking tips. I would like to try them.:)

    ReplyDelete
  7. You are most welcome, Jasmine! I hope you get a chance to try these delicious and nutritious cheddar cheese crackers. I know you would love them!

    ReplyDelete

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