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.
|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!)
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.
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.)
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
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30–60 minutes
Total Time 50–80 minutes
- 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
- 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.
- Grate or shred the sharp cheddar cheese into a large microwave-safe bowl or a 2-quart (8-cup) Pyrex measuring cup.
- Stir together 1 ½ cups of the almond flour with the cheddar cheese powder and salt.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 About My Keto Diet Journey
Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)
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