When I saw a number of high-protein, three-ingredient Cheetos recipes trending on Pinterest, they seemed too good to be true. But these highly snackable keto Cheetos are the real deal. They're as light and crisp and cheesy as their store-bought counterpart — without all those artificial ingredients.
While I don't follow the keto diet myself, my curiosity was piqued when I saw this recipe idea. Not satisfied with some of the viral versions I encountered, I set out to create an easy version you can make at home, so that you can eat a healthier Cheeto whenever a craving strikes.
Everything You Need to Know About Making Keto Cheetos
If you're following the keto diet, it is best to weigh your ingredients to get the most accurate dietary information. For those of us who just want Cheetos on demand, cup measurements are totally fine.
Before you do anything else, freeze your cheese. You need the cheese to be as finely grated as possible when it's folded into the batter. Freezing it for at least one hour before pulsing it in a food processor will prevent the cheese from turning into sauce when pulsed.
Bake the keto Cheetos, then let them dry in the oven. These Cheetos consist of a meringue base, so they bake at a low temperature and will be crispiest when allowed to dry in the oven. You may find they are still a little pliable while warm, but they crisp as they cool.
I've personally tried a handful of homemade Cheetos recipes at home — not for any supposed health benefits, but because I'm a curious cook. This keto version has been my absolute favorite. They are crisp and cheesy and so easy to eat you might find yourself eating a single batch in one sitting. These are worth trying, whether you eat keto or not!
Prep time: 35 minutes ; cooking time: 1 hour
grated sharp cheddar cheese (3 ounces)
large egg whites, at room temperature
cream of tartar
finely ground almond flour (1 ounce)
Cheese flavored popcorn seasoning (optional)
Spread the grated cheese onto a plate and freeze for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 300°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
Transfer the frozen cheese to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until it forms fine crumbs, 12 to 15 pulses; set aside.
Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and medium bowl.) Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add the cheese crumbs and almond flour and carefully fold them in by hand with a rubber spatula, keeping as much air in the whites as possible.
Transfer to a quart-sized zip-top bag. Cut off a bottom corner of the bag with scissors to make a 1/4-inch-wide opening. Pipe the batter into 1 1/2-inch lengths onto the prepared baking sheets, keeping them as close together without touching. Vary the shape and length for the most cheeto-like results.
Bake until golden-brown and mostly dry, 25 to 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and continue to dry in the warm oven for 30 minutes more. Good luck not eating them all in one sitting.