Cheese is a great food option for those following the keto diet because it is naturally high in fat and low carb. It is also a good source of calcium! So if you weren’t sure before, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you will still be able to enjoy some of your favorite foods such as keto pizza. Not only can cheese be made into many delicious keto recipes, just grabbing a few cubes of plain cheddar cheese can be a quick and easy low carb snack.
Keto cheese is a great item to have on hand, but you need to be careful when you are picking it out at the grocery store. Some keto cheese choices are better than others, so let’s take a closer look at how to include cheese into your low carb diet.
In this article, I’ll discuss the best low-carb keto cheese that you can eat.
Can You Eat Dairy on Keto?
Yes! Many dairy products are low in carbs in addition to cheese that fits into the keto diet such as sour cream, heavy cream, and butter. This gives you so many more options when it comes to creating keto-friendly recipes!
Choosing the full-fat dairy options is best for the keto diet. Many dairy products offer reduced or fat-free options, but those usually end up replacing the fat with additional carbs making it less suitable for keto. Look at the food labels closely to ensure you are choosing the best option for your keto diet.
Not all dairy is good for a keto diet, though. Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and ice cream all contain too many carbs by either the natural sugar found in dairy (lactose) or added sugar for sweetness. Avoid those products to keep your diet lower in carbs and on track to stay in ketosis. However, some companies are making keto-friendly options for ice cream for those ice cream lovers out there. There are many keto ice cream flavor options available, so give one a try!
Which Cheese Is Best for Keto?
Most cheeses can fit in nicely into a ketogenic diet because they are high in fat and low in carbohydrates. There is some variability in the amount of carbs found in cheese. You will need to look closely at the nutrition label to see how many grams of carbohydrates are in each serving of cheese.
But the odds are that your favorite kind of cheese is keto-friendly! There are many kinds of keto cheese to choose from and limitless ways to incorporate them into your keto diet. For example, cheddar cheese can be used in a keto-friendly version of a comfort food classic, broccoli cheese soup. Making keto soup can be pretty simple with minimal ingredients. You can easily whip up this soup with just shredded cheddar cheese, broccoli, chicken broth, garlic, and heavy cream. In no time at all, you can have a filling dinner. Better yet, the soup is low in carbs and would hit the spot on a chilly day!
Another comfort keto food that uses cheese is keto mac and cheese, but instead of macaroni use cauliflower. Not only does that make it work for keto, it helps you get more vegetables into your diet! The cheese sauce should be made only using keto cheeses, such as cream cheese or cheddar cheese, and other keto dairy such as heavy cream. Traditional cheese sauces use thickeners such as flour, which would not make it suitable for keto.
You can make things really simple with keto cheese crisps. Place small amounts of shredded cheese on a baking sheet at 400 degrees F for just a few minutes, or until golden brown. That’s all you need to do to have a quick keto snack. This recipe works great with cheddar cheese.
Or if you are looking for something sweet, cream cheese or mascarpone cheeses work well in desserts. They are soft keto cheeses with a mild flavor that can really be transformed into a delicious treat. Keto-friendly cream cheese cookies, anyone? Yum!
If you are a chocolate lover, try a mascarpone chocolate mousse when you need something sweet. Mix together mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, cocoa powder, and erythritol powder in a blender until thickened and smooth. Garnish it with a strawberry for a dessert that not only tastes great but is beautiful, too! You are sure to impress your dinner guests with this delicious keto dessert.
As you can see, there are many options with cheese on the keto diet that are all low in carbs and will help you stay on track with your keto diet. Keto cheese, whether made into something that is sweet or savory, will always be on your grocery list.
Best Keto Cheese List
According to the nutrient database available through the USDA (1), here is a nutrition breakdown of the best options for keto cheese. For reference, the percent daily value (DV) of calcium is 1,000 mg for adults aged 19-50 (2).
Provolone Cheese (1 cubic inch or 17 grams): 60 calories, 5 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 4 grams of protein, less than 1 gram of carbs, 13% DV of calcium
Gorgonzola Cheese (1/4 cup or 28 grams): 100 calories, 8 grams fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 6 grams of protein, 1 gram carbs, 13% DV of calcium.
Asiago Cheese (1 ounce or 28 grams): 100 calories, 8 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 7 grams protein, 0 carbs, 20% DV of calcium
Mozzarella Cheese (1 stick or 28.35 grams): 84 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams saturated fats, 7 grams protein, 2 grams carbs, 20% DV of calcium
Manchego Cheese (1 ounce or 28 grams): 90 calories, 7 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 7 grams protein, 0 grams carbs, 20% DV of calcium
Swiss Cheese (1 slice or 21 grams): 83 calories, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 6 grams protein, less than 1 gram of carbs, 19% DV of calcium
Goat Cheese (1 cubic inch or 25 grams): 90 calories, 7 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 6 grams protein, less than 1 gram of carbs, 11% DV of calcium
American Cheese (1 stick or 28.35 grams): 87 calories, 7 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 5 grams protein, 3 grams carbs, 39% DV of calcium
Cheddar Cheese (1 stick or 28.35 grams): 115 calories, 9 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 6 grams protein, 1 gram carbs, 20% DV of calcium
Parmesan Cheese (1 ounce or 28.35 grams): 111 calories, 7 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 10 grams protein, 1 gram carbs, 34% DV of calcium
Mascarpone Cheese (1 tablespoon or 28 grams): 120 calories, 12 grams fat, 9 grams saturated fat, 1 gram protein, 1 gram carbs, 4% DV of calcium
Brie Cheese (1 cubic inch or 17 grams): 57 calories, 5 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 4 grams protein, less than 1 gram carbs, 31% DV of calcium
Gruyere Cheese (1 slice or 21 grams): 87 calories, 7 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 6 grams protein, less than 1 gram carbs, 21% DV of calcium
Cream Cheese (1 individual container or 28.35 grams): 99 calories, 10 grams fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams protein, 2 grams carbs, 28% DV of calcium
Ricotta Cheese (100 grams): 156 calories, 10 grams fat, 7 grams saturated fat, 11 grams protein, 4 grams carbs, 24% DV of calcium
Feta Cheese (21 grams): 55 calories, 4 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 3 grams protein, 1 gram carbs, 10% DV of calcium
Cottage Cheese (100 grams): 98 calories, 4 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 11 grams protein, 3 grams carbs, 8% DV of calcium
Can You Eat Too Much Cheese on Keto?
Cheese is one of the most popular (and delicious!) keto-friendly foods. So is it possible to have too much? Keto, like any other diet, should include a variety of foods to ensure you are meeting your nutritional needs.
Keto diets are high in fat. It’s recommended to include mostly unsaturated fats in your diet due to their positive effect on heart health. Saturated fats, like cheese, should be consumed in moderation. In addition to being a high-fat food, keto cheese is also a good source of protein. If you are already getting plenty of protein in your diet through other foods, eating too much cheese can really bump up your protein intake to an amount higher than what you need. You can still have all of your favorite low carb, keto foods that include cheese, but just not too much!
What’s the Lowest Carb Cheese?
Keto cheese, in general, is low in carbs. There are some small differences between varieties, and if you only are looking for a keto cheese that contains 1 gram or less of carbohydrate per serving, then these are the ones for you (based on the information above and portion sizes may vary): provolone, gorgonzola, asiago, manchego, swiss, goat, cheddar, parmesan, mascarpone, brie, gruyere, and feta cheeses.
Can I Eat Cottage Cheese on Keto?
You can have cottage cheese on keto, but you need to keep the portion pretty small. Cottage cheese has more carbs per serving than most other cheeses. If you look at the chart above, 100 grams (which is a little less than 1/2 cup) packs in 3 grams of carbohydrates. A one-cup portion (210 grams) would give you 7 grams of carbs! Typical ketogenic diets limit carbohydrates to no more than 50 grams/day (3), so you can see how that would quickly account for a significant portion of your daily goal. If you must have it you can make it work in your keto diet, but watch your portion and always choose the full-fat kind.
Is Mozzarella Keto?
If you have been wondering what you can top your keto pizza with to stay low carb, mozzarella cheese is a great choice! Mozzarella is a wonderful keto cheese to keep in the fridge because it can be used in many different recipes or alone as a snack.
Mozzarella makes a great low carb snack because there are only two carbs per one stick of mozzarella cheese and it contains 7 grams of protein to help you stay full longer. Keeping the cheese sticks around is pretty convenient if you are on the go and in need of a snack that works for keto.
Is Queso Keto?
This answer is not as straight forward. Queso can be keto-friendly, but you will probably need to make it yourself. The queso that you find in restaurants will likely have added milk and flour that add too many carbs that no longer make it low carb, keto-friendly food. Your best be bet will be to pass on the queso while out at a restaurant.
If you want to make queso at home that is keto-friendly, you will want to stick with a recipe that only uses keto cheese and other keto-friendly dairy options such as heavy cream or cream cheese along with spices such as cumin. You are still able to have your queso on your keto taco night!
Is Laughing Cow Cheese Keto-Friendly?
Yes! Laughing Cow cheese is perfect keto cheese because it only contains one gram of carbohydrate per serving and it is already portioned out for you. Try it paired with a keto-friendly vegetable, such as zucchini or roasted eggplant, for a healthy snack.
Laughing Cow comes in a variety of flavors including creamy original, creamy aged white cheddar, creamy spicy pepper jack, and creamy garlic & herb. There is something for everyone. Yum!
Following very low carb therapeutic diets such as the ketogenic diet, whether it is to help you lose weight or for other health reasons, can sometimes be tricky to know what you are allowed to eat. Rest assured that cheese is ok for keto! Cheese is an excellent choice for the ketogenic diet because of its desired nutritional qualities of being high in fat and low in carbs. Keto cheese, like other dairy products, is also a great source of calcium. When consumed in moderation, keto cheese can fit in perfectly into your ketogenic diet.
There are many, many ways you can use keto cheese in your ketogenic diet. As a snack on its own or in a recipe, you can easily find ways to include keto cheese in your low carb lifestyle.