Blog Diets Keto 5 Keto Cheeses That Make the Cut and Which Ones Don’t

5 Keto Cheeses That Make the Cut and Which Ones Don’t

The keto diet has three fundamental principles.

One, eat fewer carbs than the standard dietary recommendation. This is the golden rule of the ketogenic lifestyle. Two, eat more fat, ideally healthy fats that support your overall wellbeing. Three, eat moderate protein to maintain muscle mass and keep you satiated (14).

You’re looking for foods that can tick all these boxes. One food that fits the bill as far as these principles are concerned is cheese, especially the types that are high in fat and protein. Not to mention, it’s a tasty addition to any meal, making it easier to stick to your diet.

But not all cheeses are created equal. Some, like processed cheese, may contain hidden carbs while others, like certain hard cheeses, are a perfect fit for a keto diet.Here’s the only guide you need on keto-friendly cheeses that make the cut and those that don’t.

Which Cheese Is Allowed In Keto?

Hard cheese has a distinct edge over soft cheese in the keto diet game.

Hard cheeses like cheddar, gouda, and parmigiano are high in fat and contain minimal to no carbs (7). They also pack a good amount of protein, which is crucial for maintaining muscle mass (13) while on a low-carb diet. These types of cheese make great keto snacks or can be added to meals for flavor and texture.

In the absence of ingredient labels, especially when you’re buying from a local cheese shop, here’s a general rule of thumb to follow – the higher the fat content, the more appropriate it is for your keto diet. That said, opt for full-fat versions instead of low-fat or reduced-fat options.

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What Is The Best Cheese for No Carbs?

Some of the best cheeses with no carbs (or low carb) have to be Parmigiano Reggiano, Gorgonzola, Gruyere, Gouda, and Cheddar. Read on for a detailed breakdown of these choices, and matching keto cheese recipes for each.

Parmigiano Reggiano (0 g carbs per ounce)

Top on our list is Parmigiano Reggiano, also known as the “King of Cheeses.” This Italian cheese has zero carbs and is high in protein and fat (11).

Not to be confused with Parmesan cheese (which is a version that’s not from the designated region in Italy and that’s probably not aged as long), this cheese is made from only three ingredients – raw cow’s milk, rennet, and salt.

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For a cheese to qualify as Parmigiano Reggiano, it must be made in specific regions of Italy and follow strict production guidelines e.g. aged for at least 12 months.

  • Flavor profile – nutty, savory, and sharp
  • Nutrient profile – rich in calcium, vitamin A, and phosphorous
  • Uses – grated on salads or pasta dishes, as a topping for soups or stews, or simply as a snack
  • Origin – Italy (specifically the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and parts of Bologna)

Keto Parmigiano Reggiano Crisps (12)

You’ve seen lots of Parmesan cheese crisps on the market, but have you ever tried making them at home, with authentic Parmigiano Reggiano no less? This easy keto chips recipe only requires one ingredient and a few minutes of your time.


  • 1 cup freshly grated or shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Scoop 1 tablespoon of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and form into a small mound on the lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining cheese, leaving at least 1 inch of space between each mound.
  3. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.
  5. Gently remove the crisps from the parchment paper and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  6. Enjoy these crispy, cheesy treats as a snack or as a topping on your favorite keto dishes.

Servings: 9

keto cheese  

Gorgonzola (0.5 g carbs per ounce)

Another Italian cheese that makes the cut for keto is Gorgonzola. This blue cheese offers a tangy and creamy flavor, perfect for adding a punch to your dishes. It’s also high in fat and protein, making it a great addition to your keto diet (2)

Note: blue cheeses in general tend to be lower in carbs compared to other types of cheese. They are made by introducing a type of mold into the cheese, which consumes some of the lactose (sugar) present in milk.

  • Flavor profile – tangy, creamy, and pungent
  • Nutrient profile – rich in fat-soluble vitamin K, calcium, and phosphorous
  • Uses – crumbled on salads, melted in sauces or dips, or served as a spread. Also great for stuffings, dressings, and marinades.
  • Origin – Northern Italy (specifically the regions of Piedmont and Lombardy)

Keto Gorgonzola Stuffed Mushrooms (10)

No breadcrumbs, no filler, and all savory, creamy goodness – these keto stuffed mushrooms are a must-try for gorgonzola lovers. The combination of the earthy mushroom, tangy gorgonzola, and green onion make for a flavor-packed appetizer or side dish. Any blue cheese may be used, but gorgonzola is recommended for its lower carb count.

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  • 2 pounds mushrooms, medium-sized, about 3 dozen mushrooms
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces), unsalted butter
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion


  1. Line your baking sheet with foil and preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Wash mushrooms, remove stems, and set caps on a baking sheet.
  3. Finely chop the mushroom stems.
  4. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Saute chopped mushroom stems until soft.
  5. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth; stir in blue cheese and green onion. 
  6. Add sautéed mushroom stems and mix well.
  7. Spoon mixture into mushroom caps and arrange on the baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, until mushrooms are soft. Serve warm.

Servings: 18

Nutrition: amount per serving: Calories: 106 | Total Carbohydrate 4g | Protein 3g | Total Fat 9g | Saturated Fat 6g | Cholesterol 26mg | Sodium 114mg | Dietary Fiber 1g | Total Sugars 2g | Vitamin C 2mg | Calcium 37mg | Iron 1mg | Potassium 209mg

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Gruyere (0.1 g carbs per ounce)

Gruyere cheese is a type of Swiss cheese, usually the one used in traditional French dishes like fondue and quiche. It’s made from cow’s milk and aged for at least 6 months, giving it a strong and nutty flavor.

Other Swiss cheeses may also be suitable for a keto diet, such as Swiss cheese, which has 0.4 g of carbs per ounce (g). However, Gruyere has the lowest carb count – 0.1 grams (6), making it the top pick for keto.

  • Flavor profile – nutty, sweet, and earthy
  • Nutrient profile – rich in protein, calcium, vitamin B12, and phosphorus
  • Uses – melted in dishes like quiche or fondue, grated on salads, or served as a snack. Gruyere also pairs well with meats like chicken, beef, or pork, making it a versatile ingredient in keto-friendly entrees.
  • Origin – Switzerland (specifically the Gruyere district in Canton Fribourg)

keto cheese  

Keto Gruyere and Onion Soup (9)

Onion soup is so comforting and hearty, but most recipes call for high-carb ingredients like bread or flour. This keto-friendly version swaps out those carbs and uses gruyere cheese to add richness and depth of flavor.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 cups beef stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (or coconut aminos for gluten-free & vegetarian)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated erythritol
  • 8 slices Swiss or Gruyere cheese (to serve)
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  1. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add sliced onions, salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown.
  2. Add minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Pour in dry white wine and deglaze the pot by scraping up any brown bits on the bottom. Let the wine cook down for 3-4 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Add thyme leaves and bay leaves to the pot, then pour in water and stock. Add Worcestershire sauce (or coconut aminos) and granulated erythritol. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Ladle soup into oven-safe bowls and top each with a slice of cheese. Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot.

Servings: 8

Nutrition: Serving Size: 1 ¼ cups soup + 1 topper + 1 slice cheese | Calories: 418 | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 31g | Fiber: 3g 

Gouda (0.6g carbs per ounce)

Moving on to the Netherlands, we have Gouda cheese – a semi-hard cheese with a creamy texture and nutty flavor. Like other aged cheeses, it’s lower in lactose and carbs and higher in fat and protein (4), making it suitable for a keto diet.

Fun fact: Gouda is named after the Dutch city of Gouda where it was historically traded.

  • Flavor profile – nutty, buttery, and slightly sweet
  • Nutrient profile – rich in vitamin B12, calcium, and phosphorous
  • Uses – sliced for sandwiches or burgers, melted on pizzas or grilled cheese sandwiches, or simply as a snack with some nuts. Also great in sauces and soups for added creaminess.
  • Origin – Netherlands (specifically the provinces of South Holland and North Holland)

Creamy Keto Cauliflower and Smoked Gouda Soup (8)

Creamy, cheesy, and oh-so comforting – this keto soup is a delicious way to enjoy gouda cheese. The addition of cauliflower adds bulk and nutrients, so you can eat this as a standalone meal or serve it as a side with your favorite protein.


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup diced red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons diced red onion
  • 1 medium celery stalk, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large head cauliflower, chopped (5-6 cups)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded smoked gouda cheese
  • 12 ounces bacon, fried and crumbled
  • Optional toppings: parsley, additional bacon, additional shredded cheddar cheese
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  1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter with olive oil.
  2. Add red pepper, onion, celery, and garlic; cook for 8-10 minutes until softened.
  3. Add cauliflower and broth; bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low-medium.
  4. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.
  5. Add cream, paprika, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and xanthan gum; mix well.
  6. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until soup thickens.
  7. Slowly stir in cheddar and gouda cheeses until melted.
  8. Serve hot with crumbled bacon and optional toppings.

Servings : 10

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 475 | Carbohydrates: 7g | Net carbohydrates: 4.5g | Protein: 24g | Total fat: 39g | Saturated fat: 20g | Trans fat: 1g | unsaturated fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 117 mg | Sodium: 1459mg | Fiber: 2.5g | Sugar: 4g 

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Cheddar Cheese (0.7 g carbs per ounce)

Cheddar cheese is probably one of the most popular and versatile cheeses out there. And luckily for keto dieters, it’s relatively low in carbs too (3). This semi-hard cheese can be found in a variety of sharpness levels – mild, medium, sharp, and extra sharp.

  • Flavor profile – depending on the age of the cheese, it can range from mild and buttery to strong and tangy
  • Nutrient profile – rich in calcium and high-quality protein
  • Uses – sliced for sandwiches, grated for melting or cooking, or eaten on its own as a snack
  • Origin – England (specifically the village of Cheddar in Somerset)

Keto Cheddar Bacon Biscuits (1)

If you miss having bread on your keto diet, these cheddar bacon biscuits are the perfect alternative. Not only are they low in carbs, but they’re also packed with cheesy and savory flavors. Serve them as a side dish or snack on their own.


  • Cooking spray
  • 2 c. almond flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 tbsp. melted butter 
  • 1/3 c. sour cream
  • 1 c. chopped cooked bacon
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar


  1.  Preheat the oven to 375° and grease a baking sheet with cooking spray. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking soda, salt, and pepper.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together egg, melted butter, and sour cream until well combined.
  4. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until just combined.
  5. Fold in chopped bacon and shredded cheddar.
  6. Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
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keto cheese

Which Cheese Is Not Allowed On Keto?

Processed cheeses like cheese spreads, cream cheese blends, or cheese products in spray cans typically include added sugars and other additives. These are not recommended for a keto diet as they can increase carb intake and may contain unhealthy fats.

Additionally, some soft cheeses like cottage cheese and ricotta may also have higher carb content due to their milk content.

Lastly, any flavored cheeses or those with added fruits, nuts, or seeds should also be avoided on keto as they can add extra carbs to your diet.

Can I Eat Unlimited Cheese on Keto?

No; while cheese can be enjoyed on a keto diet, it’s important to practice moderation. Cheese is high in calories and can easily add up if consumed excessively. Stick to recommended portion sizes and mix it up with other protein sources like meats, seafood, and eggs for a well-rounded diet.

What Is a Keto Substitute for Cheese?

If you’re looking for a dairy-free option or simply want to change things up from traditional cheese, there are some keto cheese substitutes you can try. Some options include:

  1. Nut-based cheeses – made from ingredients like almonds, cashews, and macadamia nuts, these vegan cheeses are a great alternative for those on a keto diet.
  2. Nutritional yeast – this inactive yeast is often used as a cheese substitute, due to its cheesy and nutty flavor. It’s also high in B vitamins and protein.
  3. Avocado – while not technically a cheese substitute, the creamy texture of avocado can be used as a topping or spread in place of cheese.

Read more: Keto Stuffed Jalapenos 4 Ways: Tasty, Spicy, and Surprisingly Low in Carbs


  • What Cheese Has the Lowest Carbs?

Parmiagiano-Reggiano and Feta cheese are some of the lowest carb options, with less than 1 gram of carbs per ounce. Other low-carb options include cheddar, gouda, and Gruyere.

  • What Is the Healthiest Cheese for Keto?

Hard cheeses like cheddar and Parmesan are typically the lowest-carb choices for a keto diet as they are high in fats and proteins but low in carbs. They also contain other essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D.

  • Is Mayo OK on Keto?

Yes, mayonnaise is keto-friendly as it’s primarily made of oils which are high in fats and low in carbs. Opt for an unsweetened version or make your own to avoid any added sugars.

  • Is Mozzarella OK for Keto?

Mozzarella is perfectly fine for a keto diet. It’s relatively low in carbs but high in fats and proteins, making it an excellent choice for people following a keto diet. Be sure to choose full-fat versions and not low-fat or fat-free options.

The Bottom Line

Low-carb and high-fat cheese can be a delicious and nutritious addition to a keto diet. With endless options to choose from, it’s important to check the nutrition labels and ingredients list to ensure you’re staying within your carb limit. Moderation is also necessary, so mix up your protein sources and enjoy cheese in appropriate portion sizes.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Best Keto Bacon and Cheese Biscuits Recipe (2020,
  2. Cheese, Blue or Roquefort (2022,
  3. Cheese, Cheddar (2019,
  4. Cheese, gouda (2019,
  5. Cheese, gruyere (2019,
  6. Cheese, swiss (2019,
  7. Cheese: Types of Cheeses – Hard (2016,
  8. Creamy Keto Cauliflower and Smoked Gouda Soup (n.d.,
  9. Keto French Onion Soup – Low Carb – I Breathe I’m Hungry (2022,
  10. Low-Carb Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe (2023,
  12. Real Parmigiano Reggiano Crisps – Creative in My Kitchen (2019,
  13. Systematic review and meta‐analysis of protein intake to support muscle mass and function in healthy adults (2022,
  14. The Potential Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet: A Narrative Review (2021,
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