Low Carb Crackers and Keto: Everything You Need to Know

Low Carb Crackers and Keto: Everything You Need to Know
Daniel Thompson

on June 06, 2019

Crackers are a big part of American food culture. Saltine crackers are a go-to when you have an upset stomach, and any worthwhile charcuterie board isn’t the same without these crispy snacks. Whole aisles of grocery stores are dedicated to crackers — not to mention their accompanying dips and spreads.

Unfortunately, these fan-favorite snacks often boast sky-high carbohydrate levels that would make any keto dieter uncomfortable. Luckily, there are a few ways to get your cracker fix without falling out of ketosis.  

Crackers and Keto

Crackers are a humble food, so it’s no surprise that they have an equally humble origin story. Many historians say that modern crackers are an off-shoot of hard tack, a mix of unleavened flour and water that, once baked to oblivion, is perfect for transport overseas.

As hard tack evolved throughout the centuries, baking methods improved and different flavors were added to make the dough’s taste and texture more pleasant. Today, a generic cracker consists of four ingredients: white flour, water, fat, and salt. Saltine crackers, often used as a baseline, clock in at 77% carbohydrate, and 17% fat and 7% per serving, according to MyFitnessPal’s food tracker.

While these figures don’t outright disqualify crackers from the keto lifestyle, five crackers may not be your best option when it comes to satisfying that crunchy carb craving.

How Many Carbs Are in the Average Cracker?

Before you completely rule out crackers from your keto diet, let’s take a look at the numbers. We wanted to determine how many carbs are in the average cracker, and because there’s a lot of diversity in the cracker world, we decided to take a few different varieties into account.

Saltine Crackers

  • Serving Size: 5 crackers
  • Carbs per serving: 11g
  • Protein per serving: 1g
  • Fat per serving: 1g

These classic crackers are most often found on the side of soups and are one of the most basic crackers on the market. At 11g of carbs per serving, these crackers are an OK option on the keto diet, but the small serving size doesn’t make for a very filling snack.

Ritz

  • Serving Size: 5 crackers
  • Carbs per serving: 10g
  • Protein per serving: 1g
  • Fat per serving: 4.5g

Known for its buttery flavor, Ritz crackers are the next step up in cracker evolution, offering more flavor than a saltine while remaining a neutral vehicle for toppings, dips, and spreads.

They deliver nearly the same level of carbohydrate as saltines, but add an additional boost of fat, making this the better keto option between the two. However, at 10g of carbs for a serving size of five crackers, Ritz still leaves much to be desired in terms of keto favorability.

Graham Crackers

  • Serving Size: 2 full cracker sheets
  • Carbs per serving: 25g
  • Protein per serving: 2g
  • Fat per serving: 3g

Graham crackers toe the line between cracker and cookie, which is bad news for keto dieters. Graham crackers are often sweetened with honey or other sugars, which causes the carbohydrate levels to skyrocket.

Honeymaid graham crackers have 25g of carbs per serving, which is pretty much on par. This places graham crackers firmly on the list of non-keto friendly foods.

Triscuit Crackers

  • Serving Size: 6 crackers
  • Carbs per serving: 20g
  • Protein per serving: 3g
  • Fat per serving: 4g

While Triscuit crackers use whole grain wheat to boost nutrition content in the form of fiber and B vitamins, it still does not lower the high level of carbs found in these crackers. At 20 grams per serving, these guys are too carb-heavy to be keto-approved.

Cheez-It Crackers

  • Serving Size: 27 crackers
  • Carbs per serving: 17g
  • Protein per serving: 3g
  • Fat per serving: 8g

For a cheese-flavored contender, we looked at the nutrition information on an American staple: Cheez-It crackers. Because of the smaller size of the cracker, Cheez-Its have an inflated serving size, allowing snackers to enjoy 27 of these bad boys per serving.

While 17g of carbs is fairly high, the smaller cracker enables you to enjoy a few of these cheesy squares without fear of losing ketosis. The real cheese in these crackers adds a significant amount of fat as well, which is the silver lining to Cheez-It’s nutrition content.

Low-Carb Alternatives to Crackers

Pork Rinds

Often lauded as stereotypical junk food, pork rinds got a bad rap during the low-fat diet craze of the 70s and 80s. However, if you give them a second chance, you’ll see that these keto-friendly snacks are naturally carb-free and can easily replace the crunch you may be missing in your keto lifestyle. An added benefit of pork rinds is that they come in a variety of flavors, which make them an ideal substitute for potato chips as well.

Flackers Crackers

These flaxseed-based snacks are about as close to crackers as one can get while staying relatively low-carb. Each serving of Flackers contains 8 grams of carbs. At the same time, a serving also contributes 6 grams of fiber, resulting in 2 grams of net carbs per serving.  

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are nature’s cracker. They’re incredibly crisp, have a subtle flavor, and pair well with nearly every dip, spread, and cheese out there. Simply slice a cucumber into circles or batons for the perfect finger food that can also play the role of guilt-free party snack.

Cheese Crisps

Cheese has many applications in the keto diet, especially when baked into a crispy cracker alternative. Check out brands like Whisps and Just the Cheese, which both offer crispy, 100% cheese products that only contain 1g of carbohydrate each.

Keto-Friendly Dips and Spreads

Guacamole

Whether you make it yourself or pick up some premade stuff at the grocery store, guac is the ultimate keto dip. It’s got heart-healthy avocado, plus low-carb flavor boosters like red onion, lime juice, garlic, and salt. Typically, a recipe won’t have more than 4 grams of net carbs, which gives this tasty Mexican dip the keto green light.

Cheese Spread

You can find these tubs of goodness near the fancy cheese display case of your local grocer. Perfect for spreading on keto cracker variations, cheese spread packs all the delicious taste of cheese into a convenient, spreadable form. With only 3-4 grams of carbohydrate per serving, you can go ahead and dip right in.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Spinach and artichoke dip is a restaurant favorite that can easily be made keto-friendly right in your own kitchen. Check out this delicious recipe for spinach artichoke dip pull-apart rolls from Cast Iron Keto.

Keto Ranch

As healthy snacks go, who doesn’t love dipping veggies in ranch? Get normal ranch at the grocery store, though, and you might end up dealing with a bunch of hidden sugars. Luckily, it’s very easy to whip up some keto ranch with the ingredients you probably already have on hand. The folks over at That Low Carb Life have got you covered with this killer recipe that’s only 1 gram net carb.

Avocado Hummus

Because the chickpeas in normal hummus add too many carbohydrates, keto dieters have found ways to turn delicious keto ingredients into tasty low-carb hummus varieties. Avocado hummus and cauliflower hummus are two perfect examples. These dips are the perfect party food. Just whip up a batch and serve with raw veggies, keto-friendly chips, or crackers.

Make Your Own Low-Carb Keto Crisps

It’s always a good idea to make your own keto snacks, and keto crackers are no different. By controlling exactly what does and doesn’t go into your food, you can skip a lot of preservatives and fillers, many of which are capable of adding unwanted carbs.

This keto cracker recipe that we adapted from Wholesome Yum has everything you want in a cracker. Its formidable crunch and unmatched flavor come from blanched almond flour, which also adds a natural buttery taste that other keto crackers often lack.

3-ingredient keto crackers (they’re labeled as “paleo,” but they’re good and low carb) by Wholesome Yum

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Directions:

  1. Combine the almond flour, sea salt, and beaten egg in a large bowl. Mix until all moisture is incorporated and the ingredients form a cohesive dough.
  2. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  3. Once the dough is done chilling, preheat your oven to 350° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Using two sheets of parchment paper, roll out the dough as thinly and evenly as possible, shooting for a depth of 1/16th of an inch.
  5. Cut the dough into small rectangles with a knife. Prick each rectangle with a fork to allow steam to escape during baking. Place each cracker on the prepared cookie sheet, making sure not to overlap them. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until tops are nicely golden.
  6. Remove crackers from the oven, and allow to cool completely before enjoying.



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