Copycat Cheez-Its (Vegan, Paleo & Low Fodmap)
I AM HAVING A PROUD MOMENT. Because I made keto friendly, vegan and paleo copycat Cheez Its. AND THEY TASTE JUST LIKE CHEEZ ITS. Your mind will be blown!
If this pandemic brought something positive to my life, it allowed me this time in the kitchen to recreate one of my all-time-favorites. They have such an authentic Cheez-it taste it’s sort of mind blowing, I couldn’t believe it when I tasted them out of the oven! I used to crave Cheez-its and I am now so happy that I can make my own. And these are actually cheesier than the real thing! I made my version with a paleo flour blend I created, vegan cheddar cheese and dairy free butter, but any flour, shredded cheese and butter works here. The recipe is customizable to your diet and what you have on hand. And guys, they are just 4 ingredients! They're the perfect gluten free snack.
You know when you get a slightly burnt Cheez-it, it’s like finding a piece of gold? I’m not sure how, but some even have that little salty Cheez-it burnt taste. These babies are very few ingredients and easy, you really can’t mess them up. You just need some shredded cheddar cheese alternative, some paleo or GF flour, dairy-free butter, and salt. Oh and a rolling pin and the skills to cut out little squares! You can also make these Cheez Its with real butter, shredded cheese and flour of choice and they'll come out great. It's easy substituting here, it's more about proportions.
I have been making these Cheez-its on repeat since I started making them back in the beginning of the quarantine. I will eat a whole batch in less than 2 days, they're that good. If you are going to make any recipe of mine, these need to be on your list!
These copycat Cheez-Its are paleo, vegan, low fodmap and keto friendly!
And they are amazing! Say what?! It depends on what flour you use and what cheese you decide to use (real vs vegan), but these actually will qualify for keto as well. They're very low carb. I have made these with all types of flours and cheeses and they always come out crunchy and delicious.
Are these Paleo and Vegan Cheez-Its easy to make?
Honestly, they're 4 ingredients. One bowl. SO easy. I make the dough, roll it out and cut it into squares. Poke little holes in the centers (because... cheez its), sprinkle with coarse sea salt and bake for 20 minutes!
What do I need to make these copycat Cheez-Its?
I recommend a food processor to get a nice smooth batter. If you do not have a food processor, you can smash the cheddar shreds with the back of a fork so they're smashed into tiny pieces, or you can try to. beat the dough as well with a hand mixer. Also a sharp edge to cut out your little squares.
What’s in these copycat Cheez-Its?
My paleo flour blend: This my perfect flour blend for a 1:1 paleo baking substitute for any all purpose flour. It’s a blend of almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour and arrowroot starch. One cup is 1/2 cup of almond, 1/4 cup of arrowroot, 1/8 cup each of tapioca and coconut. You can also use a gluten free all purpose baking flour.
Shredded Vegan Cheddar Flavor Cheese: I have used Violife brand for these and they came out great. Daiya will work too. Or if you can eat cheese, just straight up shredded cheddar!
Non-dairy butter: I have used Earth Balance and Miyoko’s and they both worked well. Or you can use real butter but I’d stick with grass fed
Coarse Sea Salt: Because they need salt!
Ice Water: Gives it more moisture and the cold water binds the dough
3/4 cup of my paleo flour blend*, or GF All-Purpose Flour See notes for paleo blend
1 cup of shredded vegan cheddar-flavored cheese or shredded cheddar cheese
3 tbsp of nondairy/vegan butter or grass fed butter
1/2 tsp of sea salt
1 tbsp of ice water
Option and recommended for non-vegans:
1 tbsp + 1 tsp of grated romano or parmesan cheese (gives it a nice sharp bite) *parmesan/romano cheese is aged and essentially free of lactose, can be tolerated by most with gut issues/lactose intolerance*
How to make these Paleo Cheez Its:
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. If you have a food processor, this works best. Place your shredded cheese in the food processor and pulse or grind until it's smooth. Then add in the butter and pulse again. Finally add in the sea salt and flour and pulse until a dough forms. Finally add in the cold water.
If you do not have a food processor: in mixing bowl, beat butter & cheese together until blended nicely with a hand mixer. You might have to really smash and work the cheese with the back of a fork to get it smooth. Less lumps the better.
3. Combine flour and salt into your bowl. Add ice water and mix, making sure all dough been incorporated.
4. Divide dough in half and place half in the fridge to keep it chilled while you work with the first half. Roll out the first half with a rolling pin between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll them thin enough so they'll bake up crispy (about 1/8”is ideal).
5. Then with a sharp edge (I use a pastry cutter, a ruler or a pizza wheel), cut lines into a grid going horizontally and vertically (making little squares). Make a little hole in the center of each cracker. Brush a light coat of olive oil and sprinkle the tops with a little coarse sea salt. Transfer the parchment paper to baking sheet and separate the squares.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until browned, they should be nice and crunchy throughout. If some are cut thinner, you may have to remove those first and put the rest in to keep baking. They will get a better crunch a few minutes after leaving the oven. If you feel they are burning or cooking too quickly but not crunchy yet, turn the oven down to 350F. I find the perfect texture is when they are light brown throughout, but I like mine a bit overdone.
7. Repeat the process with the first half of the dough. Roll and cut and bake for 20 minutes, until crispy and browned. (For an even crispier crunch, you can freeze the squares on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before baking and transfer right from the freezer to the oven.)
7. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet. Store in an air-tight container on the counter for up to 2 weeks. Or pour into a Cheez-it box and pretend you’re eating the real thing!
My paleo flour blend: One cup of flour is 1/2 cup of almond flour, 1/4 cup of arrowroot starch/flour, 1/8 cup each of tapioca starch and coconut flour. You can also use a gluten free all purpose baking flour.
You can use real dairy here in substitution of the vegan butter and cheese
Try to roll out and cut the squares evenly so they bake evenly. You may need to take some out of the oven if they are browning sooner than others, and put the rest back in as they are done
The paleo version will bake faster because of the fat content, make sure to keep an eye on them to avoid burning.
If you feel the Cheez-its are cooking too quickly and may burn, turn the oven down to 350F. Bake times depend on the brand of cheese and butter you use.
For a thicker crunch, you can freeze the squares on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before baking and transfer right to the freezer to the oven.
If you love these Cheez-Its, check out this Gluten free + Vegan Chex Party Mix!
If you make these Cheez Its, let me know in the comments below! And also be sure to tag me on Instagram of all your creations @gutsy_baker! xo