Guys, I just made keto popcorn cheese puffs and I am DEAD. They were SO good. Seriously, they are the perfect zero carb keto snack. I just did a little test run with just two ounces of cheese and to be honest I’m glad I didn’t make more because I think I could have devoured an entire pound in one sitting. They’re crispy, crunchy, cheesy, and everything you want in a snack.

I am a snack monster in the best of times (please check out my favorite keto snacks here!) and the worst of times. Sometimes I think I could live on snacks alone. But the problem is, almost all snacks are super carb-heavy. I’m talking about chips and popcorn of course. There’s something about snacking, it’s almost like it is a law that snacks need to be crunchy and satisfying. Most low-carb snacks aren’t but I am here to save you from bad snacks. Keto popcorn cheese puffs are here!

Keto popcorn cheese puffs are super easy to make at home, just one ingredient, and zero carb. I mean, win-win-win, am I right?!

I first came across these when I did a google search for the best keto snacks to make at home. Keto popcorn kept coming up and after a few clicks down the google hole later, I knew that I had to make them. In three days. Because yes, it takes some time to prep your cheese before you make these guys. But trust me, it’s worth it. If you like ParmCrisps, Whisps, Moon Cheese or any of those other crispy cheese snacks you need to make these at home because they’re cheaper, more delicious (try them when they’re a little warm), and homemade.

Keto Air Fryer Popcorn Cheese Puffs Recipe |

What is Keto Popcorn?

Keto popcorn is not actually popcorn, it’s popped cheese! Little crispy, crunchy nuggets of air fried or oven baked puffed cheese. It’s zero carbs depending on the cheese you use and the most satisfying, addictive, crunchy keto snack.

Ingredients for Making Keto Popcorn Cheese Puffs

Cheese. Yup, that’s it. All you need is cheese and how much you make is up to you.

What Kind of Cheese Can I Use to Make Keto Popcorn Cheese Puffs?

I used medium cheddar but you can use any hard to medium hard firm cheese with a relatively low moisture content: parmesan, pardano, pecorino, white cheddar, gouda, colby, manchego, asiago, comte, emmental, gruyere, monterey jack, colby jack. Basically any cheese than can dry out to hard as a rock can be puffed.

How to Make Keto Popcorn Cheese Puffs

1. Cut or crumble up your cheese of choice: I chose to crumble to make the puffs look more organic. You can do whatever is easiest. Aim for pieces that are 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in size and try to keep them relatively consistent.

2. Dry out the cheese: Place the cheese pieces on a paper towel lined plate or tray and cover with another paper towel. Pop into your fridge. You could leave them out at room temp which is what all of the other recipes online say but the truth is the fridge is great at dehydrating and removing moisture.

3. Bake or Air-Fry: Either bake in a 390°F oven until puffy or pop into an air fryer at 390°F for 5 minutes. I prefer the air-fryer version because after waiting days for the cheese to dry out I don’t really want to wait for the oven to preheat.

4. Enjoy! Crunchy your way to satisfaction.

What are the Macros for Keto Popcorn Cheese Puffs?

To be honest, this is going to change depending on what cheese you use. Just be sure that your cheese is truly zero carbs if you’re looking for a really zero carb snack!

Keto Air Fryer Popcorn Cheese Puffs Recipe |

Keto Air Fryer Popcorn Cheese Puffs Recipe

One ingredient cheesy, crispy, crunchy keto popcorn
Serves 1
4.77 from 17 votes
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 6 minutes


  • 2 oz cheese of choice


  • Cut or crumble the cheese into very small 1/4 inch pieces. Place a paper towel on a tray and lay out the cheese pieces. Cover with another paper towel and place in the fridge to dry out for 3-5 days, or until completely dry and very hard. If the cheese doesn’t dry it out, it will just melt in the oven instead of puffing and turning crunchy.
    Keto Air Fryer Popcorn Cheese Puffs Recipe |

To Bake

  • Heat the oven to 390°F and bake on a parchment paper lined baking sheet for 3-5 minutes, or until puffed. Let cool before enjoying!
    Keto Air Fryer Popcorn Cheese Puffs Recipe |

To Air Fry

  • Preheat the air fryer to 390°F. Place the pieces of cheese in the air fryer for 5 minutes at 390°F. Let cool and enjoy!
    Keto Air Fryer Popcorn Cheese Puffs Recipe |


  1. Ufuk says:

    5 stars
    I can not wait to make it.

  2. Sabrina says:

    5 stars
    I think it may be! a snack for me for the weekend and very creative use of the air fryer!

  3. Todd Doty says:

    And the cheese won’t mold? Sitting on the counter for 3 days.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi todd,
      mine didn’t! if you’re concerned about mold, you can dry the cheese out in the fridge if you have the space :)

      1. T. Savage says:

        5 stars
        I’ve done this with many different types of cheese not any molded sitting out.
        I was worried too bc I have OCD about cleaning/food/touching gross things. I wear gloves in my own home when preparing food. It’s perfectly safe!

  4. Jessica A Felkel says:

    Maybe my cheese was not dry enough, but I tested a few in my air fryer and just got super melted hard cheese … Did not pop at all. ?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi jessica,
      oh no! it was probably not dry enough – it has to be really, really hard, with all of the moisture out. you can try drying it out uncovered in the fridge too, the fridge is super drying and pulls out moisture.

  5. RJ says:

    Will a convection oven work at the same time and temp as air fryer?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi rj,
      yes, or even just the regular setting for your oven. the key is getting the cheese completely dehydrated. if you have a dehydrator, you can use that to speed up the process :)

  6. Andrew says:

    I’ve tried this out over the course of 3 days. Day 1 was 1/2 day in the fridge. Day 2 was over night. And day 3 was the second overnight stay in the fridge. The cheese still just melts into a pile of goop. :(

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi andrew,
      what kind of cheese are you using and how big are the cheese bits?

      1. Andrew says:

        Just tried again after another full night and day and still just goop! I have mild cheddar crumbled into 1/4 inch pieces!

        1. Stephanie says:

          hi andrew, i think your cheese isn’t dehydrating enough. how many days has it dehydrated in total? does it look really dry and oily on the outside and is really really hard without any squish whatsoever?

  7. Denise ford says:

    Yay!!!!cant wait to make, ive been addicted to moon cheese…..this will be so much cheaper….

  8. Elaine Kareem says:

    What is the cheese supposed to look like after waiting a few days? Is it supposed to be a little oily on tree outside or no? I’m confused

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi elaine,
      yes, it will be oily on the outside as it dries out!

  9. Sunny says:

    How about using a food dehydrator first on the cheese then into the air fryer? ??

    1. Stephanie says:

      you could absolutely! as long as the cheese is dehydrated, it’ll work. i don’t have a dehydrator – wish i did!

      1. Terry STEVENS says:

        Wait! Can’t you use air fryer to dehydrate too??

        1. Stephanie says:

          i haven’t tried but i’ve heard that you can!

    2. Pepsi says:

      Thanks I was wondering the same thing.

  10. Lex says:

    5 stars
    I’ve been eating this for awhile. It’s very dry where I am so drying the cheese is pretty easy. It’s so addicting and I just use a basic cheap house cheese. Whatever cheese I can find cheap, I use.

    1. Stephanie says:

      isn’t it amazing that you can make it so cheap!?!? it’s my best keto life hack!!

  11. Lynette says:

    Hmm…I dried out some cheddar cheese cubes (about a 1/2 inch) and then tried to puff them in the oven. They didnt puff but, instead, released a lot oil. Cheap cheese?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi lynette,
      how long did you dry out the cheese for? it needs to basically be dehydrated for it to puff up. the surface of the cheese should not have any sort of oily sheen on it before it goes in the oven. hope that helps a bit!

  12. Rachel says:

    5 stars
    Left my cheese uncovered in the fridge for about a week and a half (forgot about it). Had to take the air fryer outside because it smoked like crazy, but the cheese puffs are beautiful. Thanks so much for this!

  13. Bill T. says:

    5 stars
    I was SUPER skeptical, but seperated the cheese, left it out for 5 days, air fried it, and OMG! It’s amszing! It’s SO simple, and the end product is pretty darn impressive! Now if you excuse me, I’ve got some more seperating to do!

  14. Goose says:

    5 stars
    I waited the 3 days out. I used provolone and cut them 1/4 by 1/4. They dried super hard and popped like a dream. Then I shook them in melted butter while still warm and topped with kettle popcorn seasoning. Perfect for family movie night. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  15. William 2 says:

    wife and I were just complaining about how expensive moon cheese is. so I looked up how it is made and going to try it right away.

  16. Susan says:

    I can’t wait to try this. I’m glad I decided to see if anyone was dehydrating or air frying cheese before I spent more money on expensive snacks!! 8m curious how do I log this? Do calories or macros change from original cheese state?

  17. Riley says:

    I made these drying out in the counter and they came out amazing! When I dried in the fridge they melted in a blob of oil.

  18. Louise says:

    5 stars
    I dried Emmental and extra mature cheddar in fridge over Christmas period. Emmental puffed, cheddar melted, but it wasn’t as dry as the Emmental. Will try drying remainder on countertop before trying again.

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Thanks for reading as always!
-Steph & Mike