A Nutritionist’s Simple Recipe for Cloud Bread
Although there are plenty of low-carb, keto products at the store these days, homemade alternatives like cloud bread are trending. Here's what dietitians want you to know.
Cloud bread 101
Cloud bread sounds like an amazing fluffy carb that’s as pillowy as the clouds themselves. But the alluring name is only one reason why the three-ingredient recipe is trending on TikTok and social media.
Here’s the breakdown of what cloud bread is, why it’s popular, what dietitians think, and a cloud bread recipe to try out.
What is cloud bread?
The classic cloud bread recipe is a fun concoction that includes only three ingredients. But if you search the term “cloud bread recipe,” you may find two different versions.
Both alternatives use eggs as the base, but they each have pretty different nutrient profiles beyond that.
The “keto cloud bread” version, which we refer to through the rest of this article, calls for cream of tartar and some type of dairy (usually either yogurt or cream cheese). However, the alternate version is a bit sweeter as it calls for sugar and cornstarch instead.
In either case, once you have the basic ingredients, you can create many different versions using whatever spices or flavorings you desire.
While Tik-Tok has made the sweeter version popular, rumor has it the keto version has actually been around since the 1970s as part of the Atkins craze.
Why is cloud bread so popular?
The keto cloud bread recipe fits into the keto diet, a very low-carb eating plan that offers at least some short-term weight loss benefits, according to the Journal of Nutrition.
Studies in the International Journal of Endocrinology and BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care found that low-carb diets can be beneficial in managing PCOS and type 2 diabetes, particularly in the short term.
So cloud bread may be a good way for these groups to increase variety in the diet, without exceeding their daily recommended carb intake.
Ultimately, cloud bread gained popularity thanks to delivering something like bread minus the carbs.
What’s in cloud bread?
As I mentioned, there are technically two versions of cloud bread: The version made with sugar actually yields about 200 calories, 11 grams of protein, and 30 grams of sugar in one loaf. To put this in perspective, one classic homemade chocolate chip cookie has about 75 calories and 6 grams of sugar.
Now we’re not saying you’ll always eat the whole loaf at once, but it’s important to note this version isn’t interchangeable with the low-carb, or “keto cloud bread” option if you’re looking for those benefits.
As for the keto cloud bread version, nutrition facts will vary depending on what ingredients you choose.
If you make it with cream cheese, one serving of this version yields about 50 calories, 0 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of protein, and 0 grams of sugar per serving.
If you use plain Greek yogurt, the recipe yields about 35 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrate, 4 grams of protein, and 0 gram of sugar per serving.
Of course, these nutrition facts may vary depending on what brands you choose, and the fat content of your dairy products.
What makes cloud bread “keto”?
Usually, a food is considered ketogenic if it’s very low on carbohydrates. Keto dieters typically restrict their carb intake to less than 50 grams per day. For this reason, generally, the lower the carb content of each particular food you eat throughout the day, the better.
Another hallmark of the keto diet is increased fat, up to 60 percent of all calories consumed throughout the day. The cloud bread recipe can be made with low-fat dairy products, full-fat yogurt or cream cheese can be used to increase fat intake over the course of the day.
So, should you try cloud bread?
As for the nutritional impact, we think the benefits really depend on the individual. Ultimately, there are both pros and cons to including cloud bread in the diet.
In addition to people looking to restrict carbs, the bread may be good for other dietary issues, says registered dietitian Rachel Dyckman.
“Most cloud bread recipes are gluten-free, and can be made dairy-free by substituting non-dairy cream cheese or yogurt,” she says. So it may be a good option for anyone with wheat or lactose intolerance.
Registered dietitian Anthea Levi likes cloud bread’s micronutrient profile, noting that it is a good option for anyone looking for a carb-free alternative to classic bread.
“Not only is its texture ultra-fluffy, but it also serves up critical nutrients like brain-friendly choline as well as hard-to-find dietary vitamin D, thanks to the inclusion of egg yolks in the ‘batter,'” she says.
Although cloud bread may be a fun experiment, it’s important to address the practicality of this recipe. Although it resembles pita bread, you shouldn’t expect it to taste like bread, or have a similar texture.
Cloud bread has more of a “melt in your mouth” feel—not the doughy texture of bread. It also has an interesting tase, with hints of egg flavor.
“Cloud bread is deemed to be the low-carb, guilt-free bread of our time, but personally, I’m not a fan,” says registered dietitian Charlotte Shron. “Not only does it not taste very good, but it implies that eating bread is taboo.”
Although she loves a great low-carb option, Shron doesn’t think that egg whites and cream of tartar have much to offer from a nutrition and satisfaction perspective.
“Unless you are topping [cloud bread] with healthy fats and vegetables, the ‘bread’ substitute will leave you hungry for your next meal within 30 minutes,” she says.
Dyckman also notes the potential nutritional downfalls.
“It’s important to note that just because cloud bread is low in calories and carbohydrates, does not necessarily mean that it is healthier than whole-grain bread,” she says.
“Cloud bread lacks fiber, which is beneficial for weight management, digestive health, blood sugar stabilization, cardiovascular health, and much more.”
Dyckman adds that the bread may not be very filling on its own, due to its low protein content, even though cloud bread is often thought of as a higher-protein alternative to bread. It actually contains about the same amount of protein per serving as a slice of regular bread.
So while cloud bread may be beneficial for those with dietary restrictions, it may not be applicable or enjoyable for all people.
Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun trying it. See below for some recipe ideas, and thoughts on how to mix up the traditional recipe.
Cloud bread recipe
If you’re interested in checking out this trend, here’s how to make cloud bread.
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or 2 oz plain cream cheese (any fat content is ok, depending on your objectives)
4 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
Divide egg whites and yolks and place them in separate bowls.
Use a hand mixer to whip egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Place cream cheese or yogurt in a bowl with egg yolks and mix to combine. Add seasonings to egg yolk and cream cheese or yogurt mixture and mix together.
Fold egg whites into the yolk mixture until combined.
Scoop about 1/2 cup dollops from the bowl and place evenly spaced on parchment-lined baking sheet; they should be about 1/2 inch high.
Bake on convection setting for about 20 minutes, or on a regular setting for 30 min or until golden brown and fully cooked in the middle. Let cool and enjoy!
Note: while using Greek yogurt as your dairy source may result in slightly more protein when compared with cream cheese, make your choice based on what you find appealing.
The dairy in this recipe is minimal when divided among 10 servings, and likely won’t make a large nutritional difference when consumed in moderation.
How to eat cloud bread
While the verdict is still out on who may benefit from cloud bread and who may enjoy it, it remains a fun kitchen experiment to try.
You can toy with the traditional recipe above by mixing in pretty much any spice you find appealing—black or red pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and everything bagel seasoning. The sky is the limit.
It’s also fairly versatile, as long as you don’t mind the texture. If you’re feeling like giving it a try, consider using it in place of the following items:
Wrap or pita
Cracker for dipping
Crust for mini pizzas
Next, check out reasons to try Ezekiel bread.
- Rachel Dyckman, MS, RD, CND
- Anthea Levi, MS, RD
- Charlotte Shron, MS, RD, CDN
- Atkins: "Atkins Cloud Bread"
- Journal of Nutrition: "The Ketogenic Diet: Evidence for Optimism but High-Quality Research Needed"
- International Journal of Endocrinology: "The Effect of Low Carbohydrate Diet on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials"
- BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care: "Systematic review and meta-analysis of dietary carbohydrate restriction in patients with type 2 diabetes"