Girl thinking if gluten-free pizza can be keto, and pizza pie.

Ever wondered if pizza can fit into a keto diet while being gluten-free? This guide explores how gluten-free pizza can be made keto-friendly, focusing on suitable ingredients and crust options. Ideal for keto enthusiasts and gluten-free dieters alike, Ideal for keto enthusiasts and gluten-free dieters alike, it offers simple ways to enjoy pizza that fits your dietary needs

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    When we talk about a ‘keto diet,’ what exactly do we mean? Simply put, it’s a low-carb, high-fat diet. By drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. In this state, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy to the brain.

    Photo by Jenna Hamra

    Keto diets can cause significant reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels, offering potential health benefits. But it’s not just about cutting carbs; the types of foods you eat matter too. Keto-friendly foods typically include meats, fish, eggs, butter, nuts, healthy oils like olive oil, and low-carb vegetables. The goal is to stay within a specific range of daily net carbs to maintain ketosis.

    For pizza lovers, this might sound like a challenge. After all, traditional pizza is loaded with carbs, primarily due to its wheat flour crust. But don’t worry, we’ve got some tricks up our sleeve to make pizza fit into a ketogenic lifestyle.

    Now, let’s shift our focus to gluten-free diets. What does it mean to be gluten-free? Essentially, it involves avoiding gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. People choose a gluten-free diet for various reasons. The most common is celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder where gluten consumption damages the small intestine. Others might opt for a gluten-free lifestyle due to gluten sensitivity, which can cause discomfort without the autoimmune response of celiac disease.

    ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease intestinal representation

    Gluten-free diets have also gained popularity among those who don’t have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. Some people find that avoiding gluten helps with digestion, energy levels, and even weight management.

    When it comes to pizza, the traditional wheat flour crust is a no-go for a gluten-free diet. But, like with the keto diet, there are alternatives. Gluten-free pizza crusts can be made from various ingredients, like rice flour, tapioca starch, or potato starch. These alternatives provide the joy of pizza without the gluten.

    However, it’s important to note that gluten-free doesn’t automatically mean low-carb. Many gluten-free products compensate for texture and flavor by adding extra carbohydrates. This is where the intersection of keto and gluten-free diets becomes particularly interesting, especially in the context of pizza.

    How Have Gluten-Free Pizza Crusts Evolved?

    Gluten-free pizza crusts have become increasingly popular, offering a delicious alternative for those avoiding gluten. But what exactly goes into these crusts? Unlike traditional pizza crusts made from wheat flour, gluten-free crusts often use a mix of alternative flour. These can include rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, and even almond or coconut flour. Each of these brings a unique texture and flavor to the pizza, making gluten-free options far from boring.

    The creativity doesn’t stop there. Some ingenious recipes use cauliflower as a base, resulting in a cauliflower pizza crust that’s not only gluten-free but also lower in carbs. This type of crust is particularly appealing for those on a keto diet, as it aligns well with the low-carb requirement.

    However, it’s essential to be mindful of the carb content in gluten-free crusts. While they’re free of gluten, some might still have a high carbohydrate count due to ingredients like rice flour or corn starch. For someone on a ketogenic diet, these higher carb counts can be a concern.

    In recent years, the demand for healthier pizza options has spurred many pizza chains and restaurants to offer gluten-free crusts. It’s becoming easier to find a gluten-free option at your favorite pizza place, but the question remains: Are these gluten-free pizzas also keto-friendly?

    Yes, gluten-free pizza can be keto-friendly, but it depends on the specific ingredients used in the crust and the toppings. Not all gluten-free pizzas are low in carbs, so for a pizza to be keto-friendly, it needs to be made with low-carb ingredients such as almond flour or cauliflower crust and should have toppings that are high in protein and healthy fats, while low in carbohydrates.

    Typically, keto-friendly pizza crusts use alternative flour like almond flour or coconut flour, which have significantly lower carb counts than traditional wheat or rice flour. Almond flour pizza crust, for instance, is not only gluten-free but also low in carbs, making it a great option for a keto diet.

    cauliflower and cauliflower pizza crust

    Another popular choice for a keto crust is the aforementioned cauliflower crust. When prepared correctly, cauliflower crust can be both low in carbs and free from gluten. The trick is in the preparation and the choice of binding ingredients. For instance, using a high-carb binder like corn starch would not be ideal for a keto crust. Instead, using eggs or cheese can help keep the carb count low.

    In addition to the crust, the toppings play a crucial role in making a pizza keto-friendly. A good keto pizza will have toppings that are high in proteins and healthy fats, like mozzarella cheese, bell peppers, and meats while avoiding high-carb toppings like certain sauces or sweetened toppings.

    The availability of keto-friendly gluten-free pizzas is increasing, both in supermarkets and in specialty pizza places. However, making your pizza at home allows you to control exactly what goes into your pizza, ensuring it meets both your keto and gluten-free needs.

    How Can You Create a Keto-Friendly Gluten-Free Pizza?

    Making a keto-friendly gluten-free pizza is not only possible but can also be a fun and delicious experience. The key is to choose the right ingredients, particularly for the crust and toppings. Here’s a guideline on how you can create a pizza that satisfies both keto and gluten-free requirements:

    1. The Crust: As mentioned earlier and over and over throughout this article, the crust is crucial. For a truly keto-friendly gluten-free crust, consider using almond flour, or coconut flour. These ingredients keep the carb count low while eliminating gluten. For instance, an almond flour pizza crust is a popular choice because it’s easy to make, has a great texture, and contains far fewer carbs than traditional flour.

    2. The Sauce: Traditional tomato sauce can be high in sugars, which isn’t ideal for a keto diet. Look for low-carb pizza sauces or make your own by blending tomatoes with some garlic, herbs, and olive oil for a fresh, keto-friendly option. Most people who are serious about their Keto diet, skip the tomatoes for good measure and uses alternative which we’ll discuss later.

    3. The Toppings: This is where you can get creative. Choose high-protein toppings like chicken, bacon, or pepperoni, and don’t forget to add lots of cheese for healthy fats. Vegetables like bell peppers, green peppers, and mushrooms are great for adding flavor and nutrients without too many carbs.

    4. Cheese: Cheese is not only keto-friendly but also brings that quintessential pizza flavor. Mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan are excellent choices. They add a rich flavor and keep the pizza satisfying and within keto guidelines.

    Pizza lovers on keto or gluten-free diets can still enjoy their favorite dish thanks to dough alternatives like fathead and cauliflower. These options make pizza both diet-friendly and delicious. Let’s explore these popular choices.

    Fathead Dough

    Fathead dough is a popular low-carb dough recipe often used in keto diets, especially for making pizza, bread, and pastries. It’s named after the 2009 documentary “Fat Head,” which challenged mainstream health advice about diet and exercise.

    Ingredients and Preparation of Fathead Dough:

    Fathead dough is typically made with the following ingredients:

    To prepare fathead dough, you melt the cheeses together, usually in a microwave or over a double boiler, and then mix in the almond flour and eggs to form a dough. The dough is then rolled out and can be used immediately for various recipes.

    Homemade vs. Store-Bought:

    Fathead dough is praised in the keto community for its low-carb content and bread-like texture, making it a versatile base for various dishes that typically require a high-carb base, like pizza.

    Cauliflower Dough

    Cauliflower Dough, mozzarella on a bowl, 2 eggs, garlic and garlic powder, cauliflowers and a sage leaves.

    Cauliflower dough is another popular low-carb alternative to traditional wheat-based doughs, especially in the context of gluten-free and keto diets. It’s primarily used for making pizza crusts, but can also be adapted for other recipes like breadsticks or wraps.

    Ingredients and Preparation of Cauliflower Dough:

    The basic ingredients for cauliflower dough typically include:

    To make cauliflower dough, the cauliflower is first processed into small granules using a food processor. It’s then cooked (usually steamed or microwaved) and thoroughly drained to remove as much moisture as possible. After cooling, it’s mixed with the cheese, eggs, and seasonings to form a dough. This dough can then be rolled out and used as a base for pizza or other recipes.

    Homemade vs. Store-Bought:

    Cauliflower dough is favored for its nutritional profile, being low in carbs and high in fiber. It’s also gluten-free, making it a suitable option for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. The texture and taste are different from traditional dough, but it offers a unique and healthy alternative for pizza crusts and similar dishes.

    One of the joys of pizza is the endless variety of toppings you can choose from. When crafting a keto-friendly, gluten-free pizza, selecting the right toppings is crucial to keeping it within your dietary guidelines while still making it delicious and satisfying. Here are some ideas for keto-friendly toppings and variations:

    1. Meat Toppings: High-protein meats are perfect for keto diets. Consider toppings like pepperoni, bacon, chicken, or even ground beef. These add a rich flavor and boost the protein content, making your pizza more fulfilling.

    2. Cheese Options: Cheese is a staple on pizzas and great for keto diets due to its high fat content. Beyond the classic mozzarella, try experimenting with cheddar, gouda, or blue cheese for different flavors. Mostly if not all cheeses are keto-friendly.

    3. Vegetables: Low-carb vegetables can add crunch, flavor, and nutrition without significantly increasing the carb count. Bell peppers, spinach, mushrooms, and olives are excellent choices. For those who like a bit of heat, jalapeños can be a great addition.

    4. Creative Combinations: Don’t be afraid to mix and match different toppings to create your unique pizza. A chicken and spinach pizza or a classic pepperoni with extra cheese can be both satisfying and keto-friendly.

    5. Sauces and Drizzles: While traditional tomato sauce can be high in carbs, there are low-carb alternatives. Consider pesto, alfredo sauce, or a simple olive oil and garlic base. After baking, drizzling a little olive oil or even a balsamic reduction can add an extra layer of flavor.

    Remember, the key to a successful keto-friendly, gluten-free pizza is in balancing flavors while keeping an eye on the carb count. With these topping ideas, you can enjoy a variety of pizzas that fit your dietary needs and satisfy your pizza cravings.

    When creating a keto-friendly, gluten-free pizza, it’s essential to understand the nutritional aspects to ensure it aligns with your dietary goals. Here are some key nutritional considerations:

    1. Carbohydrate Content: The primary goal of a keto diet is to keep carb intake low. For a pizza to be keto-friendly, it should have a low net carb count. This means considering the carbs in every ingredient, from the crust to the toppings. Ideally, a keto pizza should have fewer than 10 grams of net carbs per serving.

    2. High Proteins and Healthy Fats: A keto diet emphasizes high protein and healthy fats. Using cheese and protein-rich toppings like chicken or pepperoni can help achieve this. Adding healthy fats, like olive oil, can further align the pizza with keto nutritional requirements.

    3. Gluten-Free Considerations: For those on a gluten-free diet, it’s crucial to ensure all ingredients, including toppings and sauces, are free from gluten. This requires checking labels and being mindful of cross-contamination if you’re highly sensitive to gluten.

    4. Overall Nutritional Balance: While focusing on carbs, proteins, and fats, don’t forget about other nutrients. Incorporating a variety of low-carb vegetables can add vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your pizza, making it not just keto-friendly but also nutritionally balanced.

    5. Portion Control: Even with the right ingredients, portion control is important. Eating pizza in moderation ensures that you stay within your daily carb limit and maintain a balanced diet.

    By keeping these nutritional factors in mind, you can enjoy a keto-friendly, gluten-free pizza that is both delicious and aligned with your dietary goals. This approach to pizza allows you to indulge in your favorite food without compromising your health objectives.

    What Should You Look for in Store-Bought Keto Gluten-Free Pizza?

    While making your keto-friendly, gluten-free pizza at home allows for complete control over ingredients, sometimes convenience is key. Fortunately, the increasing demand for dietary-specific foods has led to a wider availability of store-bought options. Here’s what you need to know about finding a store-bought keto gluten-free pizza:

    1. Reading Labels: When shopping for a keto-friendly, gluten-free pizza, it’s essential to read the labels carefully. Check the ingredients list and nutrition facts to ensure the pizza meets your dietary requirements, especially the carb count and the absence of gluten.

    2. Brand Varieties: Many brands now offer keto and gluten-free pizza options. Some use cauliflower crusts, while others might use a blend of alternative flours like almond or coconut flour. Explore different brands to find the one that best suits your taste and dietary needs.

    3. Nutritional Quality: While these pizzas are convenient, it’s important to assess their nutritional quality. Some might have additives or preservatives that you’d want to avoid. Look for pizzas with a short, clean ingredients list.

    4. Customization: Even with store-bought pizzas, you can add your touch. Consider adding extra toppings at home to boost the protein content or include more low-carb vegetables.

    5. Availability: These pizzas are increasingly available in supermarkets, health food stores, and even online. However, availability may vary depending on your location.

    Opting for a store-bought keto-friendly, gluten-free pizza can be a great time-saver and a good option for those busy days. With careful selection, you can enjoy the convenience without compromising your dietary goals.

    Is gluten-free pizza keto-friendly? Yes, with the right ingredients and preparation, gluten-free pizza can indeed be keto-friendly. By choosing low-carb dough options like almond or cauliflower and topping them with high-protein, healthy fats, anyone can enjoy a pizza that deliciously fits within both keto and gluten-free dietary guidelines.