If you are a veteran follower of the keto diet or are just discovering low-carb living, you probably know that adjusting to life without some of your previous favorite foods can be tough. After all, the ketogenic diet significantly reduces the number of carbohydrates eaten, and this tends to rule out pizza, nachos, crackers, and several other carb-heavy favorites.
However, there's always food substitutions that can be made on the ketogenic diet so keto dieters can have low-carb ways to recreate nearly all traditional favorites. And while low-carb pizza recipes abound, few have been as popular as fathead pizza--a ketogenic diet pizza recipe rich enough that it is almost impossible to overeat. Plus, while the recipe below includes instructions for the crust and toppings for a normal thin crust meat pizza, there are virtually endless ways to personalize it!
What is Fathead Pizza?
Fathead Pizza offers a very low-carb alternative to traditional pizza. After all, pizza is an American staple, and those switching to a lower carb diet may find that they miss regular pizza. Because of the grains in the crust, traditional pizza has a high glycemic index, and this is what makes it easy to overeat. Whether you are trying to lose weight or just feel healthier, it can be frustrating and demotivating to find that it's difficult to control how much you eat.
Because the Fathead dough has almost no carbohydrate and is relatively high in fat, most people find that they actually cannot comfortably eat more than a slice or two. Therefore, this unique recipe allows those on a keto diet plan to enjoy pizza without worrying about overindulging or about not following keto rules.
Of course, if you are not already familiar with Fathead dough, you are likely wondering what could taste so similar to pizza but be so much lower in carbohydrates. While we will go over the crust recipe in more detail below, the basics are as follows. This crust, while it has several variantions, has the following ingredients as staples:
- shredded cheese
- almond flour
- cream cheese
Just like the principles of the keto diet, Fathead dough is high in fat (and higher in protein than regular crust), but it contains only a few grams of carbohydrate.
Origins of the Fathead Pizza
The Fathead pizza recipe certainly has an interesting and eye-catching name, and this has understandably made many people curious as to its origins. This crust was developed by a relative of Tom Naughton, the creator of the movie Fat Head. This movie has been described as being similar to the famous Super Size Me, but with a much different conclusion.
During Fat Head, Naughton kept meticulous food logs and ate almost exclusively at fast-food restaurants. During the experiment, he was able to keep calories to about 2,000 per day and carbohydrates to about 100 per day, but he didn't restrict fat consumption at all. He ended up losing weight, and he used this conclusion along with additional research to challenge the notion that diets high in fat are inherently unhealthy.
In the movie, Naughton also describes another experiment where he eats primarily at fast food restaurants. In this second experiment, though, he works to remove almost all sugars and starches from his diet. During this diet, Naughton found that his LDL ("bad" cholesterol) dropped significantly, while his HDL ("good" cholesterol) increased. He also said that, despite working very long hours, his energy and mood remained elevated.
The Fathead pizza recipe was made for those who want to follow Naughton's philosophy of low-carbohydrate, controlled-calorie, high-fat dieting. Since not everyone has the budget or the desire to eat mostly at fast-food restaurants, recipes like this one offer a way to enjoy healthier reimaginings of "junk food" staples.
Keto Pizza Crusts Compared: Fathead vs Cauliflower Crust
Of course, the Fathead pizza recipe is not the only available recipe for those looking for a lower-carb version of traditional pizza. You may be familiar with cauliflower as a rice substitute, but it also can be used as a flour substitute when making a keto pizza crust. Both keto Fathead pizza and cauliflower pizza are compatible with a lchf diet, like keto, but the nutrient makeup of both is completely different.
First, we'll look at the differences between their nutrient makeups, and then we'll discuss taste, ease of making, etc. Below are the nutritional numbers on both Fathead and Cauliflower crust. These numbers are for a half-batch of dough--you may find that a half batch is too much to eat in a serving, or you may find that it's just right.
Nutritional Information of Fathead Pizza Crust
- 626 calories
- 53g fat
- 28g protein
- 8.5 g net carbs
Nutritional Information of Cauliflower Pizza Crust
- 275 calories
- 15g fat
- 24g protein
- 8g net carbs
As you can see, both are low in net carbohydrate content and relatively high in fat, but the Fathead recipe has more calories and more protein. If you are looking to keep total calories very low, cauliflower crust may be your best bet. However, there are definitely some pros and cons to each type of keto pizza.
Which Keto Pizza Crust is Easier to Make?
Because they are so different from traditional pizza, each of these crust types has a learning curve. However, the keto Fathead pizza crust is often sticky before it's cooked, so rolling it out often poses a challenge (more on how to easily roll out the dough later).
But the cauliflower crust can just as tricky because you must grind the cauliflower and remove some of the liquid. If you don't remove enough liquid, you might be looking at pizza mush, instead of pizza crust, when finished. Finding the right balance of liquid removal can sometimes be tricky, and you may end up with different firmness of crust each time out.
Which Keto Pizza Crust Tastes Better?
This question is almost impossible to objectively answer, since each person has their own unique preferences. However, some testers have reported that those who like a thicker, chewier crust may gravitate toward the cauliflower crust, while those who like New York style pizza best might like Fathead more. While reading other people's opinions on the crusts might help, you ultimately won't know for sure which one you like best until you have tried them both.
Keep in mind that while you won't taste a lot of the cauliflower, there is a slight flavor leftover.
Pros of Fathead Pizza Crust:
- Looks like regular pizza
- Firmer crust that you can pick up
- Tastes like regular pizza
- Lowest carbs
- Easy and fast to make crust
- Stores in fridge and freezer
Cons of Fathead Pizza Crust:
- Higher calorie
Pros of Cauliflower Pizza Crust:
- Lower calorie
- Healthier (made of cauliflower)
- Low carbs
Cons of Cauliflower Pizza Crust:
- Flimsy crust (usually eat with fork)
- Takes time to grind the cauliflower
- Takes time to drain liquid from cauliflower
- Can end up being pretty messy
- Doesn't store as well in freezer or fridge as fathead
How to Make Fathead Crust
The following is the basic keto Fathead pizza crust recipe. Some people like to add herbs, spices, or different types of cheese to add variety as well. If you're ready to make our version of the fathead pizza, skip below to the recipe. We add in some yummy herbs and spices, and some additional ingredients to help the crust's firmness.
The base of the Fathead pizza crust contains the following:
- 1.5 cup shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese (both work well)
- 2 oz cream cheese
- 3/4 cup almond flour
While a lot of recipes add an egg, we've found it is not necessary. The shredded cheese does a great job of holding the crust together. But here's the rule on the egg: if you like thin crust, omit the egg. If you want a slightly fluffier crust, add in one egg. But remember to poke tiny holes in the dough before baking!
Now, let's walk through the steps of making the keto pizza crust! Check out the pictures to know if you're doing it right!
Steps to Preparing our version of the Fathead Pizza
Step 1: Prepare the fathead dough
- Add almond flour, cream cheese and 1.5 cups of shredded cheddar cheese to bowl.
- Melt in microwave for 30 seconds - 1 minute. Stir together.
- Add psyllium husk powder, salt, baking powder and seasonings and mix in thoroughly.
- Microwave another 20-30 seconds to make into a good dough. Mix together and form into ball.
Step 2: Form the pizza crust
- Layout a piece of parchment paper the same size as your pan.
- Place dough on parchment paper, then place another layer of parchment paper the same size as the first on top.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into the shape of pizza crust that you want. It should be about 1/8-1/4" thick. You can cut and move around pieces to make it easier. This dough is forgiving once it cooks in the oven, so don't worry about lines and making it perfect.
- Remove the top layer of parchment paper. Then lay the bottom layer of parchment paper and dough on pizza pan. NOTE: If you added one egg of the thicker crust, use a fork to poke tiny holes randomly in the crust to keep it from bubbling up and forming uneven crust when cooking.
Step 3: Bake the pizza crust
Step 4: Add toppings and bake one more time!
- Allow to cool a few minutes before adding toppings.
- Spread pizza sauce evenly across crust.
- Crumble ground beef and 1.5 cups of mozzarella cheese on top of crust.
- Cook for another 5-8 minutes at 425F until cheese has melted.
- Remove from oven. Allow to cool a minute or two, then use a pizza cutter to cut into 6 slices.
For many, part of the appeal of pizza is how easy it is to order. But homemade pizzas are often a delicious way to unwind after a stressful day or week, and once you've mastered fathead, this is a very easy crust to make. And when you start adding in your own ingredients to the crust and getting creative with toppings, the possibilities become endless. Try our thin crust fathead pizza recipe below!