Baked Parmesan Cheese Crisps

Parmesan crisps with sunburst cherry tomatoes, basil and sea salt, close-up
Thomas Barwick / Getty Images
Total Time: 10 min
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 5 min
Servings: 2 (4 crisps each)

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

172 calories
11g fat
2g carbs
15g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 (4 crisps each)
Amount per serving  
Calories 172
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 35mg 12%
Sodium 612mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 15g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 444mg 34%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 50mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

These crisps cannot get any simpler to make and, when molded into cups, are perfect for serving just about anything as a snack or hors d'oeuvre. The recipe calls for melting small mounds of cheese in the oven and then gently molding while warm into little cups that then harden and keep their shape as they cool.

Parmesan cheese is high in bioavailable calcium and proteins, which are essential for bone health, among other benefits. Parmesan is also easily digestible, being lactose-free, with possible prebiotic and probiotic effects.

These cheese crisps make a beautiful presentation for entertaining, can be made in advance, and are also a simple gluten-free and low carb alternative to mini tart shells or puff pastry.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated or shredded

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. Place small mounds of cheese (about 2 tablespoons each) on a baking sheet covered with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Gently pat the piles using a back of a spoon to create more or less an even layer. The piles should be about 2 inches apart from each other, or more if you are making larger crisps.

  3. Bake 5 to 6 minutes until they are a light golden brown (they will be a little darker at the edges). It happens fast, so watch carefully.

  4. If you want to mold the crisps into cups, use a thin spatula to transfer them off of the baking sheet while warm and "drape" them over a small inverted drinking glass or inverted muffin pan (use a mini muffin pan if your cheese rounds are small). You have to do this part quickly because once they cool, they will not be easy to shape.

  5. Allow to cool and serve.

Variations and Substitutions

Use different kinds of hard cheese to change the intensity of flavor. You can use any hard cheese, or feel free to play around with different kinds from different regions such as Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago. Consider trying cheeses that have been aged for different periods of time (the longer the aging, the more intense the flavor).

You can also use a slightly softer cheese like cheddar, but mix it with a harder cheese to get the best texture. Soft cheese alone will not work because it has too much moisture to turn into a crisp texture as it cools.

Flavor the cheese with herbs and spices such as rosemary, thyme, black pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, or everything seasoning.

Turn the cups into baskets by using a larger amount of cheese (1/2 cup portion) and baking one at a time. You can also make these in a non-stick pan instead of baking in the oven.

You can even make a "taco shell" shape by draping over any cylindrical object, such as a rolling pin or the long side of a tall glass. Gently shape the warm cheese around the mold and let it cool for a few seconds before removing.

Cooking and Serving Tips

  • Fill the cups with just about anything! You can use these cups to serve small salads with finely chopped vegetables or dips such as guacamole or hummus, and even chunky corn or tomato salsa. Just make sure the filling doesn't have any liquid that will seep through the tiny holes in the cups or cause them to become soggy as they sit.
  • You can also forego the molding step and just let them cool as flat crisps. Eat them as-is for a snack or add as a crunchy topping to a soup or salad. The flat crisps are great low-carb, gluten-free alternatives to crackers or tortilla chips to serve alongside a dip.

Tips

  • The cheese will be very hot when it comes out of the oven so make sure you use a thin flat spatula to remove the crisps instead of your hands and use a napkin or paper towel if necessary to help shape it around the mold.
  • Store cooled crisps in an air-tight container for up to 1 week. Filled cups will become soggy if left refrigerated so only fill what you need just before serving.

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Article Sources
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  1. Pampaloni B, Bartolini E, Brandi ML. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and bone healthClin Cases Miner Bone Metab. 2011;8(3):33-36.