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Nutritional “Cheese” Puffs

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raw vegan gluten-free Nutritional "Cheese" Puffs served in an old mason jar

~ raw, vegan, gluten-free ~

So what prompted me to attempt making raw cheese puffs? One evening as I was scrolling through “Google-land,”  I spied an image of a young man who took a picture of himself after he had stuffed as many cheese puffs into his mouth as possible. It sort of gave me nightmares, but I still peeked at the photo through the slits of my fingers that hid my eyes. Lol But then I got to thinking… and NO, I am not going to see how many raw cheese puffs I can fit into my mouth and take a picture! I do have limits.  haha

It sort of gave me nightmares, but I still peeked at the photo through the slits of my fingers that hid my eyes. Lol But then I got to thinking… and NO, I am not going to see how many raw cheese puffs I can fit into my mouth and take a picture!  I do have limits.  haha

These are not your typical neon orange puffs of air.  If you are not sure what I am even talking about, quickly look here. How do they make these things commercially? Basically, they take cornmeal, mix it with water, and extrude it. To create a Cheeto (curl), they extrude it as a rod and cut it every inch or two. For the cheese balls, it is extruded and then cut it into ball shapes. Then they are fried in oil and covered with a cheesy powder.

The ingredients that make up these cheesy snacks are; Enriched Corn Meal (Corn Meal, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, and Frolic Acid), Vegetable Oil (Contains one or more of the following: corn, soybean, or sunflower oil), Whey, Salt, Cheddar Cheese, (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes). Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Maltodextrin, Disodium Phosphate, Sour Cream (Cultured Cream, Nonfat Milk), Artificial Flavor, Monosodium Glutamate, Lactic Acid, Artificial Colors (Including Yellow 6), and Citric Acid. Contains Milk Ingredients.

Why do I go into so much detail about what goes into the store-bought snacks? Well, basically because it astounds me as to what I USED to eat. I once experienced the guilty “pleasure” of inhaling these chemically filled puffs of air, numerous times.  Thank goodness I can’t recall the last time. :)

Many times I share with you the benefits of the ingredients used in my recipes and how lucky we are that we can FILL our bodies with such goodness.  But sometimes, I like for us to realize just how lucky we are in what we DON’T put in our bodies.  My raw take on these cheese puffs is denser than the store-bought ones, but they do have a crunchy, light texture, and let’s not forget that yummy cheese flavor.

raw vegan gluten-free Nutritional "Cheese" Puffs on an Excalibur dehydrator trayIngredients:

yields 134 puffballs / roughly 100 cheese curls



  1. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, ground flax seeds, nutritional yeast, ground red pepper flakes, and salt.  Stir until all the powders are mixed.  Add the moist almond pulp and mix well with your hands.  Set aside.
  2. In the food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, combine the red pepper, water, and lemon juice.  Process until the red pepper is broken down and liquefied.   Pour over the other ingredients and with your hands, squish everything together really well.
  3. I use Red Star Nutritional yeast, which is in a flake form.  Place the nutritional yeast in a spice grinder and grind it into a powder.
  4. To make balls:
    • Take 1 tsp of batter and roll into a ball in the palm of your hands.  After about 20 balls, you might need to wash your hands before you continue.  Some of the batter will stick to your palms, and as it builds up, it will be harder to roll into balls.
    • Roll in the coating and place on the mesh sheet that comes with the dehydrator.
  5. To make curls: (didn’t get photos!)
    • Place the batter in a piping bag, fitted with 1/2″ circular tip.
    • Hold the tip at a 45-degree angle right above the cutting board.  With an even and steady pressure, squeeze the batter out into a rope.
    • With a knife, cut the rope into 1″ lengths.  Roll each one in the coating.  Bend into a “C” shape and place on the mesh sheet that comes with the dehydrator.
  6. Dry the cheese treats at 145 degrees F for 1 hour, reduce the temperature to 115 degrees and continue drying for 20-24 hours or until dry.
  7. Store in an airtight container on the counter or in the pantry for 1-2 weeks.

Culinary Explanations:

18 thoughts on “Nutritional “Cheese” Puffs

  1. April Ibarra says:

    What a neat little project I can’t wait to try and a yummy treat I can’t wait to make for me and my family to munch on! Thank you. I can’t believe it’s actually legal for the food industry to pass the neon puffs as “food” …”Poison!” I say.

    • amie-sue says:

      If you make them for you family April, keep me posted. I would love to hear what they think! Happy 4th of July, amie sue

  2. Mary says:

    Are there any substitutes for almond pulp?

    • amie-sue says:

      For this recipe Mary… I am afraid not. I purposely chose almond pulp because of the light and airy texture that it offers. Have a blessed evening, amie sue

  3. mari says:

    yummy, can’t wait to make these as my family is addicted to cheese puffs and these will be a good replacement (they love raw too so i have high hopes!). can you check the link to the almond flour — it links to sunflower flour. so should we be using that instead?
    {heart} you and your website!

  4. sherry says:

    I LOVE your cheese puff recipe, and will make soon. (Pretty “splendid” ($$$) for the amount of nutritional yeast though….but to fill a craving with something healthy……worth every dollar.

    Now, for the jar lid idea….I must say “Brilliant”!!!!
    I must do as well.

    I love your site!!! Keep up the good work.
    Sherry Jean

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Sherry. I tend to buy my nutritional yeast in bulk so that helps to cut the cost. But I understand. Have a wonderful holiday, amie sue

  5. Michelle says:

    Every morning after I am up a while I check my emails, and I am so excited to see if you posted anything new. You are always the first one I open. You are so creative, thank you so much for all you do. Love it!

    P.S. Went to Longevity Conference in CA in May and your name was mentioned, when I had ask a vendor about finding
    someone to follow to help with my Raw Adventure! I was glad
    to tell them, that I had already discovered you…:))

    • amie-sue says:

      Oh wow Michelle! My name was mentioned?? This world is growing smaller and smaller. That just floors me to be honest, thank you for sharing that with me. Your kind words made my day… have a blessed day. amie sue

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Michelle :) I appreciate that you shared that with me. That is so amazing about the conference… I am so thankful to be apart of this community and that we all support one another! Have a great day! amie sue

  6. adaria says:

    Amie-Sue, you are absolutely THE most creative woman I have ever known! LOVE the jars and your recipe ideas – I SO enjoy reading your blog because you always come up with something new and original.

    Sounds like you ate all the same junk I did growing up – thank goodness I can’t remember the last time either!

    All there is left to say is, “Girl, you rock!”

    • amie-sue says:

      Oh gosh Adaria… thank you! Your words made me blush and giggle. Thanks for making my day. :) amie sue

  7. LeJeune Dugue says:

    Can’t wait to try these…Love the jars! You are very creative!

  8. Rene says:

    You really are the Martha Stewart of Raw Vegan. Your recipes are all so beautifully presented. Thank you for sharing.

    • amie-sue says:

      It’s funny that you should say that Rene, Bob often calls me Martha. lol Thank you for your kind words. :) Have a blessed day, amie sue

  9. Kerry says:

    Would love to try this recipe but can the red peppers be substituted for anything else? Your input appreciated as I am new to raw fooding. Loving your recipes so far!

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Kerry, are you trying to avoid nightshades? Is that why you want to omit the red peppers? amie sue

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