This Easy Keto Ham and Cheese Soufflé recipe is a fabulous way to use up leftover ham that you may have stored in your freezer from the Holidays. These low-carb, gluten-free and absolutely delicious souffle can be either served as a fantastic meal all on their own with just a simple side salad or served as a keto side dish.
Easy Keto Recipe Using Leftover Ham
This savoury gluten-free and keto ham and cheese soufflé is easy to make and practically foolproof. I promise you, these keto souffles will rise to the most beautiful and flavourful heights.
A soufflé is actually quite a simple thing that utilizes the power of eggs to achieve impressive results. All classic soufflés, sweet and savoury, start with a base that provides richness and structure such as my Chocolate Souffles.
Traditionally, this bechamel sauce would involve some type of flour to act as a thickening agent. In this keto and gluten-free soufflé recipe, the base bechamel sauce is a thick cream sauce that is made by combining heavy cream, cream cheese and cheese.
Then, simply folding in some whipped eggs whites, the souffle is baked in the oven et voila! this keto souffle is ready to eat!
Keto Souffle Ingredients:
In this recipe, there are 2 different components.
For the Keto Bechamel Sauce and Ramekins:
Butter - We are going to use unsalted butter in this recipe. 4 tablespoons are going to be melted to form a keto bechamel sauce and 1 teaspoon will be used to grease the inside of each ramekin. I find it easiest to use my fingers to grease the ramekins. This makes it easy to ensure that the entire surface has been well greased.
Shallot - Shallots have a delicate and sweet flavour with a hint of sharpness. You will need to quickly saute the shallot in a tablespoon of butter in a small pan until it just begins to soften. You can replace the shallot with a regular onion but the end result will have a more intense onion flavour. Once the shallot has slightly browned, all the rest of the bechamel sauce ingredients are then added into the same pot.
Parmesan cheese - Most souffle recipes require dusting the inside of each ramekin with some type of flour or bread crumb. To keep this ham and cheese souffle gluten-free and keto, I added some Parmigiano-Reggiano to dust the interior of the buttered soufflé dish, which helps to form a delicious crispy crust.
Heavy Cream and Cream Cheese - These two ingredients are going to form the bulk of the ham and cheese souffle base.
Cheese - By stirring in some shredded cheese, this gives this ham and cheese souffle some extra cheesy flavour as well as the thickness for the bechamel sauce.
For the Keto Souffle:
Spices - I wanted to keep the spices to a minimum to really allow for the ham and cheese to take certain stages. So, for this recipe, I only call for some salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper and nutmeg. If you want, you can use any spices that you want instead of the ones listed in this easy keto recipe.
Ham - This is a great leftover ham recipe but if you don't have any leftover ham, you can always buy some cubed ham at the grocery store. Make sure that your ham has been diced into small sections or you risk the ham being too heavy and sinking to the bottom of the ramekin. You could switch the ham with deli ham, turkey, chicken or bacon.
Eggs - You will need 4 large eggs for this recipe. The eggs will need to be separated which is much easier to accomplish if the eggs are cold, rather than at room temperature. Make sure that not even a drop of the egg yolk gets into the egg whites or else the egg whites will not be able to be whipped.
Cheese - This cheese is added but is NOT melted. You can pick any cheese you want for this recipe, but you want a cheese that melts well with low water content. That means a semi-firm cheese that can be grated into shreds, like Jarlsberg, Gouda, Havarti, Gruyère or cheddar. I tend to reach for Gruyère because it's often used in classic French cooking and is also one of my personal favourite cheeses. Also, make sure that you stay far, far away from pre-shredded cheese that is sold at the grocery store. These cheeses are coated in an anti-caking agent that will not work in this recipe.
Cream of tartar - Cream of tartar allows egg whites to be whipped for longer without collapsing. This produces small, abundant, evenly distributed air bubbles, which will help yield the best souffle.
Making a Keto Ham and Cheese Souffle
Into that keto bechamel base, a few key ingredients are added. Egg yolks get whisked in for even more richness, and coagulation—as the eggs cook, they set, just like when you fry or scramble them, allowing the soufflé to hold onto its loft for at least some time before deflating.
Along with the yolks go any seasonings you may want; they're not essential beyond salt and pepper, but you can punch up the flavour with a spoonful of mustard or a few dashes of hot sauce if you want.
After that, stiffly beaten egg whites are mixed into that rich yellow base in two additions. The first is stirred in more aggressively to loosen the base enough to accept the second edition, which should be gently folded in without too much effort.
That gentle folding is key since you want to keep as many of the tiny air bubbles trapped in the beaten whites as you can. The more you mix, and the more vigorously you do it, the more air bubbles you lose.
Once in the oven, those air bubbles expand as gases and steam inflate them. That's what causes a soufflé to rise.
Ham and Cheese Soufflé Baking Temperatures
The oven temperature has a couple of important effects on a soufflé. First, the heat of the oven is a critical "ingredient" for getting a soufflé to rise; it's what causes gases to expand inside all those trapped air bubbles and what converts moisture in the soufflé batter to steam. Together, those forces expand the air bubbles and cause the soufflé to swell. The hotter the oven, the more quickly and fully those air bubbles expand.
The heat also sets the proteins in the egg yolks and whites, allowing the soufflé to keep some of its height after cooling. Without the eggs set, the soufflé batter would remain liquid and would immediately collapse back down to its original state as soon as it cooled.
Even still, a soufflé will deflate as soon as it leaves the oven. The photos in this article were taken within about a five-minute window of the soufflé being removed from the oven, so the collapse shouldn't be dramatic (after all, that's why we use a base like a béchamel in the mixture—to give it staying power), but it will happen noticeably and slowly as the soufflé cools. The soufflé, to be clear, remains delicious even as it loses its loft (it can also be partially puffed back up by briefly returning it to a hot oven).
Lastly, the heat browns the surface of the soufflé, giving it a deeper flavour, thanks to our good friend the Maillard reaction.
If you use a lower oven temperature of 350 degrees F., then your souffle will not rise as much but the center will set and the top will brown slower.
So, by combining the two, first a high temperature for about 8 minutes and then dropping the temperature for the remaining time, you end up with a souffle that has risen beautifully, has not gotten too brown on the top and that is perfectly set in the middle!
Tips for this Keto Ham and Cheese Souffle
- Cook the shallot in the same small sauce pan as you make the bechamel sauce
- If you want to mix the egg yolks directly into the bechamel saucepan, just make sure that the mixture has somewhat cooled so as not to cook the egg yolks
- Make sure to not get ANY egg yolk into the egg whites as the whites will not be able to be whipped
- Cook the ham and cheese souffles for 8 minutes at 400 degrees and then drop the temperature to 375 degrees F for the remaining 12 minutes
- I have made this recipe replacing the heavy cream with mayo (yes...it actually worked just as well!) as well as replacing half the cream cheese with Boursin. This is my FAVOURITE way to make this recipe but realize that many people may not have Boursin readily available.
- If you don't have 8 oz ramekins, you can use any size or any other type of oven-safe dishes. I made thes using 3 French Onion Soup bowls and baked the souffles for 30 minutes.
More Easy Keto and Leftover Ham Recipes
- Easy Keto Leftover Ham Casserole Recipe
- Healthy and Easy Cuban Casserole
- Easy Roasted Cauliflower Buffalo Casserole- Keto, Plant-Based
- Easy Keto Crispy Cereal Treats - Only 4 Ingredients!
- Easy 30-Minute Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole - Keto and Gluten-free
- Easy Keto Cranberry Pie Dessert - Perfect for Leftover Cranberries!
For the Ramekins:
- 2 tsp Kraft Parmesan cheese, divided
For the Keto Bechamel:
- 4 oz cream cheese (or 2 oz Boursin Spreadable Cheese and 2 oz cream cheese)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup cheese
- 1 shallot, minced
For the Ham and Cheese Souffle:
- 1 cup finely chopped ham
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp black pepper
- pinch of red pepper and nutmeg
- 4 eggs, divided
- ½ cup cheese
Prepare the Ramekins:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and brush 4 1-cup ramekins with butter. Sprinkle each ramekin with about ½ teaspoon of Kraft Parmesan cheese and set them on a sturdy baking sheet.
Prepare the Keto Bechamel Sauce:
- In a medium saucepan, melt the 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the shallot and cook on medium heat until shallot begins to soften and brown (about 3-5 minutes). Add the cream cheese, butter and heavy cream and cook until the cream cheese and butter have melted. Stir in the cheese and remove the pot from the heat. Continue to stir until the cheese has melted.
Prepare the Souffles
- Off heat, stir in the ham, black pepper, red pepper and nutmeg. Taste the mixture and add ¼-1/2 teaspoon of salt. Allow the mixture to cool slightly and then whisk in the egg yolks. Let the mixture cool even more and then transfer it to a large bowl. Once the mixture is cool enough that it will NOT melt the cheese, stir in the remaining ½ cup of cheese. Set it to the side.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt at medium-high speed until frothy. Increase the speed to high and beat until firm peaks form. With a rubber spatula, fold ½ of the egg whites into the soufflé base to lighten the base. Fold in the remaining egg whites into the ham mixture, being careful not to deflate the egg whites.
- Spoon the soufflé mixture into the ramekins, filling them to ½-inch below the rim. Run your thumb inside the rim of each ramekin to help the soufflés rise evenly. Bake in the bottom third of the oven at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes and then drop the temperature to 375 degrees F. for the remaining 12 minutes or until the soufflés are puffed and golden brown. Serve immediately.
- Alternatively, you can double this recipe and bake the souffle in an 8-cup soufflé dish at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes.
- You can also bake this souffle in 3 French Onion Soup bowls for about 30 minutes
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Main Meals, Brunch, Breakfast
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: French
- Diet: Gluten Free
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 443
- Sugar: 1.8
- Fat: 38
- Carbohydrates: 3.4
- Fiber: 0.2
- Protein: 22
Keywords: souffle, easy keto recipe, low carb, gluten-free, leftover ham, brunch