TikTok users have created many food trends during the pandemic (hello, whipped coffee!), but it’s latest viral recipe is one you may recognize — after all, everything old becomes new again, and cloud bread is no exception. Cloud bread has always been known as a low-carb alternative to traditional bread, and since its cornstarch base is derived from the crop itself, it’s also naturally free of gluten. Lately, many keto dieters have turned to cloud bread to satisfy their cravings for carbohydrates without sending their metabolism ricocheting off ketosis; but The Kitchn reports that cloud bread was first made popular by the Atkins Diet in the 1970s. The most basic formula for cloud bread — made only with three ingredients — can be made in under 30 minutes.
What exactly is in this magical bread, you might ask? Most recipe posts have linked their inspiration back to TikTok user @linqanaa, who popularized cloud bread with her own dairy-free interpretation. TikTok’s most popular version of cloud bread comes together with egg whites, white sugar, and cornstarch. You’ll find her basic instructions below:
Beat three egg whites, 30g of sugar, and 10g of cornstarch into a bowl, adding the ingredients one at a time. You may add additional ingredients as necessary, including food dye or extracts like vanilla or chocolate.
You’ll want to make sure that the mixture is fluffy, thick, and forms soft peaks before you continue.
Arrange the batter onto a greased baking sheet and use a spatula to form it into a loaf, or a half-sphere shape. Some TikTok users opt for an outer-crust coating of sprinkles, seeds, or nuts.
Bake for at least 25 minutes in an oven at 300°F, and let cool completely before removing from the pan.
There are many variations of cloud bread recipes that are floating around the internet; some iterations may make use of cream cheese or another cream agent, and skip sugar altogether. Others are more savory in nature and can be enjoyed at breakfast, for example. The recipes being shared on TikTok (and Instagram!) currently are more sweet in nature, and might call for additions like sprinkles and extra food coloring to play it up as a better-for-you treat.
Is cloud bread actually healthy?
Since it has so few ingredients, dieters may be inclined to experiment by making their own cloud bread at home. Nearly any recipe you make will hone in on cornstarch’s thickening abilities, despite its reputation in majorly processed foods. But cornstarch shouldn’t be too much of an issue here, says Stefani Sassos, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian within the Good Housekeeping Institute. “Cornstarch can be a concentrated source of carbohydrates, but you typically are only using a small amount in a recipe, so it’s impact is trivial,” Sassos explains, adding that one tablespoon contains 30 calories and 7g of carbohydrates. “It is void of fiber and has very little nutritional benefits, [but] it serves a major culinary purpose in certain dishes.”
Since the cornstarch base in cloud bread is used to actually get this bread to rise, you might find it hard to equally swap it for a common cornstarch substitute in this particular recipe. If you’re open to experimenting a bit in your kitchen, you can try swapping cornstarch for an even healthier option in your choice of cloud bread recipe. “Arrowroot starch is my favorite grain-free substitute for cornstarch. It’s flavorless and free from nuts, gluten, dairy, soy, or corn,” says Sassos, but adds that prolonged heat in the oven may cause the bread to lose some of its signature “fluffy-ness.”
The best TikTok cloud bread recipes:
Thinking of trying your hand at cloud bread at home? We’re all for it! We’re compiling some of the most popular TikTok cloud bread tutorials below for you to consider. These recipes tend to be on the sweeter side and eat like a dessert: Expect a meringue-like consistency, or even something closer to angel food cake, as it’s sweet in nature (hence all the food coloring!). Some TikTok users are riffing on the popular base recipe by adding in fruit extracts, flavorings, or even additional sugars; all to say, you, too, can play around by customizing your own cloud bread recipe at home. Here are some of the best TikTok recipes to get started, and first up is the original video that seemingly started the trend entirely:
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