Enter the pickle-cheese waffle, or “chaffle,” as it’s now known online. The recipe is super simple — put some of your melty cheese of choice on the bottom of the waffle iron, add pickles then top off with more cheese. Press the waffle iron down and — voilà! — pickle chaffles.
One of the original and most-liked TikTok videos of the recipe was shared on Nov. 1 by Florida health coach Rose Gleichowski who has a degree in exercise science. She told TODAY Food that her kids had helped set up her TikTok account and she’d been shocked to see her chaffle recipe do so well.
“I normally promote a lot of vegetables and low carb things,” she chuckled. “But this is what’s blown up.”
“I think what people are looking for is just good, delicious ways to eat foods that are fairly healthy. They need it simple too,” Gleichowski said, adding that’s probably why the video went viral. “They literally had the ingredients in their house and got up and made it right then.”
Other videos of the recipe have taken off on the platform, too: After user @lowcarblove posted a video making the dish, garnering over 4 million views, other popular keto-focused creators like @lowcarbstateofmind and @janellerohner shared their equally crunchy versions of the chaffle, accumulating a few million more views and prompting even more users to try the trend.
Another popular TikTok account, @keto_country, has been sharing different versions of the dish. Run by Alabama native and proud grandmother Julie Mitchell, she's been testing out new recipes that she hopes will remind people of country cooking.
"Keto makes you do some strange combinations," she chuckled in an interview with TODAY Food.
Mitchell said she's lost about 80 lbs while on the keto diet for the last 16 months and has lost a total of 100 lbs since starting her weight loss journey.
"I was unhealthy and I needed to do something and keto and exercise ... it saved my life," she explained, adding her two grandchildren had been a great reason to get healthy. "I want to be around a long time for them."
She said she's made the chaffle with fresh jalapeños (without the seeds "because I'm a heat lamp!"), another time with bacon, and another version with broccoli and cheese. Mitchell planned to post two more videos of the chaffle on Thursday — one she made with meatball marinara.
Mitchell said she used frozen meatballs that she'd cooked in the oven, then sliced them thin and topped them with one teaspoon of sugar-free marinara sauce and more cheese.
She also made corndog chaffles recently using a keto-friendly baking mix and dry mustard.
Despite all the ingredients, she said the chaffles stick together great if you do it right.
"There's kinda a science to it," she said. "Most of the time it’s better to shred off the block but you have to use pre-shredded cheese with these. you have to bite the bullet with that."
The popularity of the videos has surprised both Mitchell and Gleichowski.
Gleichowski noted that while the keto diet — and its hashtag — is probably what helped her video reach hundreds of thousands of people, she doesn’t usually teach keto to her clients.
“We promote a low carb, low-fat program in our clinic,” she explained, adding they really focus on vegetables and how to get creative with them. “(With keto) people tend to go down this very slippery slope. They go on Pinterest and turn to cream cheese and bacon.”
For what it’s worth, Gleichowski said she’s been “so impressed” by people getting back in the kitchen and making the most of their time during the pandemic. She said that in March, she’d written a sign in her office about staying healthy that said, “You can change your metabolic health faster than they can find a vaccine.”
And even though 2020 has been a difficult year, she said, it “doesn’t have to be the year of just doom and gloom."
“In all of this pandemic and all this stuff, there’s just so many things we can’t control — we can’t control the political climate or the weather but we can control what we eat and our thoughts,” she continued. “If that’s what you can grasp on to then 2020 doesn’t have to suck.”
2020: the year of the pandemic and pickles — cheesy, crispy, waffle-ironed pickles.