If you just switched over to a keto diet and are wondering, “Is corn keto friendly?”, I have some bad news: Corn contains too many carbs for it to be suitable on a keto diet. Simply eating one ear of corn can interfere with ketosis.
However, I also have some good news. Over the years, I’ve developed various ways to enjoy the flavor of corn without actually eating it.
So in this post I’ll share all my tricks to add corn-like flavors to the keto diet. I’ll also cover the carb content of corn while reviewing some of my favorite recipes, and answer some questions that you probably have.
Is Corn On The Cob OK For A Low Carb Diet?
KetoConnect verdict: We give corn a keto-friendly rating of ⭐⭐(out of 5)
Corn is a starchy vegetable that contains 23 grams of net carbs per ear.
This might not sound that bad since you have to limit your carbs under 50 grams daily. However, I found that most keto dieters are already eating about 30 grams of carbs per day. So even if you just eat one ear of corn, you’re risking knocking yourself out of ketosis.
Nutritional Content of Corn
One long ear (143 grams) of corn contains:
- 27 grams of carbs
- 4.6 grams of sugar
- 1.7 grams of fat
- 122 calories
- 4.6 grams of protein
- 3.8 grams of fiber
Sweet corn also has good amounts of vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. However, since you’re limiting your intake so much on keto, it’s unlikely you’ll experience significant micronutrient benefits from corn.
Can Corn Kick You Out of Ketosis?
An ear of corn has 23 grams of net carbs. And because a keto diet limits your carb consumption to 50 grams a day, corn has the potential to knock you out of ketosis.
If you’re like most keto dieters, you’re already eating around 30 grams of carbs per day. So if you eat an ear of corn, that’s 53 grams of daily carbs.
Keto Recipes With Corn
The secret to enjoying the taste of corn on keto is using corn extract. It often comes in liquid drops and tastes like corn.
The best part is that it contains zero carbohydrates, so you can use it to flavor your meals. These are some of my favorite keto corn recipes:
- Keto cornbread
- Keto corn dogs
- Keto Mexican street corn salad
These options are low-carb, so you can eat as much as you want. They also have a low GI (Glycemic Index) score – you won’t experience the sudden blood sugar spikes and crashes like with potatoes, corn syrup and other high GI foods.
In my previous life, I was a massive fan of cornbread. So when I switched over to keto, I naturally missed it.
Luckily, a friend of mine told me about this delicious cornbread recipe, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. It only has two grams of net carbs (which is total carbs minus fiber), so you can enjoy multiple servings per day.
Keto Corn Dogs
These keto corn dogs are the perfect snack to put in your kid’s lunch box, or even take to work yourself. You only need seven ingredients and it shouldn’t take longer than 20 minutes to prepare. So gather the following ingredients:
- Six hot dogs
- Four cups of mozzarella cheese
- One and a half cups almond flour
- One egg
- One teaspoon baking powder
- One teaspoon xanthan gum
- A couple drops of corn extract
Start by placing each hot dog on a skewer and setting it aside.
In a large bowl, start making your bread by melting your cheese in the microwave for one minute.
In another bowl, mix all your dry ingredients (almond flour, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum.)
Now make your corn dog dough by using an electric beater to combine your cheese, egg and corn extract with your dry ingredients.
Roll this dough into a rectangular shape, and mold it around your hot dog on a skewer.
Deep fry this until golden brown and dig in!
Keto Mexican Street Corn Salad
If you’re a big fan of salad or you simply want to introduce more vegetables into your diet, you’ll love this Mexican street corn salad. Start by gathering:
- A small head of finely chopped cauliflower, plus any other veggies you feel like (this dish is very versatile!)
- Two ounces of fresh corn
- ¼ cup of chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup of crumbled cotija cheese
- A tablespoon of butter
- Two tablespoons of garlic paste
- Two tablespoons of mayonnaise
- Two tablespoons of sour cream
- A couple drops of corn extract
- One tablespoon of minced jalapeno (you can add more for extra spice)
- Two teaspoons of chili powder
- The juice of one lime
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat up a large pan over medium high heat and melt the butter. Add your cauliflower and once it’s charred and golden brown, put it in a bowl.
Add the rest of your ingredients to your bowl after the cauliflower has cooled down, stir well, season it to taste with salt and pepper, and serve!
Keto Friendly Alternatives to Corn
The best low-carb substitutes to corn are cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber and kale.
Broccoli is excellent for the keto diet because it’s low in carbs and high in nutrients. It contains only about 4 grams of net carbs per cup and is rich in fiber, which can help promote satiety and support healthy digestion.
It’s also packed with vitamins C and K, as well as various antioxidants that have been linked to numerous health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and supporting the immune system.
Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable that can be added to almost any dish. With only around 3 grams of net carbs per cup, it can be used as a low-carb substitute for rice, mashed potatoes, or even pizza crust!
It’s also a good source of fiber, which aids in digestion and helps maintain stable blood sugar levels. Cauliflower is rich in vitamins C and K, as well as several B vitamins, which are important for energy metabolism.
These amazing cauliflower hash browns are so good you’ll never miss the potato version again!
Cucumbers are great cos they are extremely low carb: A cup of sliced cucumber contains only about 4 grams of total carbs, with a negligible amount of net carbs. They are also high in water content, making them refreshing and hydrating.
Cucumbers are a good source of vitamins K and C, as well as antioxidants that may help reduce oxidative stress and promote skin health.
If you’re a fan of sushi, this keto-friendly sushi recipe featuring cucumbers will set you right.
Kale is a highly nutritious leafy green vegetable that is really useful on the keto diet. It is incredibly low in carbs, with only around 3 grams of net carbs per cup.
Kale is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like potassium and calcium. It also contains antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, which are beneficial for eye health.
FAQs on Is Corn Keto Friendly?
Is Corn Keto Friendly?
No. A single ear of corn has 23 grams of net carbs, so you can’t eat it on a keto diet. Eating just one ear will kick you out of ketosis. This is why I suggest avoiding starchy foods like corn.
Can You Eat Corn on Keto?
Because an ear of corn has 27 grams of carbs, it isn’t suitable on a ketogenic diet.
You want to limit your daily carb intake to under 50 grams, and if you’re already eating small amounts of carbs during the day, introducing corn into your diet will negatively affect ketosis.
Is boiled corn on the cob keto friendly?
Boiled corn on the cob is packed full of carbs. This means you should avoid it on keto. One ear of cooked corn on the cob has 23 grams of net carbs, and since you want to limit daily carbs to 50 grams, this can interfere with ketosis depending on what else you’re eating during the day.
What Alternatives to Corn Can I Eat on the Keto Diet?
Instead, opt for broccoli, cauliflower, kale and other leafy greens. These are low in carbs so you can add as much as you like to salads and main meals.
Is Corn a Bad Carb?
Corn has a GI score of 52, which is considered “good”. This means that the carbs are slowly released into your bloodstream and you won’t suffer sharp blood sugar spikes and crashes. In comparison, sweet potato, bread and chips all have a GI score above 70.
Are Corn and Potatoes Keto Friendly?
Corn and potatoes are both starchy vegetables, making them bad choices on keto. An ear of corn has 27 grams of total carbs while a medium potato contains 26 grams of carbs. This is why I recommend opting for lower carb vegetables like cabbage, lettuce and kale.
Can You Eat Corn on Lazy Keto?
Even though lazy keto doesn’t track calories, protein or fat, it still restricts your daily carb intake to 50 grams or less. And since a single ear of corn has 23 grams of net carbs, it’s not a good idea on lazy keto. It eats into a massive chunk of your carb allowance.
Can You Eat Corn and Beans on Keto?
You should avoid corn and beans at all costs on keto. Corn and beans are both high in carbs, so I suggest spending your carbs in better areas by eating cruciferous vegetables instead.
Is Corn Allowed in Keto?
Corn isn’t allowed on a ketogenic diet because it has far too many carbohydrates. Instead go for lower-carb vegetables such as cucumbers, lettuce, celery and spinach.
How Many Carbs Are in 1/2 Cup Corn?
Half a cup (77 grams) of corn has 21 grams of carbs. Although you can technically get away with eating only half a cup, corn takes up so much of your daily carb allowance that it isn’t worth it.
Final Thoughts On Corn and the Keto Diet
Because an ear of corn has 23 grams of net carbs, you can’t eat it on a keto diet.
However, you don’t have to actually eat corn on the cob to enjoy the flavor. My secret is to add corn extract to recipes like keto corn tortillas, cornbread and corn dogs. I find that this gives your meals a yummy taste, and if you’re a fan of corn, you won’t notice the difference.
If you are looking for more foods people have questions about on a ketogenic diet, check out our “is it keto” guides on almond milk, green beans, cabbage, cottage cheese, buttermilk, imitation crab, shrimps, grapes, cream cheese, cucumbers and cassava flour.
Matt is a former college basketball player turned computer engineer who discovered his passion for health and nutrition after cutting sugar from his diet in 2016. That year he founded KetoConnect with Megha in order to share their ketogenic lifestyle through recipes, videos, and educational content. Matt is always seeking to grow and try new things, a passion he shares with his wife and two amazing sons.
Expert Fact Checker
Kathryn (Katy) Bubeck, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian with bachelor’s degrees in nutrition (University of Alabama) and health behavior management (University of Delaware). Originally from the Philadelphia suburbs, Katy has moved up and down the east coast for the past 20 years, and recently relocated to Baltimore, where she plans to eat ALL the seafood!