Is Cornstarch Compatible with the Keto Diet?

Cornstarch has long been utilized as a thickening agent in various dishes, but does it fit into a keto-friendly lifestyle? Let’s explore whether cornstarch’s carbohydrate content makes it too high in carbs to be considered keto-friendly.

Understanding Cornstarch

Cornstarch is a smooth, white powder commonly used in cooking, baking, and even as a friction reducer. It thickens soup, sauces, custards, and gravy by absorbing liquid. Interestingly, it was initially discovered in 1840 for industrial purposes before being used in food consumption in 1851.

While cornstarch lacks pigment, which makes it ideal for certain culinary applications, its nutrition facts reveal a high carbohydrate content. A single ounce contains over 25 grams of total carbohydrates, which can easily surpass your daily carb allotment.

The Keto-Friendliness of Cornstarch

With 25 grams of carbs per serving, cornstarch is not keto-friendly. It contributes significantly to your daily carbohydrate limit. However, if you require additional calorie intake, cornstarch can be beneficial. Unfortunately, it lacks essential vitamins and minerals, providing minimal nutritional value.

Low-Carb Substitutes for Cornstarch

Fortunately, numerous alternatives with lower carbohydrate content exist for those following a keto diet. Let’s explore some of these options:

1. Glucomannan Powder

Derived from the konjac plant’s root, glucomannan powder acts as a tasteless, high-fiber thickening agent. It aids in weight loss, digestion, cholesterol reduction, hormone regulation, and improved gut health. One cup of glucomannan powder contains only 10 calories and no fat, protein, or carbs.

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Glucomannan Powder

2. Almond Flour

Almond flour offers a similar texture and consistency to cornstarch without the high carbohydrate count. It contains beneficial vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. A quarter-cup serving of almond flour provides 160 calories, 6 grams of carbs, 3 grams of net carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 14 grams of fat, and 6 grams of protein.

Almond Flour

3. Chia Seeds

Low in carbs and packed with health benefits, chia seeds can thicken recipes when added in small quantities. They expand into a gel-like consistency when mixed with liquids, making them ideal for homemade jellies, puddings, and sauces. One ounce of chia seeds contains 137 calories, 9 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbs, 2 grams of net carbs, and almost 11 grams of fiber.

Chia Seeds

4. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds, or flaxseed meal, possess excellent binding properties, making them useful in keto-friendly recipes. They offer ample omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, and antioxidants. Two tablespoons of flaxseeds contain 110 calories, 8 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fiber, no net carbs, and 4 grams of protein.


5. Cauliflower

Surprisingly, cauliflower can serve as a thickening agent in soups, stews, and sauces. By boiling cauliflower florets and blending them until smooth, you can create a thick and creamy base. This method mimics the consistency of various chowders.

6. Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum, commonly used in gluten-free baking, acts as a thickening agent. It allows bread and other baked goods to rise and thicken without the need for yeast or other thickeners. Only a small amount, about half a teaspoon, contains a single gram of carbs.

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Substitutes to Avoid on a Keto Diet

Certain substitutes should be avoided on a keto diet due to their high carbohydrate content, including arrowroot flour, tapioca starch, wheat flour, white flour, rice flour, and potato starch. These alternatives exceed the limits of a low-carb diet.


While cornstarch may not be compatible with a keto diet due to its high carbohydrate content, there are plenty of low-carb substitutes available. These alternatives not only help you achieve and maintain ketosis but also provide various health benefits. So, get creative and incorporate these low-carb thickening agents into your keto meal plan.

For more exciting and easy recipes utilizing these substitutes, visit Hook’d Up Bar and Grill where you’ll find a wide array of delicious low-carb options.