Cucumbers are a good source of antioxidants and a few essential vitamins. They’re also a great addition to a keto diet.
Cucumbers are low in carbs, and many keto dieters use them as a substitution for chips or crackers. They’re also a good way to add nutrient density to keto salads, or as a vehicle for low-carb sauces and dips.
Here’s a look at the nutrition facts and carb count of cucumbers, as well as 7 keto recipes that will add more cucumber to your diet.
At only 3 grams of net carbs per cup, cucumbers are keto-friendly as long as you eat them in moderation.
Cucumbers are 96% water and are close to calorie-free[*].
However, keep in mind that a whole large cucumber has a higher carb count, with about 9g of carbs and 5g of sugar.
You don’t want to eat multiple whole cucumbers per day if you’re on a low-carb diet. Fortunately, cucumbers typically play a supporting role in cooking, where they’ll contribute very few carbs to your diet.
Both English cucumbers — the longer, skinnier cucumbers — and regular cucumbers are fine to eat on a keto diet, especially if you use them in the context of a larger recipe (like one of the keto recipes below).
Though we usually think of cucumbers as a vegetable, they’re technically a fruit — they grow from flowers and contain seeds.
However, from a nutrition standpoint, cucumbers are closer to a typical vegetable. They’re low in both sugar and net carbs.
One cup of sliced cucumber contains:
- 16 calories
- 3g net carbs
- 0.6g protein
- 0.2g fat
Cucumbers are about 95% water, but they still contain a decent variety of micronutrients. One cup of cucumber has:
- 21% daily value (DV) vitamin K
- 2% DV vitamin A
- 5% DV vitamin C
- 4% DV manganese
- 3% DV magnesium
- 3% DV calcium
- 2% DV iron
Cucumbers are a particularly good source of vitamin K, which keeps your bones strong and helps produce several proteins that are essential for blood clotting[*].
Cucumbers have a dark green, mildly bitter rind that contains most of the fruit’s fiber and nutrients.
Peeling cucumbers makes them less nutritious[*] and also takes away from their flavor and texture. For these reasons, your best bet is to keep cucumbers unpeeled, unless you’re making a recipe that specifically calls for unpeeled cucumber.
Here are seven keto recipes that will add more cucumber to your keto meal plan.
1. Caprese Cucumber Salad
Basil, mozzarella, shallots, and balsamic vinegar make for a light keto cucumber salad recipe that’s nutrient-dense and high in healthy fats. And with a total time of five minutes from kitchen to table, it’s a great addition to any summer keto meal.
2. Smoked Salmon Pate with Cucumber Slices
Smoked salmon pate is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Using cucumber instead of crackers keeps total carbs low, making this recipe ideal for a ketogenic diet.
3. Ranch Dressing with Chopped Cucumber, Cauliflower, and Bell Pepper
Fresh dill, sour cream, chives, and black pepper all make homemade keto ranch dressing much better than the store-bought version. Serve the ranch with crunchy low-carb vegetables instead of chips for a keto-friendly snack that’s packed with micronutrients and antioxidants.
4. Cucumber Dill Salad
5. Green Goddess Dressing with Sliced Cucumber and Feta Salad
Low-carb Green Goddess dressing is full of healthy fats from olive oil. It also uses monk fruit as a sugar-free sweetener, making it keto-friendly. Try pouring it over a simple salad of sliced cucumber, torn kale, feta, and avocado for a burst of antioxidants and nutrients — without the carbs.
6. Spicy Greek Salad with Pepperoncini
Greek salad is naturally low-carb and packed with healthy fats from olive oil and feta. Red onion, cucumber, fresh herbs, and green veggies add antioxidants and flavor.
7. Zesty Chili Lime Keto Tuna Salad
Chili seasoning and lime juice give tuna salad an extra punch. Try adding cucumber, chopped green onion, and black pepper for bonus antioxidants and crunch.
Cucumbers are a great addition to any keto diet. They’re relatively low in carbs and are an excellent source of vitamin K.
Cucumbers do have some carbs, and eating a whole large cucumber in one sitting may interfere with your keto macros. Instead, use cucumbers in the above recipes to add some crunch and extra nutrition to your meals.