Are Corn Tortillas Keto? - Perfect Keto

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Are Corn Tortillas Keto?


Popular in Mexican dishes, corn tortillas are considered by many as a “healthier” alternative to flour tortillas because they’re gluten-free and have fewer carbs. But for people on a very low-carb keto diet, it’s important to note that nearly all breads are off-limits. This begs the question — are corn tortillas keto?


Get our top 5 low-carb tortilla recipes

If you’re trying to reduce your carbohydrate intake, this guide discusses what corn tortillas are, corn tortilla carbs, and good alternatives for your keto dishes.

What are Corn Tortillas?

Corn tortillas (Tortillas de Maíz) are a type of thin, unleavened flatbread often used for tacos and taquitos. There are lots of ingredients to enjoy them with, such as beef, chicken, beans, cheese, salsa, and more. You can even slice them up to make chips or cut them into strips as salad toppers.

Some people make their own corn tortillas at home by buying masa harina (dried corn dough) and combining it with salt and water, then cooking the shaped tortillas on a frying pan. With masa harina on hand, you’ll be able to skip the whole nixtamalization process, which involves soaking and cooking corn in an alkaline solution (*).

Are Corn Tortillas Keto?

Given that these are authentic corn tortillas — made with corn flour — they’re not suitable for the keto diet. As a starchy vegetable, corn is high in carbs, and should be avoided. Keep in mind the daily recommended carb intake to maintain ketosis, which is less than 50 grams per day (*).

Carbs in Corn Tortillas

According to the USDA, one large corn tortilla (44 grams) has 19.6 grams of total carbs and 2.77 grams of fiber, which gives us 16.83 grams of net carbs. This number is too high to be keto-friendly, considering that you’ll be consuming other foods with carbs — unless you’re eating mostly meat on keto.

Moreover, note that store-bought corn tortillas may vary in their carbs depending on the brand. But as long as they’re made from corn, a high-carb vegetable, these tortillas are generally off-limits on keto.

Pro tip: If corn tortillas are among your favorite foods, there are only two instances where you can have them. One is if you’re following a targeted keto diet (TKD). In that case, have a serving of corn tortilla around your workout. The other is if you’re doing a cyclical keto diet (CKD) in which you’re allowed to eat more carbs one to two days a week.


Get our top 5 low-carb tortilla recipes

Keto-Friendly Corn Tortillas Alternatives

Unless you follow a targeted or cyclical version of the keto diet, it would be best to avoid corn tortillas. Nowadays, you can find low-carb substitutes for almost anything, so it’s not impossible to discover options that are equally good — and even better for weight loss and blood sugar management.

Check out these corn tortilla replacements:

  • Almond flour tortillas: These low-carb tortillas are gluten-free and made from almond flour. Other ingredients may include eggs and psyllium husk. One serving (one tortilla) provides only about 3 grams of net carbs.
  • Coconut flour tortillas: Made with coconut flour, these tortillas are a source of medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs, which support ketosis (*). One serving (one tortilla) provides about 6 grams of net carbs.
  • Pork rind tortillas: Pork rinds or chicharrones have no carbs, which makes them a great ingredient for keto tortillas. Simply combine them with eggs, garlic powder, cumin, and water. One serving (one tortilla) provides less than 1 gram of net carbs.
  • Cauliflower tortillas: Cauliflower, one of the best low-carb veggies, can be used together with eggs, garlic powder, and cheese to make tortillas. One serving (one tortilla) provides only 1 gram of net carbs.
  • Oopsie bread: Known as cloud bread, oopsie bread is also a low-carb alternative to corn tortillas. It’s made of simple ingredients, such as egg whites, cream cheese, and cream of tartar. One serving (one piece) provides less than 1 gram of net carbs.
  • Lettuce wraps: Lettuce wraps won’t probably be the first thing you’ll think of to replace corn tortillas — however, they’re wonderful for wrapping deli meats and cheese. The trick is to use large iceberg lettuce leaves. One serving (one large leaf) provides less than 1 gram of net carbs.
keto-friendly corn tortillias alternatives

Keto Tortilla Recipes

Thanks to keto-friendly flour substitutes like almond flour and coconut flour, there’s no shortage of tortilla recipes you can enjoy with your loved ones. Check these out:

The Bottom Line

Can you eat corn tortillas on keto? As you’ve learned, corn tortillas are generally off-limits due to their higher carbohydrate content. A large corn tortilla has 16.83 grams of net carbs.

However, if you follow a targeted keto diet (TKD) or cyclical keto diet (CKD), you may be able to consume them within reason — around your workout times for TKD and during your higher carb days for CKD.


Get our top 5 low-carb tortilla recipes

Enjoy low-carb corn tortillas with better substitutes like the ones made from almond flour and coconut flour, and even lettuce wraps if you can’t make keto tortillas from scratch!

3 References

Gabriela P et al. Nixtamal techniques for different maize races prepared as tortillas and tostadas by women of Chiapas, Mexico. 2022

Wajeed M et al. Ketogenic Diet. 2022 June 11

Ting-Yu Lin et al. The Ketogenic Effect of Medium-Chain Triacylglycerides. 2021 November 18


9 thoughts on “Are Corn Tortillas Keto?

  1. What if you never eat bread, and stay within your macros 85% of the time, if you have a couple of soft tacos, will you derail your diet?

    1. It depends on the context of everything else you’re doing that day and in the days surrounding it. There’s no magic number for carb in take.

      After you’ve entered Ketosis, maintaining it works differently for every one, depending on their body mass, body chemistry, and level of activity.

      Personally, when I’m all-in, I limit my carb intake to to 35grams per day. A couple low carb tortillas fit in just fine, as long as I account for it.

  2. Mission makes low-carb tortillas with 6 net carbs and Mama Lupe has some with 3 net carbs! Mission is more widely available but Mama Lupe can be ordered from Amazon or Target.

    1. I use La Banderita with 5gm of carbs and the whole wheat only have 50 calories. I eat two per day, one with breakfast and lunch. I workout everyday and burn from 700 to 1000 calories and that has helped me stay within 30 grams of carbs with sustained energy.

  3. There are recipes out there for homemade keto friendly tortillas, only 4 g carbs each! I’m SO trying them. I can’t live without tacos in my life.

  4. Guerrero flour burrito totillas is 20g of carbs depending on how you eat through the day one of them a day would be fine. I use them in a chicken burrito with only
    chicken, sharp cheddar and some avocado sauce.

  5. There are low carb,high fiber wraps and pitas pockets made by Josephs… usually found by a deli section..
    I usually cut them up,toast them and use them as crackers.
    Bjs,sams and Costco probably have them in a larger pkg but most grocery stores have them

  6. Hi, you start the article out with a picture of corn tortillas. Go on to discuss the history of the corn tortilla and how it’s a staple in Mexico. But when you get to the section of when to avoid them, you start to mention ingredients like flour. Corn and flour are two very different tortillas. Would you please either explain that better or edit. Thanks

    1. Hi Glory, the article talks about tortilla in general and how they are not low carb or keto-friendly. Corn and flour tortillas are mentioned since they are commonly consumed.

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