Are Pickles Keto or Not? It Depends..

are pickles keto or not

Are Pickles Keto or Not?

Are Pickles Keto or Not?

Another food item you might be wondering if it is low-carb or keto is pickles.  It depends on the types of pickles you eat. For example, if you eat raw cucumbers, these only contain approximately 2 grams of net carbs in a single serving. If you consume dill pickles or sour pickles, these pickles are typically not made using sugar and therefore, their net carbohydrate count is similar to regular cucumbers  But there are other pickles, such as sweetened pickles, that are certainly not keto-friendly. Therefore, you need to be very careful with what types of pickles you consume. Not all of them are good for the keto diet.

Pickled cucumbers on a wooden table

Pickles Nutritional Facts

Keep in mind that the nutrition facts of pickles can vary significantly depending on the type of pickles you consume. In general, kosher dill pickles will contain between two and four grams of carbohydrates per serving, along with 17 calories.

In addition, dill pickles contain 0.2 grams of fat, 0.9 grams of protein, and just over 1250 mg of sodium. This is a significant sodium load, so it is important for you to limit the number of pickles you consume if you have high blood pressure. Remember that if you decide to go with sweetened pickles instead, the nutrition profile can look significantly different.

Pickle Ingredients


Cucumbers are the main ingredient in store-bought or homemade pickles. There are several ways to prepare the cucumbers; either leaving the cucumbers whole, slicing them lengthwise into pickle spears, or slicing the cucumbers into pickle chips or pickle slices.

You can also use different sizes of cucumbers depending on if you like larger pickles (usually these are cucumbers around 4 inches in length) or the smaller mini cucumbers (about 1 to 2 inches in length).

White vinegar or rice vinegar
Salt (and pepper)

Health Benefits of Pickles

Pickles are considered a fermented food, so there are a number of significant health benefits you may enjoy. Fermented foods can be a good source of probiotics and help with digestive health For example, there are some studies that indicate eating pickles regularly may be able to help you reduce your risk of developing cancer. Furthermore, there are other medical studies that indicate eating pickles might help you avoid obesity. There are some people who also drink pickle juice for their salt content or to help with exercise-induced muscle cramping. Keep in mind that because pickles have a high sodium content, drinking pickle juice is probably not something you should do regularly. 

Types of Pickles

Sweet Pickles

Sweet pickles usually had a fair amount of sugar added during the fermentation process that ends up giving the sweet pickle the highest number of carbohydrates compared to other types of pickles. Some sweet pickles can have over 30 grams of carbohydrates per serving, making the sweet pickle very keto-unfriendly.

Butter Pickles, Bread and Butter Pickles and Sweet and Sour Pickle Chips

Butter Pickles also known in some parts as  Bread and Butter pickles are actually sweet and sour pickle chips got their name in the 1920’s from Omar and Cora Fanning.The Fannings had a cucumber farm in Illinois and pickled the smaller cucumbers and either sold or traded them to the local grocer for food staple items like bread and butter. The Fannings even applied for a trademark logo with the term “Bread and Butter pickles” in 1923. (link). 

Bread and Butter pickles became popular during the Great Depression where these sweet and sour pickle chips were the main part of an inexpensive pickle sandwich with bread and butter.

The most popular Butter pickle or Sweet and Sour Pickle recipes also contain added sugar, so be careful with these pickles as well on a low-carb or ketogenic diet since the added sugar can kick you out of ketosis.

Dill Pickles. Polish Dill Pickles or Kosher Pickles

The Kosher pickle or (Polish) dill pickle have the traditional sour, tangy taste that most people associate with pickles. The dill pickle uses salt, dill, and other spices in the pickling process while the Kosher pickle traditionally adds garlic and salt to the pickling brine. Since there is usually no added sugar to these pickles. both dill pickles and Kosher pickles are keto-friendly and can be a tasty part of a low-carb diet.

Spicy Pickles

The fun part of pickling cucumbers is the great variety of recipes and flavors. Spicy pickles are one of my personal favorites. Spicy pickle recipes usually add chili peppers or other hot peppers like habanero peppers to the pickling brine to add the extra spicy flavor. Sometimes, there can be some added sugar in the spicy pickle recipes to balance the hotness of the chili peppers so be sure to read the nutrition and ingredients label to make sure your spicy pickles are still low-carb.

Homemade Keto Pickles

One of the best ways to ensure your pickles are keto or low-carb is to make your own low-carb keto pickles.

One simple low-carb keto recipe I’ve found is over at Joy Filled Eats. The low-carb refrigerator pickle recipe has a simple list of ingredients and takes just 5 minutes of prep time.

  • Cucumbers
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Dried dill or dill seeds
  • Kosher or pickling salt

Best Keto Brands of Pickles

If you are purchasing dill pickles, the nutrition profile will be similar across most brands. Remember that you need to stay away from sweetened pickles regardless of the brand you target. For example, Claussen Kosher Dill Halves are a popular option among low-carb and keto pickle lovers. These low-carb pickles are a safe choice if you follow the keto diet. You might also want to check out McClure’s Spicy Pickles. If you are someone who enjoys a bit more of a kick with your pickle, you might enjoy the brand. Always take a close look at the nutrition facts and count every carbohydrate you consume, even if the number is relatively low, such as the case with pickles.


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