Miss Taco Tuesday? You can keep the weekly tradition, even on the keto diet.
Tacos, enchiladas and your other favorite Tex-Mex dishes are packed with carbohydrates. Top it off with a side of rice, and you consume well over your daily carb allotment.
Just as you can still consume pasta, pizza crusts and dessert on keto, you can still indulge on Mexican food — with a few swaps in ingredients. Pair these tortillas with a low carb rice alternative and use one of these low carb bean options (rather than than your typical refried beans), top with guacamole and you have the perfect low carb evening.
We’ll share four homemade recipes, our two store-bought picks, and three brands you should avoid.
Why Aren’t Tortillas Low Carb Friendly?
In North and Central America, tortillas have been made with corn (maize) for centuries. Newer recipes replace cornmeal with white flour, but follow the same cooking method. Once the flour is ground, it’s combined with water and salt to form a dough, then flattened out into thin disks and cooked on a flat surface.
Tortillas — both corn and wheat — are not keto-friendly for two reasons. First, they are made up almost entirely of carbohydrates. Second, while tortillas once consisted of just three ingredients, you will struggle finding products with such a short ingredients list in the grocery aisle. Most brands add vegetable oils, added flavors and preservatives to their product.
One pre-packaged wheat flour tortilla (8 inches in diameter) provides 140 total calories, and is nearly 80% carbohydrates. It contains 1.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of fiber, 4 grams of protein and 26 grams of total carbohydrates (23 grams of net carbs)[*]. It provides just 8% of your daily calcium and iron, with the micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) benefits ending there.
Corn tortillas aren’t much better. While gluten-free, a single, 6-inch tortilla carries 54 calories, 84% of which are from carbohydrates. It contains 12 grams of carbs, 1.5 grams of protein and less than a gram of fat[*].
As a reminder, it is recommended to stay between 20 and 50 grams of carbohydrates to stay in ketosis. One wheat flour tortilla would take up over half of your carb intake for the day.
And who ever eats just one taco?
Homemade, Low Carb Tortillas
You can still enjoy your favorite dish with one of these low carb alternatives. Simply swap out the tortilla for one of the recipes below.
Pork rinds are made from pork skins chopped and fried in lard. The rinds become hard, with a crunchy, puffy consistency. While pork rinds are a popular low carb alternative to chips, they can be ground up to create a flour-like consistency.
Pork rinds contain zero carbs, which makes them the perfect ingredient for a low carb tortilla. Transform the pork rinds into flour by pulsing them in a food processor until they have a fine texture. Add water, eggs and seasoning to the ground pork rinds to create a dough-like texture. Kim at Low Carb Maven has a great recipe to follow.
Once the dough is formed, divide into smaller dough balls and flatten into disks. Using a keto-friendly oil (like avocado oil or coconut oil — not cooking spray), heat in a skillet until the desired texture is formed.
Coconut flour is made from ground up coconut meat. Unlike white flour, it provides a number of health benefits. It’s incredibly low carb and abundant in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are your body’s ideal energy source (in terms of burning fat instead of glucose) as they do not need enzymes to be absorbed. This allows them to be used for energy right away.
For this Perfect Keto coconut flour tortilla recipe, all you need is one egg, coconut flour and asiago cheese. It requires just 10 minutes cook time, with one serving size containing just 4 grams of net carbs, 17 grams of protein and 20 grams of fat. Simply microwave the cheese and coconut flour until the cheese is melted, then combine with the egg until a dough forms. Separate the dough into smaller balls, then flatten into disks on parchment paper (or in a tortilla press, if you own one!). Place the tortillas in a hot, cast iron skillet until both sides brown on the edges.
Image: Zesty Low Carb Chicken Tacos
Almond flour (or almond meal) is made from ground up almonds. It is made up of 65% monounsaturated fat, which is shown to reduce cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease[*]. It’s also a good source of dietary fiber, iron, potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium and vitamin E. While it is higher than coconut flour in overall caloric intake, it contains fewer carbs per serving[*].
To make almond flour tortillas at home, you’ll need a combination of almond flour and coconut flour. Following this recipe as an example, you’ll combine with water, egg white and salt to form a dough, then divide into smaller tortillas. Heat a skillet at medium heat, then drizzle avocado oil in the pan. Cook each tortilla (roughly 8 inches in diameter) until browned on both sides.
Image: 4 Ingredient Cloud Bread
Cloud bread is a light, airy bread with less than half a gram of carbs per slice. Cloud bread is packed with saturated fats and used in keto recipes for hamburger buns, sandwich bread and tortillas.
To make cloud bread at home, follow this recipe. You’ll need egg whites, cream cheese and cream of tartar. Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff, white peaks form. Then fold in the cheese and tartar to make an eggy dough. Spoon onto parchment paper, then bake at 300 F for 30 minutes. The entire recipe takes a total time of 40 minutes to prepare.
Store-Bought Low Carb Tortillas
Let’s be real — how many times did you make traditional tortillas from scratch before keto? Probably never. In case time is not on your side, try one of these store-bought low carb tortillas.
Siete Foods Tortillas
Siete Foods makes gluten-free, paleo and keto-friendly tortillas and tortilla chips, available at most health food stores, Whole Foods and Amazon.com. These tortillas taste exactly like the real thing. If you love Mexican food and refuse to compromise on taste, these will not disappoint. They offer several varieties of tortillas, including one made from almond flour, one from a coconut flour and cassava flour combo and finally, a cassava and chia blend.
Unfortunately, the almond flour tortillas are the only ones suited for a low carb diet, and even these should be reserved as a treat. The almond flour variety contains 16 grams of net carbs per serving, while the other two products contain over twenty.
There are many store-bought versions of coconut wraps available online, the most popular being Paleo Wraps. These were originally intended to be a replacement for sandwich wraps, not tortillas. You might find the consistency to be a bit hard and crunchy, unlike a soft taco.
You will love the ingredients and nutrition facts, though. Paleo Wraps are suitable for any low carb or low calorie diet, and contain just two ingredients: coconut and water. One tortilla contains 90 calories, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein and just 6 grams of net carbs[*].
Store-Bought Brands Not Recommended by Perfect Keto
In the writing of this article, a few brands came up that Perfect Keto does not recommend. These brands advertise their products as low carb (which they are!), but contain unnecessary, unhealthy ingredients. Since grocery shopping on keto can be difficult and confusing, these brands are listed below.
Note: Some of these tortillas, such as the Mama Lupe brand, contain fewer carbs than the two recommended products listed above. However, their ingredients list is incredibly long (nearly 20 ingredients!), are not gluten-free (made from wheat flour) and are loaded with additives. Keep this in mind when purchasing store-bought products: Always check the ingredients list before purchasing a product with “low carb” in the title.
Non-recommended products include:
- Mission Carb Balance Fajita Tortillas[*]
- Mama Lupe Low Carb Tortillas[*]
- La Banderita Low Carb Tortillas[*]
Are You Craving Tacos Yet?
Following the keto diet doesn’t mean giving up your favorite foods. It means choosing healthier, low carb alternatives rather than the traditional favorite.
The next time you’re craving Mexican food, follow a keto recipe for tortillas (or better yet, make them tonight). If time is not on your side, you can always purchase a store-bought option online (no, this post does not contain affiliate links). Pair with guacamole and cauliflower rice and enjoy your low carb tacos.
Steph is a writer, competitive weightlifter and nutritional consultant with a passion for health and wellness. She is the founder of The Athlete’s Kitchen, a website dedicated to providing its audience with articles, recipes and the latest nutritional information on their favorite foods.