Is Fried Chicken Keto?

Is Fried Chicken Keto?

November 04, 2023 6 min read

One of the reasons the ketogenic diet is so attractive is that it allows you to continue enjoying your favorite meat dishes. It’s less limiting than other diet regimes, such as vegetarian or vegan diets, as long as the food you consume is generally high in protein and has little to no carbs.

Chicken breast, for example, is a staple for those observing the keto diet. It’s rich in protein, with 31 grams per 100-gram serving, has zero carbs, and contains important nutrients like vitamin B6, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, calcium, and cobalamin. It’s pretty filling, too, allowing you to get the daily macros you need and keeping you full throughout the day.

But eating plain chicken breast over and over again can soon become boring. If you’re looking for a little more flavor and variety, you might be wondering if you can have your chicken fried.

In this article, we explore whether or not the fried chicken is keto-friendly and how you can add it to your daily food intake.


What is the Keto Diet?

The ketogenic diet is a type of low-carb, high-fat diet that is popular mainly for its weight loss benefits.

By reducing or completely eliminating carbohydrate intake, keto eliminates the body’s main source of energy (glucose) and instead forces it to metabolize fat and ketones. This metabolic state is known as ketosis, which is the ultimate goal of the ketogenic diet.

As a result, keto is known to be effective at burning fat and reducing blood sugar and insulin levels. The diet regime has also been linked to reducing the risks of heart disease, fatty liver disease, PCOS, cancer, and diabetes.


Can You Eat Fried Chicken on Keto?

This might be hard to hear, but traditional fried chicken is generally not keto-friendly.

It uses flour, cornmeal, and sometimes cornstarch as breading for its crust — all of which are ingredients that contain carbohydrates. A classic fried chicken drumstick (about 140 grams) contains 4.4 grams of carbs, and the carb content can be higher if you opt for a fried chicken thigh or breast (8-11 grams of carbohydrates).

While specific carb counts will differ from person to person, the average keto dieter limits their consumption to 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. Given the high carb content of fried chicken, it does not fit well into the keto diet.

You might argue that you can still consume a fried chicken drumstick while staying within your daily carb limits.

However, that means you’ll have to be very careful about what else you consume for the day, making sure that these other food items have no carbs at all. This isn’t conducive to a healthy and balanced low-carb diet regime.

However, that doesn’t mean you’re forbidden from eating fried chicken during the course of your keto diet. Fried chicken can be made keto-friendly if you change how you prepare or consume it.

If you’re ordering fried chicken from a fast-food chain, remove the breading and only consume the meat.

If you’re making fried chicken yourself, you can substitute the traditional ingredients like breading, oil, and milk, for low-carb alternatives, such as almond flour, heavy cream, and eggs.


How to Make Keto-Friendly Fried Chicken

The trick to making keto-friendly fried chicken is eliminating the high-carb traditional ingredients and replacing them with suitable, keto-friendly substitutes.

When making keto-friendly fired chicken, don’t make breading.  Instead, season your chicken with thyme, paprika, salt, pepper, and oregano for flavor.

But if you’re after that crunchy bite, then you can substitute traditional white flour with almond flour.

A quarter-cup of almond flour contains only 2 grams of carbohydrates compared to 19 grams for the same amount of all-purpose flour.

You can also use keto-friendly pork rinds as breading for your chicken for a crunchy and tasty coating.

Instead of dredging your fried chicken in milk, use heavy cream and eggs to help the breading stick. You also need to change the oil you use to fry your chicken. Switch out vegetable oil for oils with healthy fats like virgin olive oil, avocado oil, or lard.

These substitutes allow you to consume two fried chicken thighs at around 2.1 grams of carbohydrates, significantly less than what you’re getting from take-out fried chicken.

Here are some more keto-friendly fried chicken recipes you can try at home:


Fried Chicken with Parmesan Crust

To make flavorful fried chicken with parmesan coating, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons virgin olive oil

Season your chicken breasts with garlic powder, herbs, salt, and pepper. Prepare two shallow bowls. Whisk the egg in one and place the Parmesan cheese in the other. Dip your chicken breasts in the egg and coat all sides with Parmesan.

Heat your oil over medium-high heat and place the chicken in the pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes on each side or until the coating is golden.


Lemon Pepper Fried Chicken

For this recipe, prepare the following ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine the almond flour, lemon zest, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and paprika in a shallow bowl and mix them together to create the breading. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl.

Take your chicken breasts and dip them into the eggs, then coat them in your breading mixture.

Heat your olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add in your breaded chicken breasts and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side. Let the chicken rest for a couple of minutes after cooking.


Spicy Fried Chicken

If you want a spicy kick to your fried chicken, here’s how you can make it at home. First, you need the following ingredients:

  • 2 lbs chicken
  • 1 bag spicy pork rinds
  • 2 medium eggs
  • ¼ cup hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Mrs Dash Original Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Take a large freezer bag and combine the pork rinds, Mrs.

If you like the recipe and want to try out a different type of pork rind, you can read our post about the best pork rind varieties or use Rudolph's Original Pork Rinds Southern Recipe instead of the spicy version.

Dash Original Seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. Beat two medium eggs in a separate bowl.

Drizzle your chicken with the eggs and hot sauce and put them in the freezer bag with your dressing. Shake the bag to coat the chicken.

Place the chicken on a wire rack and cook it in the oven for 30 minutes at an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Afterward, turn the chicken to the other side and cook for another 30 minutes.



While fried chicken is not generally keto-friendly, there are ways to substitute ingredients to make fried chicken that fits into your daily macronutrient count and carb limits. So try your hand at any of these low-carb fried chicken recipes and enjoy your favorite dishes while on a keto diet.


Is Fried Chicken Keto: FAQ

Can fried chicken be part of a healthy keto diet?

Fried chicken can be part of a healthy keto diet as long as you prepare it right, substituting high-carb ingredients with healthy fat and low-carb alternatives. These primarily include breading and cooking oil. As much as possible, avoid consuming take-out fried chicken unless you remove the breading before eating it.

Can you make keto-friendly fried chicken at home?

Yes, it’s recommended to make your own fried chicken at home so you can watch your ingredients and make sure they’re keto-friendly. Aside from the recipes we shared in this article, there are plenty of other recipes online that use low-carb ingredients for fried chicken, such as almond flour or coconut flour.

Can you order keto-friendly fried chicken from restaurants?

Fast-food chains generally do not serve keto-friendly fried chicken. But you may find other restaurants in your area that offer fried chicken dishes for keto dieters. When ordering fried chicken from a restaurant, make sure to check the ingredients to ensure it uses low-carb ingredients suitable for your keto diet regime.