Is Quinoa Keto? (How to make it work on a low-carb diet)

Whole grains are full of dietary fiber, vitamins, iron, and other essential minerals. Fiber helps lower the amount of net carbs which is important in keto, but does quinoa have enough fiber to make it keto?

Whole grains are a great addition to any balanced diet, providing insoluble fiber, minerals, and essential nutrients. They can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and help you lose weight. Quinoa, though technically the seeds of a plant, are classified as a whole grain, which makes it a superfood!  

Although quinoa can be very healthy for you, it is high in carbohydrates which does not make it very keto-friendly.  

Quinoa is not keto but is still a great source of protein and fiber, and can help regulate blood sugar and is naturally gluten free!

Table of Contents 
Why is Quinoa Not Keto? 
Health Benefits 
Eating Quinoa on a Low-Carb or Keto Diet 
Keto-Friendly Alternatives to Quinoa 

Why is Quinoa Not Keto? 

Tri-colored quinoa has about 18g of net carbs per 3.5oz (100g) cooked serving.  

Other kinds of quinoas such as white, red, and black can vary slightly in their net carb total, but not by much. Overall, all quinoa is too high in carbohydrates to work with a keto diet. 

Though there are many ways to follow a keto diet, the standard usually restricts carbs to about 50g of carbs a day or less. If you don’t already have a full keto meal plan taken care of for you, you have to calculate your daily carb limit yourself. Unfortunately, this means avoiding quinoa for the most part.  

  Calories  Total Carbs   Fiber   Net Carbs   Total Fat 
Cooked Quinoa (100g) 120 21.2g 2.8g 18.4g 1.9g 


Quinoa is not keto because it has about 18g of net carbs per 100g (3.5oz) serving. Even with relaxed keto diets that allow up to 50g of carbs per day, this is not very low-carb friendly.

Health Benefits 

Though it can’t easily work with most keto diets, quinoa is considered a superfood because of what it can do for your digestive and cardiovascular health.  

Most of the fiber in quinoa is insoluble which means it doesn’t easily dissolve in water. This means it is digested slower, which keeps you fuller longer, and prevents spikes in blood sugar. Not only is this great for weight loss, it’s also great for managing diabetes and better overall heart health! 

Quinoa in an anatomically-correct heart shaped bowl.

Additionally, quinoa is a naturally gluten-free grain. People with gluten-allergies or sensitivities like those with Celiac disease can safely enjoy this healthy whole grain without triggering any health issues. 


Quinoa can help you lose weight, regulate blood sugar levels, keep you feeling fuller longer, and improving overall heart health. It is also a naturally gluten free grain.

Eating Quinoa on a Low-Carb or Keto Diet 

Many people still want to fit quinoa into their diets because it is highly nutritious. If you want to add quinoa to a keto diet, the key is portion control.  

A full serving of quinoa is about 100g or 3.5oz, which contains about 18.4g net carbs. 

Even on a relaxed keto diet, it’s difficult to make room for that many carbs. Therefore, the only way to fit quinoa in is to be strict with your carb intake for the rest of your meals, or to eat smaller portion sizes. 

A small sprinkling of quinoa over a veggie mix in a stone bowl. Perfect portion control for keto.

Sprinkling a few tablespoons or so of quinoa over a salad or mixing it into your stew or soup will allow you to still enjoy some of the nutritional benefits of quinoa without going over your carb allowance. A larger portion of 1 ounce of quinoa will cut net carbs down to about 6g! 


The best way to fit quinoa into your keto diet is by eating smaller portions. 1oz of quinoa will land around 6g of net carbs vs 18.4g in a full serving (3.5 oz).

Keto-Friendly Alternatives to Quinoa 

Substituting quinoa in recipes is easy! Riced vegetables have similar textures to quinoa without the added carbs.  

Riced cauliflower and broccoli are popular replacement choices for quinoa and rice for those on the keto diet because their textures are very similar. With the right seasoning, riced vegetables can make delicious keto meal ingredients! 

Different shredded vegetables in small, white, heart-shaped bowls.

Try these keto alternatives to quinoa: 

  • Shredded broccoli rice 
  • Cauliflower rice 
  • Shredded water chestnuts 
  • Shredded daikon radish 
  • Shredded rutabaga 
  • Shirataki rice 
  • Cabbage rice 
  • Finely chopped nuts 


The best substitutions for quinoa are rice or finely shredded low-carb vegetables like broccoli, radish, or cauliflower, which provide the same crunch and grainy texture as quinoa.