Are Mushrooms Keto-Friendly?

Author Image

Written by Bridget Nalwoga, Certified Nutritionist and medically reviewed by Abby Courtenay

Imge of Are Mushrooms Keto-Friendly?

Contents

[hide]

Mushrooms are one of the most polarizing foods. Some people really love them, while others really loathe them. Whether they are a delicacy or not is up to you to decide.

What is undisputed, however, is how healthy and nourishing they are. They provide a wide range of both macro and micronutrients. In some parts of the world, they are even used for medicinal purposes. 

As you may know, a food being healthy does not mean it automatically qualifies for the ketogenic diet. Keto is all about low-carb living, and all foods on the diet have to meet that standard. 

This article explores the nutrient composition of mushrooms to determine if they are a good part of a low-carb diet. 

 

What are mushrooms?

Mushrooms are used as a vegetable in cooking. They are, however, not a vegetable or even a plant at all! The mushroom is a fungus but has been used as a vegetable for centuries in many cuisines. 

The range of mushroom varieties available on the market is very wide. 

White mushrooms are, however, the most popular, making up about 90% of total mushroom consumption.

They are very versatile due to their neutral taste. For this reason, they can be used in a variety of dishes ranging from stews, soups, sandwiches, burgers, and stir-fries. 

You can buy them fresh, frozen, dried, canned, or powdered depending on how you intend to use them. 

 

Mushroom nutrition facts

Like any plant food, the mushroom is packed with nutrients. It is low in calories, carbs, and protein and high in vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in antioxidant co-factors, particularly selenium and copper. 

Serving size: 1 cup of whole white button mushrooms (70 g)

  • Calories: 15.4 Kcal
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • Net carbs (total carbs - fiber): 1.6 g
  • Total carbs: 2.3 g
  • Fiber: 0.7 g
  • Protein: 2.2 g

One very interesting fact about mushrooms, is that they can convert UV rays from the sun into vitamin D. Just under 1.5 cups (100 g) of white, UV exposed mushrooms can provide you with your vitamin D requirements for the day. 

The nutrition information above only applies to raw fresh white mushrooms. After cooking, mushrooms lose some of their volume (typically about 25%). Because of this volume loss, the carb content per gram increases. If you are cooking, measure your portion beforehand, while still raw, for more accurate measurements.

As you can see, mushrooms do have carbs, but the amount is pretty low.

 

JUMPSTART YOUR KETO GOALS

 

Can you eat mushrooms on a ketogenic diet?

Yes, you can. Fresh mushrooms do have carbs, but the amount per serving is low. With only 3 g of net carbs in a whole cup, they definitely deserve a spot on a low-carb diet. 

Mushrooms are low-carb and very keto-friendly, and they are also extremely low in calories, making them ideal for weight loss diets. 

You don't have to be looking to lose weight to enjoy this food, though. Anyone will benefit from the rich vitamin and mineral content. 

In particular, the mushroom is a good source of vitamin D. Many people lack this vitamin, especially those living in cold regions without much sunlight, or those who spend most of the time indoors. It is also a good source of selenium, one of the most important antioxidant co-factors in the body. 

Like with any other food, you have to also account for any additional ingredients, flavorings, and accompaniments that are added, as they may also contribute more carbs.  

Frozen and canned varieties should have a similar nutrition composition to fresh ones. However, dried and powdered will certainly have a higher carb content. 

 

How many cups of mushrooms can you eat on keto?

You can have up to three (3) cups of fresh mushrooms a day. Three cups have about 5 g of net carbs. Remember to measure the vegetable when fresh, as it shrinks during cooking.

If your daily carb limit is 50 g, three cups contribute less than 10% of it. It is, however, very unlikely that you will eat three cups in one sitting. 

If you have a lower daily carb limit like 30 g, you can have up to two cups, but one cup can also suffice. It should not be hard to control portion size, but if you really enjoy them, treat them like any other food and portion before eating. 

 

What kind of mushrooms can you have on keto? 

There are tens of thousands of mushroom types, but the following are the most common.

  • White mushrooms. These are by far the most popular due to their mild flavor. They can be added to soups and sauces but work best when sauteed with butter and olive oil. 
  • Cremini mushrooms. These are just white mushrooms that have been allowed to mature a little more till they develop a pale brown color. They are firmer than the white ones, which makes them wonderful for sauces and stews.
  • Portobello. These are also a variety of the white mushroom after allowing it to grow to its most mature stage. They are meaty in texture and work well with pizza, pasta, and omelets. 
  • Shiitake. These originated in Japan and make a wonderful addition to Asian dishes.
  • Maitake. Another favorite from Japan that works well as a meat substitute.

Mushroom types, like many food groups, have a nearly identical nutrient composition. For this reason, they are all keto-friendly when fresh.

 

What type of mushroom products are best to eat on keto?

Food processing changes the nutrition composition of food, usually for the worse. Some of the common varieties of mushroom products include: 

  • Canned. If a brand contains only mushrooms and salt or another preservative, the carb content will remain low enough for keto. However, if the can contains other components, read the nutrition label to determine if it fits into your macro goals.
  • Frozen. These should have a similar nutrient content as fresh ones. 
  • Dried mushrooms are not keto-compliant when eaten in large quantities, with some brands containing up to 63.9 g of net carbs in 100 g. This being said, 18 g (or about 1 Tablespoon) of dried mushroom reconstitutes to 100 g of fresh mushrooms. 
  • Powdered. These are also not keto-safe (in large quantities) for the same reason as the dried kind. When water is lost, the carb content per gram goes up to non-keto-safe levels. So, be careful with your portions. 

 

BUILD YOUR KETO DIET PLAN

 

Keto substitutes for mushrooms

While mushrooms are very keto-friendly, it doesn’t hurt to have options. You may not feel like having them on some days, and they may simply not be available on others. 

Meat is one of the easiest keto mushroom substitutes. For dishes like pasta, pizza, and some soups, pieces of beef or chicken can work just as well. Meat provides the same chewy texture in addition to rich flavor. You also get a bonus of extra protein if you add meat to your dishes. 

As a side vegetable, there are countless vegetables that can work as mushroom replacements. You can use any non-starchy vegetable, such as:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts 

All the above vegetables are just as nutritious and easy to prepare. You can even eat some of them raw. 

 

Questions about mushrooms on a ketogenic diet

If you still need some more guidance on how best to incorporate mushroom dishes on keto, we answer some of the questions you may have below. 

There are so many low-carb mushroom recipes you can cook. You can make soups, sauces, stir-fries, and of course the classic garlic and butter combination. 

To make garlic butter mushrooms, follow this easy recipe. In under 20 minutes, you will have yourself a delicious hearty keto dish.

Ingredients 

  • 4 slices of chopped bacon
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound small button mushrooms
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon paprika, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Fresh parsley

Directions 

  1. Wash the mushrooms to get rid of any dirt.
  2. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the chopped bacon. Cook until crispy and set aside.
  4. Add butter and olive oil to the skillet. 
  5. Lower heat to medium. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
  6. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and toss to coat with the butter sauce.
  7. Season with chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  8. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until tender and nicely browned.
  9. Add chicken broth and stir in the heavy cream. 
  10. Continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  11. Remove from heat. Mix in the bacon and garnish with parsley.

For starters, any pizza with a flour crust is not keto-approved no matter what it is topped with. If you are making a keto pizza with a flourless crust (try using cauliflower!), then yes, you can enjoy a portobello mushroom topped pizza. You can also use portobello mushrooms as a novel pizza base, yum!

Yes, mushrooms and cream are excellent for keto. The cream provides fat while the mushrooms provide texture and additional nutrients like vitamin D and selenium. 

Per 100 g, cooked white mushrooms offer about 3 g net carbs. The carb content may differ depending on what else has been added to the dish and the style of cooking used.  

Yes, onions barely contain any carbs and mushrooms are very low in carbs as well. Besides, the quantity of onions used in cooking is usually so small it would not make a significant contribution to your carb intake. 

Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup contains 8 g of net carbs per half-cup. The carb content comes from corn starch and wheat flour (used as thickeners). It’s always better to use unprocessed or minimally processed ingredients, but in a pinch this can be used.