Are Pickles Keto-Friendly?

Author Image

Written by Brenda Peralta, Registered Dietitian and medically reviewed by Abby Courtenay

Imge of Are Pickles Keto-Friendly?



Pickles add tanginess and a delicious crunch to a meal, especially sandwiches and burgers. Some people have it as a side or as a topping in certain dishes. However you crave it, this fantastic food can bring a punch of flavor to our meals. But we need to ask the biggest question of all: Is it keto-friendly?

In this article, we will explore all of the questions related to this food. Are they good to have on a keto diet? What exactly are they? What is the breakdown of macronutrients? Are you allowed to have them on a low-carb diet? How much can you eat without getting out of ketosis? What kind do we recommend for the keto diet? Finally, some of the frequently asked questions related to this treat.

Keep reading to find out more!


What are pickles?

People have been making pickles for over 4,000 years as a technique to preserve cucumbers for long periods. Today you can find many different varieties and flavors.

The process of making pickles is not complicated. The main ingredients are, of course, cucumbers. There are different varieties of cucumbers that you can use. The most commonly used is the Kirby variety, but any cucumber of choice works great. Use them whole or slice them up, depending on your preference.

Once you have the cucumbers, you then need an acid such as acetic acid (also known as vinegar). Water and vinegar tend to make up most of the pickle juice. Some people add sugar or a sugar substitute.

And finally, you add some salt to preserve them and add flavor. There are some variations where you can also add spices to add some taste.


Pickles nutrition

You get to add them to a hamburger or a sandwich, but what about its calories and carb content? Are pickles low on carbohydrates? Since they are made from cucumbers, they offer similar nutritional properties. They are low in calories, protein, fats, and carbs.

Serving size: 1 pickle spear, cucumber, dill or kosher (40.4 g)

  • Calories: 6 kcal
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • Net carbs (total carbs - fiber): 0.4 g
  • Total carbs: 0.8 g
  • Fiber: 0.4 g
  • Protein: 0.2 g

One pickle spear has 0.4 g of total net carbs. They are too good to be true! Not only are they very low in carbs, but they also have traces of magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K.

However, since salt is added to preserve them, pickles are high in sodium. One spear has 326 mg of sodium. Healthy adults should try to keep their sodium intake lower than 2300 mg/ day. Keep this in mind the next time you eat them.




Can you eat pickles on keto?

Yes! You get to add this tasty treat to your keto diet. However, make sure to read the nutrition label whenever you are shopping for them.

Some brands add sugar to the mix to add some flavor. If they have added sugar, stay away from them since they are not as keto!

Choose the brands that are low-sodium and sugar-free. If you are having a hard time finding one low in sodium, you can always rinse them off before eating. This takes away some of the sodium it has.


How many pickles can you have on a keto diet?

You can have an almost unlimited number without altering the keto process. You would have to eat 25 pickle spears to have more than 10 g of net carbs.

Nonetheless, you don’t want to go overboard because they are a high-sodium food. Although they might help you replenish electrolytes that are needed at the beginning of a keto diet, they are still very high in this mineral.

The recommended daily amount of sodium is 2,300 mg. Keep in mind that one pickle has 326 mg. Having a high-sodium diet could potentially lead to high blood pressure.


What kind of pickles can you have on keto?

Lucky for us, pickles are indeed keto-friendly. However, you must be careful about which type you have.

Dill pickles tend to be low in carbs, making them the optimal choice. Sweet pickles, on the other hand, tend to be made with sugar. If you are following a keto diet, stay away from these since they have a higher carb content (up to 7 g per gherkin!). If you do decide to add them into your ketogenic plan, make sure to count the number of net carbs sweet pickle provides.

When choosing what to buy, always read the nutrition labels to check if it has added sugar. Pick the brand that also has the lowest sodium content.

Here is a list of some keto-friendly pickle brands:

  • Bubbies Kosher Dills. They have a small list of ingredients, making them perfect to follow a more natural food approach. They only contain cucumbers, water, garlic, salt, spices, and dill.
  • Vlasic Whole Dill Pickle Spears. They are cut lengthwise, which makes them perfect for adding to sandwiches. Yum!
  • McClure’s Spicy Dill Pickle. They are a great choice if you are more into spicy foods. They don’t have added sugars and have a small list of ingredients.
  • Mt. Olive, Kosher Dill Petite Snack Crunchers. They are a good option as a snack due to their small size. They are easy to take on the go.
  • Woodstock Organic Kosher Baby Dill Pickles. They use natural and organic ingredients. They tend to be a little bit lower in sodium, with 290 mg for 2 spears.




What can you eat with pickles?

If you like pickles, you can add them to anything you want. Besides adding them to sandwiches or burgers, here are some other ways you can use pickles in a keto diet:

  • Dip them in mustard.
  • Tuna salad with pickles.
  • Deep fry them (however, eat in moderation).
  • Dill pickle dip.
  • Stuff them with some cream cheese.

Bonus tip: some people substitute them for the bread in sandwiches. Making a delicious pickle sandwich. You can try this keto-friendly version of a regular sandwich!

Any way you choose, they are a great choice to add some veggies into your diet!


Keto-friendly alternatives to pickles

Although pickles are keto-approved, remember that variety is key to a healthy diet. Even if they are low in calories and carbs, they are not so high in nutrients.

There are other ketogenic replacements you can include, so that there are some extra nutrients in your diet and make it as healthy as possible.

Here is a list of other low-carb alternatives that either provide a tangy flavor or a crunch.

  • Kimchi
  • Green olives
  • Capers
  • Pickled radishes


Questions about pickles on a ketogenic diet

Do you still have some questions related to this food? Here we will discuss the most common frequently asked questions associated with this tasty treat.

Let’s start!

Gherkins are a specific type of small cucumbers that are often pickled.

The difference between a dill pickle and a gherkin is the type of cucumber. For dill pickles, Kirby cucumbers are generally used, while gherkin is a type of small cucumber.

So they are similar. But it all depends on the type of cucumber you decide to “pickle.”

When following a low-carb diet, it is important to be careful when you decide to include them. They tend to be made with added sugar which can make them high in carbs.

Serving size: 1 large spear (35 g)

  • Calories: 6 kcal
  • Fat: 0.1 g
  • Net carbs (total carbs - fiber): 7 g
  • Total carbs: 7.4 g
  • Fiber: 0.4 g
  • Protein: 0.2 g

As you can see, it has more calories and more carbs than the regular dill pickle. If you choose to include them in your diet, make sure to count them into your daily carb intake.

Yes! They are an excellent snack to have on keto.

They are high in fiber and offer some vitamins and minerals. Since they are low in carbs, you can add them to your favorite dish or eat them as a snack.

Once it’s opened, a jar of pickles can usually last up to three months in the fridge.

There are several ways to make pickled vegetables. The first method is to soak them in vinegar, while the other process is to add water and salt to ferment them. Here are some tips to follow when trying to make them at home.

  • Pick cucumbers that are fresh, firm, and free of any damage.
  • Add any spice like dill, mustard seed, garlic, or pepper to add some flavor.
  • Use canning or pickling salt.
  • Make sure to boil the jar before adding the ingredients.

Dill pickles have 0.4 g of net carbs per spear. This means that they are essentially carb-free.

Search for the versions that don’t have added sugars to make sure they are keto-friendly and carb-free.


More snacks to have on the ketogenic diet