Are Pistachios Keto-Friendly?

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

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Short answer: Yes, pistachios are ok for keto. They are not the lowest carb nut, but you can include them in controlled quantitites.


Nuts like the pistachio, peanuts, walnuts, and almonds play a big role in having a healthy ketogenic diet. Unless you have a nut allergy or particularly dislike them, it is advisable to include them on keto.

Nuts are so important because they provide many nutrients including healthy fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Fiber is especially key because most fiber-rich foods like whole grains and legumes are eliminated or limited for ketogenic reasons.

The problem is nut carbs are sometimes a letdown. Some nuts are very high in carbohydrates, so it can be tricky to eat them on a low-carb diet. In this article, we will look at one type of nut and answer the question, are pistachios keto?

What are pistachios?

The pistachio is a tree nut that grows on the pistachio plant. The nut is believed to have originated from Central Asia thousands of years ago.

Today, the United States and Iran are the leading producers of pistachios, producing about 74% of the world’s supply.

The nut itself is usually green and comes in a cream-colored shell. It may not be green with some varieties having other colors like yellow.

Pistachios are available in many forms: shelled, unshelled, roasted, and salted. Most store-bought brands are shelled, roasted, and salted.


Pistachio nutrition

The pistachio has a nutrition composition very typical of a nut. It is high in calories and very rich in protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

Luckily, a significant portion of the carbohydrates is in the form of fiber, making it a suitable choice for a ketogenic diet.

Serving size: ½ cup dry roasted pistachios, without shell, without salt. Equal to 61.5 g.

  • Calories: 352 kcal
  • Fat: 28.2 g
  • Net carbs (total carbs - fiber): 11 g
  • Total carbs: 17.4 g
  • Fiber: 6.4 g
  • Protein: 12.9 g

The nutrition information above applies only to roasted nuts without shells or added salt. Keep in mind that the macronutrient amounts may vary depending on the way that the food is prepared.

Nuts with shell will have significantly lower amounts of each nutrient per gram of weight. To use this nutrition information, remove the shells from the nuts before portioning  (the shells will add to the weight and they are inedible). Always check the label of packaged products for specific information.


Can you eat pistachios on keto?

Yes, you can.

Yes, pistachios carry a hefty 11 g of net carbs per half-cup, but they also carry a good amount of both fat and protein. In addition to the macros, they also provide several vitamins and minerals like potassium, vitamin B6, and iron.

In fact, a 100 g pistachio serving has nearly 3 times as much potassium as the same amount of bananas.

Like with all bite-size food, it is very important to portion before eating. You are almost guaranteed to go over your portion if you snack straight from the bag.

One more thing about pistachios is their sodium content. They are often heavily salted, which can tremendously increase their sodium content.

Excessive consumption of sodium increases your risk for hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. Opt for reasonably salted brands or buy unsalted and salt them yourself at home.


How much pistachios can you have on keto?

No matter what your carb limit is, it is not advisable to go over half a cup of pistachios in a day. 11 g of net carbs may not seem so bad when your carb limit is 50 g, but remember this is only a snack, not a meal. Also, if you're trying to lose weight, bear in mind that nuts are high in calories.

For those with a carb limit of 30 g, a portion of a quarter cup is recommended. You can pair the nuts with a zero-carb or lower-carb snack like cheese cubes or a keto cookie if the small serving is not enough to fill you up.

If you have an even lower carb limit like 20 g, you could go for a quarter cup serving with 5.5 g of net carbs as well. However, a smarter choice would be to have an even smaller serving as part of trail mix with lower carb nuts like walnuts and macadamia nuts.

What kind of pistachios can you eat on keto?

We know that whole roasted pistachios are keto-friendly, but what about other types and even pistachio products?

  • Pistachio butter. Most nut butters are just as ketogenic as the nut from which they are made. Pistachio butter is keto-friendly with about 6 g of net carbs per serving (about 2 tablespoons).
  • Baklava. While this delicious desert contains pistachios, it still contains sugar and flour, which are both non-keto.
  • Pistachio salad. If low-carb fruits like watermelon and strawberries are used, this can easily be made keto-compliant.
  • Kulfi. This Indian delicacy (known as Indian ice cream) is not keto-approved. However, if keto products like erythritol instead of sugar are used, then why not!

Pistachio ice cream is simply pistachio-flavored, which means it is not ketogenic. It is made from sugar and dairy just like any other type of ice cream.


Keto-friendly pistachio alternatives

You do not have to think too hard for keto-friendly pistachio substitutes. There are plenty of nuts that are just delicious and nourishing. Some of these include:

Seeds too are great substitutes for nuts. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds make great healthy and tasty snacks.

Finally, we cannot forget about trail mixes. A combination of different types of nuts and seeds cannot be beaten in terms of both nutrition and taste.

Remember to portion before eating and to read the nutrition label in case non-keto ingredients like raisins are added.


FAQs about eating pistachios on a ketogenic diet

If you still have doubts about eating this nut on keto, keep reading as we answer some of the questions you might have.

Macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pecans are some of the lowest-carb nuts. However, there is room for many different types of nuts on the ketogenic diet.

Yes, you can.

Almost all nuts and seeds can be turned into nut butter as long as you have the right tools for the job. A high-powered food processor or blender is all you need to make nut and seed butter at home.

To make pistachio butter, just follow this very simple recipe.


  • 3 cups of pistachios
  • Salt to taste


  1. Place the nuts in the food processor or blender.
  2. Beat until the nuts turn into a smooth butter or to the consistency you prefer. The time will depend on the power of your machine.
  3. Pour the butter into a jar and store in the fridge.
  4. Enjoy as a spread or dip for snacks.

Yes. Even though pistachios are very high in calories, they are okay to eat on a weight loss diet.

Due to their high protein and fat content, they will keep you full for longer, helping you avoid frequent snacking.

You can eat up to 49 kernels (about 1 oz) of pistachios on a 20-carb plan. That will be equal to about 5.1 g of net carbs, which is manageable on this diet.

Pistachios would be considered a fat and a protein. Even though they have some carbs, they offer more significant amounts of protein and fat.


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