Is Rice Keto-Friendly?

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

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This grain is one of the most common foods on the planet, and you can find it in almost any culture. When starting a keto diet, this is a food that’s hard to say good-bye to. So, can it be considered keto-friendly?

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about this grain and a ketogenic diet. We dig into topics like nutritional content, if you are allowed to eat rice on keto and how much, and which kinds are lowest in carbs. Finally, we’ll see some keto-approved alternatives.

Let’s get started!


What is rice?

Rice is a grain found in grass crops, and it is the edible part of the plant. There are different varieties: arborio, basmati, jasmine, brown, red cargo, sticky, and parboiled. You can also get different lengths of grain: short, medium, and long. To prepare the grains for eating, you cook them in boiling water.

Due to its versatility, you can find this grain in savory and sweet dishes. It is said that over half the world’s population relies on this food either for consumption or for economic reasons.


Rice nutrition facts

This tasty grain is not only a carb source. It also has some nutrients like thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, copper, manganese, and selenium.

Now, as a keto dieter, you might have the question: how many grams of carbs does one cup of rice have? Here is the nutritional content with the answer:

Serving size: 1 cup of cooked white rice (174 g)

  • Calories: 169 kcal
  • Fat: 0.3 g
  • Net carbs (total carbs - fiber): 35 g
  • Total carbs: 36.7 g
  • Fiber: 1.7 g
  • Protein: 3.5 g

As you can see, it is very high in carbohydrates. One cup has 35 g of net carbs. One of the drawbacks of white rice is that it isn’t very high in fiber. During the processing, most of the fiber is lost. That is why its net carbs are still very high.

It is moderate in protein, with 3.5 g per cup, and is very low in fat since it only has 0.3 g.




Is rice allowed on the ketogenic diet?

Technically, it is not keto-friendly. As seen in the nutritional content, rice is very high in carbohydrates. But, you can potentially include it even if you are following a ketogenic lifestyle. You just have to be very careful with the portion size. You won’t be able to have a whole bowl, but you may be able to work in a very small amount.

If you don’t take precautions, it is very easy to use up your daily carbs just with this grain. This would prevent you from adding healthier carb sources like veggies, nuts, and seeds. Even though these foods are very low in carbs, they do contain small amounts that count towards your daily total.

So, make sure to always measure the portion you are going to have and subtract it from your total carb intake of the day.

If you are following a modified keto diet, you have a broader range to add carbs into your eating plan, and this means that you have a greater chance of adding it to your meals without a problem.


How much rice can you eat on keto?

How much you can have depends on the total carbs intake that you have.

For example, if you are trying to stay under 25 g of net carbohydrates per day, 1/8 of a cup provides less than 5 grams. This is a manageable amount that still allows adding other carb sources to your diet.

On the other hand, if you are trying to stay below 50 g, you could increase the portion size. Having ¼ of a cup provides less than 9 g of net carbs. This leaves you with room for more carbohydrate sources during the rest of the day.

Keep in mind that you need to measure your amount, so you don’t get kicked out of ketosis. The amounts given are for the cooked grain, so you measure it after you cook it.


What rice can you eat on keto?

There are different types that you can find. Not only are they different in texture, but they also vary in their aroma, texture, and color.

They offer similar nutritional characteristics. They are high in carbs, moderate to low in fiber depending on the type, and low in protein and fat.

Any option you choose to add to your meals, remember that you need to measure the portion size so you don’t go overboard with your total daily carb intake.

Now let’s talk about the different types of this great grain.

Length and shape

  • Long grain. It has a light and fluffy texture.
  • Medium grain. They tend to stick together, and are tender and moist.
  • Short grain. Sticky texture (best for sushi).


  • White. The most processed type. Most of the fiber and some nutrients have been removed.
  • Brown. It takes longer to cook, but it has more fiber and more nutrients.
  • Forbidden Black. It has a nutty flavor and is packed with nutrients.
  • Wild. High in protein and lots of nutrients.

Then there are different types you can use. All of them are good options, and you can add them in small amounts as long as you measure the portion.

  • Arborio
  • Jasmine
  • Basmati
  • Brown
  • White




What can you eat with rice?

One of the advantages of this tasty grain is that you can have it with anything. Its versatility is one of the top reasons why people love it so much.

When on a keto diet, you need to be careful with what you pair it with. Since it is high in carbohydrates, it would be best to eat it with something that is not so high in that macronutrient. This is to prevent adding more to your limited daily amount.

The portion for rice in a low-carb diet will be very small. Thus, I usually advise mixing it with another type of alternative veggie “rice.” For example, you can pair white rice with cauliflower rice.

You can add it to your salad or even to a chicken soup to provide some extra comfort during a cold winter night. This would be the primary carb source in the meal. Add a substantial piece of protein (chicken, fish, meat, egg, or cheese), along with healthy fats (like avocado), and finally, lots of non-starchy veggies. That way, you can create a balanced meal.


Low-carb rice substitutes

If you don’t want to increase your total carb intake with this grain, there are other alternatives you can find. Most of them are veggie-based options where you can get a similar consistency.

Other grain options might be lower in carbohydrates. Nonetheless, keep in mind that these options still contain a certain amount of carbs. Here is a list of the ones you can substitute it with.

  • Quinoa
  • Barley
  • Couscous
  • Orzo
  • Farro

Other alternatives are made by placing a veggie in a food processor until you get a rice consistency. This is a great option if you are looking for a more low-carb-based approach to rice. The veggies that are commonly used for this purpose are the following:

  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Shitake
  • Cabbage
  • Zucchini


Frequently asked questions about rice on keto

Are there still more things you want to know? Check out the answers to some of the most common questions people have about how this food can fit into a low-carb lifestyle.

You can have rice once a week as long as you measure out a very small portion and stick to the daily carbs allowed per day. If you decide to have more, you risk the possibility of getting out of ketosis.

If you are missing this food, mix it together with a keto-friendly alternative.

The noodles have a similar nutritional content as the rice itself.

1 cup of cooked rice noodles (174 g) has the following nutritional information:

  • Calories: 190 kcal
  • Fat: 0.4 g
  • Net carbs (total carbs - fiber): 41.4 g
  • Total carbs: 42.2 g
  • Fiber: 1.8 g
  • Protein: 3.2 g

As you can see, the carb count is very high. This means that if you want to eat some, it has to be in a very controlled portion so you don’t go over your daily carb limit.

The biggest difference between brown and white rice is the fiber content. 

Brown rice has the following nutritional information (1 cup of cooked grain):

  • Calories: 190 kcal
  • Fat: 1.3 g
  • Net carbs (total carbs - fiber): 41.4 g
  • Total carbs: 45.9 g
  • Fiber: 2.6 g
  • Protein: 4.8 g

Brown has more fiber than white rice. However, it actually has more net carbohydrates. If you’re choosing between the two, it’s recommended to stick with brown since it is less processed and higher in its nutrient content. For keto, though, both options have to be carefully measured.

Yes, it is high in carbohydrates, and it has less fiber than regular white rice. One cup of cooked Basmati has only 0.6 g of fiber and 43.6 g net carbs.

Remember that any carb source that you decide to include has to be portioned carefully.

Yes! Quinoa has almost three times the fiber, twice the fiber protein, and fewer total net carbs than white rice. It is a great option to have if you want to include a grain in your meals.

Hemp seed “rice” is an excellent choice. It is high in fat, low in protein, and very high in fiber — the ideal food to add If you are following a ketogenic diet.

In 100 g of hemp, you will find only 4 g of net carbs.


Grains and starches to watch out for while on keto