What side dishes can you have on the keto diet with chicken? What sides have zero carbs? Is cauliflower keto?
This is the supreme guide to keto side dishes and is perfect for beginners. Discover the BEST side dish recipes that are keto-friendly.
I am often asked what side dish recipes can you enjoy on your keto diet when you are making chicken. Can you have sweet potatoes on keto? Can you have green beans? Are there any side dishes that are zero carb? Are there keto onion rings?
These are the best keto side dish recipes for beginners, plus sauces, and even keto bread recipes too.
Is chicken low carb?
Yes, chicken is zero carbs, high protein, and low fat or moderate fat depending on the cut of chicken you buy. Chicken is versatile and can be used in so many ways.
Chicken nutrition will depend on which part of the chicken you are cooking so calculate your food tracker accordingly.
I am often asked, "do I calculate raw or cooked chicken"? It doesn't matter as long as you choose the correct raw or cooked value in your carb tracker.
Nutritional values from cronometer.com
|Per 100g (3.5oz) raw meat||Net Carbs||Protein||Fat||Calories|
|Chicken breast, skinless||0||30.9g||4.5g||173|
|Chicken drumstick, skin eaten||0||27.3g||10g||206|
|Chicken drumstick, skinless||0||24.2g||5.7g||155|
|Chicken thigh, skin eaten||0||28.2g||13.2g||239|
|Chicken thigh, skinless||0||27.7g||6g||173|
|Chicken wing, skin eaten||0||23.8g||16.9g||354|
Frozen vegetables vs fresh vegetables - which is best?
It is a common misconception that fresh vegetables are always better than frozen vegetables or canned vegetables. But it's often not the case. There are so many factors to consider such as, have the vegetables (fresh or frozen) been blanched? Deodorised? Bleached or irradiated?
Vegetables are full of water, fibre, vitamins, and anti-oxidants. Frozen vegetables are picked when they are their best and are often immediately snap-frozen and retain a higher nutritional value than fresh.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are often picked weeks before they are fully ripened to allow them to spend weeks in cold storage and transported to your grocery shelf and then stored in your fridge.
So the real question is...is a frozen vegetable frozen at its peak better or worse than fresh vegetables that have been recently picked, cared for, and stored properly and at their prime? And no, not the old wilted, dried, gnarly salad bag at the back of your chiller drawer!
Keto side dishes for chicken (that don't need a recipe)
When you start your low carb diet or keto diet the first thing you will do is cut back on unnecessary carbs, which are often the high carb side dishes such as bread, pasta, and rice. So what side dishes can you have on keto?
Choose simple low-carb vegetables that are quick and easy.
You can cook fresh vegetables or convenient frozen vegetables.
Cauliflower - is cauliflower keto? Yes, it is the most versatile low-carb vegetable that can be boiled, steamed, fried, mashed, or baked. The easiest method is to boil or steam and serve with butter and season with salt and pepper.
Broccoli - steamed or boiled in a small amount of water to preserve as much nutrition as possible. Do not overcook, no one wants soggy limp broccoli.
Pre-made salad - it's the perfect convenience food. Fresh salad ingredients already washed, cut, and prepared for you. Serve onto a plate along with one of the easy side sauces below.
Pre-made coleslaw - crunchy and extremely low carb, pick up a bag of cabbage coleslaw from your grocery store. Coleslaw has a longer shelf life than a leafy green salad once opened too.
Keto side dishes (easy vegetable recipes)
Many of these can become vegetarian or vegan friendly if you omit the bacon or swap the cheese for vegan cheese.
Some of these keto recipes can even be served as an entire keto meal. Just double or triple the serving size.
Cauliflower couscous - regular couscous is often served as a starchy side. Low carb cauliflower couscous is such a tasty keto side dish instead.
- ½ C of Couscous = 18g carbs
- ½ C of Cauliflower Couscous = 5.4g carbs
Keto broccoli salad with cauliflower - the perfect keto potato salad alternative. Keto broccoli salad can be served warm or cold with a chicken dinner or BBQ.
Creamy cauliflower mac and cheese - this side dish goes with almost every keto recipe. It's a firm family favourite and your kids won't miss the pasta.
Zoodles - a vegetarian pasta that is naturally low carb and can be enjoyed as a hot side dish or a cold side dish. it can be the base of a chicken salad or a creamy chicken pasta dish.
Stir through some grated parmesan cheese and garlic to make it a quick keto carbonara pasta dish with leftover cooked chicken.
Low-carb Mexican coleslaw (with lime dressing) - is crunchy, tasty, colourful, and incredibly easy. Can be served as a side dish with all keto Mexican recipes and it pairs well with chicken tandoori too.
Mashed cauliflower - it's never boring. The trick is to flavour it with butter, heavy cream, mustard, garlic, and of course plenty of shredded mozzarella cheese or cheddar cheese.
Even parmesan cheese and cream cheese work. Read my top tips to NEVER have soggy mashed cauliflower ever again.
Baked spaghetti squash - tastes buttery and soft, and it is the perfect low-carb pasta alternative. Spaghetti squash can be cooked in the oven or microwave and it is wonderful to serve as a side dish to any low-carb chicken recipe.
It can be eaten hot with baked chicken, or cold for a quick keto chicken salad.
Creamed Brussels sprouts - with garlic and parmesan creamy sauce is the perfect keto comfort food.
Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus - the smokey salty tasty of crispy prosciutto (or bacon) wrapped around soft delicate cooked asparagus with shredded parmesan sprinkled all over.
Sound complicated? It's not! This is an easy recipe and only takes 5 minutes to prepare.
Keto cheesy baked asparagus - can be cooked in the oven, BBQ, or air fryer.
Eggplant and cauliflower couscous - can be served as a low carb side dish or as an entire meal.
Cheesy baked broccoli and cauliflower (with bacon) - an easy broccoli casserole with a cheat's cheese sauce makes this the perfect filling and tasty side dish.
Greek stuffed mushrooms - can be made ahead of time and served as a side dish for BBQ chicken.
Zucchini fritters (courgette fritters) - served with a tangy yogurt sauce. You can even add some chili powder to the sauce if you want a spicy sauce.
Cauliflower rice - is an absolute classic keto side dish. It can be plain cauliflower rice or added herbs and spices depending on which chicken recipe you will be serving it alongside.
Check out the nutrition of brown rice, white rice, and cauliflower rice. You can see why everyone loves keto cauliflower rice so much. It's a quick and easy side dish and it bulks up a meal without the carbs.
- 1C cooked cauliflower rice = 5.3g carbs
- 1C cooked white rice = 53.2g carbs
- 1C cooked brown rice = 44.8g carbs
Creamed leeks - can be served alone, or pureed in your food processor or a stick blender, with some chicken broth or chicken stock to make a quick and easy chicken and leek soup.
Mashed cauliflower (4 flavors) - a healthy alternative to mashed potatoes. If you don't like mashed cauliflower, you probably haven't tried these delicious recipes.
Whole roasted cauliflower - perfect for a winter side dish.
Keto side dishes (keto bread and pasta)
All the low-carb keto recipes are naturally gluten-free and perfectly portioned. You can incorporate them into your healthy eating and favorite meals.
Cheesy keto garlic bread - if you only ever make one keto bread, this is the one. There is something about garlic bread and garlic butter that is addictive and difficult to give up entirely. Can be made with almond flour or coconut flour.
Keto dinner rolls - made with an adapted mozzarella dough have a crunchy crust and are soft and pillowy n the inside.
Easy keto pasta - only 3 ingredients and 1g net carbs make this pasta dish perfect to serve alongside a creamy chicken meal.
Keto cornbread stuffing - you don't need to wait for Thanksgiving or Christmas to enjoy keto stuffing inside a roast chicken or served as a chicken side dish.
Low-carb focaccia bread - grilled chicken on the BBQ served with a Mediterranean salad and low-carb focaccia is the perfect summer meal.
Almond flour bread - if you're still craving bread at the dinner table, this is the perfect low-carb bread and keto bread substitute. It needs only a few ingredients and is dairy-free.
Keto side dishes (sauces)
It can be confusing to understand the carbs in sauces, which sauces have added sugars, which sauces to enjoy, and which sauces to avoid on your keto diet.
You also need to understand what is a portion size for sauces (because food companies often reduce the suggested serving size so to make the nutritional information appear better than it is).
Luckily these low-carb sauces are the perfect sauce to go with chicken and the chicken side dishes above.
Store-bought sauces - always check nutrition labels for added sugar. However, the most popular sauces that are keto-friendly are:
- Dijon mustard
- chipotle tabasco
- keto-friendly oils such as lime flavored extra virgin olive oil
- small amounts of balsamic vinegar
- black pepper
- other spices and seasonings such as lemon pepper or everything bagel seasoning.
Homemade sugar-free ketchup - this is the perfect way to get your children off the sugar ketchup PLUS you can hide as many vegetables in there as you like. It's an easy recipe and perfect for picky eaters too.
Tangy keto BBQ sauce - avoid all the traditional store-bought BBQ sauce that's full of added sugar, and enjoy this healthy recipe for sugar-free keto BBQ sauce instead.
Crazy 1-minute mayonnaise - with 15 flavors to choose from, this easy side sauce can be served alongside any chicken meal.
Cream cheese mushroom sauce - whilst this recipe is served as a side sauce for steak, the same method can be used when serving with chicken.
Fry your chicken in a frying pan or skillet then remove the chicken when cooked. Cook fresh chopped mushrooms in the same skillet, then deglaze the pan with cream cheese.
Voila! An instant creamy chicken mushroom sauce and keto gravy.
Avocado salsa - perfect as a sauce for keto meals such as keto Mexican recipes.
Herbed butter 4 ways - always keep a supply of these homemade butter flavors in your fridge. Perfect to place on top of vegetable side dishes or a plain grilled chicken breast.
Kale pesto (nut-free) - healthy and green sauce for salads, grilled chicken, and over steamed vegetable side dishes.
For more keto recipes and side dish recipes that are keto-friendly, you can use the recipe index. Search by name, vegetable, meat, ingredient, or by recipe category.
Please leave a comment below and tell the community what is your favorite side dish recipe.
Best low-carb keto chicken dishes
These are the most popular low-carb keto chicken recipes the whole family will love. They are all quick and easy, gluten-free, sugar-free, grain-free, low-carb, and keto-friendly. Some are dairy-free and egg-free too.
- 2 cheese pesto chicken (budget)
- Keto copycat KFC fried chicken
- Keto chicken salad (3 ways)
- Slow-cooker stuffed chicken
- Buffalo chicken in lettuce wraps (slow-cooker)
- Healthy low-carb chicken nuggets (gluten-free)
- Low-carb chicken and leek pie
- Low-carb keto chicken burrito bowls (Instant Pot)
- How to cook a whole chicken (slow-cooker)
- Keto chicken curry kebabs (BBQ, oven, air fryer)
- Keto tandoori chicken (3 ingredients)
- Instant Pot chicken taco soup (1-minute recipe)
- ABC chicken burger (avocado, bacon, chicken)
- Spinach stuffed chicken (keto friendly)
- Keto chicken curry with pumpkin (slow-cooker)