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7 KFC Keto Options For Low-Carb Diets

I know what you’re probably thinking. Kentucky Fried Chicken and low-carb don’t exactly go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Crispy fried chicken & cup of drink served in retail background of KFC restaurant

If you’re on a keto diet for one reason or another, I’m sure you didn’t instantly think this fast food joint would have good options to choose from, seeing that their menu is rich in Southern flair. 

Surprisingly, KFC has keto-friendly dishes to pick from if you practice a keto diet and want to limit your carb amount daily. Not only that, but they’re tasty and customizable to fit your needs. 

The below list includes both entrees and sides that are limited in carbs. While my favorite dishes, such as the mac and cheese, didn’t make the list understandably, the dishes listed here are the top contenders for a yummy experience without feeling entirely limited on a keto diet.

Keep reading to discover seven KFC keto options to try the next time you have the itch to order food from this iconic restaurant.

Kentucky Grilled Chicken

Grilled chicken is a fantastic alternative seeing that grilled chicken has fewer calories, less sodium, and less fat than its cousin, fried chicken.

Additionally, grilled chicken is an excellent source of protein. This is one of the healthiest options at KFC if you follow a keto diet. 

Grilled chicken is lower in carbohydrates compared to crispy, fried chicken, but monitor your portions to maintain a steady weight.

The chicken soaks in a brine for a couple of hours, then is coated in breadcrumbs and seasoned with KFC’s infamous spice blend.

Finally, the chicken is cooked on ribbed metal plates, achieving recognizable grill marks. 

You can still order KFC side dishes and buy the grilled chicken in different quantities if you need a low-effort dinner for your family on a weeknight. 

Extra Crispy Chicken

Extra crispy chicken has been a successful KFC recipe for decades and increased in popularity ever since its release.

KFC enthusiasts often compare extra crispy chicken with the original chicken, and it uses a similar, secret recipe.

It has a thick, crunchy outer layer and is double-coated in the spices and breadcrumbs before open-frying. You’re most likely wondering how extra crispy chicken made this keto list.

Even though extra crispy chicken has more net carbs than both the grilled and original, you can incorporate a few pieces here and there.

Opt for a wing or drumstick in your diet when you crave crunchy, soft on the inside, golden-brown chicken. You’ll know you got extra crispy based on the darker color, a bit drier texture, and noticeably garlic flavor. 

Green Beans

Raise your hand if you’re a veggie fan! Compared to the other buttery biscuits and creamy mashed potatoes KFC offers this option might not seem exciting.

But, sticking with your keto diet is important, so order an individual cup of green beans the next time you’re at a KFC.

They’re a great choice because of their low carbs, low calories, and homestyle flavor. 

Moreover, green beans are high in fiber and contain traces of vitamins such as calcium, iron, and potassium!

So not only are you avoiding carbs, but you get more health benefits than other KFC dishes offer. 

Original Recipe Chicken

You probably think I’m crazy for including their deep-fried, battered chicken. Hear me out, okay?

KFC’s original chicken uses the same, unknown recipe from 70 years ago when it was first invented. Their chicken is juicy, tender, flavorful, with light and smooth edges.

Shockingly, fried chicken works in a keto diet as long as you opt for smaller portions, like drumsticks and wings.

Despite including wheat flour and potato starch, the amount KFC uses on their chicken is relatively low. In other words, that’s good news for keto-dieters.

On the other hand, if you want to avoid flour and starch completely, then opt for the grilled chicken instead.

It goes without saying that the bigger the piece, the more breading there will be, so as long as you eat the fried chicken in moderation, following your keto diet won’t be an issue.

House Side Salad

Having a side salad is good to have with your meal as a refreshing, crisp variation from the fried goodness you indulge in.

Keep in mind the dressing choices, and don’t eat the croutons, which will spike your carb amount significantly. 

KFC salads are relatively basic, including lettuce and tomato, so you can spice up your salad with crispy chicken, but beware of the carb amount.

I know some people like having a lighter lunch to get through the day, and veggies are a great way to fill you up, considering the fiber and nutrient amount.

Nashville Hot Grilled Chicken Breast or Thigh

This second to last option is the same as the grilled chicken. Nashville hot grilled chicken is a variation of the deep-fried, battered, and high-carb version.

You can enjoy bigger portions though, seeing that it takes the healthier path of not being battered then dunked in oil. 

Nashville hot grilled chicken is perfect for those looking for a bit of a kick to their chicken.

Everyone is different, so remember to monitor how your body reacts when selecting meals from KFC.

Caesar Side Salad 

Caesar salad has decent fiber and is low in fat, calories, and carbs.

Similar to the previous salad, you can choose different dressings, and don’t forget to negate the croutons. A few options include:

  • Heinz Buttermilk Dressing
  • Marzetti Light Italian Dressing
  • Creamy Parmesan Caesar Dressing

Normally, Ranch would make the list. Unfortunately, KFC uses a fat-free version, which has a high net carb amount.

Caesar salad is a delicious option for those looking for more flavor than just the regular house salad, the lettuce accompanied by grated cheese, and lip-smacking dressing. 

Be sure to get enough carbs throughout the day that allows your body to function properly. That said, KFC has some options for you to consider if you follow a keto diet and wish to limit the intake of carbs throughout your day.

While they’re not as appealing as some of the other more popular KFC menu items, you can make your order unique and delicious while following the keto plan.  

Hopefully, after reading this article, you feel more confident in making your KFC order, knowing that you can treat yourself to certain items on their menu despite watching your carb intake.

Did you know that KFC has vegan options? Check them out to see what plant-based dishes they offer!

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  1. “Be sure to get enough carbs throughout the day that allows your body to function properly” you don’t need any carbs to allow your body to function properly, there are no essential carbohydrates, there just aren’t. Turns out even vitamin C is found in meat so you won’t get scurvy on a low or zero carbohydrate diet.

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin is an editor and food writer who loves traveling and trying new foods and fun cocktails. Erin has been writing and editing professionally for 5 years since graduating from Temple University, and has been on the Restaurant Clicks team for 3 years. She has a long background working in the restaurant industry, and is an avid home chef and baker. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.