Is Keto Popcorn Real?

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Popcorn is a classic movie night treat and with its salty, crunchy texture it can be a great snack. But is popcorn keto friendly? Well, the answer isn’t as simple as you might think. Is Keto Popcorn real? Yes, if you do it right.

I’ll give a lot of alternatives to regular popped popcorn, but keep an open mind here. I am anti- cheese puffs recipe as a Keto Popcorn substitute sort of gal. Yeah, it may be in part because I am Dairy Free Keto these days. But, also…Cheese puffs are NOT Keto Popcorn, no matter how much they want to be!

Popcorn spilling out of the digital world on a tablet into the real world.

As a Ketogenic Blogger and longtime Keto Diet enthusiast I have seen my peers try to recreate the taste, texture and flavor of popcorn out of just about every ingredient you can think of. The most popular being dried out, hard cheddar cheese puff type deal.

But, I don’t think it’s really “Keto Popcorn” so I am going to leave cheese puffs recipes out of this post. There are some great keto snacks you can pick up at Costco though.

The truth is that there are a lot of great Keto Popcorn Recipe Substitutes and store bought snacks out there, but do you know how many carbs 1 cup of homemade popcorn has? Five Grams of Net Carbs. There are 6 total carbohydrates and 1 gram of fiber for a  net carb count of five.

Now, if you are really craving popcorn and can keep it to 1 cup of air-popped popcorn at a time, you can TOTALLY have a little traditional popcorn for a treat. 

(I can already hear the Facebook groups and Keto Cops marching towards me with their torches and pitchforks for suggesting that grains be allowed). I’ve never cared for the Keto Cop sorts so I guess I’ll take my chances with the 1 cup serving of popcorn suggestion.

But it’s true….you can easily fit a cup of popped corn with luscious butter and salt into your macros if you really want it.

And, when I say “Keto Pop Corn” I mean homemade popcorn kernels made sugar free without sauces or inflammatory oils. You can check out this post on Healthy fat to make sure your cupboards are clean Keto.

Here’s the thing, to make “Keto Popcorn” you should be relying on healthy fats like coconut oil or olive oil and pop your own corn on the stove (or in an air popcorn machine) instead of opting for highly inflammatory oils in microwave popcorn.

Or you can try any of the alternatives below to satiate those cravings with homemade or store bought Keto Snack Cuisine.

Keto Popcorn Alternatives: (Keto Snacks)

There are a lot of Keto Popcorn Hack type delicious recipes for faux Keto Popcorn but I find that the simplest options are always the best. Try cheese cubes, seeds and pork rinds for the easiest option. If that won’t cut it….

Keto Cheese Puffs: 

You can make OR buy these low carb popcorn alternatives. See there, they are ALTERNATIVES. It is a tasty snack, but not really Keto Popcorn because they are really just low carb cheese puffs. Right?

Moon Cheese: This 5 pack has a ton of flavor!

Or you can opt for gouda instead…

Gouda Cheese Puffs:

Pork Rinds Variety Pack:

All pork rinds are NOT created equal. Some taste amazing and some are meh. But no matter what, once you open the bag either eat them all or store the leftovers in an airtight container.

Toasted and Salted Pumpkin Seeds:

I think this is the best popcorn substitute. I looove pumpkin seeds with out without the shell.

If you love almonds, these are a go-to.

Crunchy Toasted Salted Almonds:

Crispy Pepperoni Chips:

These are so easy that they don’t need their own “Keto Popcorn” substitute recipe page.

  • Just heat the oven to 400F and place pepperoni slices on an oven safe baking rack.
  • Bake for 6-7 minutes until darkened and crisp
  • Remove from oven and let cool. Blot the excess oil with a paper towel if necessary.
  • Store in an airtight container and enjoy whenever you need a crunchy, satisfying, low carb snack.

Hilo Chips:

Hilo chips have been making waves in the Keto world. Try them. You won’t be sorry.


These are some of the most asked questions about Keto Popcorn.

Can I eat popcorn on keto?

Yes, one cup of sugar free, regular air popped corn contains a net carb total of 5. If you eat a larger serving it could knock you out of ketosis.

Why is popcorn not keto?

Popcorn is not keto because it has a high carb content. One cup of regular popcorn contains 5 net carbs, which can quickly add up and raise your blood sugar if you eat more than a one cup serving.

Popcorn can be part of a ketogenic diet if eaten in moderation and with the right ingredients. 
Which popcorn is lowest in carbs?

Popcorn that is air popped or made with healthy fats like coconut oil and no sugar, sauces or inflammatory oils has the lowest carb content. It still contains 5 net carbs per cup, so should be eaten in moderation. 

Can I eat popcorn on a low-carb diet?

Yes, you can eat regular popcorn on a low-carb diet if it is air popped or made with healthy fats like coconut oil and no sugar, sauces or inflammatory oils. It still contains a 5 net carb count per cup, so should be eaten in moderation. 

Overall, popcorn can be part of a ketogenic diet as long as you follow the 1 cup rule.
Is there a carb friendly Keto popcorn?

Yes, there are a variety of low-carb and keto-friendly faux popcorn recipes that you can make at home. Try using healthy fats like coconut oil or olive oil and keep the added toppings to a minimum for best results. Add some salt or cayenne pepper and find yourself a delicious, crunchy snack without the guilt. Or you can have 1 cup of regular homemade popcorn on the Keto Diet without compromising ketosis.

What can I eat instead of popcorn on keto?

Nuts and seeds are a great alternative. Since nuts are very high in calories I recommend lightly salted and toasted seeds over nuts if you like them.

Since nuts are very high in calories and tend to be inflammatory, I recommend lightly salted and toasted seeds. I love these pumpkin seeds.

No. Skinny pop is not “Keto Popcorn”. You could eat a one cup serving (1/3 of the recommended serving) and it would equal about a 5 net carb count.

Is popcorn allowed on keto?

Yes and no. Popcorn can be part of a ketogenic diet but only in moderation and with the right ingredients. Air popped or made with healthy fats like coconut oil and no sugar, sauces or inflammatory oils has the lowest carb content. It still contains 5 net carbs per cup, so should be eaten in moderation. 

Can I eat microwave popcorn on Keto?

No. Microwave popcorn is rife with inflammatory ingredients and hydrogenated oils.

I hope that this helps someone that needs to hear that they don’t need to make a weird cheese puffs recipe if what they really need is a small cup of real popcorn.


More Keto Friendly Bread and Snacks to Love:

If you like popcorn, you are going to LOVE the Keto Almond Yeast Bread. But, not everyone has time to bake. So, if this is you, check out this Hero bread

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