Dishes, Ordering Tips, and Recipes

1. Fajitas

Fajitas are a popular sizzling-hot dish that usually includes bell pepper and onion, along with a protein like chicken, beef, or shrimp. They’re served with tortillas, but you can skip those and just eat the fajita filling to keep it low carb.

Still, because the carbs from onions add up fairly quickly, it’s best to cook a small portion or split your order into two meals (1).

2. Carne asada

Carne asada is a marinated, grilled steak dish. The steak itself has no carbs, but the marinade may provide a trace amount (2).

This dish is available at many Mexican restaurants. You can purchase raw, ready-to-grill carne asada from many Mexican markets as well.

3. Ceviche

Ceviche originated in Peru, but you can find it on many Mexican restaurant menus.

This cold dish is made from raw or precooked seafood — usually fish or shrimp — brined in citrus juice and mixed with veggies and herbs such as tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro. All these ingredients are low in carbs.

If you make it at home, you can cut the amount of tomatoes and onion in half to reduce the carb count (1, 3).

4. Guacamole

Guacamole is a dip made from smashed avocado, which is naturally high in fat and fiber and low in net carbs — total carbs minus fiber, which your body doesn’t digest.

In addition, guacamole may contain small amounts of lime juice, onion, jalapeño, tomato, or cilantro. Although you should avoid the chips it’s typically served with, guacamole is perfectly keto-friendly (4).

5. Carnitas

Carnitas is a dish of shredded slow-cooked pork. It’s usually made from a fatty cut like pork shoulder, and some of this fat melts during cooking to coat and flavor the meat.

The meat itself contains no carbs, so it’s an excellent keto-friendly choice at Mexican restaurants or to make at home (5).

6. Camarones a la diabla

This spicy shrimp dish — a staple at many Mexican restaurants — uses a sauce made from various types of chiles (and possibly tomatoes).

It’s low in carbs, but if it’s served with rice and beans, you may want to choose a salad or a side of guacamole instead — both are keto-friendly and may help temper the heat.

7. Al pastor pork

Tacos al pastor are made from al pastor pork, which is thinly sliced, marinated pork shoulder. You can forego the tortillas and eat the pork by itself or with a side salad for a keto-friendly meal.

8. Chorizo

Chorizo is a Mexican sausage made from beef or pork. It’s available either fresh (raw and ground) or dried (cured, ready to eat, and sliceable).

All types of chorizo are low in carbs, high in fat, and flavorful (6).

9. Queso

“Queso” is Spanish for “cheese,” but in the United States, this term often refers to cheese dip.

In many cases, these dips are very low in carbs, although some may contain carbs from milk or starch-based thickeners. Be sure to check the label, ask about ingredients, or make your own low carb version at home.

My favorite keto-friendly way to enjoy dips like queso is with pork rinds or homemade tortilla chips made from low carb tortillas (7).

10. Salsa

This dip is made from tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro, or various combinations of these ingredients.

Salsa contains small amounts of carbs from the tomatoes and onion, but small portions — such as 1–2 tablespoons (16–32 grams) — will flavor your meal without sabotaging your keto diet (8).

11. Birria

Birria is goat meat seasoned with various herbs, spices, and chiles. Some versions may also be made with beef. It’s used to make birria tacos or a traditional Mexican soup that’s also called birria, which contains broth and added salsa, onions, or cilantro.

Both the soup and the meat by itself are good keto-friendly options.

12. Tacos with corn tortillas

If you’re flexible with your carb intake, consider traditional tacos made with corn tortillas, which contain fewer carbs than ones made with flour — about 7 grams of net carbs per small, 18-gram tortilla (9).

With careful planning, you may be able to eat a few regular tacos within your daily carb limit.

13. Taco salad

Taco salads contain lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, a meat such as seasoned ground beef or chicken, and sometimes other ingredients.

Some may be served in fried taco shells or over tortilla chips, with or without a layer of refried beans at the bottom. You should forego both the shell and the refried beans to keep it keto-friendly.

14. Huevos a la Mexicana

This breakfast dish is made from scrambled eggs cooked with onions, diced tomatoes, and sauteed peppers such as jalapeño.

Because it doesn’t contain tortillas or tortilla chips, it’s much lower in carbs than other Mexican breakfast dishes like huevos rancheros and chilaquiles.

15. Pico de gallo

Pico de gallo is a dip and condiment made from diced tomato, chopped onion, and cilantro. In small quantities, it’s low in carbs and adds a bright flavor to rich or high fat dishes. It’s also easy to make at home.