Part of the challenge of a ketogenic diet is learning to navigate around the kitchen. Many of the same recipes that you used to enjoy can still be made a few small tweaks.
If you're used to scouring Pinterest for the latest keto recipes, then many of these ingredients will be familiar to you.
While cooking and baking keto-friendly meals and recipes can be a challenge at first, with the right tools, a.k.a. ingredients, you can re-create just about anything.
I use these very same products, and that's why I'm recommending them.
If you love sweets as much as I do, this section should offer you a few low-carb alternatives to replace traditional flour in recipes from cooking and baking to thickening soups and stews.
These flours don't always equate to a 1:1 exchange, so it's best to experiment or look up an existing recipe that has been created to follow.
Not quite popular as certain other lower-carb flours, pecan flour is my favorite flour substitute. However, pecan flour isn't always readily available, and sometimes a tad more expensive than other flours.
If you want to give making your own pecan flour a go, you may find a recipe here.
Almond flour is probably the most commonly used flour substitute you'll see in recipes. You should be able to find almond flour at nearly every grocery chain, or online if you like products shipped to your door.
Unlike the first two, coconut flour is not made from a nut, if that wasn't obvious already. LOL
Instead, coconut flour is made from the meat of the pulp of the coconut as a byproduct of making coconut milk.
Many of the recipes you may find online will call for a mixture of flours, one of them being coconut flour.
Xantham gum is mainly used as a thickener, and a little bit goes a long way. You may be able to find this in the bulk section of your grocery store if you have those or purchase it online.
If you're looking for an easy way to thicken soups and stews, or even make some low-carb ice cream, xanthan gum should be in your kitchen arsenal.
Sugar Substitutes & Sweeteners
Whether you're looking to sweeten a recipe or your morning coffee, these are the sweeteners I would recommend for your ketogenic diet.
Stevia has been gaining traction in the last decade as it's considered a “natural” sugar substitute. There is even research that suggests it has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects.
I prefer the liquid drops since it's usually pure stevia, not to mention a little goes a long way and mixes easily in my coffee.
Erythritol is technically considered a sugar “alcohol,” and used mainly because of its no/low-calorie nature and negligible effect on insulin. Nearly 90% of erythritol passes through your digestive system undigested as we lack the enzymes to break it down.
It is also very similar in taste to real cane sugar.
If you were to go to the grocery store or online and look up the ingredients of many popular low-carb or keto sweets like ice cream or candy, you'd more than often find erythritol as a listed ingredient.
Swerve sugar is probably the most common baking sugar substitute in the keto kitchen toolbox. Using swerve allows you to apply an easy 1 to 1 replacement to regular sugar in all your favorite baking recipes.
Swerve mainly uses erythritol as its primary sweetener combined with prebiotic fiber and sometimes citrus for natural flavor.
If you plan to do ANY keto-friendly baking, then swerve is a must.
Swerve Brown Sugar
Some recipes call for brown sugar, and there used to be no alternative for low carb bakers until now. The same company that brought us the original swerve sugar substitute has finally released a keto-friendly brown sugar substitute.
When you need that crystallized molasses or toffee flavor, this brown sugar substitute won't disappoint.
Fats & Oils
Cooking, baking, and even for beverages.
If you're looking for a dairy-free butter, then ghee is what you want to be using. Ghee is also known as clarified butter and can handle much higher temperatures than butter can.
Ghee is made by melting regular butter and removing the milk solids once it separates from the liquid fats.
Traditionally, ghee has been used as a cooking oil and ingredient in many dishes, especially in traditional Indian recipes.
If you're looking for a non-dairy butter, choose ghee. However, if you have no reason to limit or restrict dairy, then a grass-fed butter such as that from Kerrygold should suffice.
MCT and C8 Oil
MCT Oil or C8 Oil is often used for individuals who like to put a little fat in their coffee via bulletproof or keto coffee.
MCT and C8 Oil are usually extracted from coconut or palm oil and is often used due to its fast conversion to ketones in the blood. People use MCT and C8 Oil for various reasons, such as:
- Appetite suppression
- Mental energy
- Quick boost
C8 is just one of the fatty acids found in MCT, but the one most easily digested and converted into ketones. Either MCT or C8 will offer the same benefits, but those that want a slight edge should choose C8 Oil, though it does cost a tad more.
My choice of Oil to cook with is coconut oil since it has a high heat point.
Aside from its non-stick cooking ability and touting health benefits, coconut oil may be used to bake with. Coconut oil offers a slightly sweet, nutty, and of course, coconut flavor, similar to coconut water, that can enhance your baked goods.
Coconut oil is relatively cheap and may be found in almost any grocery chain.
Extracts & Flavorings
Bakto Fruit, Nut, and Other Extracts
When you're looking for a particular flavor, and it's either not keto-friendly, or you're trying to save a few calories, these extracts are conveniently handy.
Whether you're baking with them or using them in coffee… or mixing them with Greek yogurt and cottage cheese (my favorite use for them), these extracts are a lifesaver.
You can choose from all your favorite fruit and nut flavors to specialty flavors like coffee, ginger, cardamom, and even brandy.
If you do any baking whatsoever, then there's no reason you shouldn't have a good quality vanilla extract in your home.
Leave that imitation vanilla on the shelf, and get the real deal… your taste buds will thank you.
Are you looking for other keto-related products? Give my recommended keto products page a look to discover the best keto books, vitamins, supplements, and more from my over 15+ years experience on a ketogenic diet.
Besides, all recommendations are ones I personally use or have tried and usually evidence-based (backed by science).