which beans are keto-friendly

Discover Which Beans Are Keto-Friendly: 4 Surprising Picks

The ketogenic diet is renowned for its low-carb, high-fat regimen. But what about beans, a staple in many diets? Let’s delve into which beans are keto-friendly and how you can incorporate them into your meal plan.

Why Beans?


Beans have been a staple in diets around the world for thousands of years. They are not only economical but also packed full of nutritional goodness. Here’s a rundown of why beans are worth discussing in the context of a ketogenic diet:

  • Protein Source: Beans are an excellent source of protein, which is essential for muscle repair and general bodily functions. They are particularly important for vegetarians and vegans who may find protein sources limited on a keto diet.
  • Fiber Content: Beans are rich in dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Fiber also keeps you fuller for longer, reducing the need for snacking between meals.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Beans contain a range of essential nutrients including iron, magnesium, potassium, and various B-vitamins. These contribute to energy metabolism, blood health, and several other physiological processes.
  • Plant Compounds: Rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, beans can help reduce inflammation and improve overall health. They have also been associated with lower risks of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
  • Diversity and Versatility: Beans come in various shapes, sizes, and flavors, offering endless culinary possibilities. They can be used in everything from salads to stews, making them highly adaptable to different cuisines.
  • Keto Complications: The main concern with beans on a keto diet is their carbohydrate content. Most types of beans are high in carbs, which can disrupt the state of ketosis crucial for the success of a keto diet.

Given these attributes, the question arises: which beans can be integrated into a keto-friendly meal plan without compromising the diet’s effectiveness? This article aims to answer just that.

Which Beans Are Keto-Friendly?

Carbohydrates are a key concern for anyone following a ketogenic diet. While beans offer a myriad of health benefits such as protein, fiber, and essential nutrients, their carbohydrate content can vary widely. Knowing the carb count in different types of beans can help you make informed choices.

1. Black Soybeans

Black Soybeans

  • Calories: Approximately 120 per half-cup
  • Total Carbohydrates: Around 8 grams per half-cup
  • Net Carbs: About 2 grams per half-cup
  • Fat: Roughly 6 grams per half-cup
  • Protein: About 11 grams per half-cup

These are a nutritional powerhouse in the bean world when it comes to a keto-friendly choice. Black soybeans can effectively mimic the hearty texture of traditional black beans in recipes, making them an excellent option for keto-friendly Mexican dishes, stews, and casseroles.

Their low net carb count combined with high protein and fat content make them almost tailor-made for keto requirements. The key is moderation; if you can limit your serving sizes, black soybeans can be a

2. Edamame (Young Soybeans)


  • Calories: About 190 per cup (when shelled)
  • Total Carbohydrates: Approximately 16 grams per cup
  • Net Carbs: Around 5 grams per cup
  • Fat: About 8 grams per cup
  • Protein: Roughly 17 grams per cup

Edamame isn’t just for sushi restaurants; these young, green soybeans can be a nutrient-dense, low-carb option for those following a keto lifestyle. Boiled or steamed and lightly salted, edamame makes a delicious snack. They’re also a great source of high-quality plant protein.

Adding edamame to a keto-friendly salad or stir-fry can offer both flavor and nutritional value, including a healthy dose of fiber, which further lowers the net carb content. Just be mindful of the portions to avoid exceeding your daily carb limit.

3. Great Northern Beans

Great Northern Beans

  • Calories: 50 per 1/4 cup (cooked)
  • Total Carbohydrates: 14g
  • Net Carbs: 12g
  • Fat: 0.1g
  • Protein: 3g

Great Northern beans are often overlooked but can be a viable option for those on a keto diet when consumed with caution. These small white beans are lower in carbohydrates than many other bean varieties, making them easier to fit into a carb-restricted diet. Originating from the Americas, Great Northern beans have a nutty and delicate flavor, well-suited for dishes like soups or casseroles.

Their relatively lower carb content allows you to enjoy the creamy texture and rich taste without worrying too much about your carb intake. As with other beans on this list, portion control is crucial; stick to a small serving size to maintain your ketogenic state.

4. Lima Beans (Baby)

Lima Beans

  • Calories: 53 per 1/4 cup (cooked)
  • Total Carbohydrates: 15g
  • Net Carbs: 13g
  • Fat: 0.2g
  • Protein: 3g

Baby lima beans, also commonly known as butter beans, are another option to consider for those following a keto diet but yearning for some leguminous variety. Though not as low in carbs as black soybeans or edamame, baby lima beans offer a texture and flavor profile that many find appealing.

These beans are buttery in texture and have a delicate, sweet flavor, making them a popular choice for soups, stews, and even salads. Consuming them in moderation allows you to diversify your meals without exceeding your daily carb allotment.

Beans You Should Probably Avoid on Keto


While beans are highly nutritious, some are particularly high in carbohydrates, which is a concern if you’re trying to maintain ketosis. Here’s a rundown of beans you may want to avoid:

  • Baked Beans: Prepared with a sauce that often contains added sugar, baked beans can have an even higher carb count than the base bean (usually navy or haricot beans) itself.
  • Cannellini Beans: These white beans have a higher glycemic index, leading to quicker spikes in blood sugar, and are also higher in carbs.
  • Refried Beans: These are usually pinto or black beans that have been mashed and then fried, often in lard or oil, with added sugar sometimes thrown into the mix.
  • Chickpeas: Also known as garbanzo beans, these legumes have high carb counts and are often used to make high-carb foods like hummus and falafel.
  • Fava Beans: These beans are high in protein but also have a significant carb count, making them less ideal for those on strict keto diets.

Remember, if you’re on a modified keto diet that allows for a bit more flexibility in carb counts, some of these beans might be incorporated in moderate amounts. Always check with your healthcare provider for personalized advice.

Recipe Ideas

Using keto-friendly beans doesn’t mean you have to compromise on taste or culinary creativity. Here are some recipe ideas that can help you incorporate these beans into delicious meals.

1. Black Soybean Chili

Black Soybean Chili

Image source: Pinterest

Ingredients: Black soybeans, ground beef, bell peppers, onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, and olive oil.

Instructions: Sauté the vegetables and spices in olive oil, add ground beef and cook thoroughly. Add black soybeans and simmer until flavors meld together.

2. Lupini Bean Salad

Lupini Bean Salad

Image source: Pinterest

Ingredients: Lupini beans, arugula, cherry tomatoes, avocado, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Instructions: Toss lupini beans, arugula, cherry tomatoes, and avocado in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Edamame Stir-Fry

Edamame Stir-Fry

Image source: Pinterest

Ingredients: Edamame, chicken breast, bell peppers, broccoli, soy sauce, garlic, and sesame oil.

Instructions: Stir-fry chicken and vegetables in sesame oil until cooked. Add edamame and soy sauce, cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.

4. Edamame Avocado Dip

Edamame Avocado Dip

Image source: Pinterest

Ingredients: Edamame, avocado, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, and salt.

Instructions: Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Serve as a dip for keto-friendly chips or vegetable sticks.

Each of these recipes offers a tasty and keto-friendly way to enjoy beans while sticking to your low-carb lifestyle. Experiment with these ideas and find your new go-to bean dish!


While traditional beans may be too carb-heavy for a strict keto diet, there are lower-carb alternatives like edamame, black soybeans, and lupini beans that offer a compromise. And for those who really miss their old favorites, moderation is key.

AboutCorinne Switzer

Corinne is an avid reader and takes a keen interest in conspiracy theories. When not busy with her day job, she likes to indulge the writer in her and pens columns on a wide range of topics that cover everything from entertainment, healthy living to healthcare and more.