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Keto-Friendly Thai Food: 8 Thai Dishes to Eat and 5 to Avoid on the Keto Diet

Is keto-friendly Thai food a thing, or must you give up your favorite Asian cuisine while trying to lose weight? You know that various Thai dishes contain rice, noodles, and other ingredients that may disrupt ketosis. Knowing this, how can you enjoy Thai food on keto?

The great news is that keto-friendly Thai food follows a few tips on what to avoid or substitute, whether dining out or making recipes at home. Let’s discover what makes Thai food keto-friendly to ensure you keep losing weight to meet your goals. 

Can I Eat Thai on a Keto Diet?

Keto-friendly Thai food exists if you know what to substitute or avoid when eating your favorite Asian dish. Here are some keto-friendly Thai foods:

  • Thai green curry (19)
  • Thai red curry (12)
  • Tom yum soup (18)
  • Thai BBQ beef salad (3)
  • Pad Prik King (21)
  • Thai pork satay (26)
  • Crying tiger beef (5)
  • Tom yum soup (6)

You’ll discover why these foods are keto-friendly soon. But first, let’s see what you must avoid in Thai food and the high carbohydrates in some popular dishes.

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Is Thai Food Full of Carbs?

Traditional Thai carbs are high in some dishes, but not all. The following ingredients can turn Thai food into a high-carb ketosis villain. Knowing about them could help you ask for restaurant substitutes or use alternative ingredients in home recipes.

Pad Thai Carbs

Pad Thai calories and carbs are ideal examples of what you probably shouldn’t eat on keto. Pad Thai, per Carb Manager, shares that one cup of Pad Thai with meat contains 330 calories and 32.7 g of net carbs (10). You’re typically only allowed 20-50 g of net carbs daily on keto (1).

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Thai Basil Pork (Pad Kra Pow) Carbs

Eat This Much shows how a 556-gram serving of Thai Basil Pork contains 325.8 calories and 29.7 g of net carbs (25). The dish has plenty of vegetables, including basil, chili, jalapenos, bell peppers, and onion. However, it has a brown sauce famous for adding too many carbs per serving. You could eat it without the sauce. 

Chicken Panang Curry Carbs

Panang curry is a Thai favorite but has quite a few carbs. Carb Manager says a serving of chicken panang contains 18 g of net carbs, 33 g of fat, and 36 g of protein (8). The panang curry sauce may contain too many carbs. 

Spicy Papaya Salad (Som Tum) Carbs

Some sources state that Som Tum is keto-friendly. Realistically though, it isn’t because it has a massive number of carbohydrates. My Fitness Pal says a bowl of Som Tum contains 40.7 g of net carbs, 5.4 g of fat, and 6.7 g of protein (23). It also has 27.5 g of sugar per bowl. 

3 Major Reasons Thai Food Is High in Carbs

You’ll find a few traditional Thai foods with high carbs. However, knowing what makes high-carb Thai food will help you substitute ingredients, ask for changes at the restaurant, or avoid specific additions to your favorite Thai dish. 

Thai Sauces

Thai meals like Pad Kra Tiem and Pad Kra Pao use a savory brown sauce that you may need to limit if you want to eat low-carb dishes. Oyster sauce, for example, has about 2 g of carbs per tablespoon. You can ask for the sauce on the side and use a small amount to limit your carb intake.  

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The USDA says a tablespoon of regular soy sauce has 0.66 g of net carbs (24). Finally, another sauce Thai dishes incorporate is peanut sauce. 

Carb Manager shows a tablespoon of peanut sauce has 1.3 g of net carbs (11). Add the sauce carbs to your favorite dish to find out that it’s better to make them yourself, or order a dish without sauces or get the sauce on the side so you can control how much you use. 

keto friendly thai food  

Breaded Meat or Vegetables

Breaded meat in Thai food is not keto friendly. For example, a 4 oz. piece of breaded beef steak has 15 g of carbs (2). Meanwhile, a small, breaded, fried chicken breast has 17.2 g of net carbs (7). Ask for grilled or stir-fried vegetables and meat to ensure you stick to keto-friendly Thai food using healthy oils. Some keto-friendly oils include (28):

  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil

Thai Food Starches

Various Thai meals come with rice or noodles. Jasmine rice is a popular choice for Asian cuisine as it has a sticky texture. WebMD says a ¼ cup of brown jasmine rice has 34 g of net carbs, 1 g of fat, and 3 g of protein (17). 

Meanwhile, noodles are another common addition to commercial Thai dishes in restaurants and fast food stores. A 4-ounce serving has 44.3 g of net carbs, 1.1 g of fat, and 9.1 g of protein (20). Finally, some Thai dishes have potatoes. 

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The USDA says a medium potato has 32.87 g of net carbs, 0.26 g of fat, and 3.63 g of protein (22). Skip the starchy foods added to Thai meals, and opt for a low-carb vegetable side instead. Ask for more of the following vegetables as a side or in your dish:

  • Bamboo
  • Bean sprouts
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Green beans
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes

Read more: Is Miso Soup Keto-Friendly? Our Top 3 Recipes Are Low-Carb, High-Protein Comfort Foods

Is Curry OK on Keto?

Is Thai curry keto-friendly? Fortunately, some Thai curries are a keto delight, while others may undo your hard work. Green and red Thai curry may be low-carb enough for keto. Carb Manager shows a serving of low-carb green Thai curry contains 7.8 g of net carbs, 21.8 g of fat, and 32 g of protein (19). It’s an ideal blend for keto if using low-carb ingredients.

Low-carb Thai green curry typically includes unsweetened coconut milk, your protein of choice, garlic, shallot, ginger root, green bell pepper, and chili peppers. It also uses extra-virgin olive oil, fish sauce, lime juice, cilantro, pepper, turmeric, beef broth, mushrooms, bok choy, and basil.

Carb Manager also shows 8 g of net carbs, 8 g of fat, and 2 g of protein per serving of Thai red curry (12). Red Thai curry also typically uses plenty of vegetables and proteins to ensure you get enough nutrients without too many carbohydrates. 

On the other hand, yellow Thai curry isn’t keto-friendly. Carb Manager shows a serving of yellow Thai curry with chicken has 29 g of net carbs, 22 g of fat, and 18 g of protein (9). Yellow curry often has potatoes and other high-carb vegetables and isn’t suitable for keto.

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Best Thai Carbs in Traditional Dishes

Traditional low-carb Thai food awaits your Asian-loving taste buds. Some Thai dishes are keto-friendly and will inspire you to ask for them at restaurants. Use recipes at home if you prefer homemade food. Besides, you can always control what goes into homemade recipes.

Is Tom Yum Keto-Friendly?

Tom Yum soup is already keto-friendly. A low-carb recipe with fish sauce, shrimp, unsweetened coconut milk, and plenty of vegetables contains 3.9 g of net carbs per serving (18). It also has 3 g of fat and 33.3 g of protein, with only 174 calories per serving. This sweet and sour Thai soup ticks every keto-friendly box. 

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Is Thai BBQ Beef Salad Keto-Friendly?

My Net Diary shows a serving of Thai BBQ beef salad with 8 g of carbs, 8 g of fat, and 35 g of protein (3). A serving also only has 253 calories and makes the ideal keto-Thai meal. The grilled beef, vegetables, and low-carb sauces will serve you well on the keto diet. 

Is Pad Prik King Good for Keto?

Pad Prik King is a flavorful burst you can eat on keto. A low-carb recipe has 9 g of net carbs, 28 g of fat, and 26 g of protein per serving (21). However, the complex recipe best suits making it from scratch with red Thai curry paste, snake beans, lime leaves, and fish sauce. Omit the sugar in the recipe to cut more carbs. 

See also
Low Carb Desserts: The Dos And Don'ts Of Having A Treat On The Keto Diet

Is Thai Pork Satay Good for Keto?

Thai skewers are a low-carb treat you can make at home or enjoy at restaurants. A low-carb pork satay recipe has 13 g of net carbs, 37 g of fat, and 32 g of protein (26). Most carbs are in the peanut dipping sauce, which you can limit or omit. Choosing pork increases the fat content, so the calories are high at 515 in two skewers. 

Read more: Kale Chips Keto Recipes: 3 Recipes and 12 Seasonings for Keto-Friendly Snacks

Is Crying Tiger Beef Good for Keto?

Nutritionix shows a serving of crying tiger beef has 12.6 g of net carbs, 16 g of fat, and 23 g of protein (5). It’s a keto-friendly Thai dish with grilled beef, fish sauce, fresh herbs, and vegetables. However, omit the little rice to cut more carbs. 

Is Tom Yum Good for Keto?

Tom Yum is a tasty shrimp soup with minimal, keto-friendly ingredients. Nutritionix suggests a cup of Tom Yum soup contains 2.9 g of net carbs, 0.7 g of fat, and 7.9 g of protein (6). It doesn’t have much fat, but this delicious soup has fewer carbs than most Thai foods. 

For more delicious Thai inspiration:

keto friendly thai food  


  • Can I Eat Noodles on a Keto Diet?

You should stick to low-carb noodles on keto. WebMD recommends Shirataki noodles, which have 0 g of net carbs because the carbohydrates all come from dietary fiber (15). Alternatively, low-carb egg noodles have only 1 g of net carbs per serving (27). Also, low-carb sesame noodles have 3.4 g of net carbs per serving (14).

  • Are Thai Rice Noodles Low-Carb?

Carb Manager suggests a single portion of Thai rice noodles contains 39 g of net carbs (13). Most keto dieters aim for 20-50 g of net carbs daily on the keto diet (1). Eating 39 grams may put you over your daily allowance in a single meal.

  • What Is Unhealthy in Thai Food?

Thai food is not keto-friendly when it has certain traditional ingredients, but that doesn’t make it unhealthy. For example, brown, soy, and peanut sauce can increase carbs (4, 24, 11). Also, breaded meats can add too many carbs to a Thai dish (2, 7). Additionally, starches like rice, noodles, and potatoes make Thai food high-carb and unsuitable for keto (17, 20, 22). Someone on a keto diet would likely avoid these dishes, but that does not make them unhealthy for everyone.

  • Can You Have Coconut Milk on Keto?

Coconut milk with added sugar isn’t welcome on keto. Healthline suggests using natural, unsweetened coconut milk with healthy fats and minimal carbs (16). Unsweetened coconut milk contains 1.5 g of carbs per ounce. However, sweetened coconut milk has higher carbs. Ask restaurants about their coconut milk, or stick to unsweetened kinds with home recipes.

The Bottom Line

Keto-friendly Thai food allows you to absorb the flavors you love, but you must follow the guidelines to be sure you don’t eat the wrong Thai food. Try one of the keto-friendly options or order a dish without sauce, breaded meat, or rice.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. 15 Foods You Can’t Eat on Keto (And What to Choose Instead) (2022,
  2. Breaded Beef Steak: Calories, Carbs, & Nutrition Facts (n.d.,
  3. Calories in BBQ Thai Beef Salad by LHM and Nutrition Facts (n.d.,
  4. Calories in Chinese Brown Sauce (n,d,.
  5. Calories in Crying Tiger Beef (n.d.,
  6. Calories in Tom Yum Soup (n.d.,
  7. Carbs in Breaded Fried Chicken Breast (n.d.,
  8. Carbs in Cook Thai Chicken Panang Curry (n.d.,
  9. Carbs in Generic Thai Chicken Yellow Curry (n.d., 
  10. Carbs in Pad Thai With Meat (n.d.,
  11. Carbs in Peanut Sauce (n.d.,
  12. Carbs in Sharwood’s Thai Red Curry (n.d.,
  13. Carbs in Thai Kitchen Thin Noodles (n.d.,
  14. Easy Keto Sesame Noodles (2022,
  15. Health Benefits of Shirataki Noodles (2022,
  16. Is Coconut Milk Keto-Friendly? (2020,
  17. Is Jasmine Rice Good for You? Pros and Cons, Nutrition Information (2022, 
  18. Low-Calorie Tom Yum Soup (Thai Hot and Sour Soup) (n.d.,
  19. Low-Carb Thai Green Curry (n.d.,
  20. Nutrition Label (n.d.,
  21. Pad Prik King – A Quick and Delicious Thai Recipe From Cook Eat World (2021, 
  22. Potatoes, White, Flesh and Skin, Baked (2019,
  23. Som Tum (Papaya Spicy Salad) Calories, Carbs, & Nutrition (n.d., 
  24. Soy Sauce Made From Soy and Wheat (Shoyu) (2019, 
  25. Thai Basil Pork (Pad Kra Pao) Nutrition Facts (n.d.,
  26. Thai Pork Satay Recipe (2023,
  27. The Easiest Low-Carb Pasta Recipe Ever (2023,
  28. The Top Cooking Oils for Healthy Fats (n.d.,

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