Are cucumbers OK on keto?

Quick Answer

Cucumbers are an excellent low-carb vegetable choice for keto diets. One cup of sliced cucumbers contains around 3 grams of net carbs, making it easy to fit into your daily carb limit on keto. Cucumbers are also high in water and provide some antioxidants, making them a hydrating, nutritious choice.

What Are Cucumbers?

Cucumbers are a widely cultivated vegetable grown worldwide. Botanically, cucumbers are a fruit, though they are commonly used as a vegetable in cooking. There are three main varieties of cucumber:

  • Slicing cucumbers – Typically eaten raw or used for pickling. This is the most common type found in grocery stores.
  • Pickling cucumbers – Smaller, bumpier cucumbers intended for pickling. They have thinner skins and smaller seeds.
  • Burpless/seedless cucumbers – Sweeter, nearly seedless varieties that are easier to digest raw.

The most common color for cucumbers is green, though some heirloom varieties can be yellow, white or even orange. Inside, cucumbers are mostly hollow, with small edible seeds. Botanically, the cucumber is classified as a fruit because it contains seeds and develops from the ovary of the cucumber plant. However, it is typically prepared and eaten as a vegetable.

Nutrition Facts

Here are the nutrition facts for 1 cup (104g) of raw, sliced cucumbers (1):

Nutrient Amount
Calories 16
Total Carbs 4g
Fiber 1g
Net Carbs 3g
Protein 1g

As you can see, cucumbers are very low in calories and carbs. The majority of the carbs come from sugars.

They also provide small amounts of vitamins K, C, and potassium.

However, the main nutritional benefit of cucumbers is their high water content. A cup of sliced cucumbers is made up of around 96% water (1).

This makes cucumbers an ideal hydrating and refreshing food.

Are Cucumbers Keto-Friendly?

Cucumbers are a keto-friendly vegetable choice.

At only 3 net carbs per cup, it’s easy to fit cucumbers into your daily carb limit on the ketogenic diet.

Depending on your specific carb goals, you may be able to eat 1–2 cups of sliced cucumbers and still keep net carbs low for the day.

Cucumbers can add volume and crunch to meals and snacks without significantly impacting carb intake.

Benefits of Cucumbers on Keto

Here are some of the top benefits of adding cucumbers to your keto diet:


Proper hydration is important on keto. As carbs are reduced, the kidneys flush out more water. Staying hydrated helps avoid side effects like cramps, constipation and headaches (2).

With their high water content, cucumbers can help you meet your hydration needs.


Cucumbers provide small amounts of several nutrients, including:

  • Vitamin K – 30% of the RDI in 1 cup.
  • Vitamin C – 4% of the RDI
  • Potassium – 3% of the RDI

Though not rich in vitamins and minerals, cucumbers provide a little extra nutrition.


Cucumbers contain antioxidants, including flavonoids and tannins (3, 4).

Antioxidants help neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals that can damage cells.


Cucumbers provide fiber, with around 1 gram per cup.

Though not a rich source, this fiber can help support digestive regularity. Getting enough fiber is linked to other benefits too, like lower inflammation and blood sugar levels (5).


Cucumbers have a mild, refreshing flavor that works in many dishes.

Try slicing them and adding them to water for homemade spa water or infused water.

You can also use cucumbers raw on salads, sandwiches and burgers. Or dice, roast or sauté cucumbers as a side dish.

Grated cucumbers can even be used to make low-carb keto breads, muffins and other baked goods.

So cucumbers give you plenty of ways to vary your meals on the keto diet.

Downsides of Cucumbers on Keto

Cucumbers do come with some potential downsides:

Water Content

The high water content is a double-edged sword. It makes cucumbers hydrating but also means they’re not very nutrient- or calorie-dense.

If you’re looking to add more vitamin-rich veggies to your diet, cucumbers alone may not suffice.

Fruity Taste

Some people dislike the fruity, melon-like taste of cucumbers. This flavor may not be appealing if you’re craving something more savory.

Gas and Bloating

Raw, unpeeled cucumbers contain cucurbitacin, a compound that can cause gas for some people (6).

Peeling your cucumbers and limiting portions may help reduce this effect.

High Potassium Content

While potassium is an important electrolyte, getting too much can be problematic for some people, especially those with kidney issues.

If your doctor recommends limiting dietary potassium, you may need to watch your intake from cucumbers and other high-potassium vegetables.

Are Cucumbers Good for Weight Loss on Keto?

Cucumbers can be beneficial for weight loss on a keto diet.

Here’s why:

Low Calories

Cucumbers are very low in calories, providing only 16 calories per cup. This makes them a great food to help reduce overall calorie intake, which can promote weight loss.

High Water Content

The water in cucumbers can help increase feelings of fullness and reduce appetite (7). This may result in eating fewer overall calories.

High Fiber

Cucumbers contain fiber, a type of carb that moves through your body undigested. Fiber slows digestion and promotes fullness between meals (8).

Diuretic Effect

The water content in cucumbers acts as a natural diuretic, meaning it increases urine production. This can help the body flush out excess water weight (9).

So cucumbers make an excellent addition to a keto diet geared towards weight loss.

Tips for Eating Cucumbers on Keto

Here are some tips for enjoying cucumbers on keto:

– Peel your cucumbers if you have sensitivities to cucurbitacin. The skin contains most of it.

– Add sliced cucumbers to water or sparkling water for refreshing infused water.

– Make quick refrigerator pickles with cucumbers to give your meals a tangy kick.

– Toss cubed cucumbers into salads, or use as a topping for cooked fish or chicken entrees.

– Mix grated cucumber into tuna or chicken salad recipes for extra moisture and nutrition.

– Serve cucumber slices with your favorite keto-friendly dips like guacamole, tzatziki or homemade ranch dressing.

– Make cold soups like gazpacho with cucumbers as the base. Add tomatoes, peppers and spices.

– Use large amounts of cucumbers when juicing to make it more hydrating and less sugary.

Are Pickled Cucumbers Keto-Friendly?

Pickled cucumbers can also be included on a keto diet.

Quick-pickled cucumbers are made through a fast low-heat process with vinegar, whereas traditionally fermented pickles require a longer curing time to culture good bacteria.

A 1/2 cup serving of dill pickle spears contains (10):

Nutrient Amount
Calories 15
Total Carbs 3g
Fiber 0.5g
Net Carbs 2.5g

So with only about 3 grams of net carbs per serving, dill pickles can easily be incorporated into a keto diet.

Keep in mind that sweet pickles will have more sugar and carbs than dill. Always check labels for carb counts.

When buying, look for pickles without added sugar. Or make your own quick refrigerator pickles from fresh cucumbers and vinegar.

The main downside of pickles is their high sodium content. People restricting sodium may want to limit portions. However, the sodium may be helpful for replacing electrolytes on low-carb keto diets.

Easy Low-Carb Cucumber Recipes for Keto

Here are some tasty keto recipes featuring cucumbers:

Cucumber Boats with Tuna Salad


  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 can tuna
  • 2 tbsp olive oil mayo
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Slice cucumber lengthwise and scoop out inner seeds, creating a boat.
  2. In a bowl, mix tuna, mayo, lemon juice, mustard, onion and salt/pepper.
  3. Spoon tuna salad into each cucumber boat.

This makes a light, refreshing lunch. Cucumbers add hydration and crunch.

Cucumber Radish Salad

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 cup radishes, sliced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Toss all ingredients together in a salad bowl
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This crunchy salad is a flavorful side dish for any main entree.

Low-Carb Cucumber Onion Salad

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 large cucumber, sliced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp erythritol or stevia
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  1. Whisk vinegar, sweetener, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Add cucumber and onion slices and toss to coat.
  3. Marinate in fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.

This easy marinated salad adds tangy flavor to your plate.

The Bottom Line

Cucumbers can be part of a healthy low-carb ketogenic diet. With only 3 grams net carbs per cup, they are a great high-volume, low-calorie option.

Cucumbers provide hydration and nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants.

Eat cucumbers raw or use them in keto-friendly recipes like salads, sides and refreshingly flavored waters. Pickled cucumbers can also be incorporated in moderation.

Include cucumbers as part of a balanced low-carb veggie intake for the best results on keto. They make a delicious addition to any keto meal plan.

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