How many carbs in a regular taco?

Quick Answer

The number of net carbs in a regular taco can vary depending on the specific ingredients used, but on average a single regular sized taco contains around 15-20g of net carbs. The tortilla alone contributes around 15g of net carbs, while fillings like ground beef, lettuce, cheese, and salsa add minimal extra carbs. So for most regular tacos, expect around 15-20g of net carbs per taco.

What is Considered a Regular Taco?

When looking at the carb count of a regular taco, it’s important to first define what is meant by a “regular taco.” There are many different styles and variations of tacos, but in general a regular taco consists of the following basic components:

– Tortilla – The carb-containing wrapper that encloses the taco fillings. Flour tortillas are most common, though corn tortillas are also popular. A 6-inch flour tortilla contributes around 15g net carbs.

– Protein – Most often ground beef, shredded chicken, carnitas (braised pork), chorizo sausage, steak, or fish. The protein adds minimal carbs.

– Lettuce – Shredded lettuce provides crunch and moisture. Iceberg and romaine are commonly used. Lettuce is very low carb.

– Cheese – Shredded cheese like cheddar, Monterey jack, queso fresco, or cotija add flavor, fat, and protein. Cheese does not contain many carbs.

– Salsa or sauce – Tomato-based salsas are typical. They contain minimal carbs from the tomatoes. Sauces like sour cream or guacamole are also low carb options.

– Optional extras – Onions, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeños, beans, rice, etc. These can raise the carb count if included.

So in summary, a “regular” taco contains a tortilla, one or two proteins, lettuce, cheese, salsa, and possibly small amounts of extras like onions or cilantro. With this typical assembly, the tortilla itself accounts for most of the carb content.

Factors That Affect Carb Count

While a regular taco generally contains 15-20g net carbs, there are several factors that can alter the total carb amount:

– Tortilla size – The standard 6-inch flour tortilla has around 15g net carbs, while smaller 4-inch tortillas may have around 10g net carbs. Larger tortillas can have over 20g net carbs.

– Tortilla type – Flour tortillas have more carbs than corn. Carb-conscious options like low-carb tortillas are also available.

– Fillings – Adding extras like rice, beans, guacamole, plantains, corn, mango salsa, etc. will increase carbs. Sticking to just proteins, veggies, cheese, and tomato salsa keeps carbs down.

– Accompaniments – Serving the taco with carb-heavy sides like rice, beans, chips, or a sugary drink will substantially increase the meal’s total carb count.

– Restaurant vs homemade – Restaurant tacos tend to have more large flour tortillas and fillings with higher carb counts, unlike lighter homemade versions.

– Portion size – Having two or more tacos obviously doubles or triples the carb intake compared to a single taco.

So in summary, the exact carb count can go up or down depending on the specific ingredients, but a single regular taco generally contains 15-20g net carbs.

Nutrition Info for Common Taco Ingredients

To get a better idea of the carb contents of a typical taco, here is the nutrition info for the most common taco ingredients:

Ingredient Serving Size Net Carbs
Flour tortilla (6″) 1 tortilla 15g
Corn tortilla (6″) 1 tortilla 12g
Ground beef 1/4 cup 0g
Shredded chicken 1/4 cup 0g
Lettuce 1/4 cup 0.5g
Cheddar cheese 1 oz 0.4g
Salsa 1/4 cup 2g
Guacamole 2 tbsp 2g
Sour cream 2 tbsp 1g

As you can see, the tortilla itself makes up the bulk of the net carbs. Fillings like ground beef, chicken, lettuce, and cheese add minimal extra carbs. Optional additions like guacamole, salsa, and sour cream raise the carb count slightly.

Net Carbs in Different Types of Tacos

While a basic taco with meat, cheese, lettuce, and salsa averages 15-20g net carbs, the total can vary more widely depending on the specific style:

– **Basic beef taco** – 6″ flour tortilla, ground beef, lettuce, cheddar, salsa – **17g net carbs**

– **Basic chicken taco** – 6″ flour tortilla, shredded chicken, lettuce, salsa – **16g net carbs**

– **Basic fish taco** – 6″ flour tortilla, tilapia, cabbage, pico de gallo – **19g net carbs**

– **Carne asada taco** – 6″ flour tortilla, steak, cilantro, onion – **17g net carbs**

– **Carnitas taco** – 6″ flour tortilla, braised pork, onion, cilantro – **16g net carbs**

– **Breakfast taco** – 6″ flour tortilla, eggs, cheese, potato – **22g net carbs**

– **California taco** – 6” flour tortilla, chicken, bacon, guac – **18g net carbs**

– **Supreme taco** – Large 10″ flour tortilla, ground beef, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, cheese – **25g net carbs**

As shown above, the more elaborate tacos with additional toppings and larger tortillas tend to be higher in net carbs, while more basic protein and veggie fillings keep the carb counts lower.

Low Carb Tortilla and Filling Options

There are also ways to reduce the net carbs in tacos for those limiting their carb intake:

– **Low-carb tortillas** – Many brands now offer tortillas made with almond flour, coconut flour, or other wheat alternatives with just 5-8g net carbs.

– **Lettuce wraps** – Using large lettuce leaves like butter lettuce or cabbage leaves in place of tortillas eliminates the main carb component.

– **Portobello mushrooms** – Grilled portobello mushroom caps can be used as veggie taco “shells”.

– **Chicken salad or egg salad** – Using chicken salad or egg salad as the taco filling avoids the need for carb-containing grains.

– **Zucchini boats** – Scooped out zucchini or other vegetable pieces substituted for taco shells.

So by modifying the standard taco format, you can reduce the net carb count substantially for low carb and keto diets. The possibilities are endless!

Taco Sides to Avoid

While the taco itself may contain 15-20g net carbs, the accompaniments and sides included in the meal can send the total carb count much higher. Here are some taco sides that are best avoided if limiting carbs:

– **Tortilla chips** – Up to 20g net carbs per ounce of tortilla chips. Better to skip chips altogether if monitoring carbs.

– **Rice** – A 1/2 cup serving of Spanish rice can add over 30g net carbs to the meal. Leave rice off the plate.

– **Beans** – Black or pinto beans are another very high carb taco accompaniment, with upwards of 20g net carbs per 1/2 cup.

– **Sugary drinks** – Soda, juices, sweet tea, and other sugary drinks provide excessive carbs and calories. Stick to water instead.

– **Heavy salsas** – Some very fruit- or veggie-heavy salsas can surprisingly add carbs. Opt for tomato-based salsas.

– **Fruit additions** – Mango salsa and other fruit toppings, while delicious, deliver more carbs. Keep tacos simpler.

By pairing your tacos just with salad, sautéed veggies, guacamole or salsa, you’ll keep the meal balanced, nutritious, and lower in carbs.

Keto and Low Carb Taco Options

If following a keto or very low carb diet, there are some modifications that can be made to reduce the carb content even further:

– Use lettuce leaf or portobello mushroom as the taco shell

– Opt for low-carb tortillas with under 5g net carbs

– Skip any starchy sides and added sugars

– Load up on extra veggies like peppers, onions, avocado

– Use plenty of cheese, salsa, sour cream for added fat

– Add fatty meats like chorizo, carnitas, carne asada

– Garnish with cilantro, jalapenos, lime juice

– Consider lettuce-wrapped or zucchini boats instead of taco shells

With these substitutions and low carb fillings, you can make delicious low carb tacos with under 10g net carbs per serving, perfect for sticking to keto goals.

Healthiest Options for Tacos

While tacos are often thought of as an indulgent food, you can actually make fairly healthy tacos at home by:

– Opting for soft corn tortillas instead of flour – corn has more fiber

– Choosing lean proteins like shrimp, chicken breast, or grass-fed beef

– Loading up on veggies like lettuce, tomato, avocado, onion, peppers

– Using reduced-fat cheese and Greek yogurt instead of sour cream

– Adding fresh lime, cilantro, jalapeno for extra flavor

– Skipping the fatty sides and toppings to keep calories down

– Enjoying fish tacos made with omega-3 rich fish like salmon or tuna

– Pairing with a side salad or non-starchy veggies instead of chips

– Sticking to just 1-2 smaller tacos for portion control

With a few simple substitutions and smart choices, tacos can be a nutritious and well-balanced addition to a healthy diet without too many carbs or excess calories.

Taco Nutrition

Here is the nutrition breakdown for a typical taco:

1 average beef taco (6″ flour tortilla, 4oz ground beef, lettuce, cheese, salsa)
Calories: 285
Fat: 14g
Carbs: 15g
Fiber: 3g
Net carbs: 12g
Protein: 20g

As you can see, a reasonably portioned taco can provide a balanced mix of protein, carbs, and fat when following a moderate carb diet. Those limiting carbs can further customize the nutrition profile by modifying ingredients.


Are tacos high in carbs?

Tacos contain a moderate amount of carbs, primarily coming from the tortilla. A 6-inch tortilla contributes about 15g net carbs. Fillings add just a few extra grams. So regular tacos end up having around 15-20g net carbs total, which is not extremely high compared to foods like bread, rice, pasta.

Are flour or corn tortillas lower carb?

Corn tortillas are slightly lower in carbs with 12g net carbs for a 6-inch tortilla, versus 15g net carbs in a 6-inch flour tortilla. However, both still contribute a similar amount of net carbs to the overall taco.

What are the best low carb tortilla options?

For low carb diets, the best options are tortillas made from alternate flours like almond flour, coconut flour, or flaxseed. These often provide under 5g net carbs per tortilla. Lettuce leaves or portobello mushrooms also make excellent low carb taco shells.

Can you make keto friendly tacos?

Yes, there are many ways to make keto tacos with under 10g net carbs. Use lettuce wraps or low carb tortillas for the shell, avoid bean or rice fillings, use extra veggies and high fat meats, and pair with low carb sides. This keeps net carbs to a minimum.

Do taco seasonings add carbs?

Most standard taco seasonings contain minimal carbs, around 1-2g carbs per tablespoon. Look for brands without added sugars or starches. Make your own with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano to avoid hidden carbs.

The Bottom Line

A regular taco made with a standard 6-inch flour tortilla, typical meat fillings, cheese, lettuce, salsa, and minimal starchy sides or toppings contains about 15-20g net carbs. Exact amounts vary based on tortilla size, exact fillings, and accompaniments. Those monitoring carbs can reduce the carb count substantially by using low carb tortillas or shells and avoiding high carb add-ons. With a few adjustments, tacos can be enjoyed while maintaining low carb, keto, or other healthy eating plans. Moderation and mindful ingredient choices are key for balancing nutrition and portion control.

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