How many corn tortillas can I eat on keto?

When following a ketogenic or keto diet, restricting carbohydrate intake is key to achieving ketosis. This means limiting foods like bread, pasta, rice, beans, fruit, and starchy vegetables. For many people, giving up tortillas can be challenging when starting a keto diet. Fortunately, in moderation, corn tortillas can potentially be included.

What is the ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic or “keto” diet is a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that shares similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets. The goal of keto is to put the body into a metabolic state known as “ketosis” where fat becomes the primary fuel source instead of carbohydrates.

This is achieved by following a diet that contains:

  • 60-75% of calories from fat
  • 15-30% of calories from protein
  • 5-10% of calories from net carbs (total carbs minus fiber)

Typically, 20-50 grams of net carbs per day is recommended on keto. The drastic reduction in carbohydrates puts the body into ketosis, leading to rapid weight loss and other potential health benefits.

Why limit carbs on keto?

Carbohydrates are the main macronutrient that impacts ketosis. They are broken down into glucose during digestion, leading to increased blood sugar and insulin levels. The hormone insulin stimulates the storage of excess glucose as glycogen in the liver and muscles or as fat in adipose tissue.

On keto, carb intake is lowered substantially to induce ketosis. In this metabolic state, the liver produces ketone bodies from stored fat to use as energy since glucose availability is extremely low. This promotes fat burning and weight loss.

Can you eat corn tortillas on keto?

Corn tortillas contain carbohydrates, so they are not considered keto-friendly. However, in small amounts, they may potentially fit into a well-formulated ketogenic diet for some people depending on individual tolerance.

A 6-inch corn tortilla contains around 11-15 grams of net carbs. Eating just one or two per day should keep net carbs low enough to stay in ketosis for most people.

However, those following a more restrictive version of keto like therapeutic keto for epilepsy may need to avoid them completely.

Benefits of corn tortillas

Here are some benefits of choosing corn tortillas in moderation on keto:

  • Provide variety: They offer an alternative to low carb wraps or lettuce wraps.
  • Contain fiber: Each 6-inch tortilla has 2-3 grams of fiber to help meet the 25-35 grams recommended daily on keto.
  • Naturally gluten-free: Corn tortillas are safe for those avoiding gluten.
  • Lower in net carbs: They are lower in net carbs than flour tortillas which have around 15-20 grams per 6-inch tortilla.

Downsides of corn tortillas

There are also some downsides to keep in mind when deciding whether to eat corn tortillas on keto:

  • Higher in carbs: Although lower in net carbs than flour, they are still relatively high compared to low carb veggies and nuts.
  • Blood sugar effects: Can spike blood sugar and insulin due to starchy nature.
  • Portion control required: It’s easy to overeat, quickly using up daily carb limit.
  • May stall weight loss: If over-consumed, can prevent ketosis and stall fat burning.

How many corn tortillas per day on keto?

When incorporating corn tortillas into a keto diet, portions need to be carefully monitored to avoid kicking you out of ketosis. Here are some general recommendations:

  • 1-3 (6-inch) tortillas per day: This provides 11-33 grams of net carbs which may work for some people just starting keto or following a less restrictive 50 grams of net carbs version.
  • 1 tortilla (6-inch) per day max: Limiting to 1 tortilla caps net carbs to 11-15 grams. This ensures you stay under 20-25 grams of total net carbs for the day.
  • 1/2 tortilla (6-inch) per day max: At around 5-7 grams of net carbs, half a medium tortilla can likely be accommodated by most people on keto.
  • Avoid completely: Therapeutic keto and those who experience high blood sugar or struggle to reach ketosis may need to omit corn tortillas entirely.

Pay attention to portions and monitor your individual response. Reduce portion sizes or frequency if you notice weight loss stalling, cravings increasing, or other signs you may be kicked out of ketosis.

Ways to fit corn tortillas into your keto diet

Here are some tips for enjoying corn tortillas in keto-friendly ways:

  • Use as taco shells or to make tacos, limiting to 1-2 per serving.
  • Make chips by cutting tortillas into wedges and baking until crisp.
  • Create enchiladas or enchilada bowls with fat sources like cheese, sour cream, avocado.
  • Opt for street taco style by cutting tortillas into smaller portions.
  • Use to make quesadillas or nachos using low carb fillings.
  • Slice and toast to make DIY tostada shells.

When eating corn tortillas, pair them with foods that provide fat and protein to help slow digestion and lower the impact on blood sugar. Some examples include:

  • Chicken, beef, pork, fish
  • Cheese
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole or mashed avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Lettuce, cabbage
  • Onion, peppers

Should you eat corn or flour tortillas on keto?

If choosing between corn and flour tortillas, corn tortillas are the better option for keto. Here is a comparison:

Corn Tortilla (6-inch) Flour Tortilla (6-inch)
11-15g net carbs 15-20g net carbs
~106 calories ~150 calories
3g protein 4g protein
2-3g fiber 1-2g fiber

As you can see, corn tortillas are lower in both net carbs and calories compared to flour tortillas. They also contain a bit more fiber. This makes corn a better choice for keto.

Downsides of flour tortillas

Here are some specific downsides of choosing flour tortillas if you are trying to stick to keto:

  • Higher in net carbs: A 6-inch flour tortilla contains around 15-20 grams of net carbs which could use your entire daily allowance in just one tortilla.
  • Made with refined flour: Often made with nutrient-poor refined wheat flour.
  • May cause spike and crash: Refined carbs cause rapid spike and crash in blood sugar.
  • Not enough fiber: Lack adequate fiber with only 1-2 grams per tortilla.

While less optimal for keto, flour tortillas can fit into 50-100 gram higher carb versions of low carb eating plans. But for standard keto at 20-50 grams of net carbs or therapeutic keto, flour tortillas should be avoided.

Healthier keto tortilla alternatives

In addition to corn, there are some other healthier tortilla options for keto that can help you stay in ketosis while still enjoying wraps, tacos, quesadillas, and more. Some options include:

  • Low carb, high-fiber tortillas: Brands like Tumaro’s, La Tortilla Factory, and Mission Carb Balance make tortillas with 5-9 grams net carbs due to added fiber.
  • Lettuce wraps: Use lettuce leaves such as romaine or iceberg in place of tortillas for burritos or tacos.
  • Collard green wraps: Sturdy collard greens can be used to wrap fillings.
  • Zucchini or squash wraps: Thinly slice zucchini or summer squash lengthwise to use as veggie wraps.
  • Cabbage wraps: Use large cabbage leaves to hold taco fillings.
  • Portobello mushroom caps: Can be substituted for taco shells.
  • Cheese shells: Make taco shells from cheese such as cheddar, mozzarella, or parmesan.

Sample keto meal plan with corn tortillas

Here is a sample one-day keto meal plan incorporating a few corn tortillas while keeping net carbs low overall:


  • 3 eggs scrambled with 1 oz cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 oz uncured bacon


  • Taco salad made with ground beef, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and 1 corn taco shell crumbled on top


  • 6 oz grilled chicken breast
  • 1 cup roasted broccoli with olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter


  • 1 oz macadamia nuts
  • 1 oz cheddar cheese
  • Cucumber slices with guacamole

This provides around 1450 calories, 115g fat, 85g protein, 15g net carbs, and 25g fiber. The single corn taco shell keeps net carbs low at 15g for the day.

The bottom line

Corn tortillas can potentially fit into a keto diet in small portions, but they are still relatively high in carbs compared to other keto-approved foods. Limit to just 1-2 (6-inch) tortillas per day max, or less for therapeutic keto. Pair with fat and protein to help slow absorption. It’s best to also choose lower carb alternatives like lettuce or collard wraps whenever possible.

With the right portions and smart pairing, enjoying an occasional corn tortilla can add variety to your keto diet while still maintaining ketosis and fat burning.

Leave a Comment