Nothing pairs perfectly with chips and crackers than a delicious, flavour-packed dip! For those who crave healthier options, there are veggie sticks, apple slices, sliced meats and cheeses. All of these taste fine when eaten by themselves. However, they taste even better when you dunk them in a dip.
Commercially bought dips are almost endless in variety. Hummus, tzatziki, avocado dip and smoky baba ganoush – these are just some of the many dip flavours that you can see on supermarket shelves. They are delicious, more-ish and sometimes even healthy, depending on which variety you choose. Most people enjoy these dips without hesitation, especially when paired with some tasty crackers and nibbles.
But what if you have specific nutritional requirements, like a ketogenic diet? You need an intake of high fat and low carbohydrates to achieve ketosis, which means that you need a dip to match. However, since dips are usually party food or something to be enjoyed in moderation, they’re not necessarily designed to meet specific macro goals.
Classic dips like hummus can be quite high in carbs, with up to 16 grams of net carbs per serving. Variants such as avocado and cauliflower hummus are much lower in carbs and suitable for a keto diet. Dips like tzatziki and guacamole can also be great for a keto diet if made without additives or sweeteners.
If you need something low carb to bring to a party, there are some great options that everyone can enjoy, like my Warm Roasted Garlic & Brussel Sprout Dip. However, if you’re missing the traditional hummus and tzatziki, you’re probably keen to find out how you can still enjoy these dips on keto.
I’ve gathered together some great recipes for keto-friendly dips, along with the typical macros of store-bought dips and whether they’re suitable for a low carb diet.
Is Hummus Keto Friendly?
Hummus is one of the tastiest plant-based dips that you can eat. It’s also quick and easy to make, and it’s packed with plant-based protein. Originating in the Middle East, hummus can be used as a dip, spread, or even a savoury standalone dish. It’s traditionally eaten with laffa bread, a chewier version of pita bread.
Now for the big question: is hummus okay for a low-carb diet? The traditional recipe uses chickpeas that are mashed together with tahini, so we’ll have to look closer at the macro splits of these ingredients.
Are Chickpeas Low Carb?
Unfortunately, no. Chickpeas contain a lot of carbohydrates, despite also being a protein-rich food. Chickpeas come from the legume family, and these are typically avoided on keto since they’re high in carbs and low in fat.
A single 100g serving of traditional hummus contains between 8 grams and 16 grams of net carbohydrates with around 9 grams of fat and 4 – 8 grams of protein. In terms of the macronutrient split, nearly half the calories in hummus come from carbs.
Unfortunately, this means that chickpeas are not considered keto-friendly at all. Luckily, there are some great substitutes for chickpeas in hummus, and I’ll share some of those options in a moment.
Is Tahini Keto Friendly?
Tahini is a condiment that originated from the Middle East, made from toasted ground sesame seeds. It could be used as dip or sauce by itself. It can also be used as a primary ingredient in other dips such as halva, baba ganoush, and of course, hummus.
Tahini is more keto-friendly than chickpeas. Like other seed and nut butters, tahini contains plenty of healthy fats. Per 100 grams, tahini has 53 grams of fat and 12 grams of net carbs – more than 50% healthy fats.
I love using tahini in sauces and dressings, including the one featured in my Vegetarian Keto eBook, drizzled over hot roasted veg.
The amount of tahini in hummus tends to be minor, though, so the fact that it contains tahini doesn’t make hummus keto-friendly. Don’t despair, though – there are some alternative hummus recipes that fit perfectly into a keto diet.
Low Carb Avocado Hummus
To make a low carb hummus without chickpeas, try this keto-friendly avocado hummus. The main ingredients are macadamia nuts and avocado, both high-fat and lower-carb ingredients. This dip packs plenty of flavour as well, with the addition of garlic, tahini, lime juice and cilantro.
You’ll need to plan ahead and soak the macadamia nuts overnight, but after that, this healthy low carb dip comes together with just a few minutes in the food processor.
Compared to traditional recipes, a serving of 55 grams of avocado hummus (around a quarter of a cup) offers a far better macro split:
- Fat: 21.9 grams
- Net Carbs: 2.4 grams
- Protein: 2.6 grams
Cauliflower hummus is one of the many versions of the traditional hummus. Rather than chickpeas, you can use cauliflower florets for the bulk of your dip. Cauliflower is a nice keto substitute for chickpeas as it only contains 5 grams of carbohydrates per 100-gram serving. Combined with the high-fat content of tahini, using cauliflower means you can enjoy a good keto-friendly dip without blowing your macro budget.
I have a fantastic cauliflower hummus recipe in my Vegetarian Keto eBook. It’s simple and easy to prepare, and most of the ingredients here are probably already in your cupboard. Per serve, it contains 12.6g of fat and only 0.9g of net carbs. It’s also a great hit at parties!
Now, depending on how strict you are with your carb intake, you may be concerned that tahini still contains some carbs. Well, there are recipes that replace tahini to minimise the carb count further. For example, you can try out this Hummus with Sesame Oil, which uses the oil as a substitute for tahini. Since the recipe uses chickpeas, you can swap the chickpeas with cauliflower florets like the cauliflower hummus recipe above.
Alternatively, try replacing the tahini in your favourite hummus recipe with a nutty-flavoured oil and see if you still enjoy the taste. Feel free to experiment with ingredients and seasonings – there are so many ways you can enjoy a hummus dip while keeping the carbs to a minimum.
Is Tzatziki Keto-Friendly?
Tzatziki, sometimes called a tarator, is another dip that could be made keto-friendly. It’s commonly found in Southeast European and Middle Eastern cuisines. Main ingredients include diluted or salted strained yogurt combined with garlic, salt, cucumbers, olive oil, lemon juice, or vinegar. Herbs such as thyme, parsley, mint, or dill are often added as a garnish. As well as dipping, tzatziki can be served as an appetiser or a side dish.
Is classic tzatziki ideal for a keto diet? A tablespoon of traditional tzatziki yields 1.4 grams of fat, 1.7 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.1 gram of protein. While these amounts follow the principle of a ketogenic diet, the difference between fat and carbohydrates is almost negligible. Therefore, a boost of healthy fats would be perfect to balance out the macro ratio.
For a low carb tzatziki, check out my easy keto-friendly tzatziki recipe from my keto gyros bowl. It combines full-fat natural yoghurt with cucumber, lemon juice and garlic – the perfect tangy dressing for marinated chicken and grilled halloumi.
Since cucumbers hold a lot of water, it’s highly suggested that you drain the cucumbers when preparing the dish, keeping your tzatziki nice and creamy rather than watered-down.
It only takes a few minutes to prepare this delicious low carb dip. This keto-friendly tzatziki can be made in advance and stored in the fridge in an airtight container, ready to drizzle come lunchtime. It’s also delicious with grilled meats, keto-friendly roast veg or as a naked chicken burger dressing.
Is Baba Ganoush Keto Friendly?
Another dip that is popular among vegetarians and vegans is baba ganoush, originally hailing from Lebanon. Baba ganoush mainly consists of mashed cooked eggplant blended with olive oil, lemon juice, and a variety of seasonings. Before mashing, the eggplant is traditionally grilled or baked over an open flame before peeling. As a result, traditional baba ganoush is soft and has a pleasant smoky taste. The dip is often served with pita bread.
How does baba ganoush compare on the carb scale? A serving of 4 tablespoons of baba ganoush yields 7 grams of fat, 5 grams of net carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein. The high fat content from olive oil makes baba ganoush a nice dip to enjoy if you’re on a keto diet.
Here’s an easy baba ganoush recipe from Cast Iron Keto. Some people remark that traditional baba ganoush is a little bland, so this dish adds extra flavours to make the taste richer and more pronounced. This keto-friendly baba ganoush uses charred eggplants and serrano peppers. It’s then mixed with spices such as garlic, cayenne pepper, cumin, tahini, and lemon to make it rich and tasty.
It’s best served alongside grilled chicken, sliced cucumbers, or pita bread. It can also be an excellent sauce for a green salad topped with grilled chicken, avocado, and sesame seeds.
A serving of this keto-friendly baba ganoush yields the following macro split:
- Fat: 12 grams
- Net Carbohydrates: 5 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
With a high-fat and low-carbohydrate content, this baba ganoush is ready to make an impressive entrance to your keto diet.
Is Guacamole Keto Friendly?
Another popular dip is guacamole, which is popular in Mexican and American cuisine. Commonly used as a dip, condiment, or salad ingredient, guacamole uses mashed avocados as its primary ingredient. It also includes cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeno peppers for heat, though more family-friendly versions often omit the spice. Tomatoes, red onion and even chopped capsicum are common non-traditional ingredients in guacamole.
Is guac suitable for a keto diet, though? Well, a quarter cup of guacamole gives you 10 grams of fat and 4.4 grams of net carbohydrates, though you’ll need to consider any additives and fillers in store-bought guac. Avocados are fantastic for keto, so as long as they’re the primary ingredient, you should be able to enjoy some guac.
For a great keto-friendly avocado dip, skip the supermarket varieties and check out this homemade low carb guacamole instead. Avocados are rich sources of fat and fibre, which makes them perfect for a ketogenic diet. What’s more, unlike store-bought guacamoles, this recipe doesn’t contain added sugar.
This recipe yields the following macronutrients per serving of homemade guacamole:
- Fat: 10 grams
- Net carbohydrates: 2 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
If you prefer a more mild avocado dip, try my avocado dressing on your next salad or keto burger.
Is Salsa Keto Friendly?
Salsa is a very popular dip; it’s often a must-have sauce along with family favourites like corn chips and tacos. Salsa actually covers a wide variety of condiments and sauces found in Mexican and Mexican-American cuisine, so there are a lot of different salsa varieties out there. Salsa can also be added to soups or incorporated as a filling for tamales.
Here are some common varieties of salsa:
- Salsa fresca – fresh salsa made with raw tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers
- Salsa verde – made with tomatillos and green chilli peppers
- Chiltomate – a base sauce made with tomatoes and chillies, the variety depending on the region
- Salsa roja – a red sauce made of tomato, ground onion, chili, salt, and pepper
When we talk about salsa as a dip, though, we’re usually talking about salsa roja, the delicious red salsa from a jar that pairs perfectly with corn chips.
The nutritional value of salsa depends heavily on the variety and any additives included. Tomatoes aren’t too bad for keto eaters; however, traditional salsa isn’t exactly keto-friendly. Two tablespoons of salsa contains little-to-no fat, 1.6 grams of net carbohydrates, and 0.4 grams of protein. Store-bought salsas are also high in sugar and salt.
If you’re on a keto diet, does that mean that salsa is forever off the menu? Definitely not! Here’s a keto-friendly salsa recipe from That Low Carb Life. It still has a relatively low fat content, but if you use that salsa as a dip for high-fat food such as pork rinds or cheese chips, you can achieve a better macro ratio.
A serving of 2 tablespoons of this salsa has the following nutrients:
- Fat: 0 grams
- Net Carbohydrates: 2 grams
- Protein: 0 grams
If you have leftover salsa, it’s a great addition to keto-friendly pizzas as a substitute for pizza sauce. Top with taco mince, cheese and avocado for an easy meal the whole family will love.
What to Eat with Keto Dips
The keto-friendly dips that are featured here are perfect snacks for all kinds of occasions. So pour some of these munchies in a big bowl, dunk them in your choice of low carb dip, and enjoy!
- keto tortilla chips – a low carb twist on a classic favourite
- cheese sticks – delicious and gives a nice fat boost
- keto crackers – my favourite recipe is featured in my Keto Basics eBook
- low carb chicken nuggets – delicious, protein-packed and family-friendly
- toasted keto-friendly bread – tasty and crunchy
- tortillas – try a keto-friendly almond flour tortilla recipe for dipping and wrapping
- vegetable sticks – low carb options like broccoli, asparagus spears, capsicum and green beans
- pork rinds – the perfect fatty, salty snacks during a movie night (without the carbs of popcorn)
These are great options for bring-a-plate parties and family gatherings. These dips can also be used as spreads for keto-friendly bread, creating all kinds of sandwiches and burgers. Low carb dips even make great dressings for salads and toppings for grilled meats, so if you have leftover dip after a party, tomorrow’s meals will be that much more delicious.
What Can I Substitute Hummus With?
The primary ingredient of traditional hummus is carbohydrate-rich chickpeas. Since a ketogenic diet requires that you drastically lessen your carb intake, you may want to try alternatives to traditional hummus.
These options replace chickpeas with low-carb substitutes like cauliflower and avocado. Other recipes substitute chickpeas with high-fat nuts such as almonds, macadamia nuts, cashews, pecans, or hazelnuts.
Other substitutes for hummus include Greek yoghurt, tahini sauce, or keto-friendly aioli.
Note: All nutritional values and product information is accurate at the time of posting, but you should always check the label, especially when it comes to allergens or other health concerns. Information shared through this blog is derived from my own experience and learning – for any medical advice regarding diet and nutrition, or before changing your diet drastically, I recommend consulting a doctor or nutritionist.