If you’re anything like me, you know what “having a sweet tooth” feels like. Switching to vegan was OK, since there are plenty of vegan-friendly manufacturers, cafes and restaurants nowadays. So having a traditional dessert wasn’t a big deal. However, transferring farther to a ketogenic vegan diet was more challenging. But I feel great about it now: my avocado ice cream is freaking awesome. As well as little buns, I bake practically every day, are kick ass too.
And I am always on the lookout of those perfect keto baking ingredients (vegan friendly too – solely for the health sake) to add to my list.
In this article, I put together the once I came across the most often. You might use it as a net carb reference. Or as a guide on “what can be substituted with what?” in some recipes.
Are you interested in a particular must-have keto baking ingredient? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page.
Best keto baking ingredients
Keto baking powder
Baking powder is used to increase the volume and lighten the texture of baked goods.
Although the majority of baking powder brands include corn starch, which isn’t advised on keto, a little baking powder, won’t set your diet back.
But if your diet is super strict on carbs count, you can make your keto-friendly baking powder yourself. You can just substitute cornstarch with fiber, like inulin, and you are good to go.
So, here’s an easy recipe for it:
mix 1 tbsp of baking soda, 1 tbs of cream of tartar (here’s a good option), and 1 tbsp of inulin (e.g., this one has 2.2g of carbs and 2.2g of fiber per scoop, so it’s 0 net carbs in total). And you’ve got your keto baking powder. You can store it in an airtight container at room temperature and use it when you need it.
What does gelatin and Agar Agar do in keto baking?
Another typical ingredient for keto is gelatin. It’s a thickening agent that needs to be dissolved in hot liquid, so it isn’t much use in actual baking. And then you can use it to make beautiful glazes, or to thicken creams and jellies to put between the layers of cakes. However, even though it’s keto-friendly, it’s made of animal’s skin, cartilage, and bones.
So I’ve found a better keto and vegan-friendly option that works for the same purposes – agar agar. Just like inulin, it’s super high in fiber, and it’s made of red algae, meaning it’s rich in nutrients and very healthy too.
For instance, this brand has 6g of carbs and 4g of fiber per serving. It means that you end up with 2g of net carbs for the whole cheesecake or jelly or whatever it is you are doing. And you can always shop up for other alternatives. Nutritional value for any given product might vary, I just prefer this brand in particular.
Keto baking with xanthan gum
Xanthan gum is another staple of keto baking. Its production involves the combination of sugars (usually from corn, wheat, and/or soy), micronutrients, and a bacterium named Xanthomonas campestris. Those bacterias will dissolve the sugar into an indigestible fiber gel. This gel, when dried and milled, turns into the powder known as xanthan gum.
So how to use xanthan gum in keto baking?
Well, once this powder is added to a liquid, it quickly disperses and creates a thickening solution. This fundamental property is what makes the gum powder a great stabilizing agent for many products, from soups, salad dressing, and gravy to keto ice cream and baked goods. Pretty cool, huh?
And it also has pleasant side effects. According to the study, consumption of xanthan gum caused a reduction in blood sugar and LDL cholesterol in diabetics.
Keto baking with yeast
Using yeast on keto is somewhat controversial since if you have to proof it, you are going to use sugar. Proofing involves mixing active dry yeast with water that’s just warm to touch and sugar. You are keeping it for a few minutes until it’s foamy, and that’s how the magic happens.
Yeast will feed on the sugar and starches in your dough and expire CO2, which is what causes the dough to rise. So it doesn’t add up much to a total carb count. And you don’t need much of the yeast as well.
And after all, you can use instant yeast too, so if you feel uncertain about having sugar in your kitchen at all, the problem will be solved. For instance, this is a good option – it has 8g of net carbs per 100g, and you only need a tiny serving of the product to make your bread rise.
Otherwise, you can always skip it altogether and go with baking powder. Especially when you don’t have much time to wait while yeast will do its work, which generally takes longer.
How to use oat fiber in keto baking?
This product has zero calories, zero carbs, zero sugar, and zero nutrients. And it adds loads of fiber to your diet with the side benefit of helping to expel other carbs from your digestive tract.
Oat fiber absorbs up to seven times its weight in water, making it useful for baking.
When added to bakery products, oat fiber allows for the production of low carbohydrate bread, pastries, muffins, crackers, and pizza crusts.
But remember it’s not a one-for-one flour substitute. It is used in small amounts in baked goods to enhance texture and flavor (as well as coincidentally lowering net carb counts. It also brings a smoother texture to cake, muffins, or cupcakes.
This one, by Naturtonics, is a good option if you want to give an oat fiber a try. It has 0 calories, 0 g fat, 3 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 0 g protein per teaspoon.
Psyllium husk in keto baking
Psyllium husk, a rich source of viscous soluble fiber, comes from a plant known as Plantago ovata. When you add some water to this powder, it forms a gel that can be often used as a “vegan egg,” similar to flax egg. And nearly all of the carbs in psyllium husk come from fiber.
And is also known to help lower blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels, just like xanthan gum.
Its gluten-mimicking properties allow us to make low-carb baked goods with the right texture and flavor.
Keto baking with protein powder
Generally, you don’t need much of it while on keto. It’s about .36 grams – .7 grams of protein multiplied by your body weight in pounds to get how much you need to eat a day.
And here’s a great video with more details:
However, if you are a vegan on a ketogenic diet, sometimes it makes sense to boost your macros with a bit of protein. Especially if you are using the right kind.
Pea, soy, rice, hemp are the most common vegan proteins. But it’s not as easy as it sounds – some might be more complete, some might be better for lean muscle building and recovery. There’s a lot to consider. I’ll cover the basics in this article – the carb content:
- 1 scoop of soy protein has 2.1g of carbs, including 1.6g of fiber, which leaves us with 0.5g of net carbs.
- Pea protein, like this one, has “less than 1g per serving.”
- Hemp comes with 7g of protein per serving, including 4.8g of fiber, which leaves you with 2.2g of net carbs.
- Rice protein includes 3.4g of carbs per scoop, 0.4 of which is fiber. So it’s 3g of net carbs in this option.
So it leads us to two contenders – the soy and the pea.
But soy protein isolate is not great for your liver. And you can check the video below for additional facts about that statement:
So my personal preference as keto vegan is pea protein. It has all nine essential amino acids and is an excellent source of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) too. Those are linked to muscle growth, heart health, and proper blood flow.
Overall, pea protein has way less ‘cons’ about it. So I’d stick with it in keto baking, especially if you can go with flavored types, like this vanilla pea protein.
Best sweetener for keto baking
My personal preference in this section would be Monk Fruit and Erythritol. According to my research, those have the least influence on glucose and insulin levels (crucial for keto). Plus, both have the least side effects (practically none, really, compared to many others, when you dig deeper).
Since there are PLENTY of options, you might have heard of. E.g., stevia is everywhere, but I personally don’t use it, since it DOES affect insulin levels a little bit (yes. Not significantly, but still). It might be produced with GMO-containing ingredients and some chemicals too.
That’s why I stick with a more natural Monk fruit sweetener made from the dried fruit extract. It’s 150-250 times sweeter than table sugar, has zero calories and carbs, and does not raise blood glucose or insulin levels.
And Erythritol is my absolute go-to keto sweetener. It’s a kind of sugar alcohol. Once those are absorbed they use very little to no insulin to convert to energy. Erythritol also has only 70% of table sugar sweetness, which makes it pretty much perfect for me. Sweet, but not sickening sweet.
I also would like to share a quick video breaking down the list of approved keto baking sweeteners to put things in perspective. (It’s not perfect, but it’s a good place to start).
Keto substitute for honey in baking
As much as you may love honey, it will easily kick you out of keto, and since it’s made of fructose, it converts into fats super fast.
And, as a vegan and responsible human being, I’d love to take a chance and a bit about the future of bees too.
In conventional beekeeping, honey bees are specifically bred to increase productivity. This selective breeding narrows the population gene pool and increases susceptibility to disease and large-scale die-offs.
Also, when farmers remove honey from a hive, they replace it with a sugar substitute. Which is significantly worse for the bees’ health since it lacks the essential micro-nutrients. Diseases are also caused by importing different species of bees for use in hives.
These diseases are then spread to thousands of other pollinators. And we, along with other animals, rely on the work of these pollinators heavily. Which at first seems not very important until you realize that one-third of all food humans consume would disappear with them. Millions could starve.
And you still not very convinced about the coolness of the bees, you should check this video:
Moving on, honey is a no go. Unless you want to get a fatty liver and call starvation upon humanity. But you can easily use any of the keto-friendly substitutes I’d mentioned earlier in this article.
Best keto baking flour
While it was entirely unexpected for me when I just started my clean keto journey, there are numerous options for keto baking flours. So in this section, I am going to cover the most common one and will be focusing more on carb contents and usage.
But an important thing to mention – the nutritional value and final net carb content will vary from brand to brand. And I stuck with the data for the products I like. But you should always check the details on the packaging.
Coconut flour and keto
Keto baking with coconut flour works the best for bread and desserts. With coconut flour, the main difference in brands is their precise grind and how much moisture the flour will absorb.
18g serving of this great option has 60 calories, 3g proteins, 13.5g of fats, 10g of carbs, 7g of fiber, and 3g of sugars. It leaves us with 20g of net carbs per 100g.
Keto baking with almond flour
There are several concerns with using almond flour in keto recipes. First, it’s Omega3/6 ratio – almonds have a high omega 6 (pro-inflammatory) content.
And also many people are nut sensitive. But as long as you are not allergic and not going to eat whole cakes and pies every day, you are going to be OK. Also, make sure that you are going for blanched almonds. Since the nut’s skin contains phytic acid, a well-known anti-nutrient.
Overall, almond flour is often used as a low-carb substitute for wheat flour in bread and other baked goods.
28g of this almond flour has 170 calories, 6g proteins, 15g of fats, 5g of carbs, 3g of fiber, and 1g of sugars. It leaves us with 7.14g of net carbs per 100g.
Hazelnut flour in keto
Because hazelnut meal does not contain gluten and is light on starches, it should be used in conjunction with other flours. Our suggestion is to replace no more than 25-30% of the flour in your recipe with hazelnut meal.
This will add a richness and nutty texture to your baking. Hazelnut flour is outstanding in pastries, pie crusts, cakes, cookies, pancakes, and quick bread, but this flour can also be used in savory applications.
You can also stir this gluten-free nut meal into your chia seeds puddings, use it to bread something, or add it to your favorite smoothie.
28 of this hazelnut flour by Bob’s Red Mill has 180 calories, 4g proteins, 17g of fats, 5 g of carbs, 3g of fiber, and 1g of sugars. It leaves us with 7.14g of net carbs per 100g.
Ground flax and keto baking
Nutritionally, flaxseed is high in fat and fiber. Yet low in digestible carbohydrates (aka net carbs). In fact, nearly all of its carbs come from fiber, making it ideal for low-carb and ketogenic diets.
Besides, flaxseed has more than four times as much omega-3 PUFAs as omega-6 PUFAs, which may improve your omega-3:omega-6 ratio.
As a seed, it makes a splendid substitute for grains in baked goods. You can also utilize it to step up the nutrition of your keto-friendly smoothies, pancakes, salads, soups, and yogurts.
You can even use them as a nutritious sauce thickener and as an egg substitute in baking too! Best of all, flaxseeds are gluten-free, making them ideal for those with gluten-sensitivity and celiac disease following the keto diet.
14g of this flaxseed meal by Anthony’s Organic has 60 calories, 4g proteins, 1.5g of fats, 6g of carbs, 3g of fiber, and 0g of sugars. It leaves us with 14.33g of net carbs per 100g.
Sunflower seed flour on keto
Another option for keto baking with no nuts is a sunflower seed meal.
It has a somewhat nutty but generally neutral flavor. That makes sunflower seed flour amazingly versatile. Plus, sunflower seed flour adds just a touch of sweetness. It’s often used as a low-carb substitute for wheat flour in bread and other baked goods.
And there’s no need to flex your math skills here. Most recipes can be swapped on a 1-to-1 ratio. That means if a recipe calls for one cup of almond flour, you can use the same amount of sunflower seed flour.
As far as nutrition goes, these little seeds are excellent sources of vitamins B and E. They contain phenolic acids and flavonoids, which known to protect brain health.
28g of this non-GMO sunflower seed flour by Gerbs has 160 calories, 6g proteins,14g of fats, 6g of carbs, 2g of fiber, and 1g of sugars. It leaves us with 14.28 g of net carbs per 100g.
Pecan flour and keto
Pecan flour is just as easy to work with, just like almond flour. But it is likely to be a bit challenging to find. It has a vibrant nutty taste and because pecan meal’s skin is left on before grinding, thus contributing to its darker brown color.
You can use it in any baked good that isn’t white or too neutral-flavored, such as white cake. It also makes a great crust and filling too. And it’s very low in net carbs (yay!).
28g of this pecan flour by Wild Tree Farms has 190 calories, 3g proteins, 20g of fats, 4g of carbs, 3g of fiber, and 1g of sugars. It leaves us with 3.77 g of net carbs per 100g.
Keto baking with lupin flour
Lupin flour is another low-carb, gluten-free option for keto baking. It is made from a plant that is considered a legume. But it is closely related to peanuts and soybeans.
So people with nut or soy allergies should steer clear. At the same time, legume inheritance makes it high in dietary fiber (up to 30%), protein (up to 40%), and low in fat (about 6%).
And you can use it for pretty much anything: tortillas, pizza crusts, crackers, fettuccine noodles. You can add it raw to your smoothie for a little extra protein in, etc.
100g of this non-GMO lupin flour by Small Town Specialties has 370 calories, 36g proteins, 10g of fats, 40g of carbs, 24g of fiber, and 0g of sugars. It leaves us with 16g of net carbs per 100g.
Keto baking with avocado
Oh, this is my personal favorite ingredient for keto vegan desserts. You can make super delicious cookie dough, ice-cream, chocolate mousse, whatever in no time!
And it’s perfect for keto no-nuts baking.
Health-conscious bakers can substitute avocado for many traditional baking ingredients, such as butter or shortening. Simply replace these ingredients with an equal amount of avocado. E.g., replace one cup of butter with one cup of mashed avocado in any muffin or brownie recipe.
However, make sure to note that when using avocado in cakes and bread, the baked goods may rise and brown quicker. To avoid these things from happening, decrease your oven temperature by about 25% and bake longer.
As for the numbers, 100g serving of avocado contains 160 calories, 15g of fat, 2g of protein, 9g of carbs, 7g of fiber, which totals in 2g of net carbs.
Thanks for the graphics: Canva.com
Disclosure: At vegketodiet.com I only mention the products that I researched and considered worthy. But it’s important to note that we are a participant of several affiliate programs, including but not limited to VigLink and Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, this website earns from qualifying purchases. Also please note that I am not a doctor. As such readers are strongly recommended to make decisions that might affect their health by doing their own research. At vegketodiet.com I only document and describe thoughts, researches and ideas that proved to be working for me.