The keto diet may be all about the fat, but that doesn’t mean protein doesn’t play an important role too. Too much of it, and you’re no longer in ketosis. Too little of it, and you risk losing important muscle mass.
So while you’re busy cooking everything in butter, don’t forget that 10 to 35 percent of your calories should be coming from a protein source.
And what’s one of the most popular, accessible, and easy-to-cook proteins available? Chicken, of course.
Use it in these 19 recipes, which will help you keep your protein portions in check while sticking to the high fat, low carb keto commandments.
1. Keto chicken Florentine in a skillet
With a sauce containing a full cup of heavy whipping cream plus Parmesan cheese, this chicken dish isn’t kidding around about helping you get your keto-friendly fats in.
To balance out the dish a bit, spinach and mushrooms provide some color and fiber.
2. Keto zucchini enchiladas
While chicken gives these enchiladas their protein power, a special shout-out goes to the zucchini slices, which stand in for tortillas.
Once they’ve been stuffed with the meat and topped with the sauce and cheese, you’ll hardly notice that there are barely any carbs in the dish.
3. Keto chicken Parmesan
When bread is a no-no and a cauliflower crust seems like too much work, simply pile your tomatoes and melt your cheese on top of chicken. Your keto lifestyle will remain intact, and your pizza cravings will be satisfied.
4. Chicken and mushroom skillet in a creamy Asiago and mustard sauce
Cream sauces are undoubtedly rich, but they can also be pretty bland without enough seasoning. You won’t run into that problem with the sauce that coats this chicken.
With a spoonful each of Dijon and grainy mustard, plus garlic-and-thyme mushrooms, it’s got full-bodied flavor.
5. Keto chicken korma
Coconut milk and almond butter might make for a pretty unorthodox take on a classic Indian dish, but spices like cumin, garam masala, and coriander keep the flavors authentic.
Enjoy it with cauliflower rice so you have a grain-free substitute to soak up all that gravy.
6. Easy cashew chicken
Any takeout version of this dish is almost guaranteed to come with a sauce that’s heavy on the sugar. This homemade version has more savory flavor.
It goes heavier on ingredients like garlic and sesame oil and gets some subtle sweetness from a splash of rice vinegar.
7. Shredded chicken chili
With no beans in sight, this chili is all about the chicken — well, the chicken plus the flavorings that take it over the top.
This includes a spiced tomato mixture with cream cheese stirred in for richness. You’ll love this even if you’re not living a strictly low carb life.
8. Keto curry
There are a million chicken curry recipes to choose from, but if you’re looking for one that works for a keto diet, this might just be your winner.
Beginning with ghee, finished off with a cup of heavy cream, and with a smattering of spices added in between, it doesn’t skimp on fat or flavor.
9. Low carb chicken salad
When you’re on the keto diet, bring on the mayo! Half a cup gives this chicken salad just enough creaminess without making it soggy. Sunflower seeds add extra crunch and more healthy fat.
10. Chicken pot pie
Almond flour is already a keto staple, but once you use it to make a crust for this low carb pot pie, it’ll claim the top spot on your list of favorite ingredients.
With the cheesy dough on top and creamy chicken filling underneath, this may even beat out the traditional recipe for the title of ultimate comfort food.
11. Lemon sesame pistachio crusted chicken
Pistachios are some of the most underrated nuts out there, but they totally steal the spotlight here as the crust for the pan-fried chicken breast.
In fact, there’s so much to love about the coating — the nuts, the crunchy sesame seeds, the bold chipotle spice mix — that it practically outshines the protein.
12. Cheesy keto chicken meatballs
Ground chicken, lots of cheese… what’s not to love about these carb-conscious meatballs? To ensure that the dish is totally keto-friendly, just make sure your marinara sauce doesn’t come with any added sugar.
13. Low carb chicken pizza crust
Bake your toppings right into your crust with this creative, carb-free twist on pizza. When the mixture of chicken, cheese, and veggies cooks up into sliceable wedges, you won’t miss the bread at all.
14. Low carb chicken cordon bleu
You’ll find everything you love about the classic French dish here: the golden-brown crust on the meat, the ham and cheese tucked inside, and even a bonus recipe for a cheese sauce.
The only difference is that, instead of breadcrumbs, you’ll find a shredded coconut coating to make the cordon bleu totally keto.
15. Spicy keto chicken casserole
Casseroles usually involve some sort of grain, but we’re guessing no one will complain about this one swapping out the carbs for chicken and extra bacon.
Plus, with coconut cream and coconut oil, this dish is also a great option for keto eaters who don’t do dairy.
16. Keto chicken burgers with tomato butter
The juicy chicken patty is one thing. But what really takes these burgers over the top is the fried cabbage (lettuce is way too blah).
Then there’s the whipped tomato butter, which serves as the low sugar, high fat, totally mouthwatering keto answer to ketchup.
17. Gluten-free macadamia nut chicken thighs
When breading your chicken isn’t an option on a low carb diet, dredge the meat in a combination of egg and crushed macadamia nuts instead.
You’ll get a super-crunchy coating, and — as if that isn’t enough — a drizzle of butter over the top gives it a golden-brown crust and makes it taste even better.
18. Pan-seared and baked chicken with lemon caper sauce
Dredge a couple of chicken breasts, pan-fry them, and whip up a creamy sauce all in 30 minutes?
This recipe makes it possible without requiring you to break a sweat. Serve on top of zucchini noodles to add some fiber and keep the carb count low.
19. Keto cauliflower mac and cheese
Any lifestyle that still finds a way to include mac and cheese can’t be so bad, right?
There may not be any actual macaroni in this recipe, but with cauliflower in its place, chicken for extra protein, and two types of cheese for gooey goodness, pasta will be the last thing on your mind.
Chicken is beloved by keto eaters because it’s simple to prepare and easy on the wallet, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring! With these recipes, it’s easy to make chicken the seasoned star of your dinner plate once again.
Before you head to the kitchen, know that most studies on keto look at data from just 12 months, so more research is needed to find out how healthy it is in the long term.
Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about whether keto is right for you, and always listen to your body.